Top 5 Must-Offer Amenities for 2014

Every year, competition gets more fierce to secure travelers in your area. More listings are available, prices are fluctuating, and most importantly, more amenities are being offered. You need to keep pace. This is Amenities 101, not a master class. Hopefully you are already ahead of the pack, but for those who aren’t, here are the top five amenities travelers are looking for in 2014:

1. Free Wifi

wifi

Easy one. This is a staple of the vacation rental world. Smart phones are everywhere, and not everyone has the luxury of unlimited data plans, so having free wifi in a vacation rental can save your attendees hundreds of dollars while they are visiting. Wifi is typically much faster than 3G or 4G cell phone connections, and this will allow your guests to research the local area with speed. For the especially tech savvy guests, they may have even brought a computer with them, and being able to connect their laptop to your wifi system will enable them to browse more quickly, download larger files (like a movie), or upload some of their hi-res images from vacation.  Average wifi on its own would cost approximately $50, but bundle it with the cable package you have at the home for more savings.

2. Hot Tub

Easier to add on than an entire pool, a hot tub offers relaxation and fun to both warm and cold weather vacation rentals. Enjoying time in a hot tub can be a family activity, a romantic one for a couple, and a safe one for young children. Nothing beats a dip in the water on a mild Florida night or even a freezing Boston afternoon. Pro tip: keep your hot tub sanitary with proper chemicals and regular cleanings.

3. Bikes

BikeRide

Vacationers are becoming more active as the years go by, and it should be reflected in the amenities you offer. Most visitors do not want to sit on the couch catching up on Breaking Bad, they appreciate athletic offerings that get them out into the area. For most owners, a home gym is a difficult and expensive item to offer, but bicycles (both for adults and children) are a sweet perk that could put you over the edge. Include training wheels for the little ones, and an easy-to-understand map of the area to help travelers navigate.

4. Video Games

Making a vacation rental child-friendly is key for owners. If you have children yourself, you don’t even need this advice. Not only will this make the stay more enjoyable for the children, but it will also allow the parents to relax and know that some of the luxuries of home are with them on the road. Having a video game console (XBOX, PS4, even an old-school version like N64) is enough to keep the children occupied while parents can cook or pack or plan the next day’s activities. Video games can be used as a reward for good behavior, and the absence of video games can be used for the opposite. A few on-site games would be nice, but let the visitors know in advance you have this functionality so they could possibly bring a few of their own games or controllers.

5. Pet-Friendly

Puppy jumping on the beach

Pets are a member of the family, who are we kidding? Leaving a pet home while you go on vacation can be both devastating and expensive. If a traveler is lucky enough to have a family member or friend who can watch Meow Mix or Fido while they are away, they still won’t feel completely confident everything will go smoothly. Even worse, putting a cat or dog in a vacation boarding home can be an extreme strain on a wallet. Having your vacation rental listed as pet-friendly will not only increase bookings, but it will increase satisfaction of the stay as well. Adding little pet extras like treats, beds, or hair rollers will be appreciated fully.

Tips for Accommodating Holiday Travelers

The holidays are a busy time for travelers and property owners alike. Prepare for the holiday season by considering these tips so that you can impress your guests while taking advantage of your own holiday plans!

Fall Seasonal Touches

Be Festive!

Get in the spirit and share those holiday comforts that you enjoy in your own home with your guests! A simple wreath on the door, gourd centerpiece on the dining table, or autumn scented candle in the living room is an inexpensive way of showing your attention to detail and can get your guests in the mood for the season. When decorating your property look for simple autumn or winter themed decorations. Take this opportunity to have fun and get creative with your surroundings! If your property is in a region with particular fall or winter foliage, incorporate it in the home to give your renters a closer connection with the new surroundings. If you use physical keys for your property, consider sending them in a holiday wrapped box to get renters extra excited about renting with you.

Add a Personal Touch

In the vacation rental world, personalization is key to set yourself apart from the competition. Offering rental deals during the holidays is a great way to draw attention to your property. Consider including a gift card to a local restaurant or shop with your guest’s holiday reservation and present it as a gift upon their arrival. In light of the gift-giving season, having something tangible to give to travelers can be more special than simply offering a seasonal discount. If a gift for each booking is out of your budget, something as small as a signed holiday card can be a great way to welcome guests to your home.

Be Well Informed

Although not always the case, chances are that you know more about your rental area than the traveler that has rented your property, so use this knowledge to better include them in your greater community. No matter how large or small your town may be, it is almost guaranteed that it will host some combination of holiday events that are open to the public such as light shows, concerts, festivals, and specialty theater or sporting events. Use this special season to your advantage and learn everything you can about what your surroundings have to offer at this time. Leave a brochure or a simple collection of community event information in your home for guests to use as a reference. If you feel comfortable, consider asking your travelers what their favorite fall and winter activities are so that you may focus your research in one direction.

Plan Ahead

In order to ensure that your own holiday plans will be stress free, be extra careful about updating your calendar and property functions for your in-coming holiday guests. The better prepared you are for the needs of your renters, the less they will need your assistance while you’re celebrating with your own friends and family. Go the extra mile and try to anticipate the needs of a holiday traveler. If you don’t already, consider leaving a guide in your home that includes the locations of shops for great last minute gifts, stores with gift-wrapping services, or restaurants that are guaranteed to be open during the holiday period while most are closed.

Avoid unnecessary stressors by incorporating these tips prior to your guests’ stay this holiday season. You’ll thank yourself for the preparations made and your guests will take delight in the outcome they produce. Happy bookings!