During the course of the day, I visit Barefoot partners to answer client questions or to provide links. Visiting websites, I can be distracted and I end up checking out their Blogs where I learn more about their company, vacation rental industry news and enjoy some of the fun “stuff” they have created. Today’s search for a particular channel on a new partner’s website, Rentals United, led me to this fun poster of the Rental Guest Manifesto that they had made into a refrigerator magnet for the 2015 VRMA. The last part of the manifesto made me think about my vacation home rental experiences and what made them extraordinary.
For me, it’s all about the location of the rental house that helped to create three extraordinary vacations at three very different rental properties in London, St. Maarten and Venice, California. For two of the trips, I did the week of online searching for the best vacation rental deal that I could find where we could be comfortable as a family. The deciding factor in our first vacation rental in London was the quality of the listing where we could see where we would be staying. The apartment I found had two bedrooms, living room and a small kitchen by the Thames and emails were exchanged regarding availability and arrival day information with the owner. After the trip was booked and paid, I then, lost countless hours of sleep worrying that the rental was a scam and the money was gone. “What is the worst thing that could happen if there is no apartment waiting for us in London?” my husband would ask. And yes, there are worst things in the world besides finding a place to stay last minute in one of the largest cities in the world. But after spending one night in a hotel before we could get into our apartment, finding a place big enough for the four of us would have been a challenge! However, that trip turned out excellent as we enjoyed our view of the London Tower with a Tube station five minutes from our door. The location is what made our trip to London the best vacation experience for a memorable family vacation as we could either walk along the Thames or take public transportation to see the London tourist spots.
How can you make your Vacation Rental Property listing stand out among the millions that are on the internet to highlight location? Check your images and descriptions! In our second rental experience, parking was a deciding factor in finding a rental in Venice Beach and we looked at the images provided in the online listings along with the written descriptions of distance to local attractions. This is where the quality of images and detailed descriptions can make a property listing appealing to a visitor. There were at least two phone calls to owners where the parking information was vague in the description and we ended up renting from a property manager who could provide secure parking. Avoid the phone calls from guests trying to figure out transportation by including information in your listing. Be proactive in the descriptions to avoid negative reviews. Once again, it was the location of the property where we could walk to the beach but still have a car available to see the sights of California that added to the vacation experience.
In my third vacation rental property experience in St. Maarten, I was part of a group that was renting from an owner who had shared his VRBO with his co-workers at the hospital where he practiced. Similar to the owner’s access that Barefoot Technologies has available, the owner was able to post the property listing on the hospital intranet to get rentals from people who knew him and therefore knew that the property was legitimate. That turned out to be an amazing vacation experience where the location provided incredible views. Now the drive up to the villa was another story and since I wasn’t driving, the transportation information was not important to me at the time. However, knowing what I know now about the island, I would want to know about the circuitous, road up to the rental ahead of time. Keep your guests’ expectations in mind when listing your property online, provide them with the location images to get their interest and the location and transportation information they will need to make their stay extraordinary.