Elevate your vacation rental: Pro tips for a professional look and feel

The vacation rental market is as competitive as it gets, especially if your property is located in a travel hotspot. Customers have more options than ever for finding the perfect spot for their epic weekend or extended stay, so you’ll need your place to stand out. 

You can’t rely on location and price alone, especially if you want respectable (and respectful) guests staying at your place. Creating an inviting and comfortable space for your guests will result in better reviews, which will result in more business and potentially higher rental rates. It’s an investment that generally pays off rather quickly, and a little effort goes a long way. 

Here are the best ways to spruce up your rental property to make it feel more comfortable and look more professional:

Modern and bright kitchen interior with appliances in a luxury house

Set yourself up for success with the right photos

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but photos are probably the most important aspect of your listing. While everyone is walking around with a camera in their pockets these days, your phone is absolutely not the right tool for taking pictures of the property. If your budget allows, have a professional photographer or friend with a nice camera come take pictures of your space. Use composite lighting when possible, or take pictures during the right time of day (look up “the golden hour”). You want bright pictures, especially ones that display positive attributes like natural light. Give the place a nice scrub, and take as many pictures of each room as possible at flattering angles.

Consider the interior design (or hire someone to do that)

Remember, potential guests are looking for an apartment or home that evokes their perception of the city they’re staying in. Making an apartment in Miami look and feel like it’s in Miami can go a long way in helping your rental stand out. You would also decorate the apartment to appeal to the type of guest you want. If you don’t want the place turned into a frat house, make the property look and feel artsy or refined.

Don’t forget the yard work

This probably wouldn’t be a consideration for properties in large cities, but if you’re renting out an apartment or house in a city like Denver, one of your perks might be a backyard. This can be a real differentiator for your property, so make sure you’re on top of the yard work. A well-manicured backyard is just one of those details that will result in better reviews, and you can take nice pictures of it for the listing.

Spend the extra money on nice furniture

If “dressing for the job you want” is the golden rule, then “furnish for the guest you want” is another adage to follow. Invest in high-quality, attractive furniture to set your listing apart from the at-times monotonous look of most Ikea-filled rental properties. There’s nothing wrong with the Swedish company, but investing in high-quality furniture that fits together will go a long way in differentiating your space and attracting the kind of guest you want. It doesn’t all need to come together immediately, either. You can always add as you go along, but just make sure the room fits together.

Make sure your listing is as descriptive and helpful as possible

Optimizing your listing should start with making sure your descriptions are well-written, accurate, and informative. Make sure they’re proofread! Typos can be a turnoff for the type of guest you want. In highly urbanized cities like New York, location is everything, so one of the ways you can differentiate your space from nearby competition is by including helpful information about the property and what it’s located near. Make sure to list transit options or iconic bars and restaurants nearby.

Provide amenities. The small details go a long way.

Amenities like toiletries and other small items are all but required for rental short-term properties these days. They aren’t expensive, but having some soap and towels available to your guests (especially ones staying there for a weekend) will help the overall experience, and you can include these on your listing.  

Make sure these amenities fit the property and location, too. If you’re renting out a beach bungalow, it’s pretty helpful to have a few beach towels, some sunscreen, and maybe a boogie board lying around. You can also provide restaurant recommendations and neighborhood guides for your guests to help them get a lay of the land. 

It provides a personal touch that helps your guest feel more at home. These sorts of details may not help get traffic at first, but they tend to turn into positive reviews that really help in the long run.

If possible, make sure your rental is accessible to all visitors 

Accessibility considerations are becoming an important facet of any rental property. Making sure your space is accessible to guests with disabilities is a great way to appeal to a wider customer base. Installing features like a step-free entrance and grab bars in the bathroom can be the difference between whether or not someone can actually stay at the property. Obviously, this is not possible with every property, as third-floor walk-ups simply can’t accommodate these requirements, but if your space allows, it’s a great differentiator.

Keep your kitchen up-to-date

How appealing your property looks is greatly impacted by the quality of the kitchen. Older appliances and crummy materials can really drag down the perceived quality of the property, so a kitchen renovation should be at the top of your list! This is especially important if you want to lure long-term guests (who will actually use the kitchen) who are staying at the property for a few weeks. This goes for everything, from the tiles to the cutlery.

If you don’t offer luggage storage, you can still point your guests in the right direction with Bounce 

If your property is busy with a high turnover rate, your guests may not be able to get into the property when they arrive. Aside from offering a lock box or letting them into a garage, they will be stuck with their bags. You can always provide value by pointing them in the right direction by recommending the Bounce luggage storage service. With locations throughout over 2000 cities worldwide, there’s always a chance that Bounce will have a storage spot near your property.