How wonderful would it be if vacation rental properties never needed upgrades? The linens and pillows would remain soft and fluffy, the mattresses would never sink or discolor, the kitchen appliances would stay pristine, and the living furniture would stay plump and comfy. Well…that really would be nice, but it’s unfortunately, not reality. And while there are preventative measures to help protect your property inside and out, it’s important to understand how often you should update your vacation rental for the sake of repeat guests, online reviews, and market competitiveness.
With guests pouring in every week (or every few days), your property is getting a lot of use, and that means the items you paid for have been well worth it. Your guests are happy and more than satisfied because you care about your vacation rental and guest experience. Families, friends, and coworkers enjoy spending time in your property, so keeping it up to their appreciated standard is vital. Whether the climate or weather has been wearing and tearing the exterior, accidental damages have cost you a new sofa, or time and use has hit its limit, items in the home need to be maintained, repaired, and replaced regularly.
How often should you update your property? As with most things in life, it depends. Different items require more or less attention. Purchased quality and guest turnover determine the longevity of items. And preventative actions, like mattress covers and routine appliance checks, can extend the life of some items.
- Linens, Pillows & Mattresses — Oh My!
Ah, sweet sleep, we need it every day and crave it while away on vacation. Excitement may keep guests up past their bedtime…but it shouldn’t be your bedding. Before you show concern for keeping everyone comfortable (as it’s practically impossible), the idea is to provide clean, comfortable beds for guests to rest and enjoy. And if mattresses are sagging or soiled in spots, pillow fluff is waning, and sheets are getting scratchy by the day, it’s probably time to replace them.
- Mattresses should be replaced every 5-10 years, depending on the quality and type. Check the manufacturer recommendations if possible and rotate/flip regularly to reduce guest impact.
- Bedspreads, comforters, and duvets should be updated every 1-2 years, depending on the size of the home and quality provided.
- Blankets need replacing every 2-3 years, again depending on quality, type, and guest frequency.
- Pillows must be replaced annually, and it’s recommended to use protective covers in addition to pillowcases for added protection.
- Sleeper sofas should be replaced every 3-5 years, and a commercial frame and mechanism plus a 5-inch spring mattress is best to increase comfort for guests and longevity for your pocketbook. At the very least, replace the sleeper “mattress” as often as necessary!
- Kitchen Inventory & Appliances
Vacation rental properties are expected to have updated kitchens with fully functional appliances, pots and pans, plus dish sets. Guests look forward to preparing homemade meals to keep their own costs down on vacation, and larger groups especially look forward to this feature to ensure everyone is fed and happy. If the freezer leaks, one of the stove burners doesn’t work anymore, and missing cutlery disrupts mealtimes, or the coffeemaker is out of commission, you’re going to hear about it…one way or the other. Don’t let a few appliances or inventory issues break your positive review streak.
- Major appliances, like the refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove, should be replaced every 5-8 years. And be sure to routinely check for blockages, electrical hazards, and any other issues that may occur with continued use.
- Small appliances, like blenders and coffeemakers, tend to be high-use items and may need replacements a few times throughout the year, but don’t worry as these are minute costs that keep guests comfortable and willing to return. If you have well water service for your vacation rental property, mineral deposits can build up in your coffeemakers, especially in Keurig style machines. Regular de-scaling may be necessary for optimal operation and quality!
- Cookware varies greatly and so should be replaced every 1-2 years, depending on the type, quality, and care.
- General inventory, including dishes, glasses, and mugs, are best replaced biannually or as needed as they will get plenty of use from guests and are easily replaced.
- Living & Recreational Furnishings
Arriving at your vacation rental property, guests look forward to recouping after their travels in the living room, preferably on a comfy couch or chair. These spaces quickly become gathering spots throughout their stay, especially if there are other inviting features, like a beautiful view, cozy fireplace, or big screen TV. And one of the worst ways to give a poor first impression to new guests is letting the furnishings sail past their use by dates…with holes, sunken spots, stains, scratches, and aching springs. This includes other sitting areas (sofas, chairs, love seats, tables, etc.) scattered throughout the home in bedrooms and recreational spaces.
- Cloth seating should be replaced every 3-5 years and routinely deep cleaned to extend their use and prevent unpleasant scents.
- Leather seating is typically a longer lasting alternative to cloth seating and needs to be replaced every 5-7 years.
- End and coffee tables should be regularly maintained and refinished/replaced every 5-7 years.
- Paint & Flooring
If you think curb appeal doesn’t matter in the vacation rental industry, then you may be in the wrong business. Guests want what they paid for…and usually expect more. So if your online photos were taken after a new paint job and freshly sanded floors — 10 years ago — you should probably (if not definitely) update your property to reflect just that. Scratched and stained walls don’t mix well with peeling and uneven floors, especially when a guest has paid to relax and unwind in your beautiful property, on perhaps their one and only vacation a year.
- Drywall should be repainted every 5 years. This is also a great opportunity to change up your cabin’s look and appeal to new guests.
- Exterior flooring and siding should be pressure washed and/or re-stained every 7 years. And think about trimming surrounding plant life to help protect the outside of your property.
- Laminate floors are due to be replaced every 5-7 years.
- Hardwood floors should be sanded with polyurethane applied afterwards for added protection at least every 10 years.
- Carpet should be replaced every 3-5 years.
- Laundry & Towels
When guests book vacation rental properties, they may end up bringing more than the average traveler to cut down on vacay expenses and make the place feel a bit more like home. Providing a washer and dryer set means guests can pack less clothes and towels for their stay and leave more room for souvenirs on their journey back to reality. As the length of stays varies, this means laundry loads could be done more often than a normal home, which means more wear and tear on your machines. Towels are also used and laundered more frequently in vacation homes and may need replacing sooner than you think.
- Washers and dryers should be replaced about every 5-8 years, depending on the type and quality.
- Towels need replacing around every 1-2 years. With Cabins for YOU, this one can be marked off your list of upgrades as we take care of provided towels.
While it’s good to know the average times to replace items in your vacation rental property, be sure to take repairs into consideration to extend item use when appropriate. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you may need to replace items — as needed — sooner than you had hoped. It’s not the best news, but sometimes it just can’t wait, lest you risk unhappy guests and negative reviews. On the bright side, if something needs your attention sooner, it may be due to the overwhelming amount of bookings. And that’s never a bad thing, right?
The bottom line is to expect the unexpected but don’t worry about it. Just take care of it (as needed) and move on. If you’re doing your best to care for and keep your property up to date, then it will stay competitive. And the bookings will cover the repair/replacement costs many times over in no time!
Cabins for YOU Inspections
Property updates sound like a huge hassle, eh? Get in touch with Cabins for YOU to take the hard work out of your hands — it’s our pleasure and our job as a vacation rental management company. We perform property inspections on the regular to keep our vacation rental properties up to snuff. Going the extra mile for owners, our inspections cover more than just the basics, checking window treatments, decor, grills, game tables, arcade units, hot tubs, and other unique home features and amenities. We know what to look for, how to determine repair versus replacement, and how best to pay for it.
Let our experienced inspectors (with trained eyes for detail) thoroughly check your property, and we’ll let you know what needs upgrading with a tailored checklist. Plus, we have full maintenance and cleaning crews to take care of basic repairs and report anything noticed during turnovers. And whether our staff or a guest points something out, your owner representative will hear about it and get to work, reporting necessities directly to YOU.
Provide a comfortable and functional place to stay, remain competitive in the vacation rental market, prevent negative reviews, and foster repeat guests — by regularly inspecting and keeping your property updated. Need help? Call your Cabins for YOU owner representative at 1.800.684.7865 or send us an online message today…the sooner, the better.