A recent HomeAway survey interviewed travelers on what they thought were the most essential safety items for short-term rentals. Do your properties check the boxes? What else should you add?


In 2018, HomeAway found that the safety features travelers labeled as “must-haves” were smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and first aid kits.


As the manager of a vacation rental property, the safety of your guests is at the top of your list of concerns. Obviously you don’t want anyone to get hurt during their stay, but by ensuring your vacation rentals are safe, you are also showing your guests that you care about them and their well-being.

While many of these “must-have” features are required to be deemed habitable, what additional safety features should you consider installing to your properties to ensure guest safety?

Here, we’ve expanded on that list of four vacation rental safety must-haves, to help you create the safest rental property that you possibly can.

Safety amenities worth adding in 2019

Secure Entryways. Adding technology to your front entrance is not only a security upgrade, but can eliminate the logistics of handing off keys to new guests. This revamp can be as small as adding in a smart lock or as large as installing a video doorbell. There are many options on the market, so you should do some research to find what product best fits your security need, your budget, and your personal taste.

Outdoor lighting. Good outdoor lighting can go a long way towards deterring those with bad intentions away from your vacation rental. Good lighting can also help your guests navigate an unfamiliar setting in the dark.

Emergency preparedness kit. In the event that there’s a natural disaster or another event that knocks out electricity in your vacation rental, is there an emergency kit that guests can use if they are stuck for an extended period of time? Think basic things like flashlights, batteries, nonperishable foods, and more.

Security system. A security system will give your guests peace of mind. Remember, people staying with you are probably not familiar with your town and a security system may help them to sleep a little better in a strange setting. But it's important to ensure that the system is user friendly enough even for a novice tech user. Your guests want to feel safe but without setting off false alarms.

Post an emergency escape plan. If the worst were to happen with guests staying at one of your rentals, they most likely wouldn't be familiar enough with the property to know the best way out. Take the time to put together an escape route for your rental property and post it in a visible location for your guests. Include it in the welcome book, and consider making a copy to place on the fridge, in the bathroom, and in each bedroom.

Some of these ideas are easy to implement, but some of them require an investment in the property. If you need to get buy-in from your owners, pitch this as both a property upgrade and an investment in their sideline.

While safety amenities might not be the first thing on a guest’s mind when they’re searching for a vacation property, in the case of an accident or emergency they will notice if your team has properly prepared the property or not.

By ensuring your vacation rental has the proper safety features, you will sleep soundly at night knowing that you’ve done everything you can to protect your guests and your properties. This effort will not go unnoticed!