For many families, the big vacation of the year is a highlight. Children count down the days until their summer vacation. Parents squirrel away money and look for the best deals to make their annual outing a happy, memorable one.
In today's technologically connected world, traveling families have more options than ever to find a vacation rental that suits their particular desires and needs. For those of you who own rental properties, that means a ready-and-waiting market.
According to ValuePenguin, the average family is spending more on vacations each year. Lodging is often a big piece of the vacation budget, and alternatives to hotels are more and more attractive. Families, in particular, appreciate the extra space that a rental home provides as well as built-in amenities like a stocked kitchen, extra bedrooms and access to things like private pools or backyard play areas.
As a property owner, there are many things you can do to attract a larger proportion of the family market to your San Diego vacation rental. Here are some ideas to consider:
Emphasize Safety Amenities
Providing a safe environment for children of all ages is a high priority for all vacationing families. The children will already be out of their natural element; the parents will have many new concerns that may take their attention away from their children.
Connect on this point with your guests by sharing safety concerns, issues and precautions related to your property. If you are a parent yourself, think about your own children and what you do to keep them safe at that particular location. If you are not a parent, enlist the thoughts of a friend or relative who has children.
If your property has a pool, be sure to have and explain fencing and gating systems. If you are renting out a home near a lake or pond, be sure to alert parents to this amenity as well as provide things like multiple sizes of life vests. Offer items in your rental property that shows your concern for safety such as stair gates, outlet covers, non-slip bath mats, child-proof locks on exterior doors, and safety latches on cabinets that might contain toxic cleaning supplies.
Help Your Guests Leave the Kitchen Sink Home
Anyone who has traveled with children know that the smaller the child, the more things you have to pack for a trip. If you can provide many of these items to support family vacationers, you will add tremendous value to your property.
Solicit donations from friends who have grown children who might be getting rid of things like portable cribs, changing tables, booster seats or high chairs. Shop around at garage sales or thrift stores for items like baby seats, child-sized picnic tables and benches, or plastic dishes and cups. Stock your garage or shed with wagons, strollers or bikes. Purchase a baby swing for a nearby tree or one that can be set up inside or on the deck.
Find some child-helpers for the kitchen such as a bottle warmer or sterilizer and a small food processor or handheld blender for making quick baby food. A stool and potty seat that can fit over a toilet are also helpful for small children.
Children have short attention spans so providing lots of different toys and activities can help parents entertain their families easily when they are trying to pack for the day, cook a meal or simply sit down and relax before the next excursion.
Try to Increase the Chances of Sleep
Although there are lots of tips for helping kids to sleep while on vacation on parenting blogs and in child rearing magazines, the reality is that this may be one of the most difficult aspects of the family vacation. Small children and babies in particular do not sleep well out of routine and away from their homes. Parents who are up all night with scared or restless children do not find vacations restful or relaxing.
If you can provide little things that may increase the likelihood of sleep for everyone, you will be giving a great gift to your family renters. Consider installing black-out window coverings in some of the bedrooms so that children who are napping or in bed early are not distracted by the sunlight.
Offer items like baby monitors so that parents can easily hear their little ones if they are enjoying an evening on the deck or patio. White noise machines or music players can help mute adult noise so that children can settle down more quickly. Night lights in bedrooms, in hallways or in bathrooms can help make middle-of-the-night activity safer and easier. Bed rails can prevent night time falls and relieve a tired parent of one extra worry.
Nip the Boredom Bug
Kids get bored quickly and the last thing parents want to hear are the words "I'm bored." Property owners who stock up on lots of interesting things to do can help families not only spend quality time together at your rental property but also increase the chance for quiet, relaxation time when your guests are not on the go.
Once again, turn to thrift shops or rummage sales to find inexpensive toys, games and children's equipment that can be offered to your guests. Puzzles. board games, playing cards, pool or bath toys, sports equipment and art supplies can help kill a lot of time for children on vacation.
You may want to provide a DVD player or access to online programming or a video game console as well. A wide variety of children's books, puzzle books, and coloring books can easily be purchased second hand. Scooters, bikes or ping pong tables are other fun vacation pastimes.
Offer Child-Friendly Ideas
Although most families will gather a lot of information online these days about activities in San Diego for family vacations, it doesn't hurt to put together some favorite spots of your own.
You may want to highlight some local spots that are not typically tourist attractions such as a local restaurant with child-friendly entertainment, an event or festival happening over a particular weekend, or unique ideas for rainy day excursions.
As an owner of a San Diego vacation rental, you have an amazing opportunity to increase your bookings by reaching out to the vacationing family market this summer. Many of these ideas will not cost very much but could significantly reduce your vacancy and improve ratings. Build your reputation as a property owner who values and serves families on vacation.