The holiday season is a peak time of year for traveling. In fact, according to the AAA Forecast Report, last December an estimated 107 million Americans boarded planes or loaded their vehicles to celebrate the season away from home. This number is projected to climb even higher in 2018, making the holiday months a profitable time for your vacation rental business.
Use this time to create an even more memorable experience for renters. Who knows – by using the ideas below, you may earn yourself a five-star review, a few referrals, or even persuade your visitors to come back again for next year’s festivities.
Load a Basket with All the Ingredients for a Festive Treat
From creamy eggnog and toasted biscotti to warm cocoa and spiced gingerbread cookies, the holidays are known for traditional foods and beverages. These tasty treats evoke the feelings of coziness and even nostalgia, both of which make this season bright.
Surprise your renters with a holiday gift basket upon arrival, filled with all the festive goodies you can find. If you’re not sure where to star or what to put in the basket, use these ideas for inspiration:
- Gingerbread house basket with a full kit and extra goodies to use
- Hot cocoa basket plus all the fixings, like marshmallows and cinnamon
- Christmas cookie basket, including ingredients and fun cookie cutter shapes
Create a Last-Minute Shopping Guide
Taking on those eleventh-hour crowds is an arduous feat, but you can minimize the headaches for your renters with a laminated guide. They can refer to this when braving the stores, allowing them to find what they need quickly and easily.
To do so, make a list of your favorite retailers in the area and suggestions about which stores tend to be tamer and which to avoid. Instead of making a one-time list, make it look nice with a tool like Canva. Then print the guide and laminate it before leaving them to enjoy their holiday. These little touches make the experience so much more memorable.
Partner with Local Businesses to Offer Special Discounts
Before your guests arrive, contact some businesses in the community about offering an exclusive discount just for your renters. If you’ve lived in the area for a long time, you may already know owners of some local restaurants and coffeehouses, for example. Work with them to offer a small, exclusive discount to renters who order food or drinks at their establishment.
Don’t forget about services like wash and fold laundry, too. Your visitors are on vacation; the last thing they want to deal with is laundry and other household chores, so wash and fold will make their lives easier. According to wash and fold experts, these services provide a wide range of benefits including greater convenience, saved time, and – the best yet – no folding! Anyone on vacation would love to take advantage of this type of extra, but might not without the incentive from a local business.
When giving your pitch, remember that these partnerships will also benefit the local businesses. By offering exclusive discounts, it encourages visitors who are otherwise unfamiliar with your neighborhood establishments to venture out and shop, eat and drink local.
Give Visitors Access to Your Longtime Sitter
When traveling with children, family time is cherished, but sometimes the adults need an evening to relax. If your guests are families – parents with young kids in tow – surprise them with the services of a trusted local babysitter, allowing them to attend a local holiday event or enjoy a romantic date night.
Where possible, work with your personal sitter to make sure they are available for the job. In case you don’t have a sitter or they’re unavailable for those dates, ask for recommendations from friends and other local residents.
While this may seem like an odd “gift” to give, it could make all the difference when adults are feeling less-than-jolly after a long day with sugar-fueled kids. Not to mention, without knowing anyone in town, they wouldn’t have a babysitting option otherwise!
Don’t forget to tell your renters ahead of time, so they can plan for it and schedule time with your sitter.
Provide a Tree and Ornaments
One of the most ubiquitous holiday rituals is decorating a Christmas tree. Just because the guests aren’t in their own home, doesn’t mean they can’t still partake in this tradition; this is especially welcome if they didn’t get or decorate a tree at home in anticipation of being away for the holiday.
Display the bare tree in your main living room, where it’s most accessible to your renters. On the floor next to it, provide an over overflowing crate of fun ornaments, lights, tinsel and other festive trimmings, so they can decorate it as a family. This gesture will invite your visitors to create memories together and experience all the comfort and nostalgia of this season — even though they are away from home.
Treat Your Renters This Holiday Season
Bring the holiday into your vacation rental and allow visitors to enjoy the entire holiday experience in their home away from home. These personal touches tell visitors that you care about their stay and holiday, which could even turn one-time renters into repeat guests. Be intentional about making this season memorable for anyone who stays in your cozy getaway home with simple, but fun ideas that make all the difference.
About the Author
Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and spent the last five years in marketing. After stepping down from a senior marketing position, she’s focusing on growing her own startup and consulting for small businesses. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels.