You’ve planned the layout, dusted off the furniture, and made sure your kitchen is stocked with enough flatware and dinnerware to host a slew of guests.
But is your vacation rental truly guest ready?
When we came up with our 4 Core Property Standards, we struggled to come up with a term that exemplified the quality we knew was essential to a vacation rental, but that wasn’t quite covered by cleanliness or accessibility.
“Guest ready” is what we finally landed on to describe all the necessary touches you add to show your guest that they haven’t simply walked into a hotel room that happens to be in someone’s condo or residential home.
They’ve arrived at a vacation rental that was made especially to host guests.
If you’ve covered the basics, you can rent easily. But it’s a competitive marketplace out there, and guests want to feel that there’s a real, warm human presence behind the property they’re staying in. Someone who was thoughtful enough to think of all the little things that would make a guest feel welcome in their property.
Is your vacation rental guest ready? Let’s find out.
1. Make a Great First Impression
Showing your property is guest ready starts with your first impression. Making sure that your outdoor space is well utilized will guarantee that your guest feels at home from the first sight they catch of your property.
Guests expect rental properties to look as good, if not better, as they did in the pictures they saw online. If they’re disappointed in the appearance of the property, they are often inclined to think poorly of their entire stay – and you definitely don’t want that!
To ensure that the outside of their home is guest ready, check to be sure your property has:
- Accurate and specific directions to your property
- A clean and well-defined entryway
- Outdoor lights for nighttime
- A well-manicured lawn and healthy plants
- A clean front porch
You should also schedule a weekly drive-by of your property to ensure that it still meets these standards. A windfall or a raccoon scrabbling in your garbage can destroy the appearance of your otherwise lovely property – and you’d never know if you didn’t check!
2. Ensure an Accessible Entryway
Your lawn is manicured, your rooms are clean, your guests are on their way. As far as you’re concerned, your rental is ready to hold its next round of travelers.
But then something happens when your guests arrive – they can’t get inside.
The lock box is jammed, the key isn’t where it’s supposed to be, the code doesn’t work, the pin pad is impossible to find.
Does your guest feel you’re ready to host them when this happens? Doesn’t seem likely.
Accessibility issues happen with remarkable frequency, and if your property isn’t prepared to open its doors to your guests – literally – you definitely aren’t guest ready.
Here’s how to avoid accessibility issues:
- Check your lockbox or pin pad regularly
- Test your code twice before every traveler arrives
- Describe, in detail, exactly how to find and open your rental’s entry
- Confirm that your entryway is easy to operate and locate by everyone
- Make sure you have your phone on you during the hours you expect your guest to arrive, just in case over-the-phone instruction or in-person intervention is required
If you’re not positive that your rental’s entry is easy to find or simple to activate, take a look at our article on choosing a lockbox or keyless entry.
3. Supply a Welcome Book
Part of being guest ready is showing your guests that you’ve thought of what they need to know about your property and the surrounding area during their stay.
If you were hosting friends or family at your own house, you’d make sure they knew how to adjust the thermostat and work the stove. You’d probably even have come up with some fun activities they might be interested in during their stay.
Play the attentive host for your guests – from a distance! – with a welcome book.
Your welcome book gives information on everything from emergency contacts and Wifi to tips and tricks for navigating your property’s quirks. Equipping guests with something to refer to about the property will make them feel comfortable, safe, and valued.
The welcome book includes information like:
- Your favorite local attractions
- Your top five restaurant picks
- Fun neighborhood spots
- What to do on a rainy day
- Interesting facts about your property
4. Create a Dollar Store
One way to show that your property is guest ready is by demonstrating you’ve considered their possible needs well in advance and had the forethought to provide for them. A Dollar Store is a great way to be a kind and thoughtful host to your guests even when you aren’t on the premises.
What’s a Dollar Store? It’s a shelf or box stocked with small necessities that your guest may have forgotten to pack for themselves. The Dollar Store can hold sample-sized items such as floss, toothpaste, travel-sized toothbrushes, sunscreen, a sewing kit, or anything else that might save your guest from a middle-of-the-night emergency store run.
Having a Dollar Store set up for your guests establishes a great sense of community and trust between you and the travelers staying at your property. If a guest takes an item, they are trusted to leave a dollar in the drop box so that you can replenish the Dollar Store for your next guests.
A Dollar Store shows your guests that your property is ready for any need they might have – whether that need was strictly included in the amenities provided or not!
5. Brighten a Rainy Day
Whether your rental is in a beach town, a lake community, or up in the mountains, all outdoor activities can come to a screeching halt when the weather doesn’t permit.
What does a thoughtful host do for their guests? Provide activities!
Stock your vacation rental with indoor activities to keep your travelers busy and entertained. We call these our rainy day resources, and they include items like:
- Board Games
Supplying board games for your guests is a foolproof and inexpensive way for you to make sure your guests have fun, no matter what the weather is like. It is ideal for large, family-friendly rentals that revolve around group fun and time well spent, but will be appreciated by renters of all properties. We recommend having a various selection board games like Chutes and Ladders, Sorry!, Monopoly, and Scrabble, so that every age group can join in the fun.
DVDs are the ideal entertainment for stormy Saturdays or just nights spent in. We recommend keeping a selection of DVDs for all ages so that every type of traveler can enjoy.
When it’s cold outside and everyone’s a little disappointed they didn’t get to go out and have fun, it can be helpful to have some independent activities on hand so that each person can get a little peace and quiet to coax themselves back into a good mood. Keep a selection of literary genres available so that the traveler can dive into whatever type of story they’re looking for.
6. Check Your Checklist!
Making your property guest ready isn’t easy. Looking after both the necessities and the little extras that make your guests feel at home is a lot to keep track of, and it’s easy to forget something essential when you’re trying to keep all these to-dos in your head.
In other words? Don’t get so busy providing above-and-beyond touches that you forget those basic necessities every guest expects as a matter of course.
Some of the commonly overlooked necessities when preparing for new guests are:
- Extra towels and sheets
- Dirty dishes left in dishwasher
- Leftover trash
- Small maintenance issues (like a burned-out lightbulb)
- Missing silverware
Use a checklist to make sure you’ve remembered every step in the process of getting your vacation rental guest ready. You can find a great compilation of property checklists here.
Checklists are the perfect way for you to be positive that you haven’t forgotten to service, resupply, or clean any corner of your rental.
Go above and beyond to ensure that your property positively radiates the message that you have thought of every possible need your guests have while in residence, and you’ll make every visitor to your property feel welcome and looked after.
Which sets you up for great reviews, more bookings – and a highly successful vacation rental.
Have another tip or trick for guest ready success? Add it in the comments!
Evolve is always looking for the little tips and tricks that help make our owners more successful. If you’re looking for a partner in vacation rental management that thinks of all the details so you don’t have to, click here to see how we’re making vacation rental easier for owners across. North America.