Vacation Rental Essentials and Extras

Erin Colbert —  November 1, 2012

Bedroom EssentialsWhat should every vacation rental have, and what are nice-to-have extras?

There are certain features and accessories that vacation home renters have come to expect – or, at least, that they hope to find when they walk through the door. Other features, when they show up, are considered a bonus.

Here’s our room-by-room guide to items you should include.

Don’t forget: There are also items that may legally be mandatory in your area, like fire extinguishers and smoke or carbon monoxide detectors. Ensure any items required by your insurance plan or local bylaws are at the top of your list!

Entrance

  • closet with hangers, or a coat rack
  • door mats (inside and outside)
  • BONUS: chair for people to sit on while putting on shoes; small table

Common Room (aka Living Room)

  • adequate seating (dependent on your maximum occupancy)
  • coffee table
  • TV and DVD
  • writing pen and pad

BONUS: telephone and Internet access (see “Do Your Homework” below); basic cable; bookshelf with books, games, puzzles

Kitchen

  • basic cooking supplies (pots and pans, baking sheets, spatula, tongs, whisk, cheese grater, potato peeler, wooden spoon, scissors, measuring cups)
  • bottled water (essential if tap water isn’t potable)
  • dish soap and cloth
  • garbage can
  • kettle
  • kitchen basics (pot holders, dishes, glassware, mugs, flatware, can opener, hand mixer)
  • microwave
  • salt and pepper
  • standard appliances (full-sized fridge, oven, double-sided sink)
  • tea towels and dish cloths

BONUS: coffee, tea, creamer, sugar; dishwasher; toaster; coffee maker

Bedroom(s)

  • clock
  • closet or wardrobe with hangers
  • curtains
  • double bed (minimum)
  • dresser
  • extra blankets, pillows
  • mattress pad
  • mirror
  • one full set of linens
  • pillow cover
  • side tables with lamps

BONUS: clock with built-in iPhone charger; black-out curtains

Bathroom EssentialsBathroom(s)

  • extra toilet paper
  • hair dryer
  • hand soap
  • mirror
  • one full set of towels per guest (dependent on your maximum occupancy)
  • plunger
  • shower caddy
  • shower curtains
  • toilet brush
  • towel rack
  • waste basket

BONUS: non-slip bathtub mat; air freshener; extra bath towels; beach towels; travel-sized toiletries

Dining Area

  • adequately-sized dining table and seating (dependent on your maximum occupancy)

Other

  • ashtray (unless you have a non-smoking property!)
  • cleaning supplies (garbage bags, mop and pail, broom, dust pan, vacuum cleaner, all-purpose spray cleaner, window cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, scrub pads and sponges, paper towel.)
  • emergency supplies (flashlight, first aid kit)
  • emergency numbers, including your own
  • instructions or manuals for each appliance or device
  • ironing board, iron
  • laundry basket
  • laundry soap and dryer sheets
  • local map and tourist information

BONUS: washer and dryer facilities; power converter and adaptor for international travelers; fan; safe; BBQ and grilling accessories; patio furniture; guest book, where people can leave notes for other renters; tissues

Do Your Homework

You’ll hear this a lot on the MyVR blog, but one thing that can slide an item from bonus to essential is guest expectations. If you say you supply something, ensure it’s readily available. But also be sure you know what your competitors provide.

Do a bit of research on vacation rental sites like HomeAway, FlipKey and VRBO.com so you can investigate which features are typical for your area.

For example, an Internet connection is generally expected and, in some places, wireless access is practically mandatory. A phone line should always be available, but depending on your property you may be able to get away with not providing one; some condos, for example, provide public phones in the common areas.

You may also find that your competition typically provides beach towels, recreational equipment, or other localized extras that are considered standard for your area.

photo credit: Heather Cowper and Helen Forlani

What do your guests expect of a vacation rental? What do you expect when you are renting? Please leave your advice in the comments section below.

 

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Erin Colbert

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Marketing at MyVR.com. I help vacation rental owners improve their online marketing efforts and get more inquiries & bookings as a result. You can find me on Twitter and .