From the first moment a potential guest looks at pictures of your rental you are setting the tone and expectations for your renters. Your guests are more likely to treat your rental with respect and feel secure when processing their payments.
One of the ways to start (if you haven't already) is to build a website that makes it easy for people to inquire about bookings. Having a user friendly website that looks professional and easy to navigate through will make your rentals much more eye catching.
Pictures and location are the two most important to a renters perspective. If you can't do anything about your location, at least use pictures that are honest and inviting. Take pictures in the day and at night. Update them every year. If you have the extra marketing money, hire a professional. A professional photographer understands lighting and has the lenses that can catch more property per image, and they know how to set them off for best effect.
Another way to look professional is to create an email template. It makes you look consistent and professional. Remember that you are a business. It makes your record keeping easier and gives your renters a sense of formality.
Using a booking site like OwnerRez gives your renters a sense of security. Your forms and payment processing are professional and your rental agreement is easy to read and legal. From the moment they are emailed their quote, they feel like they are dealing with a legit owner.
Why is your rental different from the one next door?
Okay, so you have your website, and you've posted your pictures on booking sites. Now what? Look inside your home. Does it have binders containing useful information about local attractions? Does it have emergency information about where the breaker box and the water shut off valves are? Maybe a map or directions of the local grocery store, best restaurants or ice cream shops? These types of details show the renter that you have put a lot of thought into the quality and enjoyment of their stay.
I would recommend investing in an entertainment coupon book ($40) or leave discount vouchers in a clear folder for your renters to use. Those extra touches can make or break the difference between them returning. Try to stay organized. If you have DVDs, put a list in your binder along with any Wi-Fi or alarm system passcodes. This can save time or an unnecessary late night phone call.
Items for purchase
Convenience during a vacation stay is a high priority. A great way to add revenue and make your guests feel more comfortable is by selling non-perishable items, sort of like a mini-convenience store.
Bottled water, chips, wine and candy bars are a great way to make your guests feel more at home after a long day of activities. It also puts a little extra money in your pocket. Just remember to have a checklist of items before and a checklist of used items, so you can charge their deposit upon departure.
Referral and comment cards
One of the best compliments an owner can receive is the renter referring other guests. Reward them with 10% off their next stay, or a free night with a 4 night booking. Not only have you gained more customers, but they are your new walking billboard.
Finally, leave comment cards or guest journals for your guests to fill out. Ask what they liked the best about their stay or what you can improve for next time. Have them rate your property. Don't take negative comments personally - use it as a way to improve the property for their next stay.
These are some of the details your guests will notice and appreciate. Not all of these tips are original, but every one is a good reminder of how to make your vacation rental an amazing experience for your guests!