Maximizing property owners’ income from their vacation rental homes or condos is the number one goal for VTrips and its family of companies located in popular resort destinations throughout the United States.
Ensuring property owners realize the maximum income possible means creating a top-notch experience for vacationers. While many factors are at play when it comes to creating that experience, one of the most important is ensuring vacation rental properties feature the most desirable amenities for today’s vacationers.
Christina Barlow is director of client success for House133 Vacation Rentals, a company with private vacation homes in Florida . Having worked in the real estate industry for eight years, including more than three with Southern, Christina is an expert at assisting property owners to make the most of their rental property, she shared her first-hand knowledge of the amenities today’s guests find most desirable. Here are five:
Present A Fresh Property Whose Décor Fits The Destination
Pictures help tell the story about a property’s comfort, style and suitability and are often a determining factor in whether a vacationer chooses one particular property over another. “Pictures sell,” Sasser said, adding that she counsels rental property owners to stay on top of updates.
However, she cautioned that just because a property is updated doesn’t mean guests could be charged more. “But it does mean a guest is likely to choose your property over a similar one because it is nicer. And, once they visit, they are likely to return.”
She also suggested décor that evokes the feel of the destination. “For the beach area, I recommend a minimalist, coastal vibe. If your property is on the coast, it does not need to look like an executive suite. If you have a log cabin in the mountains, do not use coastal-inspired decor. Guests want to feel like the décor matches their vacation destination,” Sasser said. “On the Gulf Coast, vacationers want a property that reminds them of being at the beach: seashells, marine life in the artwork, and colors like grays, blues, sea foam green, etc. For the mountains, the décor would be different: darker browns and earth tones, leather sofas, and décor to match the cabin feel.”
Create Connectivity & Convenience With Technology
Sasser recommended transitioning to Smart TVs to allow guests to stream music, movies and TV shows; browse the Internet; and view photos. “A lot of people want to binge watch their favorite shows on vacation, especially if it’s raining outside and they are looking for something to do,” she said. “And most people these days have already cut their cable cord, so Smart TVs are big.”
High-speed Internet is another must for modern travelers. “All of the properties we manage have Wi-Fi, but homeowners should purchase the fastest Internet speed possible.
Sasser also recommended adding a Wi-Fi extender (booster) in larger homes where Wi-Fi is powered by a single router. “This should assist in providing more complete Internet coverage in your home, allowing users to stream movies or play games without buffering.”
Faster Wi-Fi speeds will also make the property more conducive to staying connected to work if necessary.
Further adding convenience for those who must check in with work during their stay is a dedicated remote work-friendly space. “It should be a designated space, not the kitchen table, couch, breakfast bar or coffee table. Maybe a little desk with drawers that has charging stations. I travel a lot for work and having those workspaces is important for me.
Some vacation rental property owners are adding value to the guest experience with electric vehicle charging stations.
Expand Revenue With Pet-Friendly Rentals
It’s estimated that 70 percent of all U.S. households have pets. And more than ever before families are taking their pets on vacation with them. One of the best ways to maximize income is to embrace vacationers traveling with their pets.
“While properties that welcome pets may experience a little more wear and require a little more cleaning, Southern charges a pet fee to the reservation to help offset the cost of extra cleaning or maintenance.
Sasser said if the homeowner does not have pet allergies, it’s an easy decision to advertise the property as pet friendly. “I am often able to encourage homeowners to make their properties pet friendly when we consider the pros and cons.
Sasser said pet-friendly homes should offer food and water bowls and even a fluffy bed with the understanding it will need to be washed and/or replaced regularly. “And it’s always good to have a waste station with plastic waste bags as a reminder for guests to clean up after their pets.”
Heat Up Bookings With Heated Pools & Hot Tubs
One of the most popular amenities, especially during cooler months, is a heated pool. “Speaking of revenue building, it’s a huge benefit to have a heated pool. The presence of a heated pool allows a property to stand out above the neighbors without a heated pool.”
Hot tubs in the off-season make a property more desirable over others in months of lower demand. “A hot tub will appeal to a guest booking for the holidays or visiting the area with friends in the fall and winter,” Sasser said. “In the summer, demand is up, and your property is likely to book anyway. But in months when you don’t have 100 percent occupancy, we must play smart and provide guests with something not every property owner has.”
Add A New Dimension of Togetherness With Grills, Golf Carts & Bikes
Sasser said community grills at condominiums and grills at private homes powered by propane or connected to the home’s gas line add another dimension of fun by creating a wonderful gathering spot for friends and family.“A grill is a gathering place. And while you can’t necessarily change the amenities in your condo complex, you can advocate to the homeowner association to install a couple of community grills. They are very affordable, and their availability gives vacationers another reason to fall in love with a property and return year after year.”
To further boost a vacation home’s appeal, Sasser suggested offering the complimentary use of golf carts and bicycles. “Those are hot commodities, especially in beach towns where the property is not necessarily beachfront or in scenic areas with lots of places to explore within walking distance.”
These 5 Features Are Designed To Maximize Your Income
When placing a property on the rental market, Sasser urged property owners to consider the importance of offering an updated, refreshed property with décor to match the destination; technology such as reliable high-speed Wi-Fi throughout, Smart TVs, designated remote workstations and even electric vehicle charging stations; a pet-friendly designation with welcoming extras such as food and water dishes and cozy pet beds; heated pools and hot tubs, especially for attracting reservations during cooler months and holidays; and the complimentary use of grills, golf carts and bikes.