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Marketing Your Vacation Rental to Families with School-Age Kids

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If you’re interested in renting your vacation rental home to families, it’s important to understand that children of varying ages have differing needs. “Parentals” with teenagers are likely not looking for the same thing in a rental as parents with toddlers in tow. After years of renting on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard with my children varying in age from infant to toddler, grade school and teen years, I’ve realized that some houses we rented were perfect for our family’s needs when the kids were tots but wouldn’t be ideal for us now. Conversely, the home we now rent annually on the Cape would not have been great for my kids when they were babies, but it is perfect now for my grade school son. Here’s why:

Games people play

My ten-year-old son, Ethan, is typical of grade school kids – he loves physical activity. So when we’re not at the beach, he likes to play and watch sports. He loves our present rental in Orleans because it has a roomy yard to throw a football with his cousin when I’m inside preparing meals. We can also play bocce ball, set up a net for volleyball, or enjoy other lawn games. So, if your rental has enough property for outside family games, make sure you promote that to potential renters.

Also, we love that our rental is near the Orleans Firebirds baseball team. This is an affordable, wholesome way for a family to watch baseball without the hassle and high cost of big city venues. There are 10 Cape Cod Baseball League teams, so be sure to mention the nearest one to your rental.

Appliances… because it is YOUR vacation too!

Needless to say, with all that physical activity, Ethan’s clothes need to be washed regularly! The house my sister rents does NOT have a washer/dryer/dishwasher, and she feels the void. If you have a washer/dryer/dishwasher, make sure your renters are aware of this convenience…because it’s mom and dad’s vacation, too! The last thing I want to do on a vacation is wash dishes by hand or have to make time to run out to find a place to do laundry.

Mr. Clean

Yard games, sports, swimming and biking all add up to….kids who need to bathe and shower regularly! If your rental has more than one bath/shower, families will find it very attractive. Outdoor showers are a plus, too.

When I was a kid, my family rented a home in Oak Bluffs every summer for 20 years. We loved it except for the fact there was only one bathroom. On the way home from Silva State Beach each afternoon, we’d pile into the car and inevitably one of my siblings would “call” getting into the shower first! The arguments that ensued were never pretty!


While on vacation, I really try to limit my son’s involvement in electronics – be it television, computer, Ipod or Xbox – since he is immersed in it while at home. However, I do admit that having a television and internet access at our rental is really handy for occupying my son while I’m making lunches for the beach and packing us up for the day. At home, he can go out and play with his neighborhood friends. As a short-term renter, however, he doesn’t have neighborhood friends to play with. Thus, a little electronics does come in handy, and it’s wise for homeowners to promote this to families. Offering a VCR or DVD player, along with age-appropriate videos and DVD’s, is another feature that many vacationers with young children appreciate.

Which way to the beach?

The beauty of grade school children is that they are VERY happy at any type of beach. They do NOT need the tranquil waters that tots require, nor do they need a beach “hang-out” spot like teens desire. That said, if you are close to ANY body of water, even if it’s a pond, it’s in your best interest to shine the spotlight on that.

My sister’s rental is in Harwich. My kids and their cousins – who range in age from 10 to 21 years old – LOVE to spend the evening at a small pond near my sister’s rental. The fresh water pond allows them to wash off the salt water from their day at the ocean. But what they love best is that they usually have the pond to themselves to horse around, jump off the raft, and play water games. Since the pond is a hop, skip and a jump from my sister’s rental, it’s an easy after-dinner activity for us.

Night time is family fun time!

Now that all the kids in my extended family who rent on the Cape are all grade school or older, we usually all go out after dinner to enjoy night time family fun. Some of the activities we enjoy include: free outdoor band concerts, go-carting, batting cages, taking photos/walking the jetties at sunset, ice cream stops, and shopping. And don’t forget to direct your tenants to the Vacation Planner for all of these and more.

If your rental home is close to evening activities that are family friendly, make sure that is included in your rental profile. Don’t assume that readers know what there is to do near your property. We all were newcomers to the Cape and Islands at some point!

About the author

Luisa Frey

As founder of Family Travel Marketing Services, LLC, Luisa Frey seamlessly integrates her teen and family travel influence and expertise with her business experience developing marketing and promotional campaigns for the travel industry. For the past 15 years, Luisa has written hundreds of family travel articles for dozens of print and online outlets. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers. In addition, Luisa Frey is the creator and editor of, which is written by teens for their peers and parents