Archives For Amenities

Guest post by Jeff Caldwell 

When you’re trying to rent your vacation property, your first priority is to attract interested renters — and to do that, you need features that will catch people’s attention when they’re searching online.

Some of the most important are outdoor amenities: the right kind can grab the eye when someone is browsing hundreds of online listings, and can help someone choose your rental over the competition.

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What are vacation rental owners talking about, and is there any news that might impact your vacation rental? Here’s a look some recent highlights.

Vacation Rental Marketing Blog || Go Big Or Go Home

"Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia ROOM" by Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia on flickr (CC BY 2.0)If you missed this great discussion on the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog last month, it’s worth reviewing.

Referencing a thread on the HomeAway Community Forum, Matt Landau said:

“You either run a business and treat every guest like the most spectacular VIP in the world. Or you participate in a hobby and worry not about your income or revenue.”

The “hotelization” of vacation rentals is something Tyler Gillespie blogged about in a series of posts for MyVR last month, looking at our need to balance the best of vacation rental travel against increased competition from hotels.

The comments on Landau’s post provide an interesting look at the lack of consensus among owners—and food for thought when it comes to how you want to manage your own rental. Continue Reading…

Review Part 1, Part 2  || Guest post by Tyler Gillespie

In a recent post on his blog, Tyler Gillespie of VacationRentalBusiness.net challenged vacation rental owners to “hotelize” their businesses. In this three-part series for MyVR,  he explains why it matters, how to do it, and what you can do to bring your  guest services to the next level.  This is part three of three.Before you can truly focus on service, you need to make sure the business side of things is streamlined and running smoothly.

Once you’ve nailed your basic business processes, however, it’s time to step up your service game. This is where hotels really take the lead, and by following these steps, you can, too.

Concierge Services and Experience:

Your guests’ experience really starts before they even email or call to learn more about your property. In fact, it starts with your brand and how your listings are written.

What vibes is your property giving off? Continue Reading…

picnic welcome basketWhether it’s the space, the privacy, or the amenities that drew them, your guests are staying at your vacation rental because they’re looking for something different. Why not celebrate this decision the moment they walk through the door and wow them with a welcome basket?

One part practical and another part thoughtfulness — with a lot of fun mixed in — a welcome basket offers a chance to leave not just a personal touch on their visit, but to shape an impression that will last long after they go home.

The basic welcome basket

  • A personal welcome note: Leave a personal note for your guests; email it to the person placing the package, if needed.
  • Samples of local products: Locally-produced items like soaps, candles or chocolates can make a great addition to a package. (This offers you a great opportunity to partner with other local businesses — see related information below).
  • Incentives and gifts: You may be able to arrange with local businesses to provide gift certificates for complimentary samples: Wineries and breweries often offer tastings, for example, or a restaurant may offer an appetizer. Look for small gifts your guests can enjoy free of charge; leave discount coupons with other local information (i.e. maps) that you provide.
  • Something that subtly promotes your business: This may take a bit of creativity, but is there something you can include that also helps market your property? For example, you could print postcards using photos you’ve taken in the area, with your vacation rental name noted on the back; you could even create your own cards and use those for your personal welcome notes.
  • A little snack: Bottled water is a standard item in a lot of gift baskets, but is there anything you can include that has a local spin on it? Perhaps a beverage made somewhere nearby, or individual sugar cookies in the shape of your state.
  • Something location-appropriate: In addition to locally-sourced products and gifts, there may be other location-appropriate things you can include: Flip flops, golf balls, gourmet hot chocolate, seashells.

baby highchairI 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. Continue Reading…

limo driverMarketing your vacation rental as a “luxury” property is tricky because your definition of what constitutes luxury may be different than that of the traveler. Is it because your furnishings are top-of-the-line? Because you hired an interior decorator to meticulously design each room? Personally, when I think of luxury, I think of top-notch service comparable to a Ritz Carlton hotel. Obviously your vacation rental is not a hotel (nor would anyone want it to be), but there are plenty of concierge services you can offer your guests to improve the quality of their stay. These range from the inexpensive to the extravagant, and everything in between.

Scheduled Airport Pickup

This one is fairly simple to organize in any town or city. Just do a quick search on Google or Yelp for “SFO airport pickup” and you’ll find plenty of options to choose from. Find a sedan car provider with great reviews and give them a call to arrange. In larger cities, on-demand services like Uber can be arranged upon arrival. The driver will usually hold up a sign at the airport arrival area with the guests name, but be sure to ask just in case. Depending on the location, sedan car services can range from $50 – $150 each way. Continue Reading…

You know you should have a website for your vacation rental. What that means, however, is a little vague. What kind of content do you actually need to pull your website together?

Your website is, in most cases, your first and only chance to make a good impression. It’s also a critical way to communicate essential information to both potential guests and those who’ve already made reservations.

Try to get inside your guests’ heads and anticipate what they will want to know by considering the following content checklists. It will likely take at least a few hours to pull this information together, but ultimately this investment of effort is worth it; if you don’t make it easy to find essential information through your website, travelers will turn to a competitor who does.

There are three main areas people will have questions about:

  • Your vacation rental property,
  • The community they’re visiting, and
  • The business details of the vacation rental.

Continue Reading…