From Brittany Krupnik of Blissful Design Studio… Who doesn’t love to travel?! I know that I do! It’s one of my favorite things to do with my husband, my family and my friends. Some of my best memories have been made while spending time away from home. But just because we are away from home doesn’t mean that we don’t want the comforts of home too, right? When it comes to designing your vacation rental, you want to provide your guests all the comforts of home and then some. But why not make it fun and stylish too?! These tips are sure to help you create spaces that allow your guests to enjoy their stay and want to come back again!!
1. Hire a Great Interior Photographer
Let’s talk about getting your guests’ attention! The days of taking photos with your cell phone and hoping that your home stands out and gets booked are long gone! The photos are literally the only thing that your potential guest sees when deciding where to stay. You need to stand out from the other homes and grab their attention with gorgeous photos that really highlight the home. Make sure they are light and bright and that they show the spaces as accurately as possible. You don’t want to take photos that make the room feel really large only to have your guests be disappointed when they arrive at the home because the room is much smaller than they anticipated. I would recommend hiring a photographer who specializes in interiors. You will get higher quality photos and angles that show the home at its best. You also want to make sure that you have a mixture of photos – from wide angles that show the space in it’s entirety to close up shots of small design details or touches in the home.
When it comes to getting home ready for photos, you should make sure that it is styled and staged to appeal to your guests. Be careful not to style so much with items that aren’t staying at the home. If you have styled the home with art and accessories and other decor that you remove after photos, your guests might feel like they were mislead. A lot of times those touches are what persuaded the guest to book with you in the first place, so you don’t want the home to feel so different from what they see online in your photos. Along those same lines, make sure that you are actually providing items like coffee makers, shampoo & conditioner and games if they are present in your photos.
2. Create WOW Moments with Your Design
Guests have so many options for where they stay these days between hotels and vacation rentals through sites such as Airbnb or VRBO. Have you ever noticed how well styled and designed boutique hotels are? They might use bold colors and patterns in their designs or create beautiful tranquil and light spaces. Design is so important in providing your guests a great experience! Think about the places that you love to visit and why and create rooms that will inspire your guests as well. Have fun with your designs! Choose a bold backsplash tile or a fun cabinet color in the kitchen. Use art to bring in color or set the style of the home. Use pillows and decor pieces to bring in texture and layers. An area rug is great place to bring in pattern!
3. Provide Comfortable Spaces for Sleeping & Hanging Out
I don’t know about you, but I want to have a good night’s sleep when I am on vacation. Make sure when you are furnishing your bedrooms with quality mattresses, comfortable bedding and extra pillows. I recommend only using white sheets for your vacation homes. There is a reason that hotels use them. You never have to wonder if your bedding is clean when they are white because you can’t camouflage stains. There is a feeling of luxury and cleanliness with all white sheets. There are also additional features that bedrooms can have to provide comfort to your guests. Lamps for reading at night are a nice touch. Pillows and art can add color or style in the rooms, so make sure you are not forgetting those important elements.
When it comes to living and dining spaces in your vacation home, make sure you have plenty of seating for guests. If your home sleeps 8 people, then you want to make sure they have space to sit down and watch a movie, have a conversation or play a game. Use sectional sofas, side chairs and poufs or ottomans to provide plenty of seating. The same goes for your dining spaces. Ideally there is enough space in the dining room and kitchen to provide of your guests a place to sit down and have a meal or for your guests to entertain during their stay.
4. Provide Your Guests All the Comforts of Home and Then Some
Think about what you use at home in your daily life – when you cook, when you get ready, when you are hanging out outside – and make sure all of those items are there for your guests and then some. It’s the worst thing to buy a bottle of wine at the store and you get back to your vacation home and there is not a wine opener to be found. Am I right?? Make sure that your vacation home is well stocked for your guests so that they don’t have to worry when they get there. Providing WIFI is a no brainer! Having cable or a streaming service available for your guests is a must. We love to provide books to read and games to play for our guests.
I recommend having all the tools your guests might need to prepare a meal there available to them – a food processor, cutting boards, barware, serving bowls and platters to name a few. Providing your guests with a blow dryer is a great idea as well. If you know that your home will be rented out by families, having a portable crib, like a Pack-n-Play, or additional air mattresses are a nice touch as well. The goal is to provide your guests with the things they need to feel like the home is theirs, so be mindful when choosing those items.
It should hopefully go without saying, but provide your guests with a clean home, like a really, really clean home! No one wants to feel like they are checking into a home that someone just stayed in. Clean refrigerators and other appliances are a must. Bedding and towels should be spotless. Make sure areas that might be ignored, like under the sofa or the corner behind the end tables, are swept. If you aren’t doing it yourself, find cleaners that specialize in turning vacation homes over for the next guests.
5. Excellent Customer Service & Communication
This starts before the guest even books your home. Try to answer their booking requests or inquiries as soon as possible. If you can respond in less than an hour, that is ideal! Be prepared to answer questions about the area or provide recommendations for your guests when asked about local things to do or places to eat. You should definitely have a city guide available to your guests! Make sure that you include things such as nearby restaurants, coffee shops, bars, spas, shopping, recreation and special events in the area. This is so helpful to guests in planning their trips. If you know of a local travel concierge who can offer things like booking reservations, planning day trips, stocking the refrigerator or setting up for a party ahead of time, offer that information to your guests as well. Make sure that you have provided detailed check-in and check-out instructions for your guests to make the process as smooth as possible and be available for questions or issues that come up during their stay. There is nothing more frustrating to a guest when there is problem at the home and they can’t get in touch with anyone to get it resolved. I find that managing expectations is the number one way to provide the best experience for guests. If you have given them all of the information they need to enjoy their stay and they are already anticipating what is expected of them, then everyone is happier.