Every season is a good season to vacation. As a vacation rental owner, you have to be prepared, especially now as the short term vacation rental industry is experiencing massive growth. Winter is as good a time as any to get away, but to attract these guests looking for a little off-season rest and relaxation, you need to make sure your accommodation offering stands out among the competition.
Prepare to set your home apart with these five rental upgrades which will make your property more marketable this winter.
Install smart locks
Smart locks are a great way to allow guest access to your property without actually being there. This means if they arrive late due to delays 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 and maintenance/repairs to swing by.
Additionally, smart 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.
There are plenty of other ways that home automation can help boost your property’s year-round appeal, too!
Apply epoxy flooring in the garage
Epoxy flooring started in commercial garages because of it’s safety and durability. Now, homeowners are updating 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 snow birds 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. Just make sure you leave a bucket of soft cloths or a mop handy in the garage to clean up any spillages!
Get a gas fireplace
Everyone wants to enjoy that iconic winter chalet feeling: sitting in front of a warm fire with a hot toddy in their hands.
If you don’t already have a working fireplace, make your rental more marketable for winter by installing a gas fire. While it may not look as rustic as a traditional fireplace, it creates less work for your renters. All they have to do is flick a switch and enjoy – no hauling wood inside of moving it around to keep the fire going.
Outside of initial purchase and installation costs, remember you will have to pay monthly for the 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.
Invest in radiant (heated) floors
While this may sound like an expensive project, the cost will inevitably depend on a few factors. For example: 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:
Add a jet tub
Few things are more relaxing than a long, 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. Upgrade your standard bathtub to a jet tub, the most common brand being Whirlpool, to turn 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:
- Spa/tub rules
- Spa operation: how to turn on jets, air, heater, lights, etc.
- Troubleshooting checklist: simple fixes for common issues, if need-be.
Marketing your property for winter
Once the upgrades are made, you’re ready to market your property for the season. Update your listings or website descriptions to reflect the benefits to potential renters. Make them stand out using bold formatting such as, “NEW: Jet tub for cold nights…”.
You may even consider updating the titles of your property listings to reflect its value to winter renters, making it more clickable in search results. 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!
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.