The vacation rental industry is booming as guests take to renting homes instead of staying in hotels, and it’s a great thing for everyone involved. But in a day and age where guests have thousands of options to choose from, everywhere they travel, how do you make your vacation rental stand out? Here are 5 things you can do to boost reservations:
1. Have a game room
Everyone loves a game room, particularly if you often have young adults or people with children staying at your property. Some great things for a game room:
Pool table: These can be expensive but often people give them away for free on Craigslist! Set up an email alert.
Foosball: Everyone loves foosball and you can often get a table that also has a mini pool table or air hockey table in one!
Video games: No game room is complete without at least one game system! For the ultimate game room, get some arcade games. For a cheaper option, you could even get a used Super Nintendo (just make sure you get at least one Super Mario World game).
Board games: Every vacation rental should come well equipped with at least a few board games. There’s nothing worse than when it rains when you’re on vacation and you’re stuck inside with nothing to do. Board games are perfect for this.
2. Have a hot tub or pool
By far the most requested and searched for amenity for vacation rentals are pools. If you build a pool, people will come! If you don’t have the space or budget to install a pool, consider getting a hot tub. My favorite vacation rental experience was spending a weekend in a cozy cottage in Inverness, California, where I spent approximately 20 hours in the hot tub.
3. Automate your home
There’s so much home automation technology out there that will make life easier for you and your guests.
Set up smart locks so that your guests can easily get in and out of the house (and say goodbye to the headaches of check-in and check-out coordination). Get a smart thermostat to automatically control the climate in your house, and make sure that guests don’t leave the A/C on when they leave.
There are endless options of technology out there to fit your specific needs, and they come at all price levels. The cost of buying and setting up the tech will be more than worth it for the money you save and the stress you avoid!
4. Create an awesome welcome kit
One of the perks of staying in a vacation rental as opposed to a hotel is that you feel at home — it’s a more personal experience. So embrace this! Your guests want to feel welcomed when they arrive, so, especially if you won’t be around to greet them, the best way to do this is with a welcome kit. And once you get it set up, you’ll never have to worry about it again!
A great welcome kit could contain:
- A personal note — include some details that you know about your guests so they know you took the time to write it
- How to contact you and when you’re available (it should really be 24/7)
- Emergency contacts and the nearest hospital
- Recommendations for local restaurants and businesses (and coupons!)
- Secrets that only locals know about (like a secret beach)
- The best activities in the area
- Transportation options and how to use them
- The WiFi network name and password, and any instructions (and please, use a passphrase — those endless strings of numbers and letters are a huge pain for guests to enter, especially on a smartphone!)
- Any house instructions, like how to work the TV remotes (make sure to note if there’s anything weird with the house, like if a door sticks, or if the shower takes a long time to heat up)
- Any house rules (please don’t go crazy here, keep it simple. Your guests will thank you!)
- Extra toiletries and things your guests may have forgotten, like phone chargers
- Some candy, wine, or a fun treat
5. Be amazing
When people stay at vacation rentals, they don’t want to sacrifice the convenience and ease of a hotel — they want that too! The most important part of the experience is you — be friendly, communicative, open, and welcoming. Be available at any time and solve any problems immediately. Go out of your way to support your guests. They will notice, they will appreciate it, and they will remember the next time they book a vacation, or a friend asks for a recommendation.