We’ve been fielding many questions on how best to start a vacation rental. Let’s focus on existing homes since those are seem to be the majority of inquiries. Already the market has picked up as people are ready to move forward with life, so it’s good you are getting ahead in planning and listing your home so your timing is good. I am continually shocked at how easy it can be to reach people and attain good client flow. People love to travel. They always have and they always will. So it is entirely possible to very quickly succeed even in the current market. Speaking of success, let’s position yourself to succeed on a personal level with the right mindset.
It may be your dream home, but you have to look at it in a slightly different light. You are now a vacation travel host, but you are also a manager and the CEO of your very own company. Your home is now a cash producing entity, it is your business, but it’s much more than that. Like any business, you are now responsible for fulfilling the dreams and expectations of your clients. Your clients have worked hard to craft a great vacation for themselves, family and friends. So let’s strive to meet and exceed those expectations at every level… from the initial contact on email or a phone call, to the end of the trip when they are planning to return because they had such a great time. These small details will make the difference in repeat customers.
Make Your Vacation Rental Feel Like Home
As a vacation rental owner, it feels great when clients tell me the place feels like theirs and they want to establish a family tradition of returning over the years. That’s when you know you’ve achieved true client satisfaction. So how do I do that? Put your self in your clients shoes, from arrival to departure. Make their arrival easy with a digital guest book and think specifically, what will they need on arrival and what will they do in the first hour of arrival? Send this a week prior with directions, door codes, recommended restaurants, grocery stores, hospitals and activities.
Think about a big purchase you’ve made. A home, a car or other expensive purchase. At what point do you make the purchase decision? I’ll bet it was after a series of positive “discoveries.” Now apply that same concept to your interactions, your house and your first impression. Is the entrance to the home well kept? Yes. Is the home welcoming? Yes, literally, with a new welcome mat. Are there at least “starter packs” of toiletries? Yes. So, say yes as often as possible. Yes it is available, how lucky you are that it’s still available. Yes, the directions were perfect, yes, the access code worked, yes, there was bottled water in the refrigerator, yes there were beach towels. Oh and I was surprised to see beach chairs and an umbrella in the guest closet! See how easy that is? Even before your guests have arrived it’s easy to create a great first impression!
Be Kind and Thoughtful
Another nice touch is to contact the guests about why they are staying. Once I stayed at a vacation rental and the owner asked “What is the occasion?” It happened to be for a birthday celebration. Mike, the owner, then asked what our favorite cake was and when we arrived there was a beautiful coconut birthday cake from a nice local bakery in the fridge in a covered dish! Amazing! When it came time to checkout, Mike texted us and told us if we couldn’t get out by noon, feel free to stay a few extra hours. How nice that we didn’t have to rush and pack. Instead of leaving at noon we left at 3:00 p.m., we made sure the house was spotless and still got in an a nap before our drive home! Talk about an amazing experience!
Delight the Senses
One thing that is important with your vacation rental property is the first impression. When the customer walks in, what is the lighting like? What does it smell like? When a customer walks into a vacation property we want all of their senses to be wowed. An uncluttered, bright, fresh space will go a long way to making a vacation feel like an escape.
Successful Vacation Property Rentals
There are small details you can add to your vacation rental that will pay for themselves through repeat bookings, getting great guests that you can trust will take care of your property and they will tell your friends and we all know that word-of-mouth is the best advertising!
Owning a vacation property is a great way to add income and have an investment rolled into one and, you can also use it for yourself. How fun is that! At VacayMyWay we are all about helping our vacation property owners succeed and we want our property renters to have an amazing experience too. When we all pay attention to the details and put people first, we all succeed!
Coffee is essential in a vacation property. Making sure you have a fresh bag of nice medium roast coffee and a good coffee pot will go a long way with making your guests feel welcome. Going one step further and having an unopened fresh bottle of half-n-half will also make a great impression.
One of the reasons people choose a hotel is because they know they can expect white fluffy towels, soap, shampoo, lotion, and sometimes even q-tips, and make-up removing towelettes. You can pick up travel sizes of these items and leave them for your guests or keep large bottles in the shower. We recommend spoiling your renters a little bit in these areas. These details will leave a lasting impression.
Having bottled water on hand is always a great and simple way to make guests feel taken care of. Imagine arriving to find cold bottled water and canned drinks already in the fridge. No need to run back to the store. A special touch would be to add something local or a personal favorite with a note that says, “Enjoy some of our favorite drinks our town has to offer!”