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Dec 28 2011

Trends in Vacation Rental Amenities: What are Vacationers Most Looking For?

You may not be able to offer your guests the Taj Mahal for their vacation experience, but you can make their stay equally memorable by providing some or all of the most sought-after vacationer amenities. Consider the following top five and their pros and cons – you may find they’re not always prohibitively expensive or difficult for you to add.

Air Conditioning: Like it or not (and most of us homeowners do not!), increasing numbers of vacationers are requesting, if not requiring, air conditioning. Most of us with homes on the Cape and Islands know that it rarely gets as terribly hot here as it does in most other parts of the country. But admittedly it’s always quite humid, and air conditioning is most effective in keeping your home drier and less prone to mold and mustiness.

The obvious downside to offering air conditioning is the expense. We often hear from our homeowners how their tenants tend to crank up the a/c and leave doors and windows wide open – an inexcusable waste of energy, not to mention a huge expense for the homeowner. Do you offer a/c? Do you find that your tenants abuse it? Have you considered charging an extra fee for it?

Internet: Face it, access to the Internet has become almost a necessity – even on vacation. No longer just needed to stay in touch with job-related responsibilities, the Internet also provides vacationers with the ability to communicate family and friends (particularly critical to teenagers!), keep up with the news, and even go to sites like our WeNeedaVacation.com Vacation Planner to access local restaurants, shops, activities and events while they’re here. If you don’t already offer Internet access (preferably with a wireless router), it’s well worth the few extra dollars a month to include it for your guests. It can be fairly inexpensive, especially when bundled with the cost of phone and cable TV.
 
Cable TV and a DVD player: Most of us offer cable TV in our properties these days (the reception on the Cape and Islands is pretty inadequate without it). Consider offering a premium package for your guests – and, if you do, be sure to mention it in your listing. Having the Disney Channel can be a lifesaver to a family with young kids, especially if they encounter bad weather during their stay.  And a DVD player is equally helpful – especially if you are willing to provide a sampling of good DVD’s with it.

Allowing Pets: Although the majority of our properties do not accept pets, increasing numbers of vacationers prefer to bring their family pets along with them. In fact, it’s one of the great advantages of renting a home versus staying in a hotel or inn, which rarely allow pets. Do keep in mind, however, that many people suffer from allergies, which would prevent them from being able to stay in your home, despite your best cleaning efforts. And there’s no question that dogs, regardless of their size, cause greater wear and tear on your home. For many, the solution is to allow pets but charge their owners an additional “pet deposit,” which can either be refundable or not.

Including Linens: Linens are highly desired, especially for larger homes or if your tenants are traveling from a distance.  Keep in mind, however, that successfully laundering them within the few hours of turnover time can be both challenging and expensive if you are paying a cleaning service to wait until a load of sheets and towels is dry. You might consider providing BED linens, but not towels, which enormously compound the volume of dirty laundry.

An alternative to providing linens is to offer information to your tenants about linen rental companies in your area.

Have you noticed a shift in the amenities vacationers are asking for in your area?

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Trends in Vacation Rental Amenities: What are Vacationers Most Looking For?
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About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for WeNeedaVacation.com since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and have managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation.com, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family since the 1920’s. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV.com Homeowner Support Team, I am particularly involved with our new listers, providing assistance with the sign-up process and advice about how to create the most effective listing to ensure their booking success with us. I have recently taken over our press and public relations needs. And, with owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the content on our website, our monthly newsletters, and the blog posts. My husband and I live in Wellesley where we have raised our 2 grown kids and our Black Lab, Maisie. Email Elizabeth

3 comments

  1. Kathy W.

    I would be concerned about managing a/c with our Vineyard renters. We would only do bedrm window units but that does seem like an unnecessary use of resources for what’s usually a few hot nights a yr. How do we keep tenants from turning it on when it’s 75 and leaving it running all day? A/C is standard for southern rentals, I know, but just not sure how the logistics would work for us, short of installing some sort of elaborate central air system. Any suggestions or experiences?

    1. Kathryn W.

      We bought the house next door to our seasonal home on the Vineyard last May. It did not have A/C. In the past as we were staying in the adjacent house, I felt almost guilty when it was wicked hot and humid, and there were renters who were paying a huge rent and were undoubtedly uncomfortable.The first thing we did after buying the house in May was to install mini splits in all rooms. Due to the style of the house, we couldn’t do a typical system with duct work. Our electric bill was well under $100/week. Part of that was lights, cooking,TV’s etc, so I don’t feel that is bad for having happy comfortable guests. Keeping the house cool and dry will also help to maintain appliances and furniture and keep mustiness down. We had 2 repeat renters who were thrilled with the addition of the A/C.

  2. Mary Stewart

    Very useful advice. Thanks, Elizabeth

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