If you’ve attended a wedding in recent years, you’ll notice one thing to be true – celebrations are no longer confined to churches and hotels. There are a plethora of options available for engaged couples to choose from when planning their big day. From converted barns, vineyards and country manors to – you guessed it – vacation rentals, there’s no escaping the destination wedding trend.
While summer is the most popular season to tie the knot (35%), fall and spring aren’t far behind with 32% and 26% respectively.
Depending on your property’s size and location, it may already be an attractive venue for wedding parties. And for many owners, the benefits of accepting reservations for large group events such as marriage celebrations far outweigh the risks.
What are destination weddings?
Destination weddings are those nuptial festivities held in locations other than hometowns. For example, this may be in another city or state, or sometimes even extend to another country entirely.
Many couples choose to celebrate both their wedding and honeymoon in the same destination. This means that guests also tend to hang around for a long weekend, too Nowadays, over one-quarter of all marriages are destination weddings, and this niche market accounts for $16 billion in annual spending!
What to bear in mind when hosting weddings and other celebrations at your vacation rental
Tapping into this very lucrative market can be an excellent source of additional income for vacation rental owners. However, it’s important to note that doing so requires a lot of extra flexibility, planning and attention to detail.
Before taking the plunge or making any renovations to appeal to this growing target audience, let’s take a look at what every owner or vacation rental manager needs to know.
Always ask for a damage deposit
The higher number of guests visiting your property, the greater the risk of damage – even if it’s accidental. That’s why it’s wise to calculate a reasonable damage deposit which you can refund after the celebration, provided everything is left in order.
This amount not only covers your home in case of damage, it also helps guests to feel a much deeper sense of responsibility and ensure they take care of your property.
Set an event fee
When weddings take place at any other venue (such as a hotel), there is a cost for renting the space in question, as well as the nightly room rate. If you are transforming your home or outdoor space into the main wedding party venue, it is within reason to charge for both accommodation and reception space. In order to determine what this cost should be, consider additional services you will have to contract to make the event work.
For example, you may have to reserve certain days (which you won’t be able to rent out to other guests) for wedding planners and other professionals (such as florists, photographers, caterers) to visit and start their preparations. In addition to this, it’s likely you’ll need to have extra housekeeping staff on hand, as well as contract external services such as carpet cleaning, portable toilet rental and large-scale trash removal.
Get the right insurance
If you find yourself questioning whether you need an additional insurance for this kind of event, the answer is probably going to be yes. Besides your regular vacation rental insurance, event insurance provides general liability in the case of loss or cancellation.
In addition to this, you may need liquor liability or even weather insurance. It’s up to you as the business owner to ensure you have the right policy in place. We recommend researching thoroughly before taking out any insurance.
Comply with local laws
One of the key factors that will determine if you can offer your property for these functions is the local legislature. Many authorities will require permits for events for everything from parking to serving alcoholic beverages. In addition to this, your own neighborhood has to be in agreement.
If your property is on a more remote piece of land, this won’t be as big an issue. Keep neighboring residents content by helping to control noise levels late at night and avoid congesting the road with parked cars.
Ensure guest safety at all times
Guests often choose their destination wedding location based on unbeatable weather forecasts and the possibility of celebrating outdoors. This can, however, pose some safety risks for attendees. Make sure that any outside decks or patios clearly state maximum weight capacity and that guests are aware of these limits.
Furthermore, any outside amenities such as hot tubs or swimming pools should be taken very seriously. Communicate clearly in your house rules any norms that guests should abide by. For instance: no glass or alcohol by the pool; no swimming under the influence and no unsupervised children.
Set restrictions on guest numbers
Weddings are a great opportunity for guests to pull together their closest family and friends to celebrate their special day. That said, in most cases, the entire wedding party will not be able to sleep at your property.
In any communications with the soon-to-be-married couple, make the maximum occupancy of your home very clear – you can even go as far as to provide nearby alternative accommodation options for their guests to stay in. This will help avoid disputes later on and will keep things in check for your housekeepers.
Overall, opening up your vacation rental to wedding parties can be a hugely positive experience for owners and guests alike. It may even lead to repeat bookings from previous attendees for their own celebrations! It is important to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of accepting big group reservations before signing on the dotted line.
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