One of the reasons people often stay in a hotel rather than a private vacation rental is the reassurance of knowing exactly what they’re going to get, every stay, in every city. But with vacation rentals offering more amenities and consistency than ever before, there are a few things vacation rental homeowners should know before renting out their properties to stay competitive.
Staying in a private vacation rental is often a wonderful idea: there’s room to let teens go nuts on the Nintendo Switch in the lower-level rec room while the adults enjoy hot tub bubbles and bubbly, and you can finally say goodbye to the dreaded three daily hotel meals ($48 individual-sized box of cereal with a side of unripe melon, anyone?).
To ensure each guest’s stay is A+, hire a really excellent property manager. A top-notch management team, like TurnKey Vacation Rentals, who are properly briefed, trained, and on the ground, will quickly and efficiently solve 90% of elementary rental issues before guests ever experience them.
But. As a hotel-stayer who’s now firmly and forever decamped to the private-home sector after experiencing the joys of beautiful, personal, and well-managed properties, here are a few things homeowners should consider before renting out their homes.
Opt for neutral decor
There’s a fine line between a homeowner wanting to make their space warm and welcoming for guests, and making road-weary travelers feel like they’ve arrived at a party where the host has nipped out for extra ice. Too many personal knick-knacks and tchotchkes strewn about the place and a forced-festive atmosphere can make a paying visitor feel like they’re intruding in someone else’s life, rather than taking time out of their own. Chic decor is always a plus and makes renters feel valued and like they’ve stumbled on a personal, luxe, paradise…but for universal appeal, keep decor upmarket but neutral.
Invest in a digital lock
No matter how clued-in and charming your property managers may be, almost all guests prefer a solo, digital check-in. A lock box with a personalized code not only offers guests the freedom to check in at their convenience, but as a homeowner, you’re able to activate and deactivate codes on a regular basis. This gives you complete oversight as to who is able to access your property and when, all without having to worry about physical keys.
Have enough glassware and cutlery
Stock up on basics for your kitchen – pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, stemware. Paper towels are a must, as are dishwashing tablets and hand soap. Provide a drying rack and dish towels. Consider the size of the property – what might be chic and minimal in a modest studio will not work in a ski chalet meant to sleep 12. Make sure your home is more-than-fully prepared: don’t be afraid to spring for the service for 12, even if you’re usually expecting eight to 10 guests.
More is more (within reason). Plates, bowls, cups, silverware: think through a weekend day at your own home and what you and a guest might use or be grateful to have available, and then provide the same for your vacation renters.
Stock the basics in the bathroom
No guest should ever arrive to find opened, half-used shower gels and shampoos or an empty roll of toilet paper.
Please do not make guests play hide and seek for anything. Clean, fluffy towels should be piled high; basic toiletries – like shampoo, conditioner, and soap – with thoughtful extras like mending kits and emery boards are not expensive for homeowners and make a HUGE impression on guests. As does that used bar of soap. Keep everything fresh and sanitary for each new guest.
Keep your vacation rental clean and maintained
Of course, your vacation rental should always be clean and in working order for every guest! But let’s be realistic: there can be a real difference between civilian, part-time property manager/owner “clean” and the expectations of a group of guests expecting an A+ vacation experience. Invest in professional housekeeping and maintenance services – your guests will notice the difference and be pleasantly surprised. Additionally, keeping abreast of repairs not only keeps your property looking its freshest and best, but also avoids extremely costly and much larger fixes that can arise from ignoring early-warning signs.
Committing to doing these 5 things at your vacation rental can directly lead to return visits, great reviews on travel-booking websites, and increased revenue. And remember: guests that feel like they’ve lucked out in finding a perfectly clean, beautifully maintained, gorgeously kept vacation rental home will come back…and back, and back.