If you have ever stayed in an AIRBNB or VRBO, you have probably left, at least ONE of them thinking to yourself …. “it would have been great IF they had (BLANK)” What was it? Cleaner environment? Better stocked kitchen? More chairs? Cozier rooms? A coffee pot? Softer towels? The list can go on ….
I have decorated, designed and “staged” several AIRBNBs and when I work with my clients I tell them to think of what THEY would like in an AIRBNB and more often than not, that is what your GUESTS would like as well. I tell my clients that the “staging” and decorating process is very similar to that of selling a home. EVERYONE looks online prior to choosing which AIRBNB they would like to rent. But what do people look for in a VRBO/AIRBNB? Maybe reviews of what prior guests thought? Photographs of what the place looks like? Location? or maybe the amenities that are included?
It is important to think of these things when setting up your AIRBNB/VRBO. Equally important is having amazing photos representing your rental online. Once you start having guests, be sure to capture testimonials because we ALL read them!! Lastly, make sure your guests have all the comforts of home in your rental. This is, of course, a place where your guests will be staying for 2 to 3 days or maybe even 7 to 10 days. The goal is to make your AIRBNB not only stand out from the other vacation rentals, but… so much so, that they will want to return every time to yours!!
In this blog, I will be addressing tips on what to include IN your VRBO or AIRBNB (we’ll refer this as your “vacation rental”). Also for this blog’s sake, we will be focusing on rentals typically for adults, couples, groups of friends, etc. For a future blog, I’d like to share tips on how to furnish and setup AIRBNBs to accommodate families with children of all ages.
The following are my 6 tips and “must haves” that I suggest to my clients when setting up their vacation rentals:
The living room will be the first place your guests will see when they walk into your rental. Is it inviting? It is important to create a warm and welcoming space, since this will probably be an area where everyone will gather for majority of their stay. Include plenty of seating, a comfortable couch with lots of pillows, a coffee table large enough to put things on and sit around. Add plenty of lights, plush rugs and eye-pleasing accessories. In addition to a tv, maybe have an Amazon Fire TV stick. Who doesn’t have an Amazon account these days? For those guests who aren’t tv bingers, having a setup of some activities on the coffee table would be nice too. Maybe a couple of classic books, magazines, puzzle books or even those detailed adult coloring books with colored pencils. Adding a basket of fun mini games would give your guests some other options of entertainment. I would suggest smaller games that do not require a lot of work to take out or put away – some ideas would be like a box of dominoes, a deck of cards, UNO cards or boxed games like Cards Against Humanity, Say Anything, they even now have a “snack pack” of Apples to Apples.
Another suggestion would be to put a journal on the coffee table that your guests can log in their thoughts and testimonials of your VRBO/AIRBNB while sitting in the living room. Most often, by the time your guests get home and unpack, they forget to add their comments or reviews of their stay online. This catches them “in the moment”.
I always love coming into a vacation rental that has a small table setup with magazines, postcards, etc. of “places to go” or “things to do” in the area. Gather several local tour magazines from those vending machines outside of your local stores and add them to your collection. You could even laminate a map of the area so your guests can find where they are and calculate what restaruants, shops or events are nearby. Be sure to include the location of the nearest gas stations, drug stores and grocery stores for your guests too. Create a chart or book with your vacation rental’s address, your contact information (should they need to get in touch with you), nearby emergency facilities, including hospitals, urgent care and pharmacies. Having everything in a central location (including a notepad and pen), will make it very convenient for your guests to find quickly.
If your vacation rental has a woodburning fireplace, make sure you have plenty of firewood to last for your guests’ entire stay. There is nothing worse than running out of firewood and having to call the host to bring them more – we had to do that when we stayed in Malibu. And for an added touch of coziness, put a tray on the hearth with a coffee setup including coffee cups, a French Press coffee maker, maybe some hot cocoa and some decadent chocolates or cookies. Again, the smallest expression of thoughtfulness that you add to your vacation rental will make your guests feel special and definitely make you stand out from the others.
If you are like me, when I go on vacation, I like my bathroom to feel like a spa! I tend to take more baths when I am away from home probably because I have the time! Include lots of candles everywhere around the bathtub, luxurious thick towels and a basket full of toiletries like bath bombs, bath salts, bubbles, maybe a loofah or body sponge. Add a bottle of wine with a set of crystal wine glasses and an elegant orchid! It doesn’t cost that much to set this up. You can get all of the bath toiletries from TJ Maxx for under $100! If adding just a little bit of luxury will make your guests want to come back, wouldn’t it be worth the $100?!
There is nothing more unpleasant when you are a guest at a vacation rental than to open kitchen cabinets or drawers to find a lonely spatula or just the bare necessities … or worse, open a drawer and it is crammed with every utensil collected in the last 50 years! Make sure your kitchen is not only well equipped with all the necessities that your guests will need during their stay, but clean and organized neatly. Get drawer organizers, knife block or knife drawer organizers. Add clean kitchen towels and small appliances that are typically used in a home. I would say a coffee pot and a toaster is a must. Having it organized and neat sends a message to your guests that you really care of their comfort. Some key things to have in your kitchen drawers besides flatware, cooking knives and cooking utensils would be a can opener, bottle opener, wine opener, vegetable peeler and cheese grater. Always provide filters for your coffee pot if it requires it and it wouldn’t cost much to have a new pack of coffee for each new guest (s) that come to visit. Remember – the more luxurious and comfortable you make your guests feel, the more likely that they will return.
You may be thinking that this may add up to more money than you want to put in, but it is important to think of this as an investment. The luxuries you put into your AIRBNB will provide you with more raving reviews, more referred guests, more returning guests …. and the growth of your AIRBNB’s profit!! Is a few hundred dollars worth it? YES!!!
Whether you have an VRBO/AIRBNB or thinking about investing in one, I hope I gave you some useful tips and ideas in setting up your rental, as well as the importance of your guests’ comfort which could ultimately lead into a very lucrative vacation rental. If you don’t have an AIRBNB, these tips are just as useful for your guests coming into your home for the holidays or for a vacation. It is all about hospitality, attention to detail and making people feel special – just as you would like to be treated wherever you go!
Share your story! Do you have a horror VRBO/AIRBNB story? How about an “over-the-top” VRBO/AIRBNB stay? I would love to hear about them! What do YOU do for your guests (either at a vacation rental or your home)? Leave me a comment below!
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