2.5 What Makes a Great Vacation Rental?

All properties are not created equal in the VR market.  Even those that look similar can have very different occupancy levels based on the amenities, features, and facilities.

To understand what makes a great vacation property that guests will pay a significant amount for, it’s important to know what they want.  After all, there is little point in buying a property in a hot spot that nobody wants to book. 

But, people do this all the time.

They see a place that appears to have everything they want; it’s in a desirable location, it has the size and layout they like, and they jump at it without considering whether travelers would be interested in booking.

Location is not everything in the vacation rental market – the most desirable location for the owners’ second home use does not always equate to the perfect location for a traveler.

It all comes down to their criteria for the perfect home which can be markedly different for owners and guests.

For an owner this could be:

  • Location – on a large lake for boating/within 5 minutes of Disney/walk to ski lift
  • 4 bedrooms, master with ensuite, pool, games room

While a guest might be looking for:

  • Location – on or near water for swimming/central location for all attractions with nearby shuttles/ in ski resort/ free parking (in city locations).
  • 2 master suites (for two couples traveling together/south facing for maximum sun time/fenced yard for children and pets/TVs in every bedroom etc

Amenities and Facilities

Most travelers looking to book a vacation home do not have the benefit of local knowledge that an owner has, but they know what they want to feel comfortable while they are on holiday. So, although the location will play a part in their decision to book, it is the amenities and facilities that stand one property out over another.

This is particularly the case in areas where there are a lot of rentals available and competition can be fierce.  The addition or subtraction of a feature can be a deal-breaker. 

Case Study

In a Long Beach (Panama City Beach) condo unit there are a large number of properties available for rent yet this one has higher occupancy levels.  The reason?  Free Wifi and beach chairs

Enjoy 2 prepaid beach chairs w/ umbrella (mid-March through mid-October) for your use during your stay. $140 value!
Free WiFi is provided too. Bring your tablet or laptop.

This is what the reviews say:

“….don’t forget that this home has it’s private beach chairs already reserved for you at the beach!! “

“The complimentary beach chairs & umbrella are a huge plus! In mid July, the rental price was $190 (I checked!) We go to Long Beach Resort every year, and I only rent condos that have an all-inclusive rate, and include chairs/umbrella.”

This information is gold.

Knowing what guests want in a vacation property in your area will allow you to locate the best options for your buyers, as well as share your expertise with them.

Getting the Inside Scoop

Checking out the reviews of properties in your area can uncover what guests like and don’t like, and will give you the inside scoop on the wants and needs of inbound travelers.  These are the people who will create the income for your buyers so if you can share this information with them, you will position yourself as the ‘go-to’ expert.