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.

A Booking Doesn’t Make Us Happy

Learning How To Generate More Bookings, Though, Generally Does

Guest post written by: Matt Landau, founder of Vacation Rental Marketing Blog

Here is one of the great themes that I have concluded (and have had validated from many great rental marketers): just generating more bookings is not gratifying.

Signing up for a listing site or writing an ad on Craigslist takes minimal effort and is accessible to every vacation rental owner or manager around the world.

In the great proverb, “give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime,” just accruing bookings means you’re eating for the day.

But when you learn how to generate bookings for yourself – when you decide to take a journey on the education train and accept a challenge that’s probably slightly above your skill level – there is not only the sustainable nourishment that will fuel your rentals over the long haul. This includes (but is not limited to) building your own website, learning about online PR, establishing relationships with locals…etc.

Further, there is a great sense of pride, accomplishment, and gratification along the way of building your own vacation rental marketing portfolio.

Some of the best moments I’ve experienced with my rentals is an intangible happiness I get from finding new ways to fill my rentals. For most owners, the fear of failure is strong enough to keep them away from learning new skills. So when you learn to compliment reliable channels like a FlipKey listing with more innovative techniques, you’ve already set yourself apart from the competition.

But if I could point at one philosophy that has not just made me more money but made the process itself a satisfying and enlightening one, it would be this one.

Matt Landau is the founder of the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog and this excerpt is taken from his newest eBook, The Eureka Effect: How Good Vacation Rentals Become Great available now.