It’s no secret that the vacation rental industry is growing at a breathtaking pace. And it’s growth is forecasted to continue— with no slow down in site. The market is currently poised to reach almost $170 billion by the end of 2019.
This explosion of growth is great news for Smoky Mountain short term rental owners. But with each new home that’s added to the market, it’s that much harder for your home to stand out. Booking sites are over-crowded with home options for potential guests. How do you stand out in this crowded space— and get the bookings you’re looking for?
We’ve put together nine tips to help you maximize your vacation rental investment. Whether you’re just starting out in the Smoky Mountain rental market, or you’ve been a vacation rental owner for years, Eden Crest is here to help you make the most of your vacation rental home. Read on to find out how.
Hire a Decorator
Vacation rental guests are looking for an escape from the ordinary. They seek luxury and a resort-like feel, while still experiencing the comforts of home. Hire a professional decorator with vacation rental experience who can critique your home with an objective eye. Choose a designer that understands the short-term rental market and can offer insight into changes you should make to appeal to the widest pool of renters.
Reduce your clutter and personal items. Update your kitchen and baths so they are luxurious, elegant, and soothing. Travelers to the Smokies are seeking a rugged, mountain-feel as well. Think working fireplaces, natural wood accents, stone hearths, and cozy blankets.
Have Professional Photos Taken
The photos are the single most important piece to your online listing. Skimping on the photographs is not an option. Most guests will book their next vacation rental home based on the photos alone! So invest in some high-quality photographs.
Take the photos during the brightest part of the day. Open the drapes and turn all the lights on. Stage your home so that it is clean, friendly, and inviting. Return at sunset for some stunning “golden hour” photos too. A minimum of 25 gorgeous, well- lit photos of your vacation rental is a must.
Write an Awesome Property Description
Appeal to your guest’s senses by writing a gorgeous property description that helps them imagine themselves there. Use sensory adjectives. Tell them about the fluffy blueberry pancakes they can make in the kitchen, the soothing, bubbly hot tub, or the steaming mug of coffee they can drink on the wraparound porch as they watch the pastel pink sunrise light up the sky. Get the picture?
Also, add SEO (search engine optimization) to your property descriptions. For example, during their planning phase, travelers to the Smoky Mountains will be Google searching the phrase “smoky mountain vacation rental.” So you want to use those keywords as much as possible in your property description, without sounding weird or unnatural. It takes some practice. SEO helps Google recognize your listing and move it to the top of guest’s searches— which instantly leads to more organic bookings. Pro tip: you can also add keywords to your photo captions for an extra SEO boost!
Keep an Eye on the Competition
Run your vacation rental home like you would a small business. That means taking a regular look at the competition in the area— other homes that are similar to yours.
What are their rates? What’s their booking calendar look like? Are they full this month or empty? How does that compare to your booking calendar? What are some amenities they’re offering that you’re not? How can you leverage your amenities to stand out from the neighborhood? Think like a small business owner and ask yourself— why should a guest choose my home over another? And use that information to your advantage.
One of the easiest ways to stand out from the crowd on congested booking sites is to be unique. If you haven’t yet purchased a vacation rental— consider unique architecture.
Treehouses, log cabins, and chalet-like A-frames easily stand out among the other “normal” homes. They are a breeze to market and fill up quickly with travelers looking for an Instagram-worthy adventure.
Update, Update, Update
Always be updating. Repair scuffed furniture. Replace dingy linens. Keep the towels fluffy and bright. Do a regular, thorough inventory of kitchen items— replace things like stained oven mitts and dishtowels regularly. Keeping your vacation home clean, fresh, and updated will lead to more repeat guests.
Offer Top-Notch Tech
Lighting fast wifi, multiple flatscreen smart TVs, and a full-service cable TV package are just a few things that guests are expecting from their vacation rental. Make sure your home is outfitted with the latest technology. Keypad entry locks, charging stations for devices, and an Amazon Alexa are smaller tech features that will delight your guests— and make them want to return.
Provide a top-of-the-line coffee maker, high-quality pots and pans, and beautiful glassware and dishware for your guests. Stock your pantry with extra paper towels and coffee filters. Little touches like these go a long way to adding memorable comfort to your guest’s stay.
Add a special package to your rental as well. Here at Eden Crest, we offer a Passport to Paradise that provides free tickets to local attractions.
Hire a Pro
The experts at Eden Crest are here to help you manage your vacation rental property and maximize your investment. Our staff has years of experience in the Smoky Mountains vacation rental market. We offer a comprehensive property management program that includes reservations, customer service, maintenance, housekeeping, and marketing.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and to learn more about our services.