Every season has its charms. As a vacation rental owner, your property may be open all year round or have its peak season at a certain time. Just like the summer, the winter months are perfect for outings – you just need to show your guests that your rental is the ideal place.
Winter is a popular time to get away, whether it be for Christmas, Thanksgiving or just a vacation. In fact, two out of three Americans are planning to travel this upcoming winter.
Make sure your accommodation offering stands out among the competition. Set your home apart with these six rental upgrades to make your property more marketable this winter.
1. Install a Fireplace
Everyone wants to enjoy that iconic winter chalet feeling: sitting in front of a warm fire, cuddling up in a warm cozy blanket drinking hot chocolate.
If you don’t already have a fireplace in your rental, now is the time to upgrade and make your rental more marketable for winter. Whilst installing a gas fire may not look as rustic as a traditional fireplace, it saves for your renters time and work. All they have to do is flick a switch and enjoy – no hauling wood to keep the fire going.
Outside of initial purchase and installation costs, remember you will have to pay monthly for an extra gas line. However, with different guests coming and going, and spending time away from the house, the fire won’t be running all day every day.
2. Invest in Heated Floors
Heated floors in the bathroom or living room are a wonderful invention, something that is appealing to any guest, especially in the winter. Costs will inevitably depend on a few factors, such as your property’s square meters, current flooring, type of radiant heating and more. As such, Homeadvisor suggests the 2017 national average ranges from $1,800 to $5,700.
A worthwhile investment in the long run, one huge benefit is that you don’t have to re-do your flooring as well. In most cases, what you already have will work with the radiant heating.
You can currently install radiant heating with a wide range of flooring options, including:
3. Add a Hot Tub
There are few things that allow guests to unwind and relax, like a hot bath – especially if your rental is in the mountains, where guests will likely be skiing or hiking out in the cold all day long. Hot tubs are normally placed outside in the backyard. However, if you do not have the space required for a hot tub, upgrade your standard bathtub to a jet tub, transforming your bathroom into a makeshift spa for winter visitors.
The key is using signs to ensure guests take good care of it at all times. Carolyn Mosby of Hot Tub Works suggests the following signage for hot tubs, which can also work for your new jet tub:
Tub rules: no food and drink allowed inside
Spa operation: how to turn on jets, air, heater, lights, etc.
Troubleshooting checklist: simple fixes for common issues
4. Apply Expoxy Flooring
Epoxy flooring started in commercial garages because of its safety and durability. Nowadays, homeowners update their flooring to epoxy for similar reasons – and you can do the same to make your rental more marketable in the winter.
Calvin Kwekel, owner of Kwekel Epoxy Floors, suggests that the greatest value to your renters this time of year is the slip resistance – especially for those snowbirds who like to be outdoors in all weather.
When you’re trudging in between the car and the house, accidents can happen. However, epoxy flooring is both slip-resistant and designed so that spills or puddles (such as melting snow) can easily be wiped away. Make sure you leave a bucket of soft cloths or a mop handy in the garage to clean up any spillages.
5. Upgrade your Amenities
In addition to the provided amenities, you can also customize items or add more for the cold winter months. As it tends to get dark by 4:00 pm already, there is more time for guests to spend indoors rather than outside in the dark.
In the kitchen, you can offer additional utensils, such as a muffin tray for baking or a fondue set for a classic winter dish. In addition, you can equip your kitchen with different teas and mulled wine.
Guests can also just relax on the sofa and watch a movie, so providing a Netflix account will be useful. You can also include activities your guests can do, such as board games. This can differentiate your business from your competitors, especially for families with small children.
In the bedrooms, it is especially important to provide warm blankets. You can also include extras such as slippers, bathrobes, fluffy towels and scented candles for a cozy ambiance.
Don’t forget the exterior of the house. For example, you can provide sleds, something that the whole family will love! Notably the kids. For guests who have traveled by car, if there are no garage parking spaces, leave behind de-icer spray and ice scrapers.
6. Install Smart Locks
Smart locks are a great way to allow guests access to your property without actually being there. This means that if they arrive late, due to delayed flights or bad weather, they won’t have to wake you up in the middle of the night for check-in. Plus, smart locks take the hassle out of arranging for cleaners, maintenance and repairs to swing by.
Additionally, WIFI door locks can boost the security of your rental, potentially attracting more families who are concerned about the safety of their children. Depending on the type of lock you install, you can generate a new unlock code for each set of renters, or have them scan their mobile phone for access. Smart locks are just one option, there are plenty of other ways that home automation can help boost your property’s year-round appeal.
Marketing your Property for Winter
Once these upgrades have been made, big or small, you can make your property more marketable for winter. Don’t forget to update your photos and listing descriptions to reflect these benefits to potential renters. Emphasize that you have upgraded your home and make them stand out using bold formatting such as, “hot tub for cold nights.” You can even consider changing the titles of your property listings to reflect its value to winter renters, making it more clickable in search results, such as “winter vacation rental.”
When all’s said and done, you’ll be able to flaunt a wide variety of features that much of your competition can’t – both in the winter and all year long!
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