Starting a Vacation Rental Business?

Follow this step by step guide on how to prepare your home for guests.

De-Clutter – Remove excess personal items. Keep a few locked areas to store your belongings. Remove anything irreplaceable or valuable.

Repair & Replace – It’s time to go over your property inside and out to make sure everything works and that nothing is damaged or broken. Your property does not have to be in pristine condition, but you must never leave guests with a home in disrepair.

Equip – When starting a vacation rental business it’s important to supply your kitchen with enough flatware, glasses, plates, etc… for double the number of people the rental can sleep.  Dining and living spaces must also accommodate all possible guests with enough comfortable seating. Replace old mattresses and pillows and make sure bed frames are solid. If you offer twin or double sized beds, it is highly recommended that they are 80 inches long. Note bed sizes below.

Hotel Linens & Towels – Renters may overlook an older couch and weathered patio furniture, but they are less tolerant when it comes to sleeping and bathing. Beds must be comfortable, clean and fresh, and bathrooms need to be spotless.

The best way to achieve this is to supply ample amounts of quality bedding and towels. And yes, do yourself and your future guests a favor and purchase (minimum 3 sets per bed) white hotel quality sheets and towels, they’re tried and true, and consistently available, making them easy to replace and simple to manage and maintain. Find vacation rental Supplies here: Shop Canada  or  Shop USA

Linen Tip of the Century- Always buy poly/cotton blend sheets, they wear better and are less prone to wrinkling than 100% cotton. And if you want to offer a high-end freshly pressed look? Simply iron your pillow cases. Believe me when I say, nobody will notice that a fitted sheet wasn’t pressed.

Bed Sizes – When starting a vacation rental business, beds are an important consideration. Along with the dimensions shown here, standard mattress depths range between 12 to 14 inches. The most popular bed size used in the hospitality industry is a queen, next, a king. Twin XL are very popular in the bed and breakfast industry since their adult length easily converts to king. If you stick to these dimensions you will find it much easier to maintain a consistent supply of linens.

Pillows – Nobody talks about pillows, unless of course you’ve made a few beds in your day. Best tip ever; stick to one size! Ideally ‘Standard’. Trust me; it will make your life managing pillows and pillowcases much easier. After all, head sizes don’t vary (physically that is). The only reason pillows come in different sizes is to look balanced when a bed is made up. So if you have a king bed with  standard pillows; simply make up beds with pillows staggered.

Extras – Typically most well-lived-in homes already have everything a traveler needs. The best rule of thumb is to offer what you were using yourself, from your washer and dryer through to your high speed internet, books, games, television and so on. Even a well equipped junk drawer supplied with everything from batteries to scotch tape goes a long way toward creating happy guests. Leaving non-perishables such as sugar salt and other dry goods is always appreciated. See The Pantry. A basic first aid kit is highly recommended. Make sure your fire extinguisher and smoke detectors are operational and up to date.

As for extras, a waste paper basket in each bedroom and bathroom is a good idea. A laundry basket in each bedroom may keep wet towels off the floor. A hotel luggage rack will save your furniture from luggage scratches.

Sharpen or replace knives, replace such items as BBQ brushes, hangers, toilet brushes, just to name a few. Stepping it up a notch would be to offer mini hotel shampoos and hotel soaps, and disposable make-up removers are a nice touch, and will save your towels.

How do I promote my vacation rental?

Marketing – The upside to our global connectivity is that marketing your vacation rental could not be easier. First and foremost invest in good images. Set up your space as it should look at check-in and be sure to use a high-resolution digital camera. If you’re not great as an image editor, then just click away and simply choose from the best. You should have at least 25 good images in your repertoire. Write up a few catchy paragraphs about your home’s positive and unique attributes.

If you have an entire home available on a regular basis then consider VRBO. If you have a room or space available here and there, then be sure to check out Airbnb.  For more personalized service be sure to investigate OwnerDirect.com, and of course your local websites can offer great local exposure. Most of these sites prompt you throughout the process and make it very easy to get set up.

Reviews – As a follow up to your marketing, you must fully appreciate that your vacation rental will only succeed if your guests are happy. Reviews can make or break your venture. The best way to acquire positive reviews is to be very sure that you are providing what you are selling and that you are priced accordingly. Always make personal contact with your guests by phone or in person; once before they book, and again after they check-out. Also make sure they have local 24-hour contact information in case they need anything. The bottom line is; on occasion, things can (will) go wrong, from a mouse in the pantry to a leaky dishwasher. It’s how you handle these situations that matters the most.

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