Little Extras Boost the Appeal of Vacation Home Rentals, says Colonial Beach Cottage Owner

As part of its series on vacation homes, Turnkey again spoke with Beachcomber Cottages of Colonial Beach, VA, owner Cathy Bokman.

In this article, Outdoor Extras Boost Your Vacation Home’s Appeal, Cathy talked about ways to make the exterior of a vacation home as inviting and guest-friendly as the interior.

Read the full article:

By Nancy Dunham

As you prepare the inside of your vacation rental home for the summer season, don’t forget to get the outside of your home ready too.

There are plenty of easy, low-cost ways to make your home’s outdoor area as guest-friendly as possible.

“I think it’s very important to give your guest a sense of arrival outside and inside,” said Cathy Bokman, owner of Beachcomber Vacation Rental Cottages in Colonial Beach, Virginia. “Not only do you want guests comfortable but they treat your home more gently when you provide extra touches.”

Of course, a mowed lawn and well-maintained landscaping are givens, but consider supplying these guest pleasers too:

  • Lighting: Prior to each guest’s arrival, make sure any deck, porch, and front lights work. Burnt out light bulbs and non-working fixtures give the house a look of disrepair. Minimal, well-placed lighting is perfect for those that want to relax just a bit after sunset. Also – avoid candles due to risk of fire.
  • Provide comfortable chairs: Many of us have wanted to enjoy our vacation time on a home’s lawn only to find no chairs or ones that are rusty, uncomfortable, or unstable. Provide sturdy chairs on which people can relax. Consider resin Adirondack or rocking chairs. They hold up in various weather, are easy to clean, and comfy.
  • Robes and beach towels: No, you don’t have to supply robes and beach towels but they’re a nice touch. Some guests may want to wear the robes when they are outdoors in the early morning sipping coffee or otherwise enjoying the view from your rental. Beach towels always come in handy, especially for kids who want to have picnics and play on the lawn.
  • Plastic drink glasses: No one wants to have guests injured and their vacations marred by broken glass. Provide non-breakable drink glasses so guests can go in and out without fear of breakage and injury.
  • Consider hammocks: If space allows, a few hammocks around the lawn are nice touches to encourage your guests to relax. It’s vital to make sure the hammocks are well secured and in good repair so no one falls out of them.
  • Pet-friendly extras: If you allow pets, provide spaces and extras for them. A fenced yard was important to 73% of vacation rental home guest respondents in a recent survey. Close to half of those respondents (40%) also said they would willingly pay extra for pet-friendly accommodations.
  • Gas grills: City dwellers are especially excited by the prospect of grilling out during their vacations. It’s a smart idea to make sure the gas grills are in prime working order before each visit. Supply tongs, hot mitts, and a meat thermometer to make it even easier for your guests to grill up a delicious dinner.
  • Games: Families, especially city dwellers, often forget the outdoor games they once enjoyed. Supply a bocce ball set, a badminton set (net, rackets, and of course, birdies), Frisbees, and other games to help your guests embrace their inner child and have a blast.
  • Bikes: If your home is near a bike-friendly path or trail, consider keeping a few bikes at the house for guests to use. They don’t have to be fancy but should be in good working order. Supply a few sizes of bike helmets too.
  • Bug spray: Some people like it. Others don’t. Supply it as a goodwill gesture for guests to use if they choose.

Vacationers enjoy rental homes because they provide many of the little extras not found in hotels, resorts, and other lodging. Supply some of the outdoor extras you would like to have if you spent a week there, and your guests will thank you for it.