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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