Have you ever wondered what travelers look for when they book vacation rentals and how you can make yours more appealing? Are you curious about why other properties seem to get booked before yours?
Alex Patershuk is an expert in that arena. She works on Evolve’s Travel Advisor team, talking to travelers every day to help them find a property in our network to best suits their needs. Alex is sharing her expertise on the amenities that travelers consistently ask for when booking lake and beachfront properties.
The harsh reality is that if your property doesn’t have a specific amenity that people are looking for, they often book somewhere else.
These are the top eight amenities that travelers ask for when booking a beach or lake house:
The number one reason why travelers choose vacation rentals over hotels is to have a kitchen so they can cook!
Most vacation homes have fully-equipped kitchens, but your property will be more competitive for summer bookings if you have a grill as well. Grilling is an activity that some people plan entire trips around! And travelers will often book one property over another if it has a grill – a nice outdoor eating space is a huge plus, too.
Grilling isn’t just a way to spend quality time outside. Cooking homemade meals provides a huge cost savings. Imagine buying meals out every night for a family of four. The average budget for a vacation would be spent on a single dinner.
Keep in mind that if you do supply a grill, it is important to also supply the charcoal or gas and instructions for how to use your equipment!
It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right? Travelers often ask us about kitchen essentials, and the one beachgoers ask about most is a blender. Believe it or not, this can be a dealbreaker for some travelers.
Who can blame them? Travelers want to know they’re going to be able to enjoy their smoothies in the morning and margaritas in the afternoon. For many, a beach trip isn’t complete without a frosty cocktail – and having a blender in the house is a little something extra that can make for an easy going trip.
If you don’t have a blender at your property yet, we recommend investing in one. It will pay off quickly in the additional bookings you receive. And if you do have one, mention it in your listing!
3. Beach Supplies
Providing beach supplies is a must if you want to be a top notch beach property.
When we get questions from travelers about beach supplies, we hope to find some included as amenities on the listing. Travelers are much more likely to book your property when they know that all the supplies they need to enjoy a beach vacation will be there!
Many of the people we work with are traveling long distances to enjoy a relaxing vacation. The majority travel by plane, which makes it difficult to pack beach essentials such as towels, toys, chairs, and umbrellas.
Even those who travel by car are relieved to learn a house is equipped with many of these beach essentials. It takes the stress out of searching for those things and trying to pack it all up in a car, or buying them when they arrive and adding another large expense to the trip.
4. Beach Access
One of the biggest concerns that travelers have is about location. Guests often have a lot of questions about what kind of access they’ll have to the beach and their proximity to the ocean or lake.
You don’t have to have a lakefront or beachfront home to be competitive! You just have to provide helpful information in your listing about how to access the beach and safe swimming areas. What is the walk like? Is it private or public? If it is private, what are the parameters for access?
The best way to combat these types of concerns is to offer clear information about where the beach is and how long it takes to get there. If you include this in your listing, you can answer those questions before they’re even asked.
5. Beach Carts
If you don’t have a beachfront property, do you have something that will make it easy to access the water?
Travelers often ask if specific amenities are provided to make it easy to get to the beach.
Offering a beach cart, especially if your property is more than a few blocks from the shore, can go a long way to ease travelers’ concerns about getting to-and-from the beach. Carts can be a simple wagon or you can go all-out with a golf cart. Investing in this amenity will make your property much more appealing to travelers, as they can imagine it’s going to be an easy walk to the beach.
6. Swimming Access
If you do have a waterfront property, great! If there is beach access, even better. But is the water clear enough for swimming?
On numerous occasions, travelers have recounted lake trips that were ruined because of the weeds or rocky dangerous water. They ask us if a rental they’re interested in booking is going to provide safe swimming access.
To secure a booking on the front-end, and avoid a bad review post check-out, set clear expectations about what the waterfront is like. If you have great water views from your home, but it’s not a good swimming spot, you’ll want to provide that information to travelers.
It doesn’t mean you can’t accommodate beachgoers. You can still get those bookings by providing some suggestions about where guests can go for beach activities.
7. Boat Rentals
Do you have a boat available for guests? Does it cost an extra fee? If not, is there a place nearby where guests can rent one for their stay?
As a homeowner in a lake or beach area, we are guessing that you understand the excitement of boating.
A lot of travelers look forward to the same thing and book summertime vacation rentals with the idea of spending days out on the water. If you don’t have a boat available for guests at your property, it’s extremely helpful if you lend your local expertise and recommend the best boat rental businesses (ones they can trust!) in your area.
Mention the rental business’ proximity to your property, and let your guests know if they can dock the boat at or near your home. If not, point them in the right direction of where their rental can be docked during their stay.
Depending on the fire laws in your area, a fire pit is a crucial element of a waterfront home. Travelers don’t just want this item at their vacation home – they often expect it. Many go on vacation with the idea that they will get to enjoy time with friends and family in the great outdoors.
Sitting around a fire pit at the end of a long day of activities (and of course roasting marshmallows for s’mores) is just what guests are looking for.
If your home doesn’t have a fire pit and you are able to provide one (check your local laws!), we highly recommend getting one installed at your home so you can start advertising it! Travelers get seriously excited about homes with firepits and having the opportunity to make memories around one.
As an owner, it’s easy to overlook small amenities like blenders or beach supplies. Unless guests make a special request or provide feedback that they were missing these items during their stay, you may not even know they were looking for these things.
But we’ve seen first-hand how these small requests can make or break a booking. And having the right things at your home can mean the difference between having a fully booked calendar and one with lots of open days. Investing a little in your vacation rental can provide a huge pay off in the long run as you get more booking requests, better reviews, and loyal guests coming back year after year.
Not every property can provide every amenity that guests want, but there is a lot you can do to give travelers the very best experience. And vacation rental management services like Evolve can help ensure you’re getting the best possible rental income every year. Click here to find out how we can help you increase your income while giving travelers the first-rate experience they’re looking for.