TripAdvisor Rentals’ inaugural Travelers’ Choice awards recognize our travel community’s favorite villas, cabins, cottages, beach houses and more across the globe. This year showcases 30 of the top rental homes in the world, ranging from a chic Parisian apartment and a serene beach house in Bali, to an unforgettable houseboat in Amsterdam, and a cozy studio nestled in Yosemite National Park. Winners are selected based on a number of factors, including quantity and quality of traveler reviews.
To celebrate the launch of the Travelers’ Choice Awards, our sister company TripAdvisor Rentals is giving away a FREE bucket-list trip to Bali. You and a lucky companion will get free flights, dates of your choice, and a 10-night stay at an award-winning villa, right in the heart of one of Bali’s most renowned destinations, Seminyak.
You could win a 10-night stay in the luxurious Villa Ziba, along with return flights and airport transfers for two. Travelers have called the rental “pure bliss,” “absolutely perfect,” and a “little piece of heaven.” Villa Ziba boasts a contemporary style, mixing strong Balinese and Scandinavian influence throughout.
Stunning materials like volcanic lava stone, massive teak wood, and hand-woven ikat textiles create a beautifully modern environment. The open-plan layout allows one room to spill gracefully into the next, as calmness and tranquility seep into every stone. The two master bedrooms overlook a large overflow pool, lush garden, and lotus pond. Picture yourself relaxing on the sun deck with a good book, or simply gazing out across the Lotus pond… Villa Ziba is a luxury retreat in every sense of the phrase.
There’s even butler service included—so no need to worry about cooking, ironing, or cleaning! The location of this property can’t be beat. It’s a short 10-minute walk to the Seminyak beach and less than five minutes to shops and dining.
Here’s what some previous guests had to say about Villa Ziba:
“I cannot recommend Ziba highly enough! We just got home from a wonderful 12 days at the villa, and it was pure bliss! Everything is as beautiful as the photos, so well maintained and clean, and the staff are amazing, so friendly and helpful throughout our stay! We will definitely be back for our next holiday in Bali!” – Kiera T, TripAdvisor reviewer
“Villa Ziba has everything to help make the vacation ‘over the top’. Decorated in the most tasteful and luxurious Bali/Scandinavian style. No expense is spared on this vacation home. Smart, modern and fresh. It has all the extras and special touches you would wish for in a home of your own.” – Agneta M, TripAdvisor reviewer
“We’ve just returned from a week at Villa Ziba and we already can’t wait to go back! … The facilities were top notch, from the huge, incredible pool to the bathrooms and kitchens. Villa Ziba’s location was perfect, just a 5 minute walk from Seminyak’s main shopping strip and the Bintang Supermarket, making it easy to stock up on snacks and drinks… As beautiful as the villa was, the real highlight of our stay was the wonderful team of staff who work from 7am until 10pm. They did an amazing job in keeping the villa spotless and were more than happy to help us with any queries.” – TripAdvisor reviewer
EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF BALI
A trip to Bali is a once-in-a-lifetime, cross-off-the-bucket-list type of adventure. Peaceful, postcard-perfect beaches dot the coastlines while lush jungle and rolling hills dominate the island’s interior. One of the most visitor-friendly locales in all of Indonesia, Bali not only features flawless beaches and weather, but endless leisure and cultural attractions too.
TripAdvisor Rentals is a leading platform where thousands of travelers find their perfect rental. Whether you’re looking for a stylish city apartment, spacious poolside villa or cozy cabin, we have the rental for you, no matter what your budget or where you want to be in the world. Using the power of TripAdvisor’s global travel community, TripAdvisor Rentals pairs the insider knowledge of our homeowners with the collective wisdom of millions of reviews. You’ll discover not only the best vacation rentals, but the best attractions, the best restaurants, and the best things to do.
TripAdvisor Rentals travelers always stay the smarter way, thanks to Payment Protection and a wealth of insider recommendations. With over 300 new reviews added every minute, TripAdvisor is an ever-growing resource where you can plan and book every part of your trip in one place. You can know better, book better, and go better. And rest assured that your vacation and your money is in safe hands with our Payment Protection.
After much anticipation, the grand prize stay for the ‘Eye Spy a Home in the Sky’ contest run by our sister company, TripAdvisor Rentals, is happening today!
Beatriz P. of Zaragoza, Spain won a once-in-a-lifetime experience, being the first person to ever stay aboard the famed Coca-Cola London Eye overnight. After nearly two decades—and over 60 million visitors—Beatriz will be the first to wake up above London as the sun rises over the Thames, in a luxury home created by TripAdvisor Rentals. After her stay on the Coca-Cola London Eye, she will be staying in a luxury rental in London for three additional nights.
Beatriz has chosen her 15-year-old son as her lucky companion on this money-can’t-buy experience. The pair has never traveled to London before, despite it being a long-term dream.
Stay tuned to this blog for exclusive video, images, and commentary from the event provided by the TripAdvisor team on the ground.
Update: 830am EST – The first ever images of the completed home on board this famous London landmark are in. The transformed capsule, designed by Wayfair, is a rainforest-inspired rooftop garden and offers a slice of serene paradise high above the bustling metropolis of London.
See the final, amazing look of the space!
* All photo credits in this shoot to David Parry/PA Wire
Update: 230pm EST – See our Facebook Live video offering an exclusive tour of our beautiful home in the sky.
Our sister company, TripAdvisor Rentals wants you to have the first EVER sleepover on the Coca-Cola London Eye.
If you’ve ever dreamed of soaring over London at night, with a bird’s eye view of Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, then get ready to pinch yourself.
TripAdvisor Rentals is offering the chance to be the first person ever to spend a night in the Coca-Cola London Eye. On May 17th, one winner and their chosen guest will climb aboard an exclusive sky-high home from TripAdvisor Rentals, decorated by Wayfair.
That’s right: we’re turning a capsule on the famous Coca-Cola London Eye into what’s sure to be the coolest rental home ever. And considering the number of properties available for rent on our site—835,000 and counting—that’s a big statement.
Surrounded by a panorama of the city’s most famous landmarks, this sky-high sleepover promises a night like no other. If you think a champagne toast in a London penthouse sounds like a dream come true, imagine cracking open the bubbly 443 feet above the city streets with a 360° view.
Decorated by Wayfair, one of the largest online destinations for the home, penthouse luxe meets jungle cool in this dazzling pad in the sky. Inspired by a five-star rain forest getaway, this enchanting glasshouse combines natural elements with urban style. Lush green foliage, trailing fairy lights, and tropical touches abound, while a posh bed, luxury linens, and boutique chic décor bring a whole new meaning to sleeping under the stars. It’s like a secret rooftop garden—only this one has views of one of the world’s iconic cities from every angle.
The Coca-Cola London Eye took its first rotation in 2000. But after nearly two decades—and over 60 million visitors—you could be the first to wake up above London as the sun rises over the Thames, the Houses of Parliament, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. You might have seen London from high up, but no one has experienced it like this.
Booking your own London getaway? Not to worry, TripAdvisor provides VIP London Eye experiences for travelers every day. Get the royal treatment by booking the “Skip the Line” package on TripAdvisor—you’ll bypass the queue with priority boarding for your rotation in a shared capsule—or the “Champagne Experience” for a special toast while you take in the view. Travelers looking to take it to the next level can even book a private capsule on TripAdvisor. Capsules fit up to 24 guests, making it perfect for an event or special occasion.
No matter where you’re heading, experience the best your destination has to offer—in addition to rentals, you can book thousands of tours and attractions on TripAdvisor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to enter:
Go to our Coca-Cola London Eye contest page and submit the required entry information.
When does the contest take place?
The contest is open from Monday, March 6 through Sunday, March 19.
How will the winner be chosen and when?
One winner will be chosen at random on Monday, March 20.
Who is eligible?
Legal residents of the United States, the District of Columbia and the countries of Canada, France, Germany, Spain and The United Kingdom, who are eighteen (18) years of age or older, or at least the legal age of majority in the state/country in which they reside at the time of entry.
Be sure that you’re available to travel to London, England between May 17 and May 22!
What is the Grand Prize?
Winner and one guest will receive round-trip transportation to London, England, one night stay on the Coca-Cola London Eye on May 17th, followed by 3 night’s stay at a TripAdvisor Rental in Central London.
Accommodation and air transportation are all subject to availability. Winner and guest must travel on the same itinerary and on the same dates.
As a rental property owner, you make many decisions about how to furnish and equip your property. You want it to be on budget, but also functional for your tenants. You want it to look nice for prospective renters, but also stand up to many different users. When it comes to choosing which window treatments to use for your rental property, deciding between blinds and shades is a close call. Window blinds and shades can come in a variety of price points, materials and styles. Here are the factors to consider for each type of window treatment.
When it comes to cost-effectiveness and practicality, blinds make the most sense for a rental property. Blinds are easier to clean, most are easy to replace, and they offer adequate privacy and light control for most places. Mini blinds are the most cost-effective for rental properties, but if you want to increase the aesthetic quality and durability for renter prospects, faux wood blinds are more stylish, more modern, and reasonably affordable.
Installing window blinds is a recommended route, depending on your rental property tenants. If you have college kids, young adults or a high lessee turnover rate, blinds are the best choice. If they get destroyed or dirty, or if they’re neglected, they’re easy and affordably replaced. However, if your property is a little higher end, and the tenants who typically occupy the rental property intend on living there for a while, shades could add some class.
Putting shades in your rental property can entice certain tenants, namely those who value quality and may be willing to pay for it. Faux wood blinds and certain types of treatments are perfectly acceptable window blinds, but shades allow for a little more privacy and light control, and they look a little nicer and more “high-end” when potential renters are making their decision. Roller shades, Roman shades, and solar shades each have their own merits when it comes to quality, privacy, and their ability to block light.
At the same time, shades are a bit more difficult to clean and replace. If they’re fabric shades, you might need a professional steam cleaner to come in and take care of them, depending on how dirty they have gotten. Most of them can’t simply be taken down and laundered. Roller shades are relatively cost effective, but in general shades can be a bit more expensive than most types of window blinds. If you decide to add shades to your rental property, make sure your renters are well vetted or that you have a sufficient security deposit.
Whichever route you choose, it’s important to keep an eye on your window treatments in between tenants, and perform any necessary cleaning and maintenance tasks. Taking care of your blinds or shades will help them last for many tenants to come.
Katie Laird is the Director of Social Marketing for Blinds.com and a frequent public speaker on Social Media Marketing, Social Customer Care and profitable company culture. An active blogger and early social technology adopter, you can find her online as ‘happykatie’ sharing home décor, yoga, parenting and vegetarian cooking tips. To see the window blinds and shades options for your rental property, visit the Blinds.com website.
At FlipKey, we value the importance of travel and cultural immersion as a way to learn about the world firsthand. To encourage this, we are awarding one student a $1,000 scholarship to put towards studying abroad. From tuition costs to plane tickets and spontaneous excursions in between, the scholarship money can be used to cover any of the expenses associated with studying and traveling abroad.
Hundreds of students submitted 1000 word essays describing why travel is important to him or her, and it was a difficult decision for our judges to make.
Congratulations to Morgan Gallogly of John Carroll University in Ohio who won the FlipKey Study Abroad Scholarship and $1000 towards her semester abroad next spring in London!
During an astronomy class my senior year of high school we were taught how constellations and asterisms were discovered and named. We learned how mythological stories attempted to explain human existence to the ancient Greeks who spent their nights curiously looking above and seeing the omnipotent eyes of Zeus looking down on them. It was in this class that I realized just how big the universe was. I understood for the first time that the earth was such a tiny piece of the cosmic jigsaw puzzle that was outer space. I felt small. I felt my problems and worries shrink to microscopic size. If the planet we live on, which itself seems so enormous, was just an infinitesimal part of a system that was much bigger, then why be anxious in the first place? Why worry? In the end, we are all a part of a tiny inner working of a planet that is floating through the paths of not only other planets, but other solar systems. What a beautiful concept, I remember thinking. As I leaned back in my plastic chair in the middle of a room full of other scared-to-grow-up seniors, I looked at the stars not only as celestial balls of heat, but as a reminder that there is more.
Only a couple of month after my experience in that class, I decided to get a tattoo. The thin, black string of delicate stars that now sits behind my left ear serves as a constant reminder that I am a small part of a bigger picture. My doubts and worries, in the grand scheme of things, do not matter. This concept has helped me through the stress that I place on myself. As someone who has battled anxiety and other forms of mental illness, this simple thought brings me so much peace. My friendly galactic tattoo is there to help me through those times of overanalyzing and self-doubt. I am reminded of my place in this universe. I am reminded to not allow a bout of anxiety keep me from discovering and exploring. Ultimately, I am reminded of my love for travel.
Travel has always been a passion of mine. I always appreciated how much I could see myself and those around me grow from having an experience one could only have outside of their personal comfort zone. Traveling is one of the only things that has this effect. It is one of the few times I can quell that tiny voice in my head telling me to remain safe and complacent in my own comfort zone. Being able to take that risk to explore reminds me of my astronomy class, which, in turn, reminds me of the true scale of my surroundings. We are only given a short time on a very small part of the universe. It is my true passion to investigate all that I can within my time on earth. When I go someplace new, even if it is just a new spot on my college campus, I try my best to appreciate every aspect of it. Trying and doing something different is not something that I take for granted anymore. Exploration has a great power to change us and travel is a rare and humbling experience in which you are reminded of your humanity. You are reminded that you are a small, but important, part of a large world.
There are a countless amount of ways that I could pretentiously and abstractly try to conceptualize the power of travel (some of which I am sure I have already utilized here). However, I can definitively say that there is a reason people love to explore. There is a reason why some love to try new foods, meet new people, and see new things. There is a reason that schools encourage students to spend a semester abroad and there is a reason why scholarships are available to help fund those semesters. Though these reasons may differ from person to person, I know that my reason lies within my passion for the world and the inner peace I find when I let myself stray from the ordinary and mundane. Through travel, we can see how different we all are and yet still see the similarities that weave us together as the collective inhabitants of a single planet. It changes us. It makes us grow in intelligence, perspective, and love. It makes us better equipped to understand the world in which we live. It gives us the tools we need to become better humans.
The stars have been burning in the sky a lot longer than we have been looking up at them. Each pocket of earth and space will go on existing, whether we choose to explore it or not. It is nearly impossible to experience and understand each part of our tiny planet. Imagining that we can see it all in one lifetime is a little farfetched. However, if we keep reinforcing travel’s importance into our cultures, we can slowly transform it into more than just something you may daydream about in astronomy class. Through my experiences around the world, both past and future, I hope that I will be able to say I made my cliché daydream of traveling the world a reality. Traveling has taught me that our soulmates in life can sometimes be cities, not people. It has shown me how to broaden my perspective, and it has challenged my thinking. It is difficult to articulate my obsession with traveling. It is hard to describe how much it has helped me. But it is easy to think about your own future and how you want to define your own success. That success, for me, does not include buying a large house, purchasing a fancy car, or owning all of the latest gadgets and technology. I do not dream of the value of things. I dream of the value of experiences. I dream of the world.
Need some bucket list inspiration? TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals is here to help.
If you’ve never considered renting out your property for extra income, then consider this: the amount of money you could make with one week’s worth of rental earnings could pay for your own bucket list vacation. Done jumping up and down? Now keep reading…
There is an iconic monologue in the movie Good Will Hunting where Robin Williams lectures a young Matt Damon about life. “I’ll bet you can’t tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel,” he says. “You’ve never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling.”
There’s a reason the writers chose that experience to emphasize their point. Smelling the Sistine Chapel. Because some things in this world – be it certain destinations, historical sites, specific attractions or activities – are so amazing that words cannot do them justice. Browse any avid traveler’s bucket list and you’re sure to find a plethora of these experiences. I’m sure you have one or two on your own bucket list at this exact moment.
What if we said you could check off some of those travel bucket list experiences without spending a dime? It’s not rocket science. Renting out your space is a great way to earn extra income. In fact, depending on where you live (or where your rental home, apartment, condo, etc is located), you can make a substantial amount.
EARNING POTENTIAL, US BEACH DESTINATION:
$2,587 per week for a two-bed property*
EARNING POTENTIAL, US CITY DESTINATION:
$2,343 per week for a two-bed property*
EARNING POTENTIAL, US MOUNTAIN DESTINATION:
$2,256 per week for a two-bed property*
To get your wanderlust juices flowing, here are 10 bucket list trips you could take with your rental earnings.
1. SIGHTSEEING IN CINQUE TERRE, ITALY
Italy is known for many things, one being the majestic coastal scenery and seaside towns that line the hillsides. None may be more picture-worthy than Cinque Terre. Ideal for sightseeing strolls (cars aren’t even allowed here), this gem in the Italian Riviera is sure to be on a bucket list or two. At just $1,489 for a weeklong stay in a two-bedroom rental in Cinque Terre, you’ll have nearly $1,000 extra bucks to spend on flights, attractions, dining and more.
Average weekly rate in Cinque Terre is based off 2016 data, June through August.
2. TREK THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU
Many bucket list trips involve doing something as opposed to just going somewhere. Well Cusco, Peru has a solution for both. Rent a two-bedroom home or apartment for the ridiculously low price of $393 per week on average; you’ll be minutes to the base of the Inca Trail, which leads you to Machu Picchu.
Average weekly rate in Cusco is based off 2016 data, June through August.
3. APRÈS SKI IN A SWISS ALPS CHALET
Winter fanatics know there’s no better trip than an après-ski getaway somewhere fun and filled with snow. Enter the Swiss Alps. Imagine hitting the slopes right out the front door of your ski-in, ski-out chalet rental. After an exhausting day of shredding, you retreat to the comforts of home: a full kitchen, living room or even outdoor area. A little music, a bottle of bubbly…now we’re talking. All this can be yours for just $1,688 per week for a two-bedroom rental in the Swiss Alps(February is the best time to go). Your rental earnings could cover that, and some.
Average weekly rate in the Swiss Alps reflects what the average weeklong stay cost travelers in February 2016.
4. CELEB SPOTTING ON COPACABANA BEACH, RIO
Copacabana Beach is one of Rio’s hottest (literally and figuratively speaking) hangout spots for celebrities and locals alike. Al fresco bars and restaurants line the sands while volleyballers, footballers, sunbathers, surfers and yachters bask in the glory of the Atlantic. But wait, with such star power isn’t it crazy expensive? Nope. A weeklong stay in a Rio two-bedroom will run you just $2,223 on average. Oh, and rumor has it there’s a certain big sporting event taking place there in August.
Average weekly rate in Rio de Janeiro is based off 2016 data, June through August.
5. SNORKEL OR DIVE THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
The coastal towns of Cairns and Port Douglas are prime gateways to Australia’s most beloved aquatic attraction. Words simply can’t describe what it’s like to gaze upon the colorful coral, surrounded by exotic fish species. We know, we know: it’s a long flight. However, find solace in the fact that you could have almost $1,000 leftover from your rental earnings to put towards airfare. A weeklong stay in a Cairns two-bedroom is just $1,361 on average, while Port Douglas two-bedrooms are $1,724 per week on average.
Average weekly rates in Cairns & Port Douglas are based off 2016 data, June through August.
6. A PALACE FOR AURORA BOREALIS
They say Iceland is one of, if not the best place to catch the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. The incredible sky show is visible almost eight months of the year, and your options of where to see it are vast. Stay in the capital city of Reykjavik for just $1,443 on average for a two-bedroom rental in September 2016 (one of the best months to see it). You may even be able to look out the window of your affordable palace and catch a glimpse. Just have your camera ready.
Average weekly rate in Reykjavik is based off September 2016 data.
7. TASTE YOUR WAY THROUGH CALIFORNIA’S WINE COUNTRY
Pick your poison: Pinot Noir? Merlot? How about a full-bodied Cab or refreshing Chardonnay? Smile at the incredible scenery of California’s wine country as flavorful tannins dance across your every taste bud. Why else are you smiling? Because you booked a two-bedroom vacation rental just minutes from the vineyards of Sonoma County. At the low cost of $1,685 per week on average, you’ll have extra dow from your rental earnings to buy yourself a few bottles to-go.
Average weekly rate in Sonoma County is based off 2016 data, June through August.
8. EXPERIENCE OKTOBERFEST IN MUNICH, GERMANY
Who doesn’t like a good pint? In Germany – especially during the famous Oktoberfest celebrations – they use that term loosely. Pint, gallon, massive boot…either way you’re getting a bucket list experience you won’t soon forget (though that may depend on how many boots you consume). Two-bedroom vacation rentals in Munich (the festival’s main hub) are just $1,827 per week on average during October 2016.
Average weekly rate in Munich is based off October 2016 data.
9. EXPLORE THE MAGIC OF MARRAKECH, MOROCCO
Marrakech was TripAdvisor’s 2015 winner for “Best Destination” as voted on by our traveler community. In 2016’s awards it took third place, so clearly there’s something to this magical city. Home to some of the most authentic markets and shops, Marrakech is mind-blowingly affordable. Stay in a two-bedroom rental for just $657 per week on average. Use the rest of your rental earnings for spending at those street markets.
Average weekly rate in Marrakech is based off 2016 data, June through August.
10. VISIT LONDON
Need we say more? The Crown Jewels, Buckingham Palace, Camden Market, Royal Opera House, Abbey Road, Oxford Street…in London, history collides with art, fashion, food and good British ale. The best part? You can stay in a swanky London loft for just $2,371 per week on average (two-bedroom rental).
Average weekly rate in London is based off 2016 data, June through August.
*Beach Destination reflects the median vacation rental rates for a weeklong stay in a 2BR property between March-December 2016, based off of five popular beach destinations: Ka’anapali ($3276), Laguna Beach ($2740), Miami Beach ($2587), Key West ($2335), Rehobeth Beach ($1553)
*City Destination reflects the median vacation rental rates for a weeklong stay in a 2BR property in 2016, based off of five major US cities: Louisville ($3,030), Philadelphia ($2427), Miami ($2343), Boston ($2189), Los Angeles ($1,651)
*Mountain Destination reflects the median vacation rental rates for a weeklong stay in a 2BR property between March-December 2016, based off of five popular mountain destinations: Vail ($3493), Park City ($2796), Jackson ($2256), Big Sky ($2018), Killington ($1838)
With more than 720,000 vacation homes available globally, TripAdvisor travelers are a bit spoiled when it comes to affordable accommodations. But believe it or not, there are still some destinations where the rental options are slim.
We’re revealing some of the best places in America to own a home if you’re looking to make extra money.
These 13 areas are amongst those where demand for vacation rentals most exceeds supply – meaning there’s a demand gap to fill and homeowners could benefit from it. Sunny Florida leads the charts with four of the top destinations. Not far behind are the up-and-coming Tennessee and hidden gem Alabama, with two destinations each. Eastern favorites dominate the ranking, with Galveston and Las Vegas representing for the rest of the country.
“If you happen to own property in the below cities, whether as your primary or secondary home, lucky you – homes here enjoy some of the highest traveler demand on TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals,” says Laurel Greatrix, TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals spokesperson.
“This means when you’re not home, either short-term or long-term, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding paying guests,” continues Greatrix. “Average two-bedroom rental rates in these cities vary from around $800 to upwards of $2,000 per week, offering a substantial extra income source to homeowners.”
Rental rate reflects the average price of a one-week stay in a one-, two-, three-, or four-bedroom home, respectively, and therefore the income potential for homeowners of each. Traveler interest reflects number of booking inquiries to the property listings in that destination compared to the national US average.
List your home for free on TripAdvisor Vacation Rentals and advertise your home on the world’s largest travel site. Your listing will be automatically translated to appear on 26 TripAdvisor sites around the world. And the best part – it’s free.
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Nearly 65 percent of households own a pet, and many can’t imagine leaving their cat or dog behind when they travel out of town. Nonetheless, many vacation rentals do not allow pets out of concern for potential damages. Thanks to home automation, pet-proofing your vacation rental has never been simpler. If you take the right precautions, your pet-friendly rental property can give you an advantage in the rental market, provide your guests a friendlier experience, and bring in up to 30 percent more rent than properties that don’t allow pets.
Here are six ways you can pet-proof your vacation rental and make a great impression with pet-loving renters.
Install Pet-monitoring Cameras
Traveling pets can be nervous, insecure, and more likely to display bad behavior in an unfamiliar place. It’s likely they will be left alone, if even for short periods of time, so making it possible for pet owners to monitor their pets remotely is a perk that can preserve your property and the sanity of your guests. Luckily, there are now plenty of awesome products that let your renters monitor their pet right from their smartphone. Outfit your rental with a Petzi Treat Cam or PetChatz, which use a camera, voice, and treat dispenser to soothe animals and prevent nervous chewing, scratching, and barking.
Maintain an Efficient Temperature
As animals are susceptible to extreme temperature changes, it’s important to maintain a comfortable environment in the home. Installing a smart thermostat, like Nest or Lyric, can keep both your renters and their pets happy. Depending on the length of their stay, a smart thermostat will learn their temperature preferences and adjust to them. Offer renters access to the app and they can check on and adjust the temperature remotely. You can also use automation apps and systems to remotely control fans outdoors or indoors. While smart thermostats cost around $200, the energy savings will reduce your energy bill and save you money in the end.
Add a Smart Dog Door
A dog door is essential for pets to get in and out of the property and avoid accidents when the owner isn’t around. But some renters may only want their dog, not their cat, to access the backyard, or may want their pet to access the backyard only during certain times of day. Simplify the solution with a smart dog door: only pets wearing the connected smart key can unlock the door. You’ll keep stray animals from coming inside and indoor pets from going outside. Smart dog doors cost between $80 and $150 and are generally simple to install.
Connect Motion Sensors with Alarms
Just because your rental property is pet-friendly doesn’t mean you can’t decorate your home with delicate art or fragile accent pieces. If you want to avoid cats or dogs from jumping on top of shelves, getting into cabinets with hazardous cleaning materials, or accessing other potentially harmful areas, use contact sensors. When pets approach, the sensor will trigger an alarm to keep the pet away. This will protect your valuables and keep your guests’ pets out of harm’s way. While smart Wi-Fi motion sensors cost nearly twice as much as traditional motion sensors — $40 versus $20 — they are simpler to automate.
Automate Toilet Seats
Most people don’t think about the potential dangers of an upright toilet seat unless they own a pet. Kittens could drown by accidentally jumping into the toilet, while dogs and cats could get sick after drinking from it. Luckily, there’s a simple solution: an automated toilet seat. This smart device ensures the toilet seat is always down when not in use, preventing any accidents. There are a few different types of smart toilet seats, including ones that are triggered by a toilet flush or by sensing motion. Smart toilet seats can cost anywhere from $70 to $300, depending on the features you want, but they are an impressive bathroom addition for humans and pets.
Provide Robotic Vacuums
While the last thing vacationers want to do is vacuum, a robotic vacuum is a great smart device to offer renters who like to keep the living area fur-free and the floors clear of dirt or other messes dragged in by paws. By running a robotic vacuum as needed, your renters don’t have to worry about dirty floors, splattered cat litter, or potential accidents. Even better, renters can run the vacuum when they’re away from the house and schedule it to turn off when they return. Robotic vacuums range from $150 to several hundred dollars, but double as a renter perk and a convenient cleaning supply.
Once you’ve pet-proofed your rental property with home automation and smart devices, you are ready to impress future renters with pets and offer them a comfortable experience they’re sure to remember — and recommend to fellow travelers with pets. Remember to mention these pet-friendly upgrades in your rental listing to promote your property in a unique way and attract more renters.
Clair Jones is a community safety and home security advocate with SafeWise.com, a site dedicated to helping everyday homeowners compare security systems to find the most affordable, functional, and convenient solution for their home and family. To read more of Clair’s writing and learn about how you can protect your home from intruders, natural disasters, and everyday household safety concerns, visit the SafeWise Blog.
You want to provide your guests with a perfect vacation experience. But by renting your property to those you don’t know, you are also exposing yourself to risk. A security deposit is a vital component of protecting your short-term rental property. The trick is finding the balance between enough money to cover potential damages and an amount small enough to put renters at ease.
Know the Basics
Since your rental agreement may only be a week or even just a night, it’s critical that you include everything necessary to protect your investment. It’s a good idea to consult a lawyer when drafting your agreement and be sure to include a clear description of the property and key contents, conduct that is prohibited, and how the property should be left at the end of the agreement.
The first step in determining a security deposit amount is to understand the law in your city and state. Some states limit the amount you can require for a security deposit as a multiple of the rent. Other states have no limit at all.
Here are some things to consider when deciding exactly how much to charge for a security deposit.
Price of Rent — Consider your weekly or daily rate when determining the right security deposit amount for your rental. Standard practice calls for 10 percent of the rental rate or $250 flat, but every property is different.
Value of Property — A rental property with expensive fixtures, countertops and appliances will require a higher security deposit. If something is damaged or broken, it will be costly to repair. Receipts from installation and remodel projects can help you substantiate a heftier security deposit.
Furnishings — The amount of your security deposit should take into consideration how your rental property is furnished. Furniture will often show wear and tear more quickly than other parts of the home and therefore need to be replaced more frequently. If you have a high-end rental with luxury grade furniture, take that into account when setting your deposit. Keep the receipts from furniture purchases to help establish a reasonable security deposit and proof of value should something need to be replaced.
Rental Instructions — Be sure to set clear expectations on how your guests should leave the rental upon departure. Leaving detailed instructions will help them understand your expectations and perform the tasks thoroughly. Print out instructions for areas such as the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms, and put them in page protectors. Store them where they can easily be seen.
Another option is to print out all of the instructions for your rental property and then store them in a binder. Note the location of the binder in your rental agreement. Making cleaning supplies available will ensure that guests have no excuse for not leaving it to your specifications. Additionally, it protects you from anyone using cleaning chemicals that are not appropriate for your space.
Documentation — In order to set your guests at ease, be transparent in your security deposit policies. Be clear about what you’re charging and why. Provide examples of property damage or excessive cleaning that may result in deductions from the security deposit. Show that their security deposit will be kept safe in a specific account and won’t be touched until the rental agreement ends, however long or short that might be. When renters feel that they have a complete understanding of the circumstances in which their security deposit may be used, they will feel comfortable writing a check.
Market Standard — Local real estate agents, lawyers, and other landlords can help you determine the appropriate amount to collect as a security deposit. To keep the marketability of your property in line with others, it is important to understand what is normal and customary in your area.
Do research and see what other short-term rentals are charging as a security deposit so that you are protecting your assets and still maintaining an attractive property for renters. You should also listen to your customers. Ask for feedback and read your online reviews to understand if you can make small changes to put future renters at ease.
Other fees — Are you also charging any other fees for cleaning or pets? These should be considered as well, since you don’t want to scare off renters with too many costs above and beyond your standard rates.
When dealing with security deposits, remember to be fair to your renters, recognizing that normal wear and tear is to be expected. Don’t forget to refund the security deposit to anyone who leaves the property in good condition—most states define when you need to refund the deposit, which may be as few as 14 days. Treat your guests as you’d want to be treated, and they’re likely to choose your property for their next vacation and encourage their friends to do the same.
About the Author
Bonnie Joy Dewkett is a professional organizer and writer for Quill.com. She shares cleaning & organizing tips for homes and businesses alike as The Joyful Organizer.
The vacation rental market is booming, but it can be hard to make your property stand out — especially if there are similar homes for rent nearby. If you’re looking for ways to appeal to modern renters, home automation features that improve the comfort, style, and convenience of your vacation home are sure to give you a leg above the competition. While home automation requires an initial investment, being able to market your property as a “smart home” attracts more renters and allows you to charge more per day.
Here are several affordable home automation boosts that can instantly increase the appeal of your vacation rental in todays’ competitive market.
Home Automation to Boost Comfort and Convenience
Vacation home renters, above all else, are looking to have an enjoyable, worry-free, and comfortable stay in your home. While inspiring décor, quality linens, and a well-maintained, clean home are key, these amenities are likely available at any vacation rental. To set your property apart, consider adding a smart lighting system and thermostat that allow your guests to remain comfortable at the touch of a button no matter where they are in the home.
Smart lighting systems allow your guests to control the lighting in the entire home using a remote, or even their smart phone. Most systems allow for the adjustment of light intensity, direction, pattern, and color, while some advanced systems even allow guests to sync lighting with their favorite music or movie. Integrated lighting systems can also help you make a great first impression by welcoming guests to your home with outdoor or indoor lights that are already illuminated should they arrive after dark.
Another marketable perk of an automated rental is that guests can easily regulate the temperature of the home to their liking; depending on the length of their stay, a smart thermostat will learn their preferences and automatically adjust to them. You can also easily schedule the smart thermostat to ensure your property is warm or cool upon your guests’ arrival, depending on the weather. Most Smart thermostats cost around $200 and are easy to install yourself. As an added bonus, smart thermostats and lighting systems can cut down on energy usage, resulting in a lower gas and electricity bill.
Home Automation to Suite Your Location and Target Customer
To garner the most return on your home automation investment, you must thoughtfully consider which smart home features will appeal to your guests based on the location of your rental and the type of guest you ideally want to attract.
For a big-city property, for example, your goal may be to attract luxury renters who are travelling for business, pleasure, or a special event. Luxury renters enjoy upscale amenities like motorized shades and curtains, smart kitchen appliances, remote-controlled fireplaces, and automated shower preferences for easy adjustment of water pressure and temperature. City renters might also appreciate a high-quality automated sound system, like the Amazon Echo, or a white noise machine to help drown out the hustle and bustle of the city and set the mood.
If your property is outside of town – a cabin, island bungalo, or destination rental, for instance — and offers fewer options for nearby activities, a home theater experience can encourage guests to rent out the property longer or recommend it to friends. When tailoring your home automation investments to your property, also consider the typical weather, humidity level, and temperature of your vacation home. Installing heated flooring in your cabin in the mountains, or a misting system on the patio of your tropical villa is a cherry-on-top bonus that is sure to attract more renters.
Home Automation to Boost Your Property’s Safety and Security
Adding a home security system can increase your property’s security when it is vacant, and also helps guests feel more secure during their stay. Most home security systems easily integrate with an existing home automation hub, taking the guesswork out of setting up home security for guests and making it easy to arm and disarm the system.
Whether you just want to simplify the check-in process by incorporating smart locks that allow guests to gain access to the home without exchanging keys, or want to prevent property crime and theft by allowing guests to engage an alarm system when they are not in the home, there are a wide variety of affordable security solutions available. Along with checking on the status of your system, you can set up alerts that notify you in the event of a fire, carbon monoxide leak, or other serious issues.
By adding smart technology to your vacation property, you can stay ahead of the competition in the vacation rental market, charge a higher rate, and provide an exceptional experience for your guests that will encourage them to return for another stay in the future and recommend the property to friends. Get started with these simple and inexpensive upgrades and increase your home‘s appeal for the 2016 rental season.
Clair Jones is a community safety and home security advocate with SafeWise.com, a site dedicated to helping everyday homeowners compare security systems to find the most affordable, functional, and convenient solution for their home and family. To read more of Clair’s writing and learn about how you can protect your home from intruders, natural disasters, and everyday household safety concerns, visit the SafeWise Blog.
FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 240,000 rentals around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.