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!

Simplifying Check-in: Keys and Locks

So you wrote an inviting welcome letter and a quick list of safety precautions and expectations for your new guests. You even prepared a welcome basket with a bottle of wine and several brochures for neighborhood attractions.

Good work, but did you sit down and think about how you’re going to let your guests into your vacation rental?

Checking in guests to a vacation rental is different from hotels as rental owners have a little more freedom as to how to they give their guests access to the home. If you live relatively close to your property, the easiest option is most likely to meet your guests at the door, give them a tour of the property, and make their transition to “vacation time” a little easier.

For the other owners who are not in the vicinity or simply do not have the time to check in guests, they have to figure out the best way to get keys (or codes) to the vacationers.

What are the options?

  • Mail the keys!

If your home uses a standard key lock, you may opt to send guests a copy of the key through the mail. Seems simple enough, but is it worth the risk of being lost in the mail? How about damaged upon arrival? Or better yet, arriving at the wrong address or just too late? After all of these considerations, you will still have to determine how the keys are returned to you.

Of course these are not guaranteed risks, but as a rental property owner, would you have the time (and patience) to deal with mistakes that are out of your hands?

  • Lock the keys up!

Snail mail out of the question? Then you can lock up copies of your key in a lock box on your property. You can easily find many inexpensive options online and go with a key storage box that has many positive reviews and fits your tastes. Leave keys to the rental in the box before the guest arrives and simply tell them the combo to open it. However, the downside to the lock box is that you will have manually change the combination after each guest for security.

When using physical keys for your rental property, there is always the possibility that an unscrupulous vacationer may make copies of the keys. The keys can be stamped with “Do Not Duplicate” to tell locksmiths to not make copies, but there are some key cutters who may not pay attention to this at all.

  • Get rid of keys entirely!

Why not remove keys from the equation and install a keypad for your home? The perks of using a key-less system include being able to store many multiples of codes that can be recycled, changed, etc. for every group of travelers. If the guest forgets the combination, they can easily call or email you for the combination without needing to wait for keys to arrive in the mail or for you or another authorized person to show up and let them into the house.

You will need to carefully research your choice in keypads. While some may store multiple codes, you may have to physically change them on location. More hi-tech, and generally more expensive, keypads have remote-access options which gives you the ability to change codes using your computer and set up dates for automatic code changes around your vacationer schedules. Depending on your computer savvy level, the programs could take some time for adjustment and setting up.

What then, is the best option for you?

Think about your level of availability for your travelers. A good rental property owner can be reached at most times if emergencies or other problems arrive. However, you can’t always guarantee that you will physically available for issues. Compare the costs of each key option and determine whether or not you can deal with a recurring cost – mailing keys – or a fixed cost – keypad installation.

The check-in process should be simple enough for guests, but definitely consider your own needs and limits in order to save yourself from unnecessary headaches.