Don’t have the coveted water view vacation rental to gush about? It’s not as much of a detriment – especially to families – as you may think. While water views and accessibility are plusses in home vacation rentals, families know they come at a price. Since family vacations involve many more mouths to feed and activity fees to pay, the affordability that comes with non-water view rentals are important to parents looking to rent a vacation house.
The following are ways to promote your location, wherever it may or may not be, to families. These marketing insights take into account the vacation needs and desires of parents, teens and tots.
Little Ones’ Needs
While there are advantages to being right on the water – be it a pond, bay or ocean – there are even more drawbacks of water locations when traveling with tots. Parents must be ever vigilant night and day that their toddler does not run into the water unattended if they are within close walking distance.
When my children were very young, the things that were most important to me in our various summer vacation rentals on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod included:
• Is the home in a neighborhood where there are sidewalks or quiet streets to go for a stroll with my little one in the carriage? I was surprised that this was often not the case.
• How many breakable items are there in the rental home for me to move out of the way so that my tot does not knock them over by mistake? Simpler is better.
• Is the home a ranch or does it have two floors? Ranches are much better for families with toddlers and should be promoted as such. While parents can put up gates at the top and bottom of their stairs in their own home, that’s not the case in a rental. Who wants to be guarding the steps in a home rental constantly? This is supposed to be vacation, right?
• Air conditioning or ceiling fans: My kids napped until they were three years old each afternoon. Vacation homes without air conditioning are fine for families who are at the beach all day and arrive back at the house once evening coolness arrives. But for those with tots needing an afternoon nap, rental homes without any cooling systems can be stifling on a hot July or August afternoon. Play up that you have air conditioners or ceiling fans, especially to families.
What in the world do teens want?
With 18 years of family travel writing experience, I always have felt that if the kids are happy, then everyone is happy. That said, what do elusive teens want when vacationing with their family?
As creator and editor of www.Teentraveltalk.com, I‘ve come to learn that teens like action and independence. They don’t want to be sitting on the beach all day staring just at mom, dad and their little siblings. With their own sleep schedules and different interests, they want to enjoy independence from the rest of the group. So, if your vacation rental is within walking distance of shops, marinas or amusements, promote this, especially to families with tweens and teens.
The safe atmosphere of the Cape and Islands should also be promoted to families. My 18-year-old daughter Alex has always gotten a lot more freedom on our vacations on Cape Cod than she does in our town, which is near New York City. Vacationing with her older teen cousins, she can separate a little from us adults, “chill” with her cousins for an ice cream, for example, and still be safe. We still have plenty of family time, but small excursions on their own allow teens and parents to get a needed break from each other. It also builds affinity for the teens to love and appreciate the Cape, thus the greater likelihood they’ll return as adults with their own families.
Parents: Simple yet important pre-requisites
While we tend to put our needs last, here are a few key things that parents desire in a vacation rental home.
One is… location! However, location means different things to everyone. In my case, I love that our Orleans rental home is one minute drive from a Rt. 6 exit and a three minute drive from two major supermarkets. So, although you may think that it’s a drawback if your rental home is too near “civilization,” that may not be the case to many families. As a divorced mom, I spend my daily life juggling my business and driving the kids around. The last thing I want is to spend a chunk of my vacation time in transit.
Another thing that parents love in a rental home is an outdoor spot for communal meals – be it a barbeque, lobster boil or other summer meal. So if you have a deck with a picnic table, a screened in porch or gazebo with a big table for family meals, promote that. I, like many parents, find family meals a rarity during our hectic home life and thus relish them on vacation.
That said, some of my fondest memories of our Cape Cod rental home are of the annual Mexican dinner that I cook for my kids, their cousins and my siblings who all rent homes on the Cape at the same time. We all share the meal in the screened gazebo on my rental property. In fact, family lore has been created by the “burrito incident” that happened between two of the teen cousins a few years ago. Now who would think a simple Mexican meal and a gazebo would be the stuff that creates family legend?!
Think FAMILY Needs
Keep in mind that what you think may be a drawback to attracting some renters (not being near a beach or on the water) might just fit the bill for families. By putting yourself into the mind frame of parents seeking to please their kids – and themselves, too – you can find positive things about your vacation rental home and its location to promote to families.
How do you promote your rental home’s location?