Mother Knows Best: Tips for Vacation Rental Owners From a True Connoisseur

by Sarah G on September 9, 2010

in Advice,Inside Inhabit,For Owners,Inhabitant Travel

My parents just moved into a new house, and during the unpacking process my mom came across a note she had written years ago. It was torn out of a guest book from a vacation rental we had stayed at in Lake Tahoe, and listed sixteen things wrong with the place. (Apparently she had ripped the page out because her conscience kicked in and she decided to email the owner a gentler version of her list.)

swimming lake tahoe sand harbor, nevada

Swimming around Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe

It’s not that she was trying to be mean, but as a person who stays at vacation rental homes frequently, she expected certain things that just weren’t present. Here are a few of her (kinda funny) comments that I think represent bigger concerns vacation rental guests might have:

  • Wash the windows — seriously!“: No one likes to check in to a dirty vacation rental (seriously!). Make sure you or your cleaning crew does a thorough job. Without a doubt, if a spot has been missed, the guests will notice. Especially if they’re staying for a while.
  • Fix shower heads — waste of H20!“: People are more environmentally conscious than they used to be. If your vacation rental has any green shortcomings, remedy them asap to please your eco-friendly guests.
  • Dressers in bedrooms… Why are there none?“: Can’t you just sense the confusion in this statement? My mom didn’t understand how something so commonsensical was missing. Guests will always have expectations, and when they aren’t met, acute disappointment sets in. Now, you can’t always predict what guests will expect but here’s a tip: When outfitting your vacation rental, put yourself in your guests’ shoes. What would you expect to see as you enter the house? The kitchen? You get the idea.
  • And lastly, a little money-making tip: “Most other Tahoe rentals have beach umbrellas, towels and chairs for renters to use. Kick it up a notch — you could charge more!” It’s true. Often times, the little things (blender, ipod hookup etc.) can put your vacation rental a notch above the rest. And to get the best, the renters will pay a little bit extra.

Do you have any tips for vacation rental owners? Follow my mother’s lead and just let it all out!

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  • Lynn

    as a vacation rental owner, and frequent renter (especially in Tahoe), i couldn't agree more, and i have a few more tips for owners as well, which i share (free of charge) with some of my friends who own rentals. Because we are “foodies”, we stock our pantry with spices, condiments, oils, mustards, etc. at one brand new “luxury” 3/3 condo in the Northstar village last ski season, the place barely had salt & pepper in the kitchen. really? not only do we provide a blender, we leave our All-Clad pots n pans for our guests. if it's good enough for us, it's good enough for our guests, we figure.
    consequently, we get great reviews every time – and people say they wouldn't change a thing in our evaluation/feedback requests, because it's the most well-stocked home they have ever rented. yay!
    thanks for the fun – and totally right on – post!

  • Rob

    Right on! One place we stayed in had no cork screws!!! For cryin-out-loud, who can enjoy a vacation with the wine in still in the bottle? I must say though that 90% of the time there's enough of the right stuff to get by if you have the right attitude. I learned many years ago that when traveling in Italy you've got to be flexible —and that goes for everywhere else too! Now if i could only find a Martini shaker…

  • Rebecca

    @Rob A lack of cork screw is indeed a tragedy! You start thinking about using car keys in a moment of desperation.

    @Lynn Thanks for the tips! It's really true that stocking a home as YOU would want it is the best way to ensure happy guests. Congrats on your success!

  • Beckysnell

    Great article Sarah ! I too, own vacation property, and like to meet people's expectations…My one favorite rule…make sure Fridge is empty and cleaned, and that there is room for your tenant's food..Becky

  • Sarah G

    Thanks Becky 🙂 That is a great rule — there are few things nastier than a dirty fridge!

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  • Daniel Simard

    As a owner of vacation rental villa, I really appreciate your tips.

    Daniel Simard
    Ski le Massif