Guest Information Booklet

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I'm finally working on a Guest Information Booklet for my guests. I know, I should have done it long ago, but didn't.

Anyway, I'm trying to figure out what I should include and what I shouldn't. I have the nearest hospital and emergency room, clinic, pharmacy.

Should I include information on things like parking? recycling? noise? local alcohol policies? 

For transport, I have the city information, inter-city bus, rail and airlines. Should I include local car rental agencies?

What about cinemas, theatres, clubs and bars?

Do I add delivery restaurants? Or just local restaurants?

I have coffee shops, tea shops, pastry shops, ice cream shops, bookstores. 

Should I put in local churches and synagogues?

I know that in smaller towns they often put in attractions, but being in a big city, I'm not sure.

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Arkansas is the country's largest grower of rice, and you can buy it in many stores here. Yes, I thought it would be good for people to have info on the crops they'll see growing in the fields here. Not everybody is interested in that, just like not everybody is interested in where the antique stores are. It's good to have a mix of stuff.

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So Eric did you ever complete this booklet now that the thread has been revitalized?

After staying in NYC in Jan I can think of important CITY things I might add since you are in a city. 

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Nope. I have most of it together, it got bogged down on things like individual controls for TV/DVDs in rooms and such.

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Funny you can have the same mindset of guests (generally speaking) day after day then get one room that thinks differently, and it throws a spanner into the mix! 

I have a couple here like that now. They are just now leaving and everything is not the same as our other guests.  It is not a bad thing, mind you, but different. So when they ask me a question it is not the same ol' same ol'...and I have to think about it.

I don't mind, at all. It is just what i have in the room books do not suffice for these guests. No matter what i put in, they would have another question, not answered in there.

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Arkie has an amazing set of guest info books.  An entire book talks about the history of his building.  The other one gives all the general town and county info up to and including photos of all the cash crops grown in the county.  Even the rice fields!

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Innkeep wrote:

Arkie has an amazing set of guest info books.  An entire book talks about the history of his building.  The other one gives all the general town and county info up to and including photos of all the cash crops grown in the county.  Even the rice fields!

Thanks for reminding me Innkeep. Oddly enough, my parents bought some rice there on their way through West to East a few years ago, and it was the best rice! They stopped in again, and it was no longer sold.  Dad went hunting there and still couldn't get any. Is it sold overseas now or ? It was sooooo tender and flavorful.

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Still October 2007 for us, not that they drove down our road, but if you get the google man in just the right spot at the intersection with the main road, zoom in and squint a bit, you can imagine that you are making out our sign!

Actually, you can see part of our place from the causeway, across the water in the distance.

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I don't think the car has done the side streets here, either. And my place (right on the main drag!) is all fuzzy and you really can't see the sign or figure out what this is.

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OK, I am a BIG DUH!!! How do you get to streetview at your inn?

 

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gillumhouse wrote:

OK, I am a BIG DUH!!! How do you get to streetview at your inn?

 

Oops! Looks like the Google truck didn't drive down your street to photograph. Closest I can get is here <-- click it to go directly into streetview. But you can still use the cursor keys as described below to explore around the part of town they DID photograph in 2007 (you're way past due for another visit).

  1. Start Google Maps
  2. Zoom in to your town, and to your neighborhood.
  3. On the upper left of the map you'll see the icon of a "little man" at the top of the slider that lets you zoom the map in and out.. Assuming you have Windows, "grab" the little man by clicking and holding down your left mouse button, and drag him to the street where your inn is located and drop him there (release the mouse button). You can only "streetview" streets that turn blue when you grab the little man.
  4. Give the computer a moment and street view will come up, showing your neighborhood. You can use the cursor keys (left arrow, right arrow, up arrow, down arrow) to "drive" around on the street and pan left or right to move around and look at things. You can explore your whole town, and "drive" all the way to Los Angeles if you had the time.
  5. Also, you can use your mouse to grab the screen and drag it left right, up down, to see things. You can also click with the mouse to move where you want to go, rather than using the cursor keys.
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Thanks. The date is 2007. It still shows the rice Building & Shinnston Plumbing. That property is now an open field awaiting our completion of our Capital Campaign to raise $6M for our Multi-purpose Community Center. If you go to Pike & Walnut and do an eyes left (west) you can see my place - or at least the tree I want to take down. You will be able to see how much taller the tree is than my house roof and it is too close for comfort.

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at least you are better off than my friend at Arden House Franklin Mount (she won't mind me commenting as she is going potty about this) if you put her place in you get a picture of the back! they for some unknown reason havn't done the top half of her street! just stopped about half way up! told her to get people complaining as there are other bb's up there to who won't be on the view either! don't see why they show the back though as it makes her building look awful when she has won awards for her front garden flowers etc which is really nice!

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

...she won't mind me commenting as she is going potty about this...

Why oh why didn't I start saving a collection of these "camberisms" years ago! I could have compiled a best seller by now!

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and that will be my claim to fame!

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Arkansawyer wrote:

camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

...she won't mind me commenting as she is going potty about this...

Why oh why didn't I start saving a collection of these "camberisms" years ago! I could have compiled a best seller by now!

Smiling

She was being polite, another way to say it is "she has the sh!@3s" which has a totally different meaning in the U.S.

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not sure what the fill in word is - but I meant she is very cross! lol

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I've been worrying about streetview and how often they re-do their photos, because if somebody looks up the address of my guesthouse, they currently see it as it looked years ago before the restoration, and it just looks horrible.

Does anybody have any idea how often they re-visit rural towns? Once a century?

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Arkansawyer wrote:

I've been worrying about streetview and how often they re-do their photos, because if somebody looks up the address of my guesthouse, they currently see it as it looked years ago before the restoration, and it just looks horrible.

Does anybody have any idea how often they re-visit rural towns? Once a century?

They took ours in Fall, the WORST season for this kind of thing. But we also posted our pic on Panoramio in summer with all the coordinates. And it got picked for Google Earth, so when you look at the B&B it has the picture there and if you mouse-over, it overlays and looks just beautiful! So you might want to do that and just HOPE that it gets picked as well.

They continuously do big cities, but small towns, I don't know how often they go by. One time they had half the city covered in snow and half during summer for the sat shot, it was hilarious.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

I've been worrying about streetview and how often they re-do their photos, because if somebody looks up the address of my guesthouse, they currently see it as it looked years ago before the restoration, and it just looks horrible.

Does anybody have any idea how often they re-visit rural towns? Once a century?

No idea but our street view is horrid. All blurry and if you look up the address it puts you at the corner rather than at the house. Oddly, I just read a book wherein the author says she had just hauled a mattress to the curb when the Google car went by so for years her house on street view had a nasty mattress leaning up against the mail box.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

I've been worrying about streetview and how often they re-do their photos, because if somebody looks up the address of my guesthouse, they currently see it as it looked years ago before the restoration, and it just looks horrible.

Does anybody have any idea how often they re-visit rural towns? Once a century?

Well like you, I can tell the exact time they took the image due to the construction status, etc. But I think on here 6 mo's ago we found the actual date of the image on the image. So for us (we are small town) this is like 5 years later for a retake.  Unless they are only here filling in the gaps and NOT RETAKING, which could be a possibility. There is no street view out in the county here, so maybe they are doing that now.

Our place looks like death warmed over on streetview. I HATE for anyone to view it who is looking at staying here. It looks like a dump.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

...But I think on here 6 mo's ago we found the actual date of the image on the image. So for us (we are small town) this is like 5 years later for a retake...

Yes, the image date is at the bottom of the streetview images, and the one of my place says image date February 2008! So if they ARE doing it every 5 years, maybe they'll get my finished project soon!

Eric had a good suggestion to post a GOOD photo of your place to Panoramio so at least it's there for those who will dig that deeply into things.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

...But I think on here 6 mo's ago we found the actual date of the image on the image. So for us (we are small town) this is like 5 years later for a retake...

Yes, the image date is at the bottom of the streetview images, and the one of my place says image date February 2008! So if they ARE doing it every 5 years, maybe they'll get my finished project soon!

OH HAPPY DAY! (because JB loves bold italic lettering)

The Google Street View car has been driving every street of our town today!! 5 years and 4 months after they were last here. And we've had nothing but blue skies this week so the images should be bright and beautiful. Timing is just perfect, as I just got the hanging flower baskets in front of my newly finished building a couple of weeks ago, and soon Street View will show a nice place, instead of the ugly disaster the building was in the 2008 photo.

Sometimes, just sometimes, things work out perfectly!

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Oh Arks you may be the only one who ever listens to me...haha 

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yes 

Wish they would come back here during the spring or summer instead of the dreary winter when there is not life on the trees & no sun either. 

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They did ours in the Spring on a nice day, so it all looks rather beautiful. I saw the van come up our drive, shame he didn't come up a bit further and you would have seen me on the house steps.

If you follow the road away from our house into the village you will see the Postie's red van, if you turn to the right you will see the Post Office with the Postie at the door, in the middle of the conservatory there is a head, that's me having a coffee and a blether with the Post Mistress when I should be back at the house cleaning rooms. Ha.

There's also a strange effect if you go further down the road to the Do resI nn. The Inn stands on a junctions of two roads, stand in one and the beer garden of the inn is deserted, stand on the other and the garden is full of people enjoying a beer.

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I'm going to make these available for a limited time only, here are my two info packs in PDF format.

This is the house pack.

This is the things to see and do.

 

 

I bind them with a comb, I put a white card front on it which I print and then a sheet of acetate on top to protect it: So they look like this.....

 

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wow ... missed them already!

 

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Sorry, gone now.

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I liked the picture on the front - with mine I put the room numbers on the first page as we are that bit bigger with 12 rooms - it means if I borrow one out of a room to change a page etc then I know where it goes back to.

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Great work!  Makes me want to visit!

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Thanks for the info. It has been on my list of things to do for a while. Nicely put together.yes

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Highlands John, great booklets. I can see you put a lot of work and thought into them.

I used streetview to drive up to your inn. Amazing that the Google camera truck drove so far up your driveway! Beautiful setting. No wonder it's popular!

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Arkansawyer wrote:

Highlands John, great booklets. I can see you put a lot of work and thought into them.

I used streetview to drive up to your inn. Amazing that the Google camera truck drove so far up your driveway! Beautiful setting. No wonder it's popular!

Google streetview is in our town this week! They are always here when the leaves are down and it looks dreadful. The only reason I know is someone took a photo in front of the VW when the driver ran into our local sheetz to use the toilet. haha

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Arkansawyer wrote:

Highlands John, great booklets. I can see you put a lot of work and thought into them.

Thank you. Cumulatively, yes, but they've been growing for the past 8 years. Initially they were much smaller, but I've added things as situations occur or I've had ideas. They are very popular with guests and even the tourist board inspector commented on how good they are.

They initially started from my not wanting to put notices everywhere, so I created the booklet so I could put everything  the guests would need to know in one place. As the things to see and do part grew one year I decided to split it into the two you see.

It's also a great backup device, the information is there if guests don't read it it's not your fault. Someone recently said on ta that they would have liked a hair dryer, not only is there a hair dryer in the draw but the booklet tells you that there is one in the draw. What more can I do.

I would suggest to anyone creating one of these is to resist the temptation to put everything you can think of in it, as a guest I don't think that's useful. I put in things that if I was visiting this area for a couple of days I would want to do, restaurants we like, unusual things.

The documents sit on my computer, if I have an important update I can print the relevant page and change the room folders. Less important changes get included when I do a complete reprint in the winter (also they get tatty). In reality I update individual pages maybe 2 or 3 times a year, the bus timetable is the one I most frequently have to change.

None of our competitors has anything like this, and I'd like to keep it that way which is why I'll delete them off the server after 48 hours.

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The positive feedback I gets from guests all the time is how much they appreciate my driving trips. I have one that is of our scenic area, turn by turn, then I have an additional 2, one is for a day trip north of us and the other is for a day trip south of us. I print these up and have a stack of them in our brochure area and also provide the local area one in the pocket of the binder.

People really appreciate not having to do the research. If I were in a city, I would probably do a walking map/guide.

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I think the key word was book"let". Smiling  I don't know, it seems there is so much and so many changes that keeping it simple is the only way to go. Otherwise I would have a CENTRAL STATION with a larger book, and dividers in it for all the ancillary stuff like RX, Trains, Car Rentals etc.

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Most important stuff first on a single page.

 Then whatever else you would want to know if no one was around to ask. Pretty much everything you've listed, broken out into sections.

 

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Do the K.I.S.S meathod! They will not sit down and read a novel.

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Bob wrote:
Do the K.I.S.S meathod! They will not sit down and read a novel.

I'm going to disagree there. 9/10 our information pack is on the bedside when we clean the rooms. People do seem to read it in bed.

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Highlands John wrote:

Bob wrote:
Do the K.I.S.S meathod! They will not sit down and read a novel.

I'm going to disagree there. 9/10 our information pack is on the bedside when we clean the rooms. People do seem to read it in bed.

I read the packets of info, even in hotel rooms. Maybe be I am there, and it is there.

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I do too! All I am saying is to put good useful info in it. We have all been doing this long enough to know the kind of info our guests ask about. Have a list of a dew things in town but not all of them. That can be overwelming. You can always throw a little extra in. But I would not type out a phone book of info. I have stayed at places that have done this. It was to much! I would also make it fun to read. Add some pics and personalize it!

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Well, I'm putting it together with Word 2010 and I ave the Navigation set up, but it's open to change. Once I have it done, I can certainly strip out the info and make a template that others can use for their own. I have it set up in booklet format, 8.5x11 folded. So it can just be stapled in the centre and it's done. Or hole punched and put into a binder.

We have a little sign in the room with the stuff they need to know about the B&B. I'm looking to put more of the stuff they ask us for and about.

I was thinking about the Car Rentals and I think I'm going to add it. Firstly because sometimes they have rented a car that they need to pick up the day they leave, so if they need the local number or address, it's there. Secondly, sometimes they ask us about renting, this way the info is already there.

I'm sure that some of you need to put the sights, but I'm going to have to assume that they know ours, because if I have to start writing it, It would be a tome.

 

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Jay Karen of PAII suggests that your 'in room' book information also be on your website, complete with links, so that your smartphone and tablet user guests can access it that way. 

Jay spoke last week at our state B&B association. Good tip!

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Might be a good idea, but I wouldn't put it available publicly, but on a private URL... I don't need my competition getting an advantage over me. It's a service I provide Smiling

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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Might be a good idea, but I wouldn't put it available publicly, but on a private URL... I don't need my competition getting an advantage over me. It's a service I provide Smiling

Agreed. I have the "things to do in the area" on the website because that can help entice people to come visit this place. But all the work I've done putting together a list of area churches, selected restaurants, places to shop, etc. will only be in the room book for those who actually stay here.

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I will approach it from the guest pov. I stayed at a few B&B's where there was no information whatsoever and they had assumed their guests do all the research ahead of time. Sometimes you can't sometimes you just go.

So for that, there s/b two different books or places for information. Room books with pharmacies, temples, etc are good. Is this the same book to put house rules and basic info? Perhaps. I might have a basic question and be hesitant to ask.

Then another for interesting restaurants, places to eat nearby, etc etc I would appreciate that as a guest, knowing there is a little pub 2 blocks away, or what places deliver food. 

HJ if we visited you we would definitely want to know the best place for fish n chips and pies. Regional food especially! Smiling  Every time I tell guests about our Mexican restaurant they roll their eyes. Well it is licensed for alcohol and the others aren't so I tell them. 

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I used to have one information book, but it got too big so I split it into two, one has house and local info the other is things to see and do.

Having said that most people are happy to use the Internet so there's little point in listing everything, so for something like restaurants, there's loads in Inverness so we just list the ones we think are worth going to. That's not necessarily the grandest, for example sometimes people are on a budget and want something cheap, so I've listed a couple of pubs that do basic grub like pie & mash or fish & chips. 

Personally I feel there is so much information out there, tons of leaflets and masses of websites, that our information pack should cut through all the c##p and just list the best/most interesting/most relevant to our guests.

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 I would include the things in bold.

Should I include information on things like parking? recycling? noise? local alcohol policies?

For transport, I have the city information, inter-city bus, rail and airlines.  include local car rental agencies? NO they are at your place now.

What about cinemas, theatres, clubs and bars?

Do I add delivery restaurants? Or just local restaurants?

I have coffee shops, tea shops, pastry shops, ice cream shops, bookstores. GOOD

Should I put in local churches and synagogues? YES some people do want to go to church - especially MASS on Saturday

I know that in smaller towns they often put in attractions, but being in a big city, I'm not sure. Just provide your City Tourism brochure
.

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Hard part is they change often, you wouldn't think so but print them out for each room and then have things change. Put a disclaimer on the bottom of each page about not being responsible for hours of operation, etc I had a couple ticked off at me when a restaurant closed down...uh actually I AM MORE TICKED! haha

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Our information pack is a word document bound with a comb. I deliberately didn't number the pages so that I can make changes without having to re-print the whole thing. I can also insert pages that I print off the Internet such as the local bus timetable.

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