Everyone knows that you can use Airbnb to rent out your vacation property. That you can earn money from your primary residence while you’re out of town. Or even that you could make a side income by letting out an extra room in your home to budget-conscious travellers. The system has become so ubiquitous that many people talk about booking an Airbnb instead of booking a hotel when they travel.
However, in this article, we want to look at Airbnb a little differently. We’re going to focus on how you transform your vacation rental property so that for your guests, it feels like their vacation home. The strategy here is that by making them feel right at home, you turn them into regular repeat bookings. Trusted, low effort, customers who can’t wait to come back year after year.
It Feels Like Home
Remember the feeling you had when purchasing your vacation home. While some people might have thought about Airbnb profits, we’d guess that the first consideration was about creating a space for your family to be together. A family vacation property is not really about the building; it’s about providing a familiar spot for those closest to you to come together and enjoy quality time. Your vacation home is a place where memories are created and where you can’t wait to get back each and every season. If you can replicate this feeling in your guests, and yet make it feel effortless for them to connect with your property, it pays off. Instead of the hassle of purchasing their own property, they’ll be an incredible customer. The difference being, in the end, you’ll own a great asset that will continue to bring in a steady income for years to come.
The Gathering Place
When decorating your Vacation Rental Property always keep in mind that families come here to be together. You want to create spaces where it’s easy for that to happen.
The Great Room
If you have a large gathering room, well suited to people sitting together, the furniture should make it easy for the whole group to have a spot. Consider including a large sectional couch that can fit lots of people comfortably and make it easy for them to stay put. Also, think about including several small movable coffee tables, such as the Charley C-Side Table by West Elm. This way, you make it easy for families to stretch-out lazy mornings sipping coffee and chatting leisurely.
Kitchens and Dining Rooms
When it comes to the rooms where families prepare meals and sit together to enjoy them, the same rules apply. Obviously, every home is different, but when you’re shopping for a property, try to look for one with an open and accessible kitchen. Even if you’re not an avid chef, you want to imagine a place where multiple people can come together and comfortably chop, mix, and engage around food.
For the dining room, do everything you can to have a large, long family table that can accommodate dinner parties that last into the evening. You’ll want to look at something like the Logan Industrial Expandable Dining Table that can effortlessly grow depending on the size of the guest list. When it comes to seating, go with something upholstered, with a little bit of cushion to ensure no one is in a hurry to get up from the table for want of a better seat.
Nooks & Crannies
When it comes to smaller rooms, lofts, or even a hallway cutout, be very intentional in how you decorate. Make these places where smaller groups can assemble or even areas where individuals can steal a moment away. Include comfortable armchairs, bookcases (with a selection of books) and have ready electrical outlets or power bars for people who need to charge their devices or do a quick social media check-in.
The Games Room
It’s interesting how a pool table at home can sit unused for months at a time, but at the vacation home, it becomes the stuff of legends. While it’s essential to have an entertainment centre that allows families to come together and watch movies, focus more on the activities that make memories. Shuffleboard, Foosball, and Ping-pong are all great family activities. An annual family shuffleboard tournament is just the sort of thing that brings whole families back for more.
The Surrounding Property
The same sorts of considerations apply to the property around your vacation rental home. In Whistler, you’ll want to have a secure place for families to store their skis, but also think of what else they may do together. Having an outdoor fireplace surrounded by winterized chairs make a natural place for hot chocolate, smores, and stories. Be sure to have some blankets easily available. If the trails are readily accessible, having a selection of snowshoes waiting for guests who want to get out and explore is a great option.
The Digital Option
A couple of months ago, we did an article on the best smart home devices for your rental property. This piece was geared toward making the operation of the property easier for owners. Although it’s good to consider that a few of these digital enhancements are great for making families feel at home. The most significant one that we would suggest here is Smart Locks. By outfitting your vacation property with these networked locks, you can provide guests with a digital key. As the owner, you don’t have to make multiple extra keys, worry about guests losing those keys, or figure out how you can get keys from one guest to another. For your guests, they simply turn up with their smartphone and walk in like they own the place.
Ask For Feedback
This is one of those things that sounds almost too easy. After your guests check out, send them a survey to find out how they enjoyed their stay. Give them the opportunity to let you know what they really liked and the sorts of things they would change or add. Be sure to ask them directly about their experiences. Did they use the outdoor fireplace? Were there enough games for the family? Would they recommend you to a friend? Any details they provide can be used to tweak your property to make it more repeat guest friendly and help make the rental process more passive in years to come. And, of course, make sure you thank them for their feedback.
Reward Repeat Guests
When a guest decides they want to book a repeat stay at your vacation property, this is when you get to ensure it won’t be their last. Before a repeat guest checks-in, make sure you have a gift basket waiting. It doesn’t have to be too extravagant, but a bottle of wine, some gourmet popcorn, and a selection of hot chocolate can go a long way. Include a welcome note and let them know about any new additions or local attractions. If there were things from their survey responses that you were able to address, make sure you thank them again for that feedback. Not only do these small gestures go along way in ensuring guests want to return annually, but it also helps to build a sense of loyalty in your guests. Not only do they want to come back to your property, but they also won’t go to another.
BONUS: The Big Win
This last tip takes an extra bit of effort, and it requires that you’re upfront with your primary contact, so it doesn’t come off as a little creepy.
First, outfit your home with a series of inexpensive digital picture frames that can be connected via the home network.
Next, ask your guest for a selection of photos from their last stay at your property.
When the guests arrive for a return visit, have the selection of images loaded to the digital frames and on the television’s screensaver mode. By making it feel like they really are at home during their stay, surrounded by great memories from the last time, you can almost guarantee another visit.
Enlist Some Help
If you’re looking for more strategies to make managing your vacation rental property even more comfortable, don’t hesitate to get in touch. As property management experts, focused on the Vancouver and Whistler areas, we’ve crafted unique strategies for dozens of local and international property owners. We use our considerable expertise to make property investments work best for you.
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