There are quite a few US visitors coming into Canada every year, especially students and families who often take road trips while they are on vacation from their studies and jobs. Many cottage owners are finding it very lucrative to assist these US visitors in creating a cottage appeal that can meet the needs of the US traveller who has more time to enjoy the outdoors in the Canadian Shield, BC Rockies or the northern mountain peaks of rural Quebec.
These are just a few helpful and wise reminders in dealing with US based visitors renting cottages locally:
- Passport or Driver’s License photocopies—really great way to establish a starting point for identification; and don’t be afraid to provide your own as well. It shows good faith on both sides.
- Costing or quotes should be done in Canadian dollars but it is also helpful to show the current YTD US exchange rate, and help your US guest understand their costs better.
- Travel times are a good idea to learn and understand so your US guests can be better prepared. Have an idea how long it takes to travel from x to y.
- Get to know the US holiday calendar. It could help you market better and create long weekends that represent different dates. More added value.
- Educate and illustrate. US customs are different than Canadian when it comes to things such as trash, composting, cleaning product labels, fire laws. Might be wise to have a short blurb on your terms and conditions during occupancy and upon departure. Be clear and concise.
- Linens are probably going to be a necessity for someone who is travelling a great distance. I would recommend including linens for any family travelling farther than 8 hours worth of driving. Space is limited and it is a nice little extra.
- Local list of area attractions for your US guests is also a very thoughtful way of going the extra mile. Remember your guests do not know much about your area. Take notice of anything local that is uniquely indigenous to the area, reflection of history or culturally Canadian. (museums, art galleries, historical monuments, aboriginal events, …)
It’s interesting how many times I talk to people I meet in business from the US, who have travelled and rented cottages and stayed at cottage resorts and share with me their experiences. They often have some really great stories of what they saw and they genuinely seem surprised to note how different Canadian culture is during their vacation rental experience. It always seems to please them. They always seem to feel welcome. Often it is the little things which truly impress, and go the extra mile at making a weary travelling family, feel that much more at home. At times, the American assumptions about Canadian Culture seem to lean towards beliefs that as Canadians we are more or less an extension of the United States. Truly that is not accurate. There is so much of Canada that strives to distinguish both language and culture as a tribute to what our country esteems as our true native land, our cultural resources, and the Canadian soul. Every region is unique. Every province, every township, even every small little village will bring something different to the US traveller. It’s only logical to anticipate that a cottage rentals or vacation rentals would be an extension of that heritage. Proudly Canadian and hospitable in nature, I look forward to my US guests year after year.