Hilary Bird is a digital journalist who writes about the things that fascinate her the most: relationships, technology, and traveling – and how they all impact each other. She is an avid writer for multiple tech and lifestyle publications, including VentureBeat, MediaPost, and The Sociable.
As a vacation rental manager, you understand how important it is to have your property ready for guests. Keeping up with cleaning and maintenance, prepping the house with necessities, and facilitating a smooth booking and check-in process are key to ensuring a successful stay for your guests.
So, why are you not getting the rave reviews and happy customers you expect?
Obviously, a well-managed property is important. But that only covers the bare minimum. Your guests expect a clean home and well-managed process. Instead, it is the little details that will set you apart from the competition and make a lasting impact on your guests.
Do these five small things to make a big impression and keep guests coming back for more.
1. Put your best foot forward
Get your rental off to the right start by making a good first impression from the moment guests arrive.
Evaluate your front steps and entryway. Is the address clearly marked? Does the entry have a table or hooks for keys and jackets? Does the key fit smoothly in the lock? Are the front steps well lit?
You want guests to feel at home the moment they step onto your property, so the entry should be clean, inviting, and easy to access.
To accomplish this, consider adding flourishes like these:
- A welcome mat
- A coat rack
- A door wreath
- A fresh coat of paint on the door
Keep in mind that the exterior can be just as important as the interior. Make sure the landscape is well-maintained. Trim the hedges, weed any green areas, and mow the lawn if you have one.
You should also keep the front walkway and porch well lit. This not only makes the home more inviting but also improves safety as guests walk to the house.
By polishing these details, you can help your guests begin their stay on a positive note.
2. Provide a welcome packet
A welcome packet is a simple touch that can go a long way to orienting your guests to the space and making them feel comfortable. A typical welcome book or packet will include details about the home, as well as information about the area.
Here are a few must-haves in your welcome packet:
- A personal “Hello!” and welcome message from you
- Check-in and check-out information (e.g., process, dates, times)
- Accommodation info, including any policies or rules for the stay
- Instructions on how to use amenities
The goal is to help guests take full advantage of the rental property and optimize their vacation experience.
To really shine, provide an activity guide or area resources. Recommend places to eat or sightsee, and offer practical tips about public transit, parking, and local culture.
Details like these will set you apart from the competition and add that wow factor for your guests.
3. Check your internet connection
Unless your rental property brands itself as a digital getaway experience, you need fast, reliable internet.
Guests will notice right away if the Wi-Fi is spotty or slow, and this could affect their lasting impressions (and reviews) of their stay. Therefore, a strong internet connection is a must.
This is especially important if you include internet-supported cable and streaming services on your TV (which you should). To provide the best experience for your guests, opt for a faster internet service like fibre-optic internet, which can take a two-hour HD movie download from several minutes down to just under 20 seconds. That’s a lot of Netflix in a little amount of time!
4. Make amenities easily accessible
If you want guests to feel at home, you need to make both amenities and necessities easy to find and easy to use.
Keep the TV remotes by the TV. Clearly note the Wi-Fi password—either in your welcome packet or another obvious location (like the entry table or computer). If you have a garage code, clearly mark it in the welcome packet or another help sheet.
Additionally, make sure toiletries are freshly stocked and easy to find. Store extra toilet paper under the bathroom sink or in the bathroom closet.
Keep paper towels or napkins in the kitchen. Supply basic cleaning products like dishwasher detergent and soap and leave a broom and dustpan in the closet for guests to use if needed.
By anticipating needs and taking the guesswork out of the stay, you can prevent frustrations and help your guests settle in comfortably.
5. Add some finishing touches
Turn your house into a home by adding cozy and practical details.
Add throw blankets to the sofa for guests to snuggle into after a long day of sightseeing. Provide an umbrella or complimentary house slippers by the front door. Stock your shelves with good books, especially beach reads and cozy mysteries, for your guests to peruse and enjoy.
You could even theme decor according to the season. For instance, in the fall or winter, you could use warmer flannel bedsheets or seasonal colors to add a pop of cheer.
Remember, they chose you over a hotel. So add those small homey touches and amenities that guests won’t find at a big hotel chain.
In today’s competitive vacation rental market, every detail counts. Customers spend 31% more on businesses with “excellent” reviews. So give your guests something to write home about! Sweat the small stuff to leave your guests happier and watch your ratings soar.