The House Manual Template That Every Property Manager Needs

A house manual template is an invaluable resource for any property manager in the vacation rental industry. The right template can double your efficiency while also taking your guest experience up a notch and polishing your communication.

Besides, sending over your house manual has never been easier—we’ve already done the work for you by preparing some vacation rental email templates . All you have to do is customize some bits here and there and schedule a message for incoming guests.

This article will go over everything you need to know about creating a stellar vacation rental house manual. You’ll also find a free template that you can start incorporating into your business right away.

RueBaRue allows you to create a house manual template that you can reuse for all your properties and send to guests via automated emails and text messages. Book a demo personalized to your rentals to see the platform in action.

What is a vacation rental house manual?

One of the main perks of vacation rentals is that travelers get to experience new places in a more authentic way. However, feeling like a local doesn’t always feel good when you can’t get the coffee machine to work before heading out for a day of adventure. The solution to this atrocity (yes, that’s how important coffee is) is simple and comes in the form of a vacation rental house manual.

A vacation rental house manual is a handy set of instructions for appliances and amenities that guests can access throughout their stay. Similar to the way someone might look at an assembly guide from IKEA before setting up a new desk, a rental house manual gives clear and concise explanations for each unique property.

coffee machine in vacation rental property

Credit: Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

With all of the existing terminology in the industry, you might be wondering what the difference is between a house manual, a vacation rental welcome book , a property guide, and house rules. Here’s a quick rundown: A house manual and vacation rental house rules can usually be found in a complete welcome book, which is also known as a property guide or house guide.

Many property managers with Airbnb listings also use the terms Airbnb guest book and Airbnb house rules. At the end of the day, they all fall into the same idea.

While a house manual provides information like Wi-Fi details or instructions on how to use certain appliances, your house rules should define the expectations you have for your guests, like keeping noise levels down after a certain time.

Should you provide a digital house manual or a physical one?

Long gone are the days when property managers had to reprint a house manual every time a guest spilled coffee on it or the whole thing went missing. Aside from being a pain to replace, physical house manuals usually just don’t do the job in terms of aesthetics.

It all comes down to is not wanting to associate the brand image that you’ve worked tirelessly to build with binders reminiscent of middle school days and laminated paper that collects dust.

image of physical vacation rental house manuals

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Aside from being more attractive and convenient, here are a few more benefits of using a digital house manual over a physical one:

  1. You can enhance your guest experience: Guests can access the manual before even checking in to get an idea of the amenities they’ll find in the property. And most importantly, they can do so from the comfort of their own smart devices.
  2. You’ll save time: Digital manuals can be updated remotely whenever a change is made, sparing you the time it takes to drive back and forth between properties.
  3. It’s a lot more environmentally conscious. According to Statista , over six billion people around the world are smartphone users. That said, the chances of your guests having a smartphone is almost certain. People will be using their phones regardless, so by going digital you can drastically reduce the amount of paper used in your property management processes without increasing your energy expenditure elsewhere.
  4. It’s contactless. Providing a contactless check-in for vacation rentals gives you a major competitive advantage during a pandemic and helps reduce the spread of the virus. Studies show that a whopping 92% of guests prefer checking in to a hotel either through an app or a webpage compared to the 8% that prefer doing it in person ( Statista ). While the study was based on the hotels, we can assume that the findings also apply to the vacation rental industry.
  5. It’s professional. Going digital makes your business look more professional and modern without losing that personal touch thanks to customizations.
  6. You’ll earn more 5-star reviews. The result of all of the above is satisfied clients who can tell there has been a lot of work put into their stay (and who are more likely to leave 5-star vacation rental reviews ).

These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg but it’s enough to give you an idea. Switching to digital solutions in any situation might seem daunting at first but taking the risk will always reward you with benefits that you never would have achieved otherwise.

What should your vacation rental house manual include?

Since every short-term rental property is unique, what you decide to include in your house manual and welcome book is completely up to you. However, we recommend using the following guidelines for optimal results:

Wi-Fi access

The first thing that guests want to know when they arrive at your rental is the Wi-Fi password. With this in mind, it’s hard to believe that in such a hyperconnected society guests still have to rummage around on their knees to read a frustratingly long passcode from the back of a router.

If the code is not displayed prominently, you’ll end up with unnecessary phone calls and text messages that could have been easily avoided. Including your Wi-Fi password in your vacation rental house manual is a much more comfortable, not to mention convenient, way for clients to connect their devices to the Internet.

picture of person using laptop and phone

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Inventory and starter kits

Knowing what appliances and amenities can be found in a rental is crucial for any booking, especially if you’re sending over a list before your guests arrive.

Let’s look at a quick example: It’s Thanksgiving and a family has booked one of your properties for the weekend. Without knowing what kitchen appliances the home has, guests might overpack or under-pack before their trip.

Thanksgiving evening comes along and suddenly your client realizes there isn’t a single food processor to be found, meaning everything needs to be diced by hand. While this may not seem like a big deal for some, it can be extremely inconvenient for a family that was looking forward to a smooth dinner prep.

If you provide complimentary starter kits in your properties, make sure to mention what’s in them so guests can pack accordingly. These kits usually include basics such as spices, olive oil, salt, pepper, coffee, and tea.

Most property managers also provide hotel-style shampoo, conditioner, toilet paper, and soap for visitors so that they don’t have to worry about lugging everything from home.

image of complimentary shampoo

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How-to instructions for appliances

Another element that your house manual should include is instructions for all of the previously mentioned amenities and appliances. This cuts down the number of text messages and phone calls you’ll receive from confused guests and ensures an enjoyable experience for your visitors.

You can even include descriptive photos or videos explaining how to use certain appliances to save time for everyone.

Information on trash and recycling

Having a recycling system in your properties is a great way to minimize your impact on the environment but it doesn’t go a long way if guests don’t know how it works. By clarifying where paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum waste goes, your guests will be more inclined to follow a recycling program.

If there’s a specific day that guests should take out the trash or recycling, be sure to mention it in the house manual as well.

image of person recycling

Credit: Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

Property manager contact details

Despite your vacation rental house manual answering the majority of questions that would typically come up during a stay, guests might still need to contact you for one reason or another.

Share your phone number and email address in this section of the manual (or that of the person who manages your property) so that clients can get in touch with ease.

How to create a vacation rental house manual template with RueBaRue

RueBaRue has made it extremely easy to create and edit your vacation rental house manual template. All you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your RueBaRue account
  2. Hover over Guides at the top of the page
  3. In the drop-down menu, click on Master Property Guide
  4. Tap on the About Our Home section
  5. You’ll see the built-in template and all the options to edit, delete, or add sections. You can also include photos, videos, and PDF files for more visual content.
06_preview of RueBaRue’s built-in house manual template

Caption: Preview of RueBaRue’s built-in house manual template

Within the Master Guide template, RueBaRue also includes:

07_preview of RueBaRue’s Master Guide template

Caption: Preview of RueBaRue’s Master Guide template

Vacation rental house manual template

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: the customizable and fully editable house manual template. Copy and paste whatever suits your needs into a Microsoft word document or directly into your RueBaRue account and make adjustments as you go.

1. Wi-Fi access

To connect to our fiber optic Internet, enter the following details into your device:

For any problems with connectivity, call [phone number].

To log in to our Netflix account, use [email] and [passcode].

2. Inventory and starter kits

To make you feel right at home, we’ve stocked [property name] with all of the basics you might need during your stay. You’ll find:

Our kitchen is equipped with:

Our complimentary starter kits include essentials such as:

If there’s anything you need that’s missing from the list, let us know and we’ll do what we can to provide it!

3. Instructions for appliances and amenities

To preserve energy, please make sure the dishwasher is fully loaded before turning it on. The dishwasher tablets can be found in [location]. We recommend using either the [dishwasher setting] or [dishwasher setting].

To use the coffee machine, follow these simple steps:
- Click on the button on the right side to turn on the coffee machine
- Place a mug under the coffee outlet
- Insert a coffee capsule and close tightly
- Once the button in the center of the machine stops blinking, it’s ready to go!

The remote for the A.C. can be found in the basket by the door. We recommend using the [name] setting and kindly ask you to turn it off when you’re not home.

4. Trash and recycling

We’re working hard at [vacation rental company name] to minimize our impact on the environment with a recycling program and hope that you’re willing to help us out! You can find [X] trash cans under the kitchen sink with the following colors:

Please take out the recycling and trash on [day of the week] between [time frame].

If you have any questions, shoot us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

5. Property manager contact details

We’re here to help! For any questions or doubts you might have, feel free to contact us at:

And there you have it—everything you need to know about creating a flawless vacation rental house manual within a guidebook!

Regardless of whether you’re listing properties on OTAs like Airbnb, Vrbo, and HomeAway or attracting bookings through your own vacation rental website, use this template and make it your own. You’ll soon see how grateful guests are to have this information at their fingertips.

Frequently asked questions about creating a house manual template

If it’s your first time using a house manual template, it’s understandable that you might have some lingering questions. We hope that we’re able to answer any doubts with the following information.

What should be included in a home manual?

What you include in your house manual depends entirely on you but we suggest covering all the basics such as:

You can always add or remove categories depending on the properties you manage and whether they have additional features that need to be explained.

How often should I update my house manual?

Aside from updating your house manual whenever an important change needs to be communicated to guests, we recommend looking over your house manual every six months to ensure that all the information is accurate and up-to-date.

What are the benefits of using a house manual template?

If you’ve decided to use a house manual template, you’ll enjoy benefits such as:

If you’re using a communication tool like RueBaRue, each welcome guide has its own link that can automatically be sent to guests. Therefore you no longer need to stress over sending your digital house manual over on time or writing everything from scratch for every booking.

RueBaRue allows you to create a house manual template that you can reuse for all your properties and send to guests via automated emails and text messages. Book a demo personalized to your rentals to see the platform in action.

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