Remember the movie, Jerry McGuire? It was filled with memorable catchphrases: “Show me the money” and “You had me at hello,” are two. There was a third, too, which is good to bear in mind when presenting your vacation rental to potential property managers — “Help me, help you.” As an owner, your job is to help your manager rent your home out for the most money possible, as often as possible. Here are a few crucial tips on how to accomplish that.
1. Curb Appeal Counts
- It’s impossible to state this too many times — curb appeal counts. A home’s exterior is likely the first digital impression a potential guest will get of your home, and in the age of rapid scrolling, catching their eye for the nono-second you have their attention is crucial. The good thing about boosting a home’s exterior is that it’s not generally too expensive. So here are some necessary steps you can do yourself or with a friend/family member.
- Powerwash and/or paint the exterior if you haven’t done it in a while
- If the rest of the house is a standard color, touch white or gray, consider adding a splash of color — a dark red or light Caribbean blue — to the front door to make it stand out.
- Add some evergreen vegetation around the entrance.
- Make sure grass is cut, and the hedges are trimmed. A few stylish ornamental features don’t go amiss, either.
- Clean and paint downspouts and gutters or add new ones if they are too old looking.
Paint window sills and shutters.
- Add exterior lighting, replace the mailbox, add house numbers and set up a couple of lazy chairs or a garden bench.
2. Make The Interior Sizzle
This goes beyond simply staging a home. You want the inside of your home to look HGTV-ready as if Chip and Joanna Gaines have just done their magic with it. If you’re not branding your home to coincide with a local tourist attraction such as a theme park, sports team, or natural feature (beach, skiing, hiking), you’ll want to make your home appeal to the largest number of guests possible. You can do this by using neutral colors and filling it with cozy, upscale furniture, attractive art, plants, throws, rugs, and more. Browse Pinterest, HGTV, and magazines for inspiration. Remember, you are not decorating the home for your own personal tastes but to appeal to as many people as possible. Having said that, there are certain luxury items that everyone loves.
Bedroom: Make your guests feel as if they have just stepped into a luxury hotel.
- High-count cotton linens,
- High-quality mattress,
- Plush bedspread,
- Classy curtains and a rug,
- Mood lighting,
- Bedside lighting
- Complimentary throw pillows
- Everything tastefully matched with a unified color palette.
Bathroom: Add a spa-like feel to invoke the feeling of rest and relaxation.
Attractive tiles and decor are important. Dark colors create an intimate atmosphere, while light hues provide a light and airy environment. Choose the best fit for your home and embellish it with waterfall shower heads with solid water pressure, plush towels, shampoos, shower gels, and additional toiletries. Make sure the bathroom is clean and uncluttered.
3. Take the Amenities to the Next Level
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential guests. You’ve just flown into town or endured a long road trip. What do you want? To be catered to. You don’t want to go to much effort or have to spend too much money. Here’s how you give your guests everything they need.
- High-speed internet is a must, and one of the essential amenities guests look for
- Ample air conditioning and heating to keep your guests cool in summer and warm in the winter
- Free, convenient parking by the rental
- A keypad with a self-check-in and check-out option.
- A kitchen fully stocked with appliances and utensils is a must. Think toaster, coffee maker, fridge, freezer, bottle dispenser/filter, range, oven, pots, pans, etc)
- Washer & dryer with detergent
- Laptop friendly workstation
- TV with popular streaming channels such as Netflix etc
- A clean, serviced pool/jacuzzi is an amenity most guests can’t ignore!
4. Amazing Photos & Videos
Social media and online marketing are the key to booking your vacation rental, so you’ll need to hire a professional photographer. High-definition photos with plenty of colors that look like they have just jumped off the pages of a magazine will help your cause no end. Also, hire a videographer and create a website for the home using great filters and music. Use luxury homes and condos listed on realtor websites as your inspiration. Take it to the next level by using a drone to capture aerial views and the surrounding scenery. Give your vacation property manager as many photos as possible to allow them to showcase your home in its best light.
5. Offer Discounted/Free Stays to Friends in Return for Great Reviews
Positive reviews are manna from heaven for encouraging other guests to book your home. However, they can be a bit of a chicken and egg situation. How do you get positive reviews if no one has stayed at your house and how will people stay at your house without any reviews? That’s where your friends and family come in. Most booking sites want to authenticate reviews from actual guests. The way around this is having your friends book through the portal (whether you offer them a discount or refund their fee is between you and your ‘guest’!). However, once you have a few five-star ratings, your new property manager will be able to take these and run.
Vacation property managers are not miracle workers and can only work with what they’ve got. As a business owner, your job is to give them all the tools they’ll need to make your business as profitable as possible. Look at the leaders in your field with the most bookings, listen to podcasts, and read informative articles (like this!). Then go to town and make your vacation rental compete with their homes on every level. If you do that, you’ll have potential property managers begging you to allow them the chance to run your business.