The vacation rental market has exploded in recent years. After the economic downturn in 2008, many owners decided to rent their properties rather than sell. Around the same time, Airbnb was established, and they now boast over two million listings worldwide! With so many vacation home rentals entering the market, owners must design properties that stand out from the rest.
Unfortunately, many owners either don’t invest in interior design or create spaces that they would like (but may not appeal to others). The key to attracting renters to your vacation home is to balance comfort and style. As interior designer Mercedes Brennan argues:
“People do not want a home away from home on vacation. Absolutely not. What they want instead is the home they wished they had away from home.”
In order to rise above the competition, you must provide the kind of vacation retreat that people dream about living in. After all, vacations are precious and people want to feel pampered.
Here are the Coastal Cottage Company’s top five tips for designing vacation home rentals that will draw in vacationers:
Too often, vacation home owners decorate according to their tastes and preferences. But it’s unlikely you’ll be staying in your property very often (at least that’s the hope if you want to make a profit!). Therefore, focus on classic, timeless design. According to Andy Moore of Gulfcoast Property Management, “while interior design trends will come and go, your rental properties will not need remodeling for many years when you successfully start with a timeless look.”
Now, timeless does not mean boring! Adding character and style is important. But avoid choosing styles that are overly ornate, trendy, or offbeat. While you may love the look of Roman columns and marble statuary, your guests may not share your vision!
One way to add character to a vacation home rental is to infuse local culture into the decor. Your guests have chosen the location for a reason, so find ways to incorporate its history and atmosphere. Shop in local stores for items that can only be found in the region, such as building materials, flowers and greenery, artwork, books on the history of the area, tasty treats, or luxurious bath products. This is a simple but fantastic way to help guests feel like they are experiencing the local flavor without even leaving the house!
With so many people coming and going, vacation home rentals can suffer a lot of wear and tear. For beachfront properties, this is especially true as sand gets everywhere, air conditioners run constantly, and families with children often are renters. Hardwood and tile floors are much easier to maintain than carpeting, while throw rugs can warm up a space and be tossed into the washing machine. For countertops, quartz and granite are both sturdy and stylish. Avoid materials that scratch easily such as soapstone and laminate. While you don’t want your rental to feel institutional, you do want it to last without frequent repairs.
Vacations are intended to be relaxing and pampering, something that transports guests away from the mundane. So while durability and timeless design are important, your property should look and feel like a retreat. Focus on comfort and try to anticipate your guests’ needs. For example, provide plenty of high quality linens, rainfall shower heads, plush rugs, and throw blankets. Depending on your budget, consider adding unique elements that will make the property memorable like a cozy reading nook or extravagant outdoor kitchen. If you’re on a tight budget, small details can lead to a high return on investment. For example, install lighting dimmers, provide eco-friendly bath products, or add electrical outlets with USB ports to charge mobile devices.
Often, guests choose vacation homes over hotels for the extra amenities they provide. One of the top five amenities that motivate guests to book a property is the kitchen. Cooking is a fantastic way for vacationers to save money and spend time with the friends or family they’re traveling with. So if you’re deciding where to spend your money, the kitchen is a good bet. As interior designer Mercedes Brennan said, people want to stay in a home they wish they had, so adding a luxurious kitchen can be a good investment. If pricey upgrades are out of the question, ensure you have provided everything guests will need to cook and enjoy a meal. For example, provide small appliances like blenders, utensils like can openers, seating for multiple people, even cookbooks that feature local cuisine.
We hope these tips will help you design a vacation property that looks like it belongs in Condé Nast Traveller and puts you on track to get more bookings! And if you’re interested in building a vacation home to rent (or to enjoy yourself), we’d love to chat with you!
Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company