No matter the size, price, or quality, vacation rental properties are expected to have certain amenities nowadays. Who expects them? Well, your management company (or nosey neighbor) may offer suggestions, but guests come first in this category. When someone is searching for a place to call home on vacation, their eye may be caught by flashy and attractive amenities, like a private indoor pool or bubbly hot tub. However, without certain expected amenities…there’s an uncomfortable chance they’ll move on to another property that has it all.
What are the expected amenities at vacation rental properties? With years of information pulled from guest surveys, recorded calls, reviews, and personal experience, Cabins for YOU has a helpful checklist of 7 expected amenities at vacation rentals worth sharing with property owners. And we’re confident these additions and upgrades to your properties will create an almost immediate boost in bookings, which means a surge in revenue. Above all, when you provide the comforts of home, your guests will feel at home (and be eager to return).
- Wireless Internet
Have you ever been to someone’s house and felt a sudden shock when you realized there was no Wi-Fi to tap into? It’s happened to the best of us…and it’s certainly not something you want your guests to experience when entering your vacation rental. With mobile phones, social media, and a constant need to Google, it almost feels silly mentioning wireless internet as an expected amenity. However, you would be surprised at just how many vacation homes are missing this vital amenity.
Guests don’t need wireless internet when on vacation. It’s a time to disconnect from the world and reconnect with loved ones. While this may be a shared sentiment among many property owners, the overwhelming majority of guests don’t feel the same. Think about it. When you’re on vacation in an unfamiliar place, having access to the internet for directions and information on local attractions is necessary and makes you feel at ease. And many folks prefer to stay connected with loved ones back home. In fact, it’s a great way they can share trip videos and photos, which is great advertising for your properties.
Pro Wi-Fi Tip: High speed is best and more attractive to potential guests.
- Large Flatscreen TVs
Walking through the door, suitcases on the floor and keys on the counter, your guest plops on the sofa and reaches for the remote…only to find there isn’t one or the TV doesn’t meet their expectations. Maybe you tossed your old TV in your vacation property, planning to replace it but never did. Or perhaps you didn’t add a TV because you felt the views or other amenities would make up for its loss. While there’s always a reason, a better one is your guests’ satisfaction, especially if you want repeat stays.
What kind of TVs are guests expecting? Large flatscreen TVs are the preferred and norm for vacation rental properties. Now, we’re not saying you have to have top-of-the-line massive ultra HDTVs throughout the home…though it wouldn’t hurt and is nice to advertise. Generally, we recommend at least 1 large flatscreen TV in the home with flatscreen TVs of your preferred size in each bedroom. And if there’s a recreational space, a large flatscreen TV is the perfect addition.
What about cable/satellite?Channel options are great to have, plus a DVD/Blu-ray player for movies. At the end of the day, we really recommend both. However, it will do to have at least one or the other. After all, what’s a large flatscreen TV doing in a vacation rental if guests can’t even enjoy it and owners don’t get their money’s worth? Guests also love having Wi-Fi enabled smart TVs, especially when owners provide streaming services. This is an amenity that can really make your cabin stand out.
- Modern Kitchen
One of the best perks when renting a vacation property is the full kitchen. Guests can save money on restaurants by cooking for themselves; morning coffee is only a few steps away; and midnight munchies are easy to curb! So…if you’ve been considering updating the kitchen, we vote yes. Modern kitchens are expected by guests staying at vacation rentals because they’re convenient and cost-saving.
A modern kitchen doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles, just major appliances (including a dishwasher), ideal lighting, spacious counters, storage, and nice floors. By all means, feel free to go all out on this one. After all, love and care towards the kitchen is always a smart investment, vacation rental or not, and guests will notice and appreciate it.
Extra Kitchen Bonuses: slate/stainless steel appliances, wine fridge, double oven, hot water dispenser, stylish finishes & island/extended counter with bar seating
- Outdoor Grills
A great way to spend mealtimes on vacation is with juicy steaks and veggies on a grill outdoors, especially if your vacation rental has a sublime view. Guests expect to have an outdoor grill of some sort these days so they can hang out and enjoy meals on the porch or deck with friends, family, coworkers, or teammates. After all, cookouts are always a blast!
What kind of grill is best to provide? Charcoal, picnic style, gas, or combo, it doesn’t really matter as long as there is one available for guests. Just be sure to get a good size that can reasonably accommodate the largest number the property sleeps (multiple grills are also okay) and make clear what you supply and do not supply for the grill(s) so guests are prepared. One thing to note is the most expensive grill isn’t always the best, considering wear and tear with so many guests.
Check the rules first! Be sure to check with any neighborhood ordinances on this one to see what type of grills are allowed. If grills aren’t permitted at your property, check the community amenities for grills and consider advertising them in your property description.
- Updated Furniture
If you’ve ever plopped onto a sofa…and sank to the floor, then this expected amenity shouldn’t surprise you. Guests are looking for a nice and comfortable place to stay, and that means the furniture (including the mattresses) should be up to par. When you stay at someone else’s home, it’s normal to become a little judgy, checking out furnishings and comparing them to your own. And guests are paying to stay, so they will certainly be the judges in this matter.
Now, we’re not saying you should update the furniture to suit every guest’s taste — that would be impractical and impossible. Of course, there are going to be picky guests, and sleeping on a different mattress than your own is never like home. However, the point is to provide good quality furniture that guests (and yourself) would be happy to sit on, dine at, lounge upon, and dream on. Plus, updating the furniture can help give your vacation rental a new, more attractive look that will appeal to a much larger guest pool.
Pet Friendly Tip: If your property is pet friendly, consider adding furniture that is easy to clean, stain resistant, and can withstand the test of time…and pets.
- Washer & Dryer
Traveling to stay at a vacation rental means packing more than just clothes and products. Guests also bring everyday items, like toiletries, towels, and cookware for starters, so it’s no wonder many guests are adding washer/dryer to their filter settings when searching for a vacation property. Providing a washer and dryer set gives your guests the ability to launder clothes, towels, and extra linens, which means less packing so there’s more room in the car for other important items.
Again, it doesn’t have to sing or have every wash and dry setting known to man. As long as the washer and dryer set is fully functional and performs well, you’re good to go! In place of 5 more outfits for each child, additional suitcases, and towers of towels, guests can simply bring detergent, softener, and dryer sheets to stay on top of laundry. At the end of a vacation, the last thing you want to do is pack wet towels and prepare for mountains of laundry when you return home…
Note: Cabins for YOU provides 1 bath towel, 1 hand towel, and 1 washcloth per guest (+ pool towels), so providing a washer/dryer means guests can reuse them (even more room in the car), and you never have to worry about missing towels again.
- Keyless Entry
There are a few ways to provide entry into your vacation rentals for guests. 1 — Ask them to come to an office when they arrive in town to pick up the keys and drop them off upon departure. 2 — Provide a code for guests to access a lockbox with keys at the property, trusting they’ll be returned to the box when the guests leave. 3 — Utilize keyless entry with a unique key code created for each stay.
Fiddling with keys, losing more than you can count, and replacing them too often is more hassle than needed in modern times. Keyless entry is the preferred among guests today. And it’s easy to see why. There’s no need to stop by an office; new codes can be created and sent almost immediately; and juggling the keys around between stays is no longer an issue.
How can I provide keyless entry? No worries! Keyless entry is provided to each of your properties as part of your partnership with Cabins for YOU.
Will These Amenities Offer Added Value to My Property?
Answer: yes…and no. We're often asked if these expected amenities will offer any added value to a property. Sure, these amenities will add value in that they will allow the property to compete with similar properties, which leads to more reservations and revenue. However, is it really added value when these upgrades simply bring your property up to standard in the vacation rental market? It’s like advertising for color TVs nowadays — it’s just expected.
Need Help or Advice?
If you’re unsure how to go about adding/updating expected amenities, we’re here to help! Cabins for YOU has been working with property owners since 2001. We have been diagnosing vacation rentals for many years and can confidently say we’re pretty good at it. Plus, we have the tools and connections necessary to upgrade your properties with ease.
Furthermore, if you’re interested in pushing past the expected to take your vacation rentals to the next level, we’ll analyze your properties inside and out and let you know what you need to see even more bookings in your future. Speak with our owner representatives at 1.800.684.7865 or fill out our easy online inquiry today. Let’s get started!