Word of mouth from happy guests and returning guests naturally helps boost bookings for your vacation rental home. While location of the rental may be a key influencer for bookings, how that rental home is furnished and maintained also makes a huge difference.
Know Your Target Guests
Every rental home has a target market. A penthouse condo in Riviera Nayarit with space for 10+ may attract vacationing families or a friends’ retreat, while a luxury cabin in Big Bear may be perfect for a couple’s getaway. If your vacation rental home sleeps ten or more, it’s going to target a different market than one with one or two bedrooms and a more intimate square footage.
Does your rental allow pets? That’s a selling feature important to certain guests when booking. How close is the rental to the beach? Does the building have on-site amenities like a pool, fitness center, or restaurant? Is it a ski-in, ski-out rental? These types of questions help you learn who your target guests are. Once you determine your target guests, it becomes easier to select the furnishings for your rental home.
Design with a Theme
Is it all about the destination? Often, yes. Guests typically choose a vacation rental based on the desire to visit a specific destination. From La Paz to Santa Barbara, if your rental doesn’t reflect its location, potential guests may bypass it when scrolling through the pictures.
Got a place near the beach? Design with a coastal theme to reflect the location. Think light color palette with blues, seafoam, and sandy neutrals. Avoid dark, heavy furniture and opt for clean lines, glass or see-through tables, and floating shelves versus bookcases that may block sightlines and make the room feel less spacious.
Infuse the Space with Personality
Rental homes that attract the most bookings have that extra something, an element that stands out among the many options available to guests seeking a getaway. When decorating and selecting furnishings for your rental home, be sure to infuse the space with personality. Forget cookie-cutter looks. You know the ones, those rentals where everything is “matchy-matchy”.
Look at the overall design theme and incorporate unique elements to add flair and pop of personality. For a coastal theme, driftwood art and bamboo or wicker elements crafted locally can make an impact. Look to local artisans for bespoke pieces that will make the space feel extra special. Little touches like a hand-woven blanket throw, ceramic mugs displayed on the kitchen counter, and a photo mural of local scenery will stand out and be appreciated by guests.
Inspiration is key, whether it’s an initial design before the first guest books or when redesigning a space to help boost the number of bookings for the year. One of the best places to start when seeking interior design inspiration—online. With the few taps of the keyboard you can see dozens of completed room designs, color palettes, and individual pieces that can bring inspiration to the furnishings of your rental home.
Keep your online search concise with specific keywords to narrow the field. Try keyword combinations like:
- Coastal interior design ideas
- Beach-inspired rooms
- Mountain retreat design tips
- Southwest desert-inspired designs
Visit our Pinterest page for dozens of great design inspirations, from elegant outdoor living spaces to themed interiors that celebrate the diverse and amazing locations of our rentals.
Furniture and Design Elements that Last
A beach retreat is going to see sand tracked in, while a condo near the ski lift needs to protect its entrances from moisture that can cause damage. A great rental has regular usage, and that’s what you want—regular bookings. However, high traffic can lead to wear and tear on the home’s furnishings. In an area with snow? Create a space specific for boots and outerwear that keeps the wet away from the living space.
Keep durability in mind when selecting furniture and other elements like area rugs, flooring, countertop materials, and even cabinet pulls. Investing in durable furnishings may come with a higher price tag at the time of purchase, but longevity makes it worth it. Well-made, sturdy pieces designed to withstand high traffic or usage can save the homeowner money in the long run. Durability means it will look nice longer, which reduces the need for replacements.
Create Zones and Open Sight Lines
Arranging furniture to create zones and open sight lines has an impact when a guest first enters your rental home. Zones can be helpful for any size of home, from a cozy condo to a sprawling estate with multiple levels. Guests booking a vacation rental appreciate walking into a home with a cohesive design theme and that includes zones for different stages of the day or types of activities.
Create a comfy relaxation zone in the main living area by angling chairs and sofa toward each other and/or the fireplace. Don’t forget soft area rugs, cozy throw blankets, and large pillows for floor seating. In the kitchen, a conversation zone near the center island or bar counter is ideal. This typically is a place where guests naturally gather, so be sure to include stools and to keep the clutter in this area to a minimum.
Sight lines are as important as the right zones. If a Cancun condo has a spectacular ocean view, you want those sight lines to have an unobstructed view. That view is the wow factor. Ocean and golf course views, balconies, gardens, and walk-outs to private pools are all sights that need to be seen.
Anticipating Guest Needs
Return guests and happy guests who spread the word about how fabulous your rental is, are two of the most important factors for increased bookings. Anticipating your guests’ needs gets this done. One of the easiest ways to figure out what the guest may need, is to put yourself in their shoes. What would you want/need if you were staying in a rental home for the first time? What are the little things that would bring joy or maybe surprise you?
The added touches make the difference. A few ideas include but are not limited to:
- White board or chalk board in the kitchen with a few recommendations for local restaurants or attractions
- An amenities basket in each bathroom with extra personal care items
- Spare beach towels, water bottles, and sunscreen
- Neatly stacked wood for a wood-burning stove or fireplace, and even a bag of marshmallows with skewers
- Spa-inspired items in the en-suite bath; candles, bath salts, and fluffy robes/slippers
Don’t forget about the basics. Does the coffee maker have special instructions? Is garbage picked up on Tuesdays? Are there extra towels in the lower cabinet of the guest bath? If you can anticipate your guests’ needs, it’s likely their overall approval will be higher than average. Higher than average approval ratings lead to more bookings.
Owners of vacation rental homes don’t have to go it alone. Casago, an industry leader in property management is there for you. If you’re new to owning a vacation rental property, let us do some of the heavy lifting. Take a look at our standards and see how we can help.