Barefoot Technologies Blog- Vacation Rental Industry News

Suggestions for Cost Effective Vacation Rental Upgrades

Posted by Mike Todd on Jun 8, 2016 2:10:21 PM

We all know the Vacation Rental Industry is competitive especially in your specific market.  It then gets more competitive between the properties within your management company.  Unit owners are demanding that their unit be rented, but they don’t realize the 1970’s wall to wall lime green shag carpets and dark paneling with the low popcorn textured ceiling aren’t in style anymore.  I realize that my example is probably an exaggeration, but there are plenty of properties out there that are dated and in need of some TLC.  Getting owners to realize this is another story and getting them to invest in their investment can be challenging.  Some upgrades that can be offered to owners are not too financially painful and usually can be accomplished in the offseason. 

Suggested Upgrades Could Include:  

  1. Paint – Having a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your vacation rentals. Fresh paint immediately makes people think clean and new.  There is a lot of information on-line as well as working with a professional in your area to recommend the appropriate color schemes to lighten and enhance any property.    

  2. Good Lighting – Updating with themed inexpensive light fixtures, canned and track lighting throughout. Traditional incandescent bulbs are phasing out.  Compact Florescent Bulbs (CFL’s), LED’s and Halogens placed throughout use less energy and if placed strategically will offer warmth and practical lighting throughout the rental.  Dimmers are nice touches that give guest the exact lighting and mood they require.  One key area to make sure the lighting is correct is in the Kitchen.    

  3. Updated fixtures and hardware – Adding or updating hardware and fixtures throughout the unit will do wonders for that curb appeal. Think about cabinets and drawers, doorknobs, shower heads, sink fixtures, outlet and switch plates.  All of these are relatively inexpensive and an easy install. 

  4. Flooring – How old is that carpet? Personally I am not a carpet fan.  I like tile or hardwood floors.  However I do understand that carpet does offer warmth and comfort especially in the bedrooms and if the unit is in a mountain or cold destination in the winter.  One consideration for carpeting are area rugs.  If carpets are a must then as property managers you know how quickly a carpet can start to look worn and “tired”.  It is not uncommon to replace carpeting every 3 – 4 years.  Again this is fairly inexpensive and adds life and newness to a unit. 

  5. Uniformity – One of my biggest pet peeves when staying at a vacation rental is when making dinner having random, worn out, cooking utensils, pots and pans dishes and glassware. I also am looking for some quality in the utensils and equipment in the kitchen.  I am not saying I need top of the line, but please don’t have a set of equipment in there that looks as if you are putting on a garage sale.  Take some time after each season and make sure that it is in good condition and sets are complete. 

  6. Linens and Beds – If there is room in a bedroom for a full size bed instead of a twin – get the full sized bed. It does not matter to kids, but adults will be much happier.  What about sheets and comforters?  Make sure you are using 400 count or better for your sheets.  You are competing with hotels so make this easy upgrade.  Also make sure the linens are fresh, clean and look new.  Get rid of tired linens.  Think about a variety of pillows – down, down alternative, some firm, some softer. 

  7. Appliances – If an owner has the ability to upgrade appliances that is great. This is certainly a higher priced upgrade, but worth it in the long run.  Stainless steel for the modern look and if not an option then the clean and practical all white is probably the way to go. 

  8. Refinish - In the kitchen this applies more than other areas of the vacation rental. Rather than replacing your cabinets how about refinishing them.  A new paint job and modern hardware may be all that is needed. 

  9. Keeping it Clean – I know that this is not an upgrade, but I will mention it any chance I get. Probably the number one complaint for vacation rentals is if the unit was dirty.  This is probably the easiest and most cost effective way to increase the value of the unit. 

I am sure that I missed a few areas that would be easy upgrades, but this list is a good start.  These suggestions certainly do not have to be done all together, but getting owners to literally and figuratively “buy in” should be easier than asking them to consider a very costly remodel.  Hopefully owners will see that you have their best interest in mind and at the same time allow you to rent properties that guests want to stay at.  Good luck with the summer season!