Ah, the joys of owning a vacation home. Your very own abode away from abode. A private oasis where you and your loved ones can laugh, play and forge lasting memories in a dreamy locale.
Yet, for many, their vacation home isn’t just a sweet escape. It’s an investment.
If you’re one of the 1 in 3 people who rent (or plan to rent) their vacation home to short-term guests, you undoubtedly want to make as much return on your investment as possible.
Stay Here, a state-trotting show on Netflix, lovingly combines travel and home improvement as interior designer, Genevieve Gorder (of Trading Spaces fame), and real estate expert, Peter Lorimer, elevate the interior design and marketing plans of short-term rentals around the U.S..
The before-and-afters on this 8-episode show are quite impressive and definitely worth a watch.
Here are 3 nuggets of Stay Here design wisdom on how you can double your vacation rental revenue and leave your competition in the dust.
Don’t Skimp on the Bed
“It is the first thing guests look at when they’re looking at properties to stay in.” ~ Genevieve Gorder
Have you slept in a hotel or vacation rental where the bed and pillows were super, duper, uber comfy? If so, then you know just how much of a value-add that can be. Because few things are as zen-inducing as a great night’s sleep, especially when you’re far from home.
The beds in your rental should look and feel fantastic. Fit for a princess… minus the pea.
Start by using or buying a high quality mattress. Add pillows that are so heavenly, sweet dreams are guaranteed. Decorate with a duvet, throw pillows, and high-thread-count white sheets and pillowcases. Also, have an extra blanket or two nearby (or in a closet) for extra chilly nights.
Depersonalize the Decor
“When guests come in, the first thing you want them to see is that you thought of them.” ~ Genevieve Gorder
The great thing about a vacation rental is, it provides the ambience and comforts of a real home that many hotels cannot.
Your guests, however, aren’t paying to stay in your home, per se; but rather, a home like yours. They want your home without you in it—neither in body nor in hyper-personalized spirit.
When selling a home, a great realtor will advise you to remove hyper-personal items like family photos, zany art, an elliptical machine in the bedroom, and anything else that would hinder buyers from picturing themselves living there.
The same rule applies to short-term rentals, especially if you want to double your revenue. So be sure to remove hyper-personal items and replace them with local flair—decor that harkens the history, style and culture of your city or neighborhood. A great place to shop for local flair is at vintage stores and antique shops in your area.
While you’re at it, add in useful and thoughtful amenities like bathrobes and slippers; Bluetooth-enabled TVs and speakers (for streaming); a spice rack; bicycles; beach chairs and snorkeling gear; et al., for guests to use during their stay.
Go Outdoor Glam
“Having an outdoor fire feature or water feature can really increase your nightly rate.” ~ Genevieve Gorder
The same way Nancy Sinatra’s ‘boots are made for walking,’ your vacation rental’s outdoor spaces should be tailor-made for relaxation and entertainment, where people can eat, drink, play games and be merry.
Don’t just plant a BBQ grill and a basic patio set in the backyard and call it a day. Transform your yard, deck or rooftop into a beautiful oasis that will elicit “Oohs” and “Ahhs” from your guests, and will have them coming back year after year.
How to achieve this? Well, depending on the space, the climate and the scenery, consider if and how you can add water or fire elements like a swimming pool, hot tub, soothing fountain, gas fire pit or brick oven.
Add in pops of color with plants and shrubbery; comfy yet durable seating (with covers for protection when not in use); and weather-resistant decorations like sculptures or Moroccan lanterns. Then top it off with shaded areas (via patio umbrellas or cabana tents); and add in playful or fitful items like a croquet set, pool floats or yoga mats.
If all of this makes your head spin, I suggest calling in an expert—a landscape architect or interior designer with the imagination and magic touch to transform your drab outdoor space into a photo op worthy of its own social media # hashtag… and a spread in Architectural Digest!