Top Ten Vacation Rental Tips

Whether you’re a Delaware Beach rentals owner or staying at Rehoboth Beach rentals, here are our Top 10 Tips on how to attract Guests who want to come back, or Guests – what to look for in the ideal vacation rental.

10. Gathering with Friends and Family

Vacation rental properties are all about gathering with friends and family groups, large and small. Look for screened in porches, indoor and outdoor dining options, pool areas, back yards, balconies, dens, additional dens, family rooms, eat in kitchens and so on.

For the above mentioned gathering spaces, is the capacity suited to the sleeping occupancy of the property? Whether it’s the size of the dining table, seating capacity of the sofa, number of dishes in the kitchen cupboards, number of bathrooms and so on, is the amenity suitably sized for the property’s occupancy? Or are you going to have to eat in one room and the kids in another doing everything else but eating their broccoli?

9. Kitchens and Bathrooms Sell Houses

Your Realtor knows this better than anyone!

What goes for a house sale applies equally to a house that’s to be ‘sold’ (booked) as a vacation rental.

The size, location, quality, and contemporary appeal of kitchens and bathrooms must be a priority in vacation rental property set up budget.

8. Vacation Rental Kitchen Supplies

Rehoboth Beach Vacation Rental

Where to start on this one? OK. Kitchens again. Make sure that there is a good, no scratch that, very, very good supply of kitchen equipment so that Guests can cook, bake, grill, serve, and clean up from the cooking that they do on vacation. Yes, Vacation Rental Guests cook. A lot. Put yourself in the shoes of someone charged with organizing the vacation. That’s hard enough, right? You know what’s harder? Getting the whole crew up, washed, ready, and out the door daily for restaurant reservations. That’s if you can get everyone to agree on where to eat. Guests love to experience local restaurants on vacation. Guests also love to gather in the property they rented and relax with the whole group in an informal setting. Hence they cook. A lot. While I’m ranting – make sure that your cookware is not scratched, dented, and past its sell by date. Make sure that there is a good set of kitchen knives kept sharp! Inspect kitchen supplies frequently. Replace as necessary. Repeat.

7. What’s In Your Cupboard?

Property Owners, and Guests – open the cupboards everywhere in the house. What’s in them? Should it be there? Should it be empty? Not every cabinet in the kitchen should be crammed full of disorganized clutter. Leave a few cabinets empty so that Guests can store groceries. Make sure the fridge and freezer is empty for each Guest arrival. No one wants to guess how old that jar of pickles or Olive Oil is. Leave nothing perishable at the property unless it is a Concierge item specifically procured for an incoming Guest use during their stay (then trashed after they leave). Bedroom and bathroom closets, cabinets, chests – eliminate random household flotsam and jetsom. No Owner personal items in these storage spaces, ever! Throw out old paint cans and left over rolls of carpet. Remove the Owner shampoo and medications from bathrooms! Eww!

6. Beds in Vacation Rentals

Bed Choices:

Have as many king beds at the property that space and budget allows. Many Guests do not have a king bed at home and it’s a vacation luxury that would keep me coming back for sure!

Ditch the full size beds. Be gone! No one with a set of adult teeth wants to sleep in a full bed. Banish the full bed! Unless of course that’s all that will fit in the room. Honestly, if that’s all that will fit in the room, is that room a good fit for a vacation rental? Just sayin’

Bunk Beds are the bain of a vacation rental manager/housekeeper’s life. Kids may love them (the jury is out on that claim for me), we hate them! It’s really, really hard to make a bunk bed look crisp, smooth, well-made. Kind of like that shock you get when you put a slipcover on a sofa and realize it’s never gonna look like the picture on the packaging. Not even Martha Stewart could make it work. Trust me. Also, depending on the frame of a bunk bed, many such as the popular tubular steel variety are quite wobbly and unstable, needing to be cable tied to the wall to prevent being pulled over when climbing in. Best avoid bunk beds. While we’re at it. Get rid of day beds. The problem’s in the name people! Day. Bed. Who wants to spend their day in bed? OK, some days – there was that one lost day in Iceland 1998 involving a bottle of Sambuca, a box of Fazer Mints and zero daylight. Most vacation days, however are not intended to be spent in bed. Day Beds are a completely disfunctional furniture design. Best opt for a (queen) sleeper sofa, or Murphy Bed if you’re looking for bed alternatives in furniture choices.

5. Bedding in Vacation Rentals

Sheets and Towels – I’m going out on a limb here and going to say, Owners – opt for a local linen service to provide fresh sheets, pillowcases, and towels for each stay. Guests – if you don’t want the hassle of bringing your own sheets and towels, book a property that includes a linen service.

What Is On The Bed? I’m talking blankets, comforters, coverlets, duvets, duvet covers, and quilts. Is it clean? Is it attractive? Is it in good shape? How old is it? How often is it washed? Is it appropriate for the location climate? Enough said.

4. Beyonce Was Close – Put a Label On It!

Property Owners, invest in a quality label machine. You can pick them up easily – Staples, Office Depot, Amazon. Then go to work. Label. Everything. Discretely. Think of the poor Guest arriving into an unfamiliar property. What does that light switch work? Where do I put the wine glasses I just washed? Where is the hairdryer located? Which remote works which TV? Yes, label your cabinets! For aesthetic reasons we recommend labelling the inside of a cabinet door, or inside top lip of a drawer with basic information on what would be found, and replaced in that storage space. Label Owner closets or rooms in the property that are locked from Guest use. Don’t risk someone inadvertently damaging a locked door because they think it’s stuck when it’s really a locked Owner Storage Closet/Room. One recommendation on picking a location for an Owner Closet. Avoid using the room with the property circuit breaker location as your locked up Owner Storage location for obvious reasons.

3. Closets – Not as Important As You Think

OK, for resale value we concede that the bigger, the more walk in/about ability the better when it comes to bedroom closets. For vacation rental purposes, however, closets are nowhere near being used as much as you think. Most Guests do not use the closets. They live out of suitcases if there’s not enough storage or hooks to hang things on directly in the bedroom. Yes. We have the data to prove it! So, why not get rid of a walk in closet or ban that small, slider door nightmare of a closet solution? Open that useless space up and make the room bigger! We’ve seen some Interior Designers turn a closet into an additional bedroom! Oh yeah!

2. Furniture – You Don’t Need As Much As You Think!

Run with me here. OK, walk into one of the rooms in your vacation rental. Assess the purpose of the room. Let’s go with living room/sitting room. Sit on the furniture that’s provided as a seating option. Is it comfortable? Does it look good as well as work well for the space? Let’s try putting down that coffee cup/wine glass we’re holding. Oh! Right. There’s no end table or coffee table is there? Let’s cosy up in bed. I want to read. You want to sleep. Wait a minute! There’s only one nightstand next to the bed and it’s on your side and you have the only lamp on your only nightstand. Gee honey, guess we’re both sleeping the. Can you hit the light? Ugh! He’s snoring already. Now I have to get up, walk all the way around his rasping ass to switch off the light, then stumble back to my side of the bed in the dark. Great I stubbed my toe and now the kids/dogs are awake, while he’s still sleeping.

Now we’re warming up. You see for many vacation rental properties there’s usually too much of the wrong furniture inside. Vacation Rentals are different to long term rentals. A vacation rental should not be the end of the line dumping ground for all that old mis-matched furniture an Owner has accrued from various life phases and residences. Vacation Rental furniture must be intentionally placed for Guest needs and Guest comfort. Yes, that goes for lighting too.

1. Coordinated Design Aesthetic

I saved the best until last! There is no charm to Grandma’s floral bedspreads, Margaritaville wall colors, and as said above, mis-matched thrift store vibe. Take a look at the property as a whole (hopefully not as a hole). Is there a clear viewpoint to the property. Hey – if Margaritaville is your thing, and you’re looking a Margaritaville, have at it. No snooty design judgements here. Let me pose an alternative though. Look at the high end hotel chains. Every 3 to 5 years a hotel undergoes a P.I.P., or Performance Improvement Plan. Basically, the Owner/Manager re-invests part of their recurring income into a renovation of the property, not only to refresh tired amenities, but also to keep the overall look and feel of the property contemporary, and in line with evolving Guest needs. Hotel Interior Designers are geniuses at paring the amount of furniture in a hotel suite/room down to just the right amount, scale, and function for the space.

Regarding thrifting, or including family heirloom pieces in a vacation rental. We’re big fans of thrifting. We’re particularly fond of mid-century modern furniture. The simple, clean lines match in with any dĂ©cor, property style, or location. We don’t cross a line into Mad Men stage set geography though. That’s my point with period or thrift pieces. Build a room using one or two period pieces, then to avoid looking like a yard/tag sale, mix in contemporary pieces too!

Paint colors. We recommend white or light gray for walls and not just because grays are having their day currently. Gray and white walls photograh the best allowing the room/property to how itself to prospective Guests. Save your crazy colors for your accessories you krazy kids!

Don’t forget the outdoors when it comes to your Interior Design. Form and function people! What does that gorgeous interior property look like from the outside when your Guests pull up? I’ve been in this position myself as a vacation rental Guest. We’re driving down a street, glancing at the GPS, scanning the properties on the street. With each nice house you pass, you think, “Ooh! I hope it’s that one.” Then your heart sinks. You see the dog, or cluster of dogs on a street and you think, “Ugh! Please don’t let it be that one!” No surprises people. Curb appeal is as important as interior appeal!