Even though there might be snow in the forecast for many locations across the country, vacation rental managers and owners are thinking about the summer months and preparing their vacation rentals for the sunny season. Whether your vacation rental is new or seasoned, it’s time to think about repairs, replacements, and embellishments. This article will focus on staying ahead of the competition by digging deeper with your list of summer prep items.
What would YOU want?
There will always be a routine effort in prepping your vacation rental for summer which means sometimes things might get overlooked. Always keep a seasonal list and if you really want to consider your guest, pretend to be one. What would you expect if you are renting, and what are the special touches that might elevate the experience? We have created a list for you with the top ten things to consider as you prepare your vacation rental(s) for the high season.
When you stay on top of this list and plan to re-invest in your property every 8-10 months, you will drive revenue in the right direction. This is a best practice we can take from the 5-star hotels and resorts that have long implemented a rotation schedule of improvements and upgrades. This list will allow you to maintain the 5-star standards while securing 5 star-rates.
1. Cleaning and Refresh Paint
As they say, spring is the time for cleaning. So, your spring cleaning should include a deep clean making sure to touch every corner of every room. It includes corners, shelves (especially above eye level) and artwork, baseboards, window seals, ceilings, fans, lampshades, under-sink cabinets, closets, drawers, and storage areas or garages. Additionally, you should inspect for the need to paint where chips have appeared, or wear is obvious both on the interior and the exterior.
Make sure all appliances are working properly. It’s also good to include these items on your inspection checklist during the season to stay on top of it while all of these are in heavy use. This includes Air-conditioned, refrigerator, ice maker, interior water, stove and oven, coffee makers, kitchen mixers, blenders, hairdryers, and any other small appliances that are provided. A broken appliance, even a small item, can leave a lasting negative impression on your guests and could impact reviews. Don’t take anything for granted. Check them all before you open your vacation rental for the season.
3. Technology and TVs
Make sure all devices are updated and working. Leave clear and simple
instructions on Wi-Fi, TV, remotes, automatic blinds, air-conditioning, music systems, and outdoor systems. Never take for granted that your guests will know how to use devices. Again, if there is frustration involved with the TV or Wi-Fi, it will only impact your reputation and reviews, and not in a good way.
4. Dishes and Utensils
Replace any chipped or scratched dishes. Make sure the quantity is ample as well. Check cookware, knives, can-openers, serving wear, muffin tins, and cake pans. Check wine glasses, wine openers, bottle openers, BBQ utensils, and lighters. Think about what you would want as a renter and go above and beyond to really make a positive impression.
5. Bedding and Linens and Towels
Good bedding is one of the most important aspects of a vacation rental experience so choose it carefully and with durability in mind. Quality sheets, pillowcases, and comforters can make or break a review. So, always inspect bedding for wear and replace it as necessary. Bathroom towels are also key. Make sure they are of good quality and there are plenty in stock for each reservation. Consider communicating new standards to your homeowners especially if the quality does not meet the guest demands or they haven’t been replaced in a couple of years. Many companies have found success with specific guidelines for their linens, so they are standardized, including all-white linens. Also, provide beach towels for the pool or the beach and make sure they are left in an obvious place, so house towels are not used outdoors.
6. Mattress, Pillows, and Rugs
A comfortable mattress goes hand-in-hand with quality bedding. The price point for a good quality mattress has decreased over the last decade so, it is affordable and lasting. Always inspect the mattress for overall wear or discoloration. Make sure pillows are in shape and provide additional supplies. Also, check large rugs as well as area rugs. Sometimes larger rugs can become invisible if we are used to seeing them but always inspect for wear and tear or stains. Treat or replace accordingly.
Interior designer Kerri Rosenthal suggests that simplicity in furnishings is key to a beautiful vacation rental. She says that furniture should be highly edited, and the accessorizing should be at a minimum. If you follow those rules, maintenance and upkeep should be minimal. Always inspect furniture thoroughly for damage or malfunction to repair and replace as needed. Manhattan designer, Steven Gambrel, suggests creating a palette of materials that get better with age and develop a patina —that includes the furniture you are selecting.
8. Outdoor Space
Treat your outdoor space just as critically as your indoor space. Follow all of the above protocols depending on how substantial the space is. Make sure grills, firepits, and appliances are in good working order and simple to use, or provide detailed instructions. Inspect all outdoor furniture and rugs for wear and tear. Make sure charcoal is replaced, if need be, and create a fresh inventory of plastic dishes, utensils, and cups to use by the pool for safety purposes. Also, check that plants, shrubs, and trees are pruned and prepped for Spring.
9. Above and Beyond Embellishments
Creating a pleasing environment for your guests is something to be proud of and something your guests will not ignore. From black-out curtains, light bulbs, and dimmer to cedar chips and vintage quilts, going the extra mile will get your vacation rental noticed with good reviews and multiple starts. Again, consider what you might want if you were renting the property. Put yourself in their shoes as well. Provide games, and books for inside and out. Stock an outdoor mini-fridge with beverages and snacks. Leave scented candles, colorful vases with flowers as well as a variety of music. If your vacation rental allows pets, leave dog treats and bowls. But above all consider what might make their stay exceptional.
10. Check Out the Competition
Finally, if you want to create an experience that will get your vacation property noticed, look at what the other vacation rental managers in your area are doing.
Joe Nahem, of the design firm Fox-Nahem Associates, who counts celebrities like Robert Downey Jr. among his clients. “It makes sense to me, in whatever price category you’re in,” he said. “Look at what else is out there — compare: What can I do to make mine a little better?” — New York Times
While it might seem like cleaning is the biggest part of getting your vacation rentals for the high season, it’s far more than that. You are creating an experience for your guests and every detail is part of that effort. The more attention you spend on the details the more guests will appreciate it. Designer and vacation rental owner Stephen Gambrel puts it simply.
The idea is that if guests have a better experience with the house, “hopefully they take better care of it,” he said. “The more you finish a house — the more you complete the story — the more respect people have for it.” — Stephen Gambrel, New York Times
If you follow Stephen Gambrel’s advice and this list of considerations, you should be set for the summer season. Don’t forget to update photos online if you do make updates that add value. Compel your guest with the story first online and then in person.