If you don’t have natural water close by – i.e. a beach, lake or river, then a pool is still the number one attraction. Where every neighbor has one and they all rent as well, the key is to make yours look more attractive than the competition. People want to imagine themselves staying at a property; relaxing; reading a book; enjoying time with the children etc. Think about how the photos you take can capture that imagination. Pictures of pools can often look sterile and uninteresting, so take some time and stage the area. Place a book and a glass of wine or juice on a side table by a lounging chair; drape a towel over a chair and arrange pool toys at the edge of the water. Experts say that photographs of a pool showing ripples have more of an effect than still water so since it costs nothing to experiment with a few different shots, take the time to get several and use the ones that are most attractive.
This feature consistently stays in the top three sought after amenities, particularly in locations where there are distinct seasons and cooler weather vacations are offered. Providing a hot tub may not generate a significantly higher rental rate, however those properties with tubs often report higher occupancy levels than those without. A good tip here is to ensure the photos are of the spa with the lid off and the jets in operation. As with a pool, take pictures from different angles – if you have a fantastic backdrop (Sedona red rocks or a Smokey Mountain view) this will create an even better image. Make sure your listing text uses words that will resonate with the target market – phrases such as ‘relax in the tub under the stars as the massaging jets soothe tired muscles after a long day, skiing/hiking/biking.
Standing out from the competition in the pet friendly market can reap dividends since pet owners can become loyal (and possibly repeat) guests. Saying you accept pets is a good start but the trend is to make them as welcome as their two-legged companions. If a potential guest is choosing between two properties – one that ‘permits’ pets and charges an additional fee – and one that ‘welcomes your furry friend’, and provides a dog basket, bowls, temporary pet id tag, and some natural treats, it’s likely there will be little argument about which one they will choose. Often pet owners will forego other amenities if they are made to feel welcome with their pooch.
Given the growth in vacation rental inventory across the board, keeping an eye on the competition is even more important. Stand out from the rest and the reservations will flow.
Leave a comment
L. D. Tadema-Wielandt
We have no pool, no hot tub and do not allow pets or smoking. We are almost 100% booked every year.
pets arent that great...... yes the renters like it but the house and the dander and destruction, and the next allergy prone renters.....
After doing our 20 properties for 14 years and answering 60 to 300 inquiries a day (the 60 is an average Christmas Day), I do feel at least some qualifications for commenting. I think the above suggestions are GREAT...if they apply to one's area. My degree in marketing and position as VP of same for the 5th largest corp. in the world leads me to say that the approach MUST match the market. There is no one size fits all suggestion. In our area, it seems like 5,000 degrees in the shade close to seven months of the year; I've never had but one request for a hot tub. Dogs are not allowed on the beaches, so pet friendly is not material except on rare occasion. Actually I get far more people who want to be sure pets have NOT been in a property due to allergies on the part of someone in a property. I'd suggest making a list of things YOU are asked about most in YOUR area. For example, where I am, parking is quite often a huge problem. Being able to guarantee parking puts one on the top of visitors' lists. Over time you will find out what's important to YOUR market and be able to emphasize your offerings accordingly. I think our primary "winner" is long, complete explanations that are open and friendly and welcoming. That's really a winner in these days of automated responses and online bookings. Although we literally have to answer inquiries 365 days a year and it's been known to take 20 hours some days to keep up...it's a huge payoff. I've done 3 bookings today for people who all mentioned the response as being the deciding factor. One lady said most basically said "here's the form, send the money." Another said any type of automated response gets the property deleted immediately from her consideration. Another said that the welcoming and warm and complete 40 line response was all she needed to be able to tell what kind of stay she'd have. Again...find what matters in YOUR area. We give a guarantee in writing of refund of unused nights for hurricane evacuation. Most won't..many emphasize that right on websites. It's a HUGE winner. Also...extras matter of course. Offering beach towels and beach chairs (or whatever people want in your area) when almost no one else does is important for people flying in who cannot bring them. Welcome baskets, etc. encourage repeat guests. We send a HUGE guest packet of area information down to a church list to every renter before they come. The referrals from friends never stop. Happy renting!!!
Sure make you home pet friendly and for sure you will not have normal people wanting to stay at your Villa, which are 95% of them. Pets are not allergies , carpet, bed covers, sheets , furniture and pool/filter friendly their owner will think that is cute for the dog to jump in your pool . They leave a particular smell on your home that it is hard to remove. Also in the animal wolrd, it is normal for animals specially males to mark their territory, soon you will have to be replacing carpets, grout or woodfloors, like it or not, and I don't care how well trained a dog is, the owners are not going to care a bit about your home, as soon as the arrive they will let the animal free to run around , and they will be leaving at the end of their stay , and your home is the one that gets all the damage done.Never mind all the extra cleaning and if you are not lucky enough and you are under a managing company all the extra cleaning charges will out do your rental profit, if you have any that at all. What ever little money you can get by admitting pets at your home at the end will cost you a fortune by having to replace carpets, furniture, etc... with out to mentioning that if you have to put your home on the market to sell, you loose at least 90% of potential buyers, and that's a well know fact. If you want to rent your Villa and have it at 5 stars, it is very simple: Keep it very, very clean, and you will see how fast you get good reviews and people will come, and at the end they will tell their friends and family. And ofcourse they will come again. Think about it, will you prefer to rent your Villa 3 weeks per year for the pet owners that don't have a place to leave their pets and be able to have a proper vacations with thier family or rent it 40 plus weeks by having a clean , nice furniture and allergies free Villa.
Fleas and ticks are a real hassle. Animal dander is also a huge issue for allergy sufferers . We are in a Cape Cod resort area and we simply discourage our tenants from bringing their canine for these reasons. Our policy is "Absolutely No pets. And, please don't ask". (Cape Cod is "tick central", so leaving Fido with a friend is a better idea for this resort area). Besides that, we cannot clean up the mess that a wet dog creates if it jumps on a sofa or a bed.
John and Lynne
Agree with the pool and hot tub bit. Not so being "pet friendly". We have just stopped accepting pets due to a) after one rental one of the bedroom doors was scratched very badly on the inside of the door and b) we are still finding labrador hairs on the block paving pool deck (in the joints) inspite of 2 pressure washes and vacuuming. This is since mid March and it is now almost June. No more muts for us thank you!!
If you begin accepting Pet's, what would be the rates you would charge, and what do you do if the pet/s damages the property and urinates on the beds, carpet, etc. Is the size of the pet and how many pets are permitted to come. THanks
Sign Up for Newsletter
Latest on Bayer's Blog
Nov 27, 2013Essential Information for Your Guests
When we become so familiar with a place and its individual quirks it’s easy to forget that guests may become confused over what seems like a very simple activity or procedure. For example, lighting a barbecue when the automatic starter … Continue reading
Nov 27, 2013Security Deposit Alternatives
The topic of damage/security deposits is one of the most contentious in the vacation rental industry and not without cause. Home owners take a risk when offering their property for rental and the degree of stress this will cause is … Continue reading
Nov 25, 2013Amenity Accuracy
I’m not generally given to rants but occasionally things occur so frequently I have no option but to make my irritation public. And, if it helps vacation rental owners to look at what they are offering in the way of … Continue reading