It may seem like the only way to turn your home into one for vacationers is transforming your living room and bedrooms into a health & wellness spa adorned with pools, baths, fountains and massage tables, but that's just not the case.
We have been in the short-term / vacation rental property business since 2012 in every capacity imaginable from owners, to renters, to managers and even designers. We have worked in and with the most successful homes on the market and also the ones that in the center of peak summer rental season barely get any bookings. So we think we have a pretty good idea of what it takes when it comes to turning any home into a successful vacation rental.
Read below for our 4 proven ways to turn your home into a successful vacation rental today.
1. Get Rid of the Personal Family Pictures. Especially the Awkward Ones.
We see it all the time. Family portraits all over the house, in the living room and dining room, to the hallways and bedrooms. And unless you and your family have shot photos for a J. Crew catalog, there's a good chance the incoming guests will find flaws.
Certainly a picture here or there will not deter prospective guests, but if they're stepping foot into a mausoleum of the Jones' family kids from age 1-13, you can bet there will be eye-rolls, snide remarks and head shakes.
Some of you might be saying, "whoa, wait a second, our guests have only left us positive reviews and they love our home and they even say the family pictures are a great touch so they can get to know who else has shared that home." Ok, fine. Keep on keeping on. For those of you that are reading and considering putting your home up for vacation rent, then trust me when I say, that is 99% of the time, not the case. Pull them down, put them away and if you insist on leaving a footprint of your own home for incoming guests, perhaps a small-ish framed picture in a non-descript area of the living room would suffice. Perhaps.
2. Update the Floral Couch and Down Comforters from the Early 90's.
If you haven't listed your home yet but you are sure you want to, then you need to come to grips with a very plain and truthful reality....you are going to have to spend money to make money. I'm not just talking about the various sites to list your home on either. I'm talking about updating the furniture, the accent pieces, the linens and towels and even the couch pillows.
It's human psychology (I'm assuming) that we get used to our own natural surroundings. We see it everyday, we may even have sentimental attachments to many if not most of the things in our home. But guess who doesn't? Right, your incoming guests. Do them and yourself a favor and update the place. That means if your couch has a floral pattern, it probably means it's time to update. That means if the towels are a shade of pink with bleach stains and ragged edges, it's time for them to go. That means going to stores like Home Goods or Target and finding shiny (gold and silver are in right now by the way) accent pieces to place around the home. I'm going to show you two pictures - one of them is actually the living room from a vacation rental home online and the other is my own home, also a vacation rental home. You tell me which one you'd rent. (PS: they both are nearly the same nightly rate).
3. Create an Outdoor Living Experience
Being the Southern California Vacation Rental experts that we think we are, everything is based around 2 things here, the weather and the beach. Everyone that comes to visit does so to take advantage of those 2 things. So capitalize on that and make your home as wonderful outside as you do inside. That means ample seating areas, not just a table and chairs. Make sure you have a BBQ, outdoor games (bocce ball, lawn darts, cornhole, etc.), put up a modern umbrella or multiple umbrellas, allow for a hammock to be tied up and perhaps even one of those funky egg swing chairs. Grass is great too for kids, even at the expense of higher landscaping and water bills as 92% of the vacation rentals we manage have kids included in the travel plans.
In a perfect world (aka money-no-object), you would also create an indoor-to-outdoor entry way such that the part of the home leading to the backyard could open up entirely. That's where the money is at in this game.
4. Provide Guest Services
Alright, so maybe we're a little biased here, but we think if you ask our clients they'll tell you (and hopefully rave about us along the way) how great having a company in place to cater to your guests during their vacation stay can be. When your guests feel taken care of, your home is taken care of. When you home is taken care of, your mind is at ease, and your time is totally free to do the things that matter most to you. We're guessing that is not playing property manager. In addition, a happy guest is a repeat visitor. And perhaps even more importantly, a happy guest leaves a great review. A great review leads to more happy guests. You see where this is going right? Cool.
At the end of the day, this is likely your most valuable asset combined with a primary or secondary income stream. Having the right look and feel for your current or prospective guests is a sure-fire way to increase your bookings and revenue stream. Let us know if you have questions about any of the above.
Happy vacationing and happy to help you if you're looking to turn your home into a money-making vacation rental property. We are the company that has it all under one roof.