Growing up, my family always went out of their way to buy new amenities for our vacation rentals, while also keeping our vacation homes well-stocked with loaner items ranging from cars and ATVs to bikes, pool toys, fishing rods, and a range of other recreational items.
When we would arrive at our vacation home, the entire family would play a game: You got $1 for every item that you found to be damaged, and you got $2 for every item that was missing. It was a game that we loved to play because each trip inevitably netted each kid anywhere from $5 to $10 of spending money. It was my parents' way of enlisting the kids' help in determining what items had been stolen or ruined.
I recall that my parents spent a fair amount of money replacing damaged or missing items and when I got older, I started to question why they provided these items at all. Why not just stow everything inside one of the locked owner's closets and let the guests buy their own items? Well, my parents explained that these loaner items and the other amenities at our vacation home added to the property's appeal and marketability.
Turns out their strategy was quite effective as our vacation homes were always consistently booked up, and they generated a significant profit for our family. This was especially true in competitive tourist locations, like Scottsdale, Arizona.
Let's look at how the amenities can impact your Scottsdale vacation home and its rental income. We'll also explore how your Scottsdale property manager can help ensure that these amenities stay in good condition while keeping an inventory of smaller items that may be apt to “grow legs.”
How Do Amenities Increase Your Vacation Home's Rental Income?
Amenities and loaner items can make your vacation home more competitive while allowing you to charge a higher rental fee to your guests. Adding various amenities and loaner items to your vacation home makes your home more desirable to potential guests -- something that's very important if you're in a tourist hot spot like Scottsdale. These perks are also wonderful if you have a typical mid-sized home or condo, as these properties tend to have the most competition in the local vacation rental market.
Your property manager will also have the ability to promote these amenities and loaner items in the marketing and advertisements for your property. This can make your marketing efforts more productive. This is especially true for big-ticket items, like a pool that allows visitors to beat the heat that Scottsdale is so well-known for or an ATV that allows guests to explore some of the many four-wheeling trails in and around Scottsdale and the nearby Tonto National Forest.
Some vacation home owners may even opt to offer a loaner vehicle to guests, which may negate the need to rent a car. This can allow you to increase your asking price by several hundred dollars per week, although you will need to consider costs related to insurance and vehicle maintenance. You may also work with your property manager to run a check on the guest's driving record.
Ultimately, you can potentially work with your property manager to promote these amenities, which can enable you to boost the number of bookings for your vacation home, while increasing the amount that you can charge per week.
What Expenses Will I Need to Consider?
Of course, there are some expenses that you'll need to consider when adding new amenities to your vacation home. The cost of purchasing and maintaining various amenities -- especially big-ticket items like a pool or vehicle -- can be significant. You may also see higher insurance costs, and it is generally wise to work with your property manager to revamp your rental agreement/contract so that you are released from any liability if any injuries occur while using any of the loaner items/amenities that are included as part of your rental.
For large items and smaller ticket items, your property manager will need to perform an inventory and inspection before and after each guest's arrival to determine if anything is damaged or missing. For this reason, it's important that you work with a property manager who is detail-oriented and available to perform regular inventories and inspections.
You'll also want to work with your property manager to revise your rental agreement/contract so that you can charge a damage deposit. Some or all of that damage deposit may be kept if items are found to be damaged or missing. Many homeowners will word the rental agreement in a way that allows you to charge the guest's credit card for any damages that exceed the amount charged as a damages deposit.
What Are the Best Amenities to Add to My Scottsdale Vacation Home?
Deciding which amenities to add to your Scottsdale vacation home is a fairly personal process because you'll want to invest in amenities that you can personally enjoy, while also increasing your vacation rental's ROI.
A pool is perhaps the best investment, as this is a huge draw for potential guests who will enjoy the chance to cool down in the Arizona heat. The actual cost of maintenance is quite reasonable, averaging around $200 per month (although some property management companies may include pool care as part of their contract). Another consideration, though, is safety. You would need to install the appropriate fencing and pool alarms, in addition to purchasing a good insurance policy.
Another great investment is a hot tub, which can actually be wonderful for those cold desert nights while providing a bit of pampering to your guests. The cost of maintenance is also quite reasonable, while the required safety measures and insurance-related costs are also less than what you might see with an in-ground pool.
Vehicles, such as a car or ATVs, can be great perks, although there are some liability issues that will need to be addressed with insurance and a customized rental agreement. But if you have a good property manager who can keep an eye on these vehicles and who lives in the northern region of Scottsdale or in another area where ATV riding is permitted (or are willing to allow guests to use your ATV trailer), then this can be a great perk to offer to your guests. A good property manager is quite important as is a good rental agreement/contract because you'll need to be able to identify any damage caused by a particular guest, and you'll need a good contract that gives you the ability to recover any repair costs. A higher damage deposit may be charged to guests who opt to use your vehicles.
You might also consider other loaner items such as bikes -- especially mountain bikes if you're near Tonto National Forest, which is popular among outdoors enthusiasts who want to explore the desert on a bike. An alternative is to cut a deal with a local bike rental shop to provide a reduced rate to your guests. If your guest volume isn't sufficient to warrant a reduced rate, you may negotiate an arrangement where they can bill you for a portion of the rental fee for your guests.
Other outdoor recreation equipment, like camping equipment and sporting equipment, can be a big hit among guests. While Scottsdale isn't known as a prime location for fishing, if you're located near Chaparral Lake or Eldorado's North Lake, it may make sense to keep some fishing rods on-hand since the Arizona Fish and Game Division does stock these lakes with trout and catfish. If you do offer fishing equipment to your guests, you'll want to be sure to include an information sheet about where to get a local fishing license.
You'll also want to consider indoor amenities. Adding the latest technology can go a long way toward upping your home's appeal to potential guests. You can achieve this by offering free WiFi, cable or satellite TV, and multiple TVs -- ideally one or two in communal areas and one per bedroom. Scottsdale's low humidity and dry weather also mean that outdoor appliances tend to hold up well, so you might consider investing in a killer sound system with indoor and outdoor components. Though, you will need to work with your property manager to ensure that this equipment and technology doesn't disappear.
Simple things like having a grill or washer and dryer on-site can also be a great convenience that you and your guests will enjoy.
You can also consider indoor recreation. After all, Scottsdale is known for some very hot weather during the heat of the day. So a bar, pool table, gaming system, foosball table, and gym equipment can be big draws too.
When choosing amenities for your vacation home, it's important to focus on items that you'll use personally, along with amenities that are apt to make your vacation home more marketable and more competitive in the already-competitive Scottsdale vacation rental marketplace.
Keep Amenities Safe with a Property Manager
Hiring the right property manager is an essential part of maximizing your Scottsdale vacation home's ROI. Without a property manager, many of these amenities and loaner items are apt to be stolen, damaged, or poorly maintained. So it's really critical that you have a detail-oriented property manager who's willing and able to work with you to routinely inventory and inspect your vacation home's amenities and loaner items.
If you're ready to boost your Scottsdale vacation rental's ROI, create a free profile on Rented.com to connect with some of the nation's top property managers. Many of the property managers Rented works with even offer a unique guaranteed income model, which allows you to earn a monthly income regardless of actual booking rates. Sign up today, call us at +1 (844) 736-8334, or chat with us below to get started.
Lead image: Flickr CC user D Guisinger