I have a one-year old daughter, 3 nieces and a nephew. My family is pretty large, with lots of children, and we like to travel together. But babies and kids require a lot of extra luggage that makes a well-stocked family-friendly vacation rental even more enticing to me. When thinking about how to market your home to families, especially those with young children, consider the following.
Bathtub – Most kids don’t start showering until they’re at least 5 or 6 years old. Until then, a bathtub (or large kitchen sink in some cases) will get the job done. I know one owner who provides a plastic baby bathtub for guests. An inflatable tub would also be useful and collapses for easy storage.
Books – If you’ve stocked the library full books for the adults, be sure to have some children’s books on hand too. You can always buy inexpensive used books at a local children’s store or borrow them from the town library.
Crib – Families with young children don’t want to lug around a portable crib on vacation. If your rental already has one, show it in the photos and list it as an amenity. If there’s a local baby rental store that delivers and sets up cribs for out-of-towners, provide a link on your local guide.
High Chair – Another pain that no parent wants to lug around for their kid. Having a travel high chair on hand stashes easily in any closet and converts quickly for babies from 6 mo to a few years old. Be sure to get one that has a washable tray and transitions into a booster seat for the older children.
Living Room – The living room is the heart of the house and where families like to gather. Paint the picture of how guests can utilize the space. Show the abundant seating (maybe a bean bag chair in addition to the couches), large television for movie nights, gaming console for video games, and so on.
Movies – What kid doesn’t like a good Disney movie? Stock your movie collection full of G and PG rated movies to delight kids and adults alike.
Pool – A pool is often a must-have amenity for family vacations. Stage your photos with beach chairs, towels, and sunscreen to help travelers imagine themselves lounging by the pool on a lazy afternoon.
Safety – Safety is of the utmost concern for families with young children, especially crawlers and early walkers. If your home has a staircase, show how it can be blocked off and list any baby gates available at the home. If you have a pool, be sure to provide proper instruction for use of the pool cover and, preferably, install a gate around the pool to further prevent injuries. Socket covers and cables that have been moved out of the way are always nice-to-haves upon arrival.
Toys – That photo of the garage will be much more enticing when you showcase all of the wonderful toys available to the renter. If you live near a beach, an umbrella, beach chairs, and beach blankets are great items to keep on hand for families. Live near the snow? A sled and buckets to build a snowman are also fun.
Tupperware – One of the big draws of a vacation rental for a family is the kitchen and the ability to have meals at home without always having to go out to eat. Many times, the first thing we do when we arrive at a home is head to the local grocery store to stock the fridge, but I always forget the tupperware. I can’t say how many times I’ve been packing up lunches for an afternoon picnic and don’t have any plastic containers or baggies to put the food in. While tin foil is handy, re-usable containers are better for the environment.
Wand Brush – You know, the kind of brush with a long handle and sponge or bristles on the end. Having one on hand at the kitchen sink will make cleaning baby bottles and sippy cups a lot easier.
What other family-friendly items do you have at your vacation rental?