People stay at vacation rentals for many reasons – to escape everyday life, to pamper themselves, to spend time with loved ones, to create new experiences. Part of our job as a vacation rental host is to meet and exceed guests’ expectations and travel experiences.
By keeping in mind the following ten rules, hosts can improve their rentals, increase guest satisfaction, and give guests the travel experience they will remember.
1. Keep It Simple – Unless your rental is known for its quirky designs with the goal of giving visitors the sensory roller coaster of a lifetime, keep it simple. Avoid clutter when decorating your rental space. Sometimes we get too excited about decorating and sharing our rental with guests, we want to hang up every piece of art and leave no surface uncovered. But what the guests see and how the guests feel is sensory overload. Our rental space is a shelter. And if we are talented, we may even pull it off as an overnight museum, but always remember to keep it simple rather than overwhelm.
2. But Pay Attention to Details – Your rental space is your canvas. You are the artist and you have a chance to covey the message to your guests. One advantage vacation rentals have over hotels is character. The character can be communicated in photos, in design, in amenities, and in the way you greet your guests. Whether it’s a piece of furniture that you found during your travels abroad, or a piece of art that really speaks to you, the way you arrange and present these details in your rental space can show guests the character of the space (and the host). Think through how a guest would use your property, from booking to check-out. Upon arrival, you have one chance to make an impression. What do they see when they walk inside the door? What will they think when they see the living room, the bedrooms, the bathrooms? These spaces are your canvas.
3. Always Put Functionality First – No guest wants amenities that don’t work, wi-fi too slow to post vacation photos on Instagram, or showers with no hot water. It’s important to be sure that all equipment, appliances, and amenities are functional. We are in the hospitality business. We want to be sure our rental spaces deliver what we said it delivers.
4. Offer Peace and Quiet – Happy guests = Happy hosts. And a good night’s sleep = happy guests. Vacation rental properties get higher rating when guests wake up refreshed. You don’t need the five-star services of a luxury hotel to make your guests happy. You just need the foresight to know what your guests need, before they realize they need it. Critical details create a positive guest experience, and that includes good quality beds and comfortable bedding.
5. Treat Guests As A Friend – Each guest wants to be welcomed properly when they walk into a vacation rental. A simple gesture like a personalized welcome note can go a long way. Thoughtful details like our Guest Amenity Kits let the guests know that you’re thinking of them, that you have taken the time to think about how to make their stays most comfortable and most enjoyable. Guests are not “just another booking” or “just another number” in your business. They are people looking for a memorable travel experience. And keep in mind, word-of-mouth referral is the most valuable way to grow your business reputation.
6. Adapt to Changing Expectations – Not every vacation rental property is required to provide the latest in-room technology to keep guests happy, but it is important to keep an eye on the trends so that when guests check in, they do not feel like the place is outdated. Unless the rental property is marketed as a “technology free” experience, guests expect some types of technology to be provided as part of the accommodation. While hosts are not expected to re-wire their properties as smart homes and provide all the latest streaming services, providing at least one TV in the living area with sufficient channels or a streaming service can keep guests entertained when they are stuck inside the home due to bad weather during their stay.
7. See Your Rental As Part of the Guest’s Travel Package – Some guests stay at rentals as a break from everyday life. Some prefer to spend the majority of their time inside the rental, while others use the rental as a resting place between their planned itineraries outside the rental. Regardless of how each guest chooses to use a rental, your rental space is a connection between the guest and their outside itineraries. Where they choose to stay depends on where they choose to play, to eat, to sightsee. Therefore, a thoughtful host is one who helps guests create meaningful travel experiences, whether it is through a custom guidebook, special coupons to nearby restaurants, or helpful tips that guests will discover at the property.
8. Listen To Your Guests – Use guest comments and reviews as learning lessons to improve and make your rental place better for the next guest. Active listening can help your rental place go far. Sometimes, just acknowledging a comment or putting a little extra effort to understand the guest can go very far.
9. Stand For Something – Are you a host near the beach who wishes to share the beach experience with your guests? Are you a host with a cabin in the woods who is excited share the outdoor experience with guests? What is your vision for the rental place? Be sure to communicate that vision online (to attract potential guests) and inside the rental space (to share with guests). They will remember your place.
10. Strive For Extraordinary – Tell stories. Share stories. Share experiences. Establish human connections. These impressions that guests don’t normally see – but feel – are truly what will make your rental property stand out from others. Whether it is a small souvenir, toiletries, or a heartfelt message, give them something to take away when they leave.