Are printed-out 'guidebooks'obsolete?

In my 3 rooms, I had (in the past) a printout of the airbnb’s ‘guidebook’ which had local restaurants etc. Since the pandemic this landscape has changed - many restaurants are either out of business or changed in style for example.

Do people even look at printed stuff like this any more? I would assume that a guest who was looking for local restaurants and stores could do this online better than a printed guide in their rooms.

I have a printed book in each apartment but I also have all the information online as I think that most people are accustomed to reading on their phones.

The reason I have a printed book is that I encourage guests to take it as a souvenir (it’s quite pretty with photographs) because a) it’s a permanent reminder of their (hopefully) wonderful stay and b) features my phone number and email address for next time. :wink:


I read printed material and prefer that to looking at something online. I maynot be in the majority, but some people yes, do read brochures and such.

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I’m in the process of updating mine. Many people, myself included!, prefer a printed page to leaf through. Easier on the eyes, easier to flip back and forth, and get an overall picture.

After each listing I add a SHORT WALK TO:, A SHORT DRIVE TO:
This allows for planning a half or full day around an easy to access grouping. I know Google Maps could be used but this is more personalized.

Example: Paddleboarding Rental
EASY WALK TO: Ice Cream shop, Pub, Theater
EASY DRIVE TO: Quirky shopping center, Ethnic Eatery, Movie Theater


There are people that still like printed stuff. I think I would generally prefer having it online, but I would also look at a printed guide I found in a listing I’m staying at. However, if it’s too lengthy or unorganized, I would just shove it in a drawer.

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I have A4 plastic sheet telling where to take the trash, how to operate washing machine, how to use the TV,on the back side I name the chepest grocery stores and some restaurants recoommendation. So yes, people are still doing it.

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I’m beginning to think that reading is obsolete on the part of guests. Regardless of whether something is mentioned online, in my listing or on a printed page, guests still ask about the information. I like written material when I am a guest but it is a challenge to update. I have a stack of menus and once a guest mentioned that the prices were higher when they went to one of the restaurants!


I created a five page ‘guidebook’ which covers suggested places and activities to do, places to dine, etc. It also has details of my rental.

It is updated often. Much of the info can be found online but people still want my personal input.

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I have a ringbinder with all sorts of local information in plastic protectors – WiFi, AC instructions, restaurants, all-night eateries, attractions, etc. We have a lot of guests who are not necessarily computer saavy.

I wouldn’t waste my time creating an electronic guidebook.

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It is a challange to update. One of the reasons I am doing this now is all of the changes due to Covid - some places have closed, some have become Food Trucks, some new have managed to open. I have it both in the written form and can send it electronically with links to the sites. It has a disclaimer stating it is best to check the website of each place they are interested in before going.


Many of my guests compliment me on mine it has recommendations for places to eat/drink/shop, local transport options, how to use oven/heating system /washing machine, local attractions emergency services . Recommendations for day trips etc


I was going to do that, but didn’t have time, and as others have commented, things go out of date.

I have a list of the restaurants and supermarket that are within a 5 minute walk, always offer info on more, and tell them that the best guide to restaurants here is TripAdvisor, since the ratings are honest.

Fortunately the best sushi bar in Alaska, where the seafood is always fresh, is a 3 minute walk away, and it’s next door to an amazing homemade ice cream parlor that does breakfast and lunch.

Many of my guests don’t rent a car, or do so for only one day (you can cover our entire highway system here, end to end, island and mainland, in 5 or 6 hours). I leave a map on the kitchen table with the house marked, and highlight the walking routes to downtown (one on the hillside, one along the shore).

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We have a guidebook and many guests commented that it was useful for them (places to go, things to do, restaurants, and area attractions). Most of our guests are from out of our area so it has come in handy.
It also provides a convenient way to provide a small reminder to newer guests regarding Air Review System (under 5 stars is a negative review).

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I have a more generalized guidebook online and a detailed one in the room with personalized walks, transport schedules, my favorite sightseeing trips (with annotated maps) :open_mouth: & current menus

Initially, like some of you, I assumed my mostly young guests - would seek better info on their phones. When I prepared a paper copy of my house rules - there being very few- it looked a little lame sitting alone on the desk. Putting the single sheet in a handsome cover was overkill, so I started filling it up to justify its existence. Immediately guests added it to their compliments, and folks enjoyed bringing back brochures, menus and tourist info.

A very good thing: it saves me having to answer the same questions over and over during the busy months - yay!


My 90±page binder is the subject of much derision in the short-term rental world (it’s mostly photos of where to find things). I don’t think it gets much use, but an occasional guest will reference it and express appreciation. I also have it available as a PDF online; plus I offer one or 2 other online alternatives. And even a pared-down version of the big binder.


I use my iPad mini. It’s an old cheap one. I put it on “Guided Access” which only allows you to access the app I use. I use GRID which is a communication app for nonverbal children. It allowed me to add pics and add descriptions and jump to pages, etc.

People love it because the main menu has most info they need and can jump to it quickly.


Maybe I should replace the swelled up battery in the old abandoned Galaxy Tab 7 and do this with it. I could just lock it to a web page on my server.


We do have a cottage manual that explains where to eat locally (we’re very rural and there are only a couple of options), what to do if faced with an emergency situation (bitten by a snake, twisted an ankle, etc.), and a section that details all the trails in the canyon. The latter are available at the Canyon Visitor’s Center but our guests often arrive after it closes, so this gives them a chance to decide what they want to do the next morning. The trail info is not readily available online and the restaurants are always changing their hours (esp. during the pandemic) so it’s nice to have this easily available in the cottage. I do wipe it down after every booking. However, I love the iPad idea that LisaCharlie showed us. Hmm…

I have a guest book. Two of the items are:

Best restaurant & why: __________

Best Funtime thing you did: ________

Several guests have said they like the recommendations from other guests.


The ‘tyranny of OR, the genius of AND.’

I have both an online version, edited often and a hard copy, edited annually.

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