How To Put Together the Perfect, Cost-Effective Cottage Welcome Hamper

The Perfect, Cost-Effective Cottage Welcome Hamper

If you own or run a holiday cottage, a welcome hamper or basket for your guests can create a fantastic first impression.

Welcome hampers can be created by specialist companies or you can select the items yourself.

Either way, a nice welcome basket with carefully selected items that will impress your guests goes a long way to getting a repeat booking, a recommendation or both.

Your welcome hamper will depend upon the budget you have at your disposal.

While there is definitely no need to break the bank (remember it’s a welcome hamper and is usually provided for free).

You also need to take into account the costs in time and money.

This guide is designed to help you decide and give you insider tips as what to include.

The Benefits of a Welcome Hamper

While there is the argument that a hamper costs time and money, the way to look at it is that it’s an investment towards the success of your business.

A well-stocked hamper creates that all-important first impression for your guests.

If your guests are returning ones, then perhaps one of the many reasons they’ve booked again is because of the welcoming products and items you’ve carefully selected for them.

A good welcome hamper makes guests feel special and valued and can be one of the most memorable aspects of their stay.

A welcome card with the hamper is also a good idea.

Should a Guest Choose the Contents of their Hamper?

There are two sides to the argument of whether a guest can express a preference of what is included in their hamper.

It must be frustrating if someone has a nut allergy and they can’t eat the treats you provide!

This boils down to whether the hamper is a surprise or not for your guests, and if you are providing it on a complimentary basis.

To be honest it is a minefield, particularly if guests have allergies.

The choice is down to each cottage owner and whether they ask the question of their guests.

Tailoring your Welcome Hamper

This is something that some cottage owners do, and some don’t.

Our advice is to tailor the contents to your guest if you can.

You should know through the guest details who is checking in, if there are children and if dogs are coming, too.

You will also know the length of their stay: a welcome pack may differ for those taking a short break and those who staying or a week or more.

Check to see if it’s a special occasion: can a special card be added to your welcome hamper?

Brilliant Beverages

One thing we have learned is that beverages are one of the easiest ways to welcome a guest.

If your guests are only staying for a short break, then if you wanted to create a good impression, then a nice bottle of wine and a non-alcoholic drink is a manageable way to welcome them.

Some local-brewed beers are also a good option.

If you are providing tea and coffee for guests, then why not choose a local brand if you can?

This kills two birds with one stone: it promotes local businesses and also gives your guest the chance to have a warm drink when they arrive.

Including a handful of herbal tea sachets is also a relatively cost-effective way of offering choice to your guests.

A pint of locally-bought milk is also a good idea.

Tasty Treats

For many guests, being on holiday means forgetting about calories while they’re relaxing!

After all, a diet can start after the staycation.

With so many local and regional food producers in all parts of the UK, locally made scones or cakes (try to include a gluten-free option) hits the mark every time.

This means you are promoting local food production and you are offering a tasty way for your guests to get to know the area.

One of the best welcome hampers we’ve seen included locally made bread, regional butter and locally made jam … delicious!

Or if you are a keen baker or someone in your family is, then why not create something unique in your own kitchen?

If you choose to go down this route, provide a list of local producers for guests to use in the cottage.

This list could also encourage the guests to go and visit them or pop along to the farm shop for some foodie retail therapy.

Meat or NOT?

This can be tricky in a world which is reducing meat consumption.

Again, it goes back to whether you are letting your customers choose their products or not.

One good way of helping avoid any meaty dilemmas is to tell guests that a breakfast pack is provided, so they’ll need to let you know if they eat meat or not.

Love is in the Air

If your cottage is a romantic hideaway, then you’ll know that local chocolate, a bottle of bubbly and even flowers can really go down a treat.

Perhaps a nice candle, bath salts and bathrobes will also ensure the couple have a lovely time.

Pooch Treats

Having a bag of pooch treats, poo bags, a water bowl and even a pooch throw can create a good impression.

Invest in a dog friendly list or guide for walks, local pubs and dog friendly beaches, adding in attractions where pooches are welcome.

What about the Kids?

A good addition could be to have a box of kids’ toys, colour books and a list of child-friendly attractions and eateries to hand.

The Costs

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, one factor you need to keep tabs on is the cost.

If you are putting together your own hampers, then this can work in your favour.

You can buy in bulk, or place regular orders for items at a more competitive price.

Another cost that should be considered is how the items are going to be presented.

You could go for a reusable wicker basket (ensuring the guest knows not to take it home with them!).

Or you could have them nicely presented in a recyclable cardboard box – you can purchase these items online in bulk to keep the costs down.

If you don’t have time to do all the legwork, there are many local companies who can do it all for you.

You simply need to select the type of hamper or hampers you need and await delivery!

If your budget is tight, then keep it simple: a bottle of milk, bread, eggs and biscuits are fine.

Other Presentation Ideas

If you are going down the wicker basket route, consider how to make it look good.

How about some nice material, a ribbon or both?

Or if it’s in a nice box, then padding it out with shredded paper is cheaper way of bulking it out.

What About A Guest Information?

While there was a time when paper leaflets ‘fell out of fashion’ due to Covid, having currently leaflets about local attractions is always a free and informative way of helping your guest make the most of their break.

You could store them in a folder, or in a nice storage box.

Read our informative article here about creating the perfect guest information book.

If You Can Only Do A Couple of Things …

If you’ve read this article and you want to know which of these are a MUST, then a welcome card and fresh flowers (either picked from the garden or purchased as part of your grocery shop) are a must.

The welcome card should be written for each booking so the guests feel appreciated.

In this card you could also give them a return stay discount …

Or Should The Guests Pay?

Some cottage owners do a nice combination of presenting complimentary items in their welcome hamper, coupled with the option to ‘upgrade’.

This can take some organisation, but you could offer your guests the option to order a breakfast pack, a BBQ pack, local chocolates and more.

How Can Vista Retreats Help YOU!

Our experience and knowledge here at Vista Retreats is helping lead the way in holiday cottage rentals in Yorkshire.

Find out more here.