Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season. For many, that means a break from work to spend time with friends and family. But for property managers, it can be difficult to unwind with the chronic chaos of finalizing reservations while ensuring a memorable stay for guests.

According to USA Today, travelers set a record in 2017 with over 107.3 million people traveling for the year-end holidays. As Americans prepare to journey across the country en masse this December, vacation rental property managers are met with another opportunity to make a lasting impression on guests while boosting their bottom line. This critical season can be stress-inducing for even the most experienced vacation rental manager, but with some helpful tips from MyVR, you will be well on your way to making your guests’ stay one to remember.

Here are 6 tips to make this holiday season a success for you and your short-term rental business!

1. Create seasonal welcome baskets.

Greet your guests with some holiday cheer by surprising them with a festive welcome basket. Include local delicacies and small items that demonstrate your gratitude without breaking the bank. Remember, it’s the thought that counts! Wondering how much to spend? Industry experts suggest spending 10% of the first night’s rate on goodies to add a personal touch. This gesture is sure to kick your guest’s vacation off right!

2. Provide holiday-inspired activities.

To ensure everyone is feeling jolly, leave your guests some festive activities, games, and decorations. Some fun ideas include gingerbread house kits, holiday party crackers, and hot chocolate mix with marshmallows. Whether your guests are 3, or 83 years old, these activities will bring out the kid in everyone and guarantee your guests leave rave reviews.

3. Connect with area grocers and boutiques.

Whether your guest is craving a favorite holiday dish or needs to pick up a last minute gift, you can save the day in advance by making connections with local grocery stores, caterers, boutiques, and other purveyors of special seasonal offerings. Your guests will thank you when you provide them with stores’ addresses, hours, and notes about which ones stock the best fresh produce, last minute gift ideas, and more. If you want to go the extra mile; try negotiating a discount for your guests or have a local store deliver the experience to their front door!

4. Give thanks for Thanksgiving feedback.

Use your Thanksgiving guests as a trial for the coming festivities. While it is always important to ask guests to review your short-term rental, be sure to request specific feedback about their experience during the holidays. Was there ample space? Were there any cooking utensils missing? Is there anything that could be provided to make their stay more enjoyable? After assessing your guest’s feedback, act quickly on their suggestions to ready your property for the incoming holidays renters.

5. Stay competitive with your pricing.

Increased travel this time of year allows you to raise rates to meet the growing demand, but knowing how much to charge can be challenging. In order to stay competitive with other short-term rentals during the holidays, check out similar vacation rentals’ nightly rates by searching on different listing channels or their website. Adjust your rental rates accordingly based on how they compare in size, amenities, location, and target market.

6. Perfect your communications.

Traveling during the holidays isn’t easy. To relieve your guests’ stress, put some extra effort into perfecting your instructions on checking in and out. It is important to keep in mind that travelers expect hotel-like convenience from short-term rentals. While being there to greet each guest may be too much to ask, you can ensure that there is minimal delay in getting in the door. If you don’t have a smart lock system, consider using a Master Lock lockbox with a unique passcode or something similar to ensure your properties’ safety and a swift check in/check out process.

Other information like turning the TV on and house rules should be located in your short-term rental guidebook. Making it clear to guests that all of their questions can be answered in this book (or in its digital form) will allow you to enjoy your holiday season with friends and family too, instead of spending it answering calls from guests

Get creative this holiday season by employing one of our tips or a few of your own to make your guests’ celebration memorable - and give yourself some uninterrupted time to unwind!