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.

Winterize your Vacation Home in the Off Season

Written by: jess

Winter has arrived, the leaves have fallen, scarves are wrapped tight and the kids are cuddled up under blankets with mugs of piping hot cocoa. But, as a vacation rental owner, there’s still work to be done! Even if you’re not renting during the off-season, you’ll still want to make sure that your home is secure until next year. We’ve put together a check-list to ensure your home will hibernate safely during the winter months.

Security:
• Alert the post office that you will be gone so that your mail can be forwarded.
• Hire someone to check on the home every few days or every week to make sure there are no incidents.
• Make sure your alarm system is working properly.
• Hire a snow plow service to shovel after snow falls as snowy sidewalks are a giveaway that no one is home to burglars.
• Make sure you have a few exterior and interior lights on timers so it looks like someone is home at night.

Keeping Your Home safe in the Cold:
• Clean out gutters and install leaf blockers over gutters- this will help keep water away from your home.
• Prune any overhanging limbs that could cause damage during a storm.
• Remove screens and put up storm windows.
• Close swimming pool and store lawn furniture as well as the grill.
• Keep your thermostat at a cool 55 F, cool enough to not waste heat but warm enough so that pipes will not freeze and burst (!!)
• Prep your pipes by putting antifreeze down drains and toilets, wrapping pipes and leave water dripping ever so slightly out of a few faucets (make sure the drains are open!) to keep water flowing and prevent frozen pipes.
• Caulk holes around windows and weather strip around frames to make sure that no drafts get through.

One thing to consider before you go through the measures of winterizing is to try and find a long-term renter for the off-months, however long that may be. This way, you can still make some easy money on your second home while someone else can have the pleasure of enjoying it! If this is not a possibility, it’s never too early to start finding guests for the next season, so start advertising and putting the word out there about your vacation home.
But whatever you decide to do, make sure that your home is ready for the chill!

Posted in Rental Management, Tips & Tricks | Tagged , ,