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The key to successfully renting your vacation home is to keep your rental guests happy and returning year after year. It’s critical to consider the wants and needs of your typical or ideal renter. The goal should be to exceed their expectations. Here are our top five tips for how to accomplish this.
1. Offer More
While you might personally want to be totally disconnected if it was you on vacation, don’t assume your rental guests will! Not having high speed wireless internet could be a deal breaker for many potential guests, so make sure you provide WiFi.
Invest in a large screen HDTV and a Blu-Ray player. You might even provide guests with a small library of family-friendly selections. Have more than one TV, such as in the master bedroom, especially if you cater to larger families or groups.
Update your appliances if necessary and be sure your kitchen is well-stocked with everything your guests might need to save money by cooking in. Having a washer and dryer is also a major selling point for guests seeking longer stays.
(For more tips in this area, read our post “Top 5 Amenities Guests Want in a Vacation Rental“!)
2. Stage Your Home
When your guests walk through the front door and step into your vacation rental home, you want their first impression to be one of awe. Make sure you declutter your home and store personal items like family photos so your guests can feel more at home. Organize books, games, and entertainment areas. Straighten paintings and lamp shades.
Consider how your guests are likely to use the space in each room and ensure your furniture arrangements are both appealing and functional. Little touches like matching table service, dinnerware, and glassware, or coordinated bed coverings leave an impression on guests, even if subconsciously.
3. Maintain Your Property
Safety first! Make sure your porches, decks, and railings are well maintained to avoid injury. Be sure to check and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly. Apart from your guests’ safety, you don’t want them experiencing the annoyance of being awoken in the middle of the night by an alarm beeping due to a low battery!
Landscaping and grounds keeping are also important for creating a great first impression as your guests pull into the driveway. Be sure to maintain your flower beds, mow and rake the lawn, trim the shrubs, and clean walks and drives.
4. Price Competitively
Pricing your rental can be a tricky business. Price too low or too high and you’ll lose out on rental revenue you otherwise could have had. To price right requires market research and rate comparisons of similar rentals in your area. Profit maximization can be achieved through rate adjustments once demand for your property has been established. You’ll also want to consider how demand fluctuates seasonally.
5. Take Good Property Photos
Potential renters are going to judge your property by the photos they see online. The beauty of your home won’t matter if your property images fail to capture it. Low resolution, dark, or blurry images will turn away many potential guests even before they get to the property description.
If you take your own photos, use a tripod to avoid blurred images. Take the extra time to compose the frame appealingly. For external shots, try taking photos during the “golden hour” so your property appears in that warm late afternoon glow rather than the harsh contrast of the midday sun. For indoor photos, make sure the area is well lit. Open all the blinds or shades and turn on the lights. Use a wide angle lens to capture more of the room.
You can also touch up your digital photos in post-processing, such as cropping, color correcting, and adjusting brightness and contrast.
Better yet, just hire a professional photographer to take your property photos. There’s no better way to make a great first impression for guests searching for a rental online than by having professional quality photos that instantly capture their attention.