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.
Why does your property need vacation rental winter upgrades?
If you’re coming off of a hot summer season, it can be hard to think about adding extra labor and work to your vacation rental especially during a slower season, but upgrades are actually what might help your short-term rental gain some traction this winter and attract some off-season stays.
Adding vacation rental winter upgrades can do wonders for your bottom line. How? These changes are going to add value to your home which can translate to a higher average daily rate. Further, you might be more likely to fill your calendar in the months that are usually sparse if your guests find it convincing enough to stay.
Of course, some of these upgrades will help you to increase profits by lowering your costs. At the end of the day, any upgrade you make to your vacation rental this winter will only be a positive for your business.
The 10 upgrades your vacation rental needs this winter
If you’re ready to make some changes to your vacation rental this winter then great! Most owners are left wondering what to start. Is it all in the amenities or do guests prefer to see more smart gadgets this winter? We’ve detailed the list of the top ten upgrades to make for your vacation rental once the weather turns cold.
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, Forbes suggests the 2021 national average ranges from $1,700 to $6,000.
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 Epoxy 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.
7. Use a smart thermostat
When the temperatures drop, how do you plan to regulate the heating and cooling in your home? During a guests’ reservation the thermostat is out of your control, but what about when your property sits vacant? Installing a smart thermostat will help to regulate the temperature of your home, and consequently the cost, from wherever you are.
For days that are a bit more moderate, it doesn’t make sense to keep the heat on blast. By having a smart thermostat, you can adjust and moderate your home’s climate with ease. Not to mention, your guests will love how modern it makes your home!
8. Buy snowsports equipment
Don’t forget the great outdoors! There’s plenty to love about winter beyond the coziness you can provide inside for your guests. Having winter sports equipment and different things for guests to enjoy outside will help contribute to their overall experience.
For example, providing sleds is a cheap way to offer something that the whole family will love! Notably the kids. Other winter sports equipment for your vacation rental could include snow tubes, ice hockey equipment, or just about anything that could make for some wintery fun.
9. Have a garage parking
If you have the extra space on your property to build a stand-alone garage, it might be worth the investment! If most of your guests travel by car and you own a winter destination vacation rental then a garage can be a huge perk.
Having to heat up the car and defrost the windshield doesn’t sound like a very “vacation” thing to do. Making the lives of your guests easier is a part of what will create a great stay for them and possibly result in repeat business.
10. Bulk up your insulation
Comfort is key, but at what cost? You might be pouring tens of thousands into your winter utility bills if your home isn’t properly prepped and insulated for the cold. That extra money could be going to the hot tub mentioned above! Here are some upgrades to consider to get your home better equipped for cold weather:
Install new, weatherproof windows
Add solar shades to your window treatments
Pad on the insulation in the attic
Add weather stripping to exterior doors
Sometimes the best upgrades are the practical ones. Guests might not see the changes, but they’ll surely feel it when they’re nice and toasty in your vacation home this winter.
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.”
After the changes have been made and the marketing has been squared away, it’s time to sit back and reap the benefits of your hard work. Winter upgrades should equal winter bookings, so get ready for an influx of reservations to come through once you’ve added the final touches.
Are there any other winter upgrades you would add to the list? Let us know below in the comments! And 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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