Welcoming your guests with a thoughtfully prepared welcome basket can set the tone for an exceptional holiday experience. As a host, you have the choice of either providing gifts that guests can take home as cherished mementoes of their stay or offering items that enhance their in-property experience.
In this blog post, we’ll share some creative ideas and practical tips to help you decide what’s best for your guests.
Why is a guest welcome basket important?
A guest welcome basket plays a crucial role in chalet rentals for several reasons:
- Enhances the guest experience: Chalet rentals often provide guests with a home away from home, and a thoughtfully curated welcome basket adds an extra layer of comfort and luxury to their stay. It sets a positive tone from the moment they arrive, making them feel valued and special.
- Personalised hospitality: A welcome basket allows hosts to personalise the guest experience. By including items that align with the chalet’s location, theme, or the guest’s preferences, you can show that you’ve gone the extra mile to make their stay memorable.
- Local flavour and information: It’s an excellent way to introduce guests to the local culture and attractions. Including local delicacies, maps, brochures, and recommendations for nearby restaurants or activities can help guests make the most of their stay.
- Comfort and convenience: After a long journey to reach the chalet, guests may be tired or hungry. Having some snacks and refreshments readily available in the welcome basket can provide immediate relief and convenience.
- Creates a lasting impression: A well-put-together welcome basket can leave a lasting impression. Guests are more likely to remember and recommend a rental property where they felt genuinely welcomed and cared for.
- Fosters positive reviews and repeat business: Happy guests are more likely to leave positive reviews and return for future stays. A memorable welcome basket can contribute to building a loyal customer base and driving word-of-mouth referrals.
How much should you spend?
There’s no set budget for a guest welcome basket, it really depends on your personal situation. Some owners may spend between 20-40€ on a basic welcome basket (tier one), around 40-60€ for extended stays (tier two) and 60€+ on returning guests (tier three).
This is just a guideline, however, the cost of a welcome basket should be cohesive with the value of the stay. For example, if guests have booked a peak week (Christmas, New Year or half term), the cost of the holiday will be significantly more, therefore the welcome basket should ideally reflect that.
What should you include in the guest welcome basket?
It’s important to note, that when we refer to a welcome basket, we’re talking about items that are beyond the basic necessities.
Practical items that make the guest’s life easier, such as toiletries (soap, toilet paper, etc.), basic kitchen supplies (tea, coffee, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, etc.) and cleaning products (cloths, dish soap, antibacterial spray, laundry detergent, etc.) should be provided as standard.
The welcome basket, on the other hand, includes thoughtful gifts that enhance the guest experience. In this next section, we’ll introduce the three tiers of welcome baskets and ideas of what to include for different groups.
The three tiers of welcome baskets
1. The standard welcome basket
The standard welcome basket should be provided when you’re catering for new guests. A realistic budget should be set for this that can be maintained from one week to the next and there should be enough variety to appeal to different tastes.
For this tier of welcome basket, we’d recommend focusing on items which will give guests a taste of the local traditions and culture. Here are a few ideas:
- A bottle of local wine (sparkling wine is also a special way to get the holiday off to a good start);
- Regional cheeses with some artisan crackers;
- Homemade jams or chutneys;
- A sweet treat such as a fruit tart, biscuits or chocolates;
- Fresh fruit juice or lemonade.
2. The guest welcome basket for extended stays
Guests opting for an extended stay at your chalet have invested a significant sum in their holiday. Therefore, it’s highly advisable to express your gratitude by either expanding the basket’s offerings or including a few higher-value items.
Drawing inspiration from the “standard welcome basket” (tier one) is a great starting point, but it’s a chance to introduce more variety. For instance, instead of just one type of wine, consider offering a selection of different colours and varieties.
Similarly, focus on how these basket items can add an element of entertainment or become engaging activities for guests during their stay. In addition to regional cheeses, consider including extra ingredients for a fondue or raclette evening, for example. Alternatively, provide marshmallows for families to toast by the fire or ingredients for baking gingerbread during the festive season.
And while board games and books are standard inclusions at your rental chalet, consider going the extra mile if you’re hosting younger guests. Offering mountain-themed colouring books or engaging games can keep children entertained throughout their stay, as well as providing some postcards for them to send home to friends.
Your guests will undoubtedly appreciate these thoughtful touches, showcasing your level of engagement and care in making their stay truly exceptional.
3. The welcome basket for loyal, returning guests
Repeat guests are a real asset to your rental business. So, for those who choose to keep coming back to your chalet, show your appreciation and offer them a top-tier welcome basket.
The focus here is on personalisation. And by now, you should have insights into your guests’ preferences, hobbies, and holiday expectations. Therefore, you should aim to seize this opportunity to showcase your gratitude and genuine interest.
An excellent idea in addition to physical items is to gift your returning guests a unique experience in the local region. This could be a bespoke voucher or guided activity, which is tailored to their interests.
Here are some ideas:
- For sports fanatics: A canyoning excursion, via ferrata, rafting, wakeboarding or guided backcountry skiing.
- For families with young kids: A craft session, farm visit or trip to an adventure park.
- For foodies: A meal out at a local restaurant, wine tasting/vineyard tour or private chef experience at the chalet.
- For wellness enthusiasts: A spa day, a wellness treatment such as a massage or facial or yoga/pilates class.
- For mountain lovers: Dog-sledding, snowmobiling, guided foraging/nature walks.
- For culture-seekers: Museum tours, heritage sites, or tickets for concerts/plays.
- For fashionistas or shopaholics: Vouchers for their favourite shop in town.
Another idea is to provide themed baskets which include gifts based on what your guests like. For example:
- For keen chefs: Local produce such as fresh fruit and veg or meat from the butchers;
- For foodies: Regional condiments, sauces, charcuterie and cheese;
- For cosmetics lovers: Products such as artisan soap, body lotions, oils and scrubs made with local ingredients;
- For drinks aficionados: A range of wines, tasters of local liquor and ingredients for homemade cocktails.
If you want to exceed expectations, you could also accompany these memorable experiences with some unique souvenirs. Again, these can easily be tailored to your guests’ interests, but just remember to keep them fairly small so they can easily take them home in their luggage.
Ideas could include:
- Reusable water bottles for hiking;
- Shopping bags to use at the local market;
- A bottle opener for wine connoisseurs;
- Notebooks for holiday journalling;
- Accessories from a nearby shop;
- Handmade mugs from a local artisan;
- Cosmetics such as hand cream or scented hand sanitiser.
- Consider all age groups when providing a welcome basket and make sure everyone is catered for;
- When choosing food items, think about common allergy triggers, pregnant people or groups with certain religious beliefs;
- Tailor your welcome basket to the season (for example, provide festive items such as gingerbread at Christmas or chocolate eggs at Easter);
- Demonstrate how you prefer the welcome basket to be displayed with a quick training session or send a photo to your manager;
- Include a handwritten note wishing guests a wonderful stay;
- Although we’re referring to welcome “baskets”, items don’t need to be displayed in a basket or box, displaying them on the dining table or in the living room is fine!
A carefully curated welcome basket can have a significant impact on your chalet rental business. Whether it’s impressing first-time visitors, retaining repeat guests, or simply making everyone feel valued, the power of personalisation and thoughtful gestures cannot be underestimated.
By taking the time to tailor your welcome baskets and show genuine appreciation, you not only enhance the guest experience but also foster a sense of loyalty that can benefit your business in the long run. So, start offering those baskets and watch as your guests’ smiles reflect the success of your chalet rental!
At OVO Network, we support chalet owners in all aspects of their business, helping them build strong relationships with loyal guests. From guest communication to marketing, revenue/booking management, photography and more – our experts can help turn your chalet business into a success.
If you enjoyed reading this article, we think you’d also like:
- How to create a welcome booklet for your chalet
- 6 guest loyalty strategies for your holiday rental business
- Enhancing the guest experience in holiday rentals
- How to make guests feel welcome at your rental chalet
- Calculating the costs of renting out your chalet
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