Managing Your Vacation Rental

Air Conditioning – An Increasingly Popular Amenity

Written by Joan Talmadge
Air Conditioning – An Increasingly Popular Amenity
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It’s not our imagination. Summers on the Cape and Islands are getting hotter – and staying hotter longer.  As I read the guest reviews that flowed in this past summer, many vacationers mentioned either how much they appreciated the air conditioning the house provided or, conversely, how much more they would have enjoyed the home if it had air conditioning.

Some vacationers have even come to expect air conditioning, especially if they are accustomed to vacationing in destinations such as the Jersey Shore or the Carolinas.  While air conditioning on the Cape and Islands used to be the exception, today it’s becoming more the norm.

Sleep-deprived vacationers make unhappy vacationers, so air conditioning in the bedrooms is especially important.  The preponderance of complaints this past summer was about the lack of or inadequate A/C in the bedrooms.  Fans are great, but they just don’t do the job on the hottest and most humid summer days.

Air conditioning options

Other than the obvious central air, there are some viable options for air conditioning.

There are the traditional window units, and some even fit casement windows.  Most units are no longer the heavy, bulky units that we remember and can be easily installed.  It does mean, however, that you lose that window for natural air ventilation on days when air conditioning isn’t needed.

Increasingly popular is the mini split system. With older homes that are difficult to retrofit with central air, this is a viable alternative, since it is small, flexible, and ductless and thus easy to install.

Update your listing if you add air conditioning

If you do add air conditioning, be sure to do so to your description page and check off either “Central Air” or “A/C Unit(s).”  This will enable your listing to come up in a search in which the vacationer checked off “Air Conditioning” as a required amenity.

Should I leave instructions for my guests?

Definitely!  There’s nothing more wasteful than leaving the A/C running while doors and windows are open to the outside air.  Advise your guests to turn off the air conditioning if they will be off to the beach or gone for much of the day.

Also, remind them that setting an air conditioning unit lower than their intended temperature will not cool the room any faster.

Could I charge more if I offer air conditioning?

The short answer is yes.  It’s difficult to say how much more you can charge in rent, but it’s safe to say that your listing will come up in more searches (vacationers can select A/C as an amenity), thus you will get more inquiries and bookings.  Of course, you have to consider the cost to you of installation and electricity use.  But, if the summers continue to be hot, you are likely to have happier guests and repeat ones to boot.

Listen as Tyler Pyburn and Elizabeth Weedon discuss the merits of providing air conditioning in your rental home:

About the author

Joan Talmadge

Joan Talmadge - My husband Jeff and I created in 1997, shortly after buying our Cape home. My background includes teaching fifth grade for 8 years and writing and editing educational publications for 15. I get great joy from helping fellow homeowners successfully rent their homes. Jeff and I are proud to have two of our three grown children working for, truly a family-run business. For me, the Cape and Islands are magical all times of the year -- whether it's walking on Nauset Beach, playing golf, or enjoying family and friends. Email Joan

1 Comment

  • I was just having this discussion with friends. When we rented 30 years ago, homes had “island air” at night. Now the first thing people ask is whether or not you have AC. My guests were kind but let me know privately, please cool off those back bedrooms. Good article.