Not so long ago, there was only one option that appealed to the luxury travel market: high-end hotels that came with a matching price tag.
Nowadays, the game has changed. And due to the growing popularity of celebrities such as Beyoncé, Britney Spears and Lady Gaga opting to spend their vacations in luxury rented properties, this new breed of guests are increasingly choosing vacation rentals over the Ritz-Carlton, and mansions over the Mandarin Oriental.
But what exactly can vacation rental owners do to help their property appeal to the more luxurious type of traveler? We’ve put together these eight top tips!
1. Focus on the guest experience like never before
The first rule of the hospitality business is providing an excellent experience. When it comes to luxury travelers, you need to take it up a notch further. Mediocrity simply won’t cut it when guests are expecting a five-star-plus level of service.
Achieving this level will mean pouring more time into your vacation rental than ever before, to set the standard just as high for each incoming guest. Each detail must be taken care of properly – such as retouching an almost unnoticeable chip on a painted wall, or polishing silverware – just as guests would expect in the most opulent hotel.
2. Invest in professional quality photography and videography
No matter who your target traveler market, spending on professional, high-quality photography is always advisable – so you can show off your property in the best way possible. For luxury vacation rentals? It’s totally non-negotiable.
To attract guests with bigger budgets to your vacation rental, you also need to put in the groundwork. Investing in marketing tools, such as professional photos and videos, will certainly help draw in your desired travelers – on the first look.
Luxury property owners may also consider innovative technologies such as drone videos for their vacation rental. Drone videos will provide dynamic, swooping views of your rental and its surroundings, and help increase the perceived value of your property. When luxury guests know you have the budget to spend on drone videography, they get a better idea that you won’t have skimped on anything inside the rental, either!
3. Splash out on interior design
There is no point breaking the bank on professional photography if your home itself doesn’t fit the luxury bill. In order for your rental to look outstanding in photos, it’s going to need to look even better in real life!
We’re talking high thread count sheets; little-to-no clutter; luxury furnishings like oversized lamps and ornate mirrors; original artworks; neutral color palettes with accent walls; and stylish (yet still comfortable) furniture. These finishing touches will stand out in photographs to really catch your guest’s eye. The smaller details involved in staging your home – such as a perfectly tucked bed, decorative flowers and fluffy, folded towels – will just add that extra “wow” factor.
4. Provide an unbeatable welcome manual
A vacation rental welcome book is essential for any property, but how can you up the ante for those extra special luxury travelers? Instead of a paper copy, think about investing in an iPad or tablet to leave at your rental. This way, guests have a welcome manual which feels more expensive and exclusive, plus they can quickly search for what they need – it’s a win-win!
Using services such as Touch Stay, you can create a beautiful, visual welcome book (that looks more like a classy glossy magazine) and works great on handheld or tablet devices for an extra touch of luxury.
5. Hire the right people
One of the key differences that distinguish a luxury vacation rental from its standard counterpart are the services offered once the stay is in place. For the most part, vacation rentals are a self-serve industry. Guests find it, they book it, and once they’ve arrived, they’re pretty much left to their own devices.
For luxury guests, however, another level of service is likely to be required – and it will have to be beyond outstanding. You’ll have to think about offering a concierge service; daily housekeeping and laundry; round-the-clock maintenance; 24-hour call-outs – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Other luxuries to think about could be personal chefs, mixologists, yoga gurus, surf instructors – you’ll also have to decide if these services come included are or available as an extra add-on.
Most of all, as the property owner or manager, you’ll have to make sure the service providers you contract are of the best caliber – because you don’t want anything or anyone letting down your luxury five-star experience.
6. Make sure you’ve got the right amenities – and that they work!
Increasingly, guest demands are changing. What used to be the norm when it comes to amenities may no longer be acceptable – especially in the context of luxury travelers. As the property owner, you’re responsible for ensuring the amenities your rental provides are of top quality, and most importantly? Still functioning!
Every time a guest departs, have your team check on any important appliances such as air conditioning; ceiling fans; dishwashers; washing machines; televisions; ovens and so on. Nothing screams “not luxury” as much as broken white goods. Even the finest, most minute details are of monumental importance when it comes to attracting luxury markets to your vacation rental.
7. Create an optimized website
A professionally built vacation rental website is going to be absolutely crucial for attracting luxury guests. Although this may seem intimidating, creating your own optimized business website is much easier than it sounds.
Using a vacation rental website builder like Lodgify, you can drag and drop all your content into place and publish to start accepting bookings the very same day. Best of all, the integrated booking engine and calendar means guests can see at a glance your property availability. Plus, owners can manage all reservations from one place in the backend.
Your website is your own little piece of the internet where you can showcase exactly how a stay at your luxurious home would be. Use the space wisely – go into detail about any additional services you offer, provide a complete gallery and be sure to include accurate pricing and rates information.
8. Use other channels to attract luxury travelers
While Airbnb springs to everyone’s mind for vacation rentals in general, it’s not the first website most will think of when it comes to luxury homes. There are, however, a number of exclusive, niche websites you can connect with to get your property seen by the right type of guests.
Sites such as onefinestay, Luxury Retreats (recently acquired by Airbnb), Oasis or Villas of Distinction are all hotspots where luxury travelers go searching for the very best vacation rentals. Having a presence on these diverse sites when you’re starting out can help build up your overall reputation within the luxury travel industry, gain impressive reviews and make a name for your vacation rental brand.
Additionally, you could invite influencers or luxury travel bloggers to “try” your rental for free. A few days away at your home in exchange for Instagram posts, Facebook shares and even a glowing review at the end of it can work wonders for boosting your profile and booking numbers.
Just how marketing your vacation rental to families requires plenty of amenities and space, marketing to luxury travelers needs you to provide the best of the best in your rental. Follow the steps outlined above and you’ll be on your way to attracting VIPs and luxury travelers to your home!