Offering your home or cottage as a vacation rental is a great way to boost your income. If you're only using a property a few months a year it just makes sense.
The problem is how do you change your space into a unique vacation rental? Let's face it, any potential guest doesn't want to trip over your personal stuff. If you're going to transform it into a successful vacation spot you’ll need to make some changes. The space needs to feel warm, but less personal.
You'll want to start by decluttering before you start to think about changes to your decor to make it a unique vacation rental destination. Use our Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist to help you keep your space clean and organized for your guests.
Start by thinking about what you like in a vacation rental. You probably want an experience with a bit of luxury, not one that reminds you too much of home.
That's why decluttering and vacation rental cleaning are so important as a first step. The property needs a bit more of that hotel feel and a bit less of that family home feel to start with.
Any family heirlooms or items of sentimental value should be removed and stored in a safe.
Don't forget to clear out the closets, the kitchen drawers and cabinets. Anything that your gut tells you is clutter, probably is.
There are going to be many things you don't want to part with and that's okay. Look for creative ways to keep things out of view and out of the way of your guests.
Consider using existing hidden spaces in your home to your advantage. Examples may include the space under your stairs, your attic or your cellars.
In the under stair example, you may need to enclose the space and add an access door.
Wherever you choose to store personal things you want to keep in the home, it's a good idea to keep it locked. Most guests won't give a locked door more than a passing thought.
As you work through your decluttering and vacation rental cleaning tasks, start planning what you want your rental to look like when it is ready for paying visitors. What kind of style do you have in mind?
Are you thinking about a beach get away look, or perhaps a fishing lodge style?
Whichever way you go, think about personal Items you own that fit the theme. You don't have to get rid of everything if it matches what you want to achieve.
You may have to upgrade some things in your home during your vacation rental cleaning. Guests want a place that's new and fresh — much like you would find in a traditional hotel.
Make sure there are always clean white towels in abundance, clean sheets on the beds and a fresh roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.
The same goes for soaps, shampoos and toothpaste. Your guests expect fresh and new, not a half used bottle of mouthwash.
If you want to avoid too much waste from constantly buying items that don't get fully used, consider offering small one or two use items. With more available on standby.
As tempting as it is to make a kitchen cozy and intimate, resist that urge. Your potential guests don't want to see crowded countertops with knick-knacks and your fridge magnet collection from all over the globe.
Your fridge should be clear and the only thing on your countertops should be small appliances such as toasters, coffee makers and blenders.
The same applies to your cupboards and your drawers. Fill your drawers with essential utensils and nothing more.
It's okay to leave some complimentary snacks in your cupboards and staples such as sugar, but not much else.
Don't leave a half opened box of cookies behind, it just looks unprofessional — no matter how much you think your guests might appreciate the best cookies in the world!
Don't forget to include the fridge in your vacation rental cleaning. Condiments are fine and perhaps some bottled water. Clear out anything that's open and make sure it's nice and clean inside.
Your rental should be well stocked with all essential supplies for the duration of your guests visit.
Provide lots of clean towels, a change of sheets in the closet and extra toiletries.
In the kitchen include items such as complimentary coffee, condiments and perhaps some snacks. If your rental is a beach house you might want to make some beach games and other little extras available.
For those renting a fishing cottage you may want to consider providing fishing rods for use as well as canoes, kayaks or boats.
Whatever makes your rental attractive, look to capitalize on that and help them have the best experience possible whether it's fishing, beach days or anything else.
Those little extras can be the difference between return guests and one off renters that leave poor reviews. A small investment upfront can mean a large return on your investment (ROI).
We've already looked at some of the additions you can include in your rental to improve your ROI, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. The key is to really pay attention to every little detail. Your guests are looking for an experience that will provide them with a memory that will last a lifetime.
Turn your bedrooms into havens with comfy mattresses, immaculate bedding, soft pillows, clutter free dressing tables and empty drawers ready for use. Don't forget to turn living rooms and dens into rainy day paradises. Include items such as board games, video game consoles and access to entertainment through cable or satellite.
Finally don't forget to make sure you offer your guests reliable Wi-Fi. In our always on world it's no longer a luxury item, it's expected.