Anyone who owns a holiday home or flat would love to have it fully booked all through the year. This December, with travel restrictions still heavily enforced, many South Africans will be staycationing in the country instead of going overseas.
How do you make your vacation rental stand out so that people notice it when they’re booking online? And, that once they’ve stayed there, they’ll love it so much they’ll definitely recommend it to others?
Ideally, you’ll want your investment property to grab attention, but also look like a welcoming space where people can relax and enjoy being together. You want every aspect of their stay there to ooze memories and good times.
First impressions count
The front of your holiday house is the first thing guests will see when they arrive, so it’s integral to make a great impression. A pretty welcome sign, the name of your holiday home or painting the front door with a cheerful colour will all give an instant holiday vibe. Planting flowers, or having them in pots, at the front door will also create a welcoming feel.
A warm welcome
Have a welcome pack with a small selection of treats and visitor information waiting for guests upon their arrival. They’ll love it, and will remember it in their recommendations of your property to others. Fresh bread and milk in the fridge for the first night’s stay will be so appreciated, as will little touches like dog snacks for pet-friendly homes, and mini-toiletries in the bathroom.
Create a guide with expert tips on your area – great coffee spots, bakeries and delis, must-try restaurants and wine bars, shopping hotspots and touristy must-sees. A handy list of close-by supermarkets, doctors and pharmacies will be convenient, too. Try an online design programme like Canva to put your guide together and make it look professional.
Nobody wants ordinary
When you’re decorating a space for holiday guests, it’s tempting to tone it down so that the décor will appeal to all, but remember that people want wow. Guests want a space that feels like a home from home but they’re also paying for an experience. Colour, beautiful art, a stand-out furniture piece, deep-pile rugs in the bedroom or a luxe addition like a log fireplace or a jacuzzi will be memorable (and romantic!).
If your home is surrounded by beautiful scenery, invest in floor-length glass windows or doors for views that will really sell your holiday home. Never fall into the trap of choosing cheap décor items, or worse still, decorating a space with the things you don’t want at home. Old, cheap and boring are to be avoided at all costs. When people walk into your holiday rental they want to find the equivalent, or better, than what they have at home.
What guests want
Evaluate every party of your holiday space and think about what you can do to make your guests’ experience memorable. The living room must have a cosy place where they can relax and read a book or watch a movie and, if possible, a smart TV. In the kitchen, make sure there’s everything that guests need to easily be able to self-cater. If you can, add in luxe touches such as an espresso machine or a smoothie maker. It’s things like this people will tell their friends about.
Holidaymakers want to relax and spend their time making fun memories, so make sure they get the time to do that at your rental by providing a cleaning service. Ad hoc bookings may mean you don’t need a regular service, so opt for one like SweepSouth which will allow your guests to have a relaxing holiday without the fuss of cleaning up.
Create a photo-worthy backdrop
People love taking photos of themselves in a beautiful holiday setting sharing them with those back home. Create an appealing photo-worthy scene in one of the main living spaces. It can be a stylish area with smart wallpaper and an ornamental mirror, a serene space in the garden or quirky corner at the entrance featuring something that resonates with the location you’re in, like a local artwork or an attractive grouping of photos of local landmarks.
A bedroom sanctuary
Spending time and effort on making your master bedroom into a tranquil sanctuary is well worth it. You want a guest to feel pampered the moment they walk in and see plush pillows and plump quilts on a big, comfy bed that promises a fantastic night’s sleep.
Buy the best mattress you can afford, and provide soft-to-the-touch quality linen and bedding. Make this a haven of relaxation that much more luxurious with air-conditioning, block-out curtain or blinds, soft rugs and laundry hampers. Think about your guests’ expectations and exceed them.
Light it right
Done right, lighting can add so much to the feel of a room. With so many appealing and affordable lighting options (try Builders Warehouse and Leroy Merlin), it’s worth spending the money on stand-out lighting. Fabulous lamps or wall sconces in the bedroom, charming pendants in the kitchen and a large standing lamp in the sitting room will add real presence.
If you have an outdoor space, make it an oasis for guests to spend time in. Even small areas can be made delightful with the addition of water features, hammocks, daybeds and canopies. If you can care for it, plant a vegetable or herb patch that guests can help themselves to.
Lastly, get great photos of your rental. When people scroll through listings on holiday accommodation sites, think about what your photos will look like and whether they’ll catch the eye of a holidaymaker, resulting in more bookings. It’s worth getting a professional in to take the shots when you first list.
The above pointers may require some spend, but they’re all features you can highlight when advertising your rental, and are therefore worthwhile investments.