Peak season for some vacation rentals is drawing to a close as winter holiday quickly approaches. But even the warmest, beach-themed vacation rentals can be easily turned into cozy, holiday spaces. If you’re looking to capture the holiday audience, you’ll need to start preparing immediately. This doesn’t happen overnight. Check out these tips for outfitting your vacation rental as a holiday home this winter.
1. Make an Announcement
Send a holiday newsletter to your previous guests informing them of your new availability.
This is also a good opportunity to give potential renters some local information. You can supply guests with travel information like popular restaurants, holiday events, nearby airports, and what types of cars to rent. For instance, if a four-wheel drive SUV is necessary to access the property, make sure renters are aware ahead of time.
Cultivate some holiday-themed bundles or discounts that you can include as exclusive offers. This is great for re-engaging previous guests. If you have frequent guests, you can use this as an opportunity to ask them what they’d like to see in a holiday vacation rental. You know your clientele best, so try to tailor your changes to what would make their stay special.
2. Set a Minimum Stay
A key part of your vacation rental is going to be a minimum rental length. The stress of the holidays can be overwhelming even without managing a vacation rental property. Don’t scramble to prepare your property on short notice for the second wave of guests. Require a stay length minimum.
A three-day minimum is a good starting point, as it will weed out any chance of guests leaving on Christmas Eve and new guests coming in on Christmas Day. This alleviates any potential problems and stressors, and usually causes guests to book for longer periods of time. It also allows you and any of your usual services to relax and enjoy the holidays in-between guest cycles.
3. Run Holiday Advertisements
You’ll want to advertise openly and early that your rental is available for the holidays. Be clear and consistent with listings and specific holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas to ensure guests understand your availability.
Including information on holiday availability in the description of the listing makes it easy for guests to overlook. This can easily put your home out of the running. If you have your own website or personal listing site, create a section towards the top to specifically discuss the holidays. Include any other holiday-specific information, including rates and dates.
4. Holiday Decor
One of the best parts of the holidays is decorating! A bit of trim lighting on the outside can go a long way. Impress your guests as they drive up. Make it clear they’re here for the holidays. Chances are that if your vacation home renters were home for the holidays, they’d decorate some way or another.
Being away for the holidays can make them feel like they’ve missed out on some traditions. But it’s best to tread lightly when decorating both inside and outside. A simple accent here and there can really help the mood. You don’t want to run the risk of scaring off someone who isn’t celebrating the holidays.
Consider holiday and seasonal accents, such as simple pine garland around a doorframe and a wreath above the fireplace. You can also benefit by being non-specific with decorating. Display snowmen and pine cones with fall and winter colors. You can also provide some candles to help fill the space with holiday scents. The key is to make it feel homey without overwhelming your guests.
5. Holiday Photos
Another good way to advertise your vacation rental for the holidays is to take some season-oriented photos of the home to cycle in as the holiday season comes around. Consider staging some of the rooms with your tasteful bits of holiday decorating in-frame. If you’re going to take your own photos, use a tripod to avoid blurred images. Set up some clear but atmospheric lighting. Remember, the holidays are all about family. Use these photos to rebrand your vacation rental as warm, intimate, and inviting home.
6. Holiday Supplies
During other times of the year, you can get away with basic kitchen supplies in your vacation rental’s kitchen. However, during the holidays the kitchen steps up to center stage. Any shortcomings will be all the more noticeable by your guests. Before the holidays roll around, evaluate the kitchen and its gadgets. See what sort of cookware and utensils you can add to it that would help assist your holiday chefs.
Families renting your home may have plans for a holiday dinner, lunch, or breakfast. Chances are, they won’t be able to bring most – if any – of their own cookware. There’s no need to go overboard on name-brand supplies, but having a pie plate and large cutting board on hand could be very helpful.
Renting during the holidays might seem stressful. With a few personal touches and preparations, though, it can be one of the most rewarding times of year. Take these things into account and it’s sure to be a happy holiday!