When I was younger, my mother handled lots of the phone calls from potential guests who were interested in renting one of our vacation homes, and I always noticed how much emphasis she placed on the various amenities.
In fact, a majority of the phone call was spent discussing the amenities of the vacation property, along with some of the local attractions. And it was clearly an effective approach because our properties were booked solid many years, earning my parents a tidy side income.
So what amenities bring in the highest ROI for your vacation home? And what will those amenities mean for your property management contract? All are important questions to consider, whether you currently own a vacation rental property or are in the market for a new one.
Choosing the Amenities with the Highest ROI for Your Vacation Home
The amenities that will bring the highest ROI for your rental property will vary depending upon location and your target guest demographics. For example, if you have a vacation home in Orlando and target families, adding a bar and pool table may not bring the same type of benefit that you would see if you were to add those features to a home in Panama City Beach, Florida -- a Spring Break hot spot that attracts lots of young adults in search of a good time.
Let's examine the amenities with the highest ROI and how they'll impact your property management contract.
Pools are a huge draw, particularly in locations that are warm year-round because this allows for year-round pool use. (Unless you opt for an indoor pool, which allows for year-round use regardless of location!) Adding a pool can make your vacation home more competitive on the open rental market.
What's more, you can increase your rental fees by as much as $150 to $300 per week or even more, depending on the local economy and the time of year. This means that you should be seeing a profit from your pool, as you should see more bookings and the added money you're seeing per week should surpass the fees associated with maintaining the pool.
It's important to understand that the addition of a pool will have a significant impact on your property management contract and your insurance premiums. You will need significantly higher liability insurance, and your property manager will be tasked with overseeing pool care and maintenance, which can cost a couple hundred dollars per month or more.
Additionally, your property manager will need to oversee other aspects of your new pool, including pool fencing, covering the pool on a nightly basis and monitoring pool alarms, which are affixed to exterior doors leading to the pool area to prevent a child from wandering into the pool area unattended. As a result, the degree of modification to your property management contract will be fairly significant.
Spas and hot tubs are a wonderful investment, especially if you don't have the room or funds for a new pool. In fact, for the money invested, a spa can bring a higher ROI than a pool due to the much lower installation cost and the lower monthly maintenance costs, combined with the fact that a spa can be used year-round in any location.
While your property manager will need to oversee cleaning and maintaining your spa, the financial cost and upkeep time won't result in a significant increase in terms of property management costs. Plus, your property manager will not need to worry about pool fencing, pool covers, or pool alarms because spas are typically covered and, generally, no form of fencing is required.
You may consider putting a lock on the hot tub cover for liability reasons and to keep neighbors out, so your property manager may need to provide guests with access information to unlock it. Still, the modification to your property management contract will be fairly minor.
A spa may result in a modest increase in terms of your insurance premiums, but it's nowhere near the increase you would see with a pool.
In terms of desirability, spas give you a competitive edge with virtually any age group and guest demographic. So whether you're targeting retirees, young, active families, or athletic ski enthusiasts, you'll appeal to them with a spa or hot tub.
You can easily charge an additional $75 to $150 per week or more, depending on location and season -- profits that should easily cover the costs of maintenance while still leaving room for profit.
Bar, Pool Table, and Lounge
Bring the party to your vacation home with a lounge and bar area, complete with cozy lounge chairs, a bar, and pool table. You can also opt for other items, such as foosball tables, air hockey tables, or pinball machines. A lounge can be a great investment if you're catering primarily to adults, including couples and groups, particularly college students and others in search of a good time.
Items such as a pool table require virtually no maintenance, but a bar can be more challenging, depending on what -- if anything -- you'd like to stock by way of drinks. Generally, it's standard to stock a few bottles of liquor, but you must perform sufficient vetting to ensure your guests are the appropriate age. You may also opt to add in other features, such as a sound system and televisions in the bar and lounge area.
Most property management contracts will not require any modification and the maintenance is more or less limited to keeping the bar properly stocked and ensuring the pool table is in working order (along with other items, such as foosball tables or air hockey tables) .
Depending on how well-stocked you choose to keep the bar, you can charge anywhere from an additional $100 to $300 per week or more, depending upon your location, the season, and the amount and quality of alcohol you choose to stock. A lounge and bar can also make your home more appealing, giving you a very competitive edge in markets that cater primarily to adult guests and groups.
Dog Run and Pet Suite
If you're catering to lots of pet owners, you may opt to add pet-friendly features, such as a fenced yard or an enclosed dog run where pups can do their business and enjoy the great outdoors.
If you have the space, you may consider adding a puppy suite, complete with a dog bed, feeding station, toys, and even a doggy door leading to a dog run. This can be a wonderful addition for pet-friendly families -- and an especially wonderful option if you have a small room that's not worth converting into a bedroom.
A pet suite is perfect if you welcome pets and enjoy traveling with your own dogs. It can be a huge draw if your vacation home is situated in an area where there are lots of pet-friendly attractions.
Additionally, adding a pet suite and dog run carries minimal overhead, and you may not need to revise your property management contract if you already welcome pets. In the case of pet-friendly vacation homes, property managers will need to be on the lookout for any damage that may warrant a deduction from the guest's damage deposit, but you won't see much change in this regard if you add a pet suite, fenced yard, and dog run or other pet-friendly features.
Adding pet-friendly amenities such as these can result in a small increase of anywhere from $75 to $150 per week or more. Plus, you'll be way more competitive among pet owners, especially if few other vacation rentals in the area accommodate pets. So you can expect to see a boost in the number of bookings you receive.
Adding the right amenities to your vacation home can really enhance your guests' experience while allowing you to increase your fees and your competitiveness with other rental properties in the area. But you need the right property manager for the job and that's exactly where Rented.com can help.
On Rented.com, you can find the perfect property manager for your vacation home. Join for free today and get quotes from some of the top property managers in your area. For more information, call us at +1 (844) 736-8334, or chat with us below!
Lead image: Flickr CC user Selamat Made