As the popularity of vacation rentals continues to rise — Airbnb boasts more than 24,000 listings in the United States alone — people are investing in their own home away from home. And because you can’t stay at your getaway all year long, renting that beach house, ski slope-adjacent condo, or quiet mountaintop cabin is a logical, economical choice for many vacation-home owners.
Grand Opening, Grand Closing
Whether it’s your first season or your 20th, a well-maintained vacation home shouldn’t take more than a day to get in shape, assuming no major repairs are needed. Home Logic offers a great checklist to guide you through opening and closing your home.
If your rental is convenient to your residence, maintenance will be less of an issue. Likewise for performing host duties for guests. But if your property is too far away, hiring a caretaker whom you trust will be essential. The Vacation Rental Management Association offers a seemingly endless supply of resources for property managers and owners alike, from industry trends to business best practices, and is the perfect place to begin your search for a caretaker to manage your property.
Second only to location, amenities can make or break a vacation rental’s comfort and, therefore, its popularity. Here are a few must-haves that will make your cozy condo rival that four-star resort at the other end of the beach.
Kitchen + Utility
Since you likely won’t be offering room service to guests, a kitchen or kitchenette stocked with the essentials will make their stay a bit more homey. Here are seven must-haves for a great little kitchen.
(Clockwise from top left) Mix and match thrift shop dishware finds, or stock up on a set or two when you see them on sale. Choose shatterproof melamine or Corelle® and eliminate worry about broken dishes. Stock up on cooking essentials such as a good set of pots and pans, utensils, spices and other dry ingredients. A high-tech countertop microwave is a do-it-all requirement, especially if other kitchen resources are limited. A stacking washer and dryer set is great for guests and even better for you. Basic utility items such as a broom, dust bin, trash bags and cleaning supplies (include everything you would want on-hand when you reset the home between guests). Set up a coffee and tea bar with a simple Keurig® and all the usual accoutrements. Space-saving seating like a dinette set with benches or a built-in banquette is a perfect multi-use addition.
Imagine you’ve just arrived at your beachside bungalow. The forecast was great … until it wasn’t! There’s always the possibility that foul weather will keep your guests stuck inside for a day. A well-appointed living room is an ideal way to save the day.
Begin with comfy furniture such as a space-maximizing sectional or sleeper sofa in a durable, easy-to-clean fabric. Add ample lighting with lamps and overhead fixtures, and complete your seating area with a sizable coffee table or side tables. Entertainment options are more affordable than ever; a connected entertainment hub is a priceless amenity for guests, bad weather or not. Start with strong Wi-Fi and a charging station for phones and other devices (bonus points for supplying extra cords). Add a flat-screen TV with entertainment apps like Netflix or an Apple TV, a PlayStation® that doubles as a DVD player, and maybe even an old-school Nintendo®! And for a little analog entertainment, stock a bookcase with games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Connect Four, as well as a few card games. And, of course, no well-stocked bookcase is complete without books.
Bedroom & Bathroom
When it comes to the guest bed and bath, consider one word: Overstocked. Whether guests are staying a couple of days or a couple of weeks, having a linen closet that rivals a small Bed, Bath & Beyond is certain to make life easier. Be sure to have at least one extra set of sheets for each bed in the home, as well as a few bonus blankets and pillows. In the bath, provide plenty of hand towels and washcloths, and have two bath towels per guest per day on hand. If storage is limited, make sure guests know how to contact you in advance for additional linens.
For additional amenities, take a cue from the best hotel you’ve ever stayed in. An empty closet stocked with hangers, an iron and ironing board, and a luggage rack make the packing and unpacking part of the trip so much easier. Offer travel-size sets of toiletry must-haves like soap, lotion, facial cleanser, shampoo and conditioner.