Tips for Turning Your Ordinary Home Into a Vacation Rental

The travel industry has been badly hit by the pandemic as borders abruptly closed, travel was restricted, and people were forced to stay at home.  To this date, most sectors have still not recovered—except for one—the short term rental business.

Short term rental or vacation rental refers to the leasing of furnished houses or apartments for brief periods. This rental period can range from one day to a few weeks, and is a cheaper alternative compared to staying in hotels.

A recent report shows that occupancy rates for short term rentals in rural areas and small cities in the US have already increased by 67% in April 2021 compared to the same period last year, and by 5.4% versus 2019.  In the other countries covered in the study, such as Europe, Spain, Germany, and Italy, the trend is still downwards, but the numbers are expected to improve significantly in the next couple of months as borders start to re-open and travel begins to pick-up.

As the demand for short term rental recovers, there may be a scarcity in available units for lease, and this is a good opportunity if you are looking to enter into this market. If you have a second unit that is fully furnished but just lying empty, or an extra condominium unit that you suddenly have no use for, you can turn them into a money-making investment through short-term rental.

While the demand is still recovering, the competition is already tight in leasing platforms like Airbnb and VRBO as hundreds of units are made available to interested tenants every day. If you want your listing to get noticed and for people to take an interest in what you have to offer, a little investment of time, money, and effort is needed.  Here we list ways in which you can convert your home into a note-worthy vacation rental :

1. Do a house make-over

Prepare your house for occupancy by making it a relaxing and comfortable place to live in. Aside from the price consideration, another reason why tenants would consider staying in vacation homes rather than hotels is the ambiance. Instead of the cold and impersonal feeling that they get from a typical hotel room, short term rental tenants prefer to have the feeling of staying in a “home away from home.”

Whether they are planning to stay for one day or one month, a cozy and warm environment would be very appealing. Clear your house of clutter, try to create more spaces in between pieces of furniture, and add splashes of color here. Consider working with a home remodeling contractor to revamp and update your property. 

Lastly, adding a few extra touches, such as tasteful art pieces in selected spots around the house, can transform their stay into a unique experience that they will remember and maybe even talk about with friends and fellow travelers.

2. Take really good pictures

Once the place is ready, make sure to take impressive photos that would give the potential tenants a glimpse of what it would be like to stay in your house. Do not underestimate the power of visual storytelling.  A single compelling photo can influence potential tenants to click on their mouse and make a reservation.

If you have the budget, get a professional photographer to do it for you.  Since the tenants would have no way of checking out the place before they move in, the next best thing is to browse through the pictures that you posted on the rental site. Aside from showcasing the interior and exterior of the house along with the amenities, make sure to release photos that can take the viewer on a virtual tour and capture the essence of living in your house as if they have been there before.

3. Sell the experience, not just the house

When writing the description for your house listing, do not just focus on the essentials like the size of the room, length of the bed, or the number of windows.  Tenants see this generic information in practically every listing they have seen.  Attract attention to your post by telling them what makes your place special. People forget statistics, but they remember stories.  From the title to the actual post, craft a compelling story that will intrigue the reader and pull them in. However, do not over promise or make false claims as the tenant will eventually find out the truth when they get to your place.

4. Offer top notch customer service

Any preparation or effort spent on decoration will pale in comparison to a really good customer experience. From the booking process to their check in and until the day they leave your house, treat every tenant like a special guest and make sure to go above and beyond their expectations.  Offer them free access to amenities that will not cost you much, such as books to read or access to the internet.  When it comes to customer service, a little goes a long way.