Owning a home in an in-demand vacation destination— like the Great Smoky Mountains— is the first step to establishing a successful rental. Guests from all over the world flock to Eastern Tennessee for the stunning mountain views, family-friendly attractions, and world-class hiking and mountain biking.
But there’s a big difference between a rental home that attracts one-time guests, and a rental home that brings repeat guests back year after year. Establishing a glowing fan base and repeat clientele is key for a successful vacation rental home in any destination.
One way to bring guests back to your Smoky Mountain vacation rental home every year is to provide certain amenities that guests are expecting— then offer a little bit more. It’s that extra mile of service that is going to keep guests remembering and returning to your home.
Here are 12 must-have amenities and upgrades that will make your home more memorable.
Lightning Fast Wifi
This one is non-negotiable. Providing convenient, fast, and easy-to-access WiFi is essential to a successful vacation rental. Most guests will be using their phones, laptops, or tablets to watch movies or access the internet during their stay, and providing them the WiFi service to be able to do that without any hassle is imperative.
Some vacation rental owners have even stopped providing a traditional cable TV package, and instead install smart TVs that stream services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus.
Local Guide Books and Recommendations
Have a binder in your home or a drawer where you can keep local guidebooks, menus from favorite restaurants, and brochures for different attractions in the area.
Make sure to keep these items up-to-date and clean, and replace any that become ripped or worn with age.
Luxury Small Kitchen Appliances
Consider upgrading your small appliances. Every vacation home should have a coffee maker and a toaster, but spending a few more bucks on a Keurig, espresso maker, or a Nespresso can really go far in making your vacation home a stand out. A top-of-the-line toaster oven is also appreciated by most vacation rental guests.
Keep all small appliances sparkling clean, and replace them when they start to show some wear.
Guests are expecting to arrive at a clean and fresh vacation rental home. But most guests of vacation rentals are staying for a week or more and will appreciate having some cleaning supplies handy to keep the home tidy during their stay. Provide some disinfectant wipes, window cleaner, dish detergent, fresh sponges, and some multi-surface cleaner. Laundry detergent and fabric softener is also expected by most guests.
The tricky part is keeping everything fresh and new feeling. Keep refill bottles handy and have housekeepers top-up items and wipe them down so they feel fresh and new for each guest.
Dishes for the Little Ones
For families traveling with small children, finding child-size dishes in the kitchen cabinet is a welcome amenity. Provide a few small-sized dishes, some small cups with lids, and smaller sized utensils for little hands.
Only a few of these items are needed and will go a long way to making your home memorable in grateful parent’s minds.
Travel-Size Shampoo, Hand Soap, and Lotion
Just like at an upscale hotel, having a few high-end, luscious smelling toiletries on hand provide guests with a feeling of luxury. They are easy and affordable to buy in bulk and convenient for guests that forgot certain items at home.
Hair Dryers and Clothes Irons
A few other items to include that invoke the feeling of a luxury hotel are high-end hairdryers and clothes irons. Buy a small drawstring bag to house the hairdryer in a drawer, and make sure housekeepers are wiping it down and keeping it clean in between guests. Hang a clothes iron with an ironing board inside a closet.
Again, replace these as they show wear-and-tear— usually about once every six to twelve months.
Blackout Blinds or Curtains
Guests come to the Smoky Mountains to rest and relax— and for many, that means sleeping in and taking cat naps. That’s difficult to do when the bright mountain sunshine is streaming through the windows. So provide tasteful blackout drapes or blinds that allow guests to keep a bedroom dark for late mornings or mid-afternoon siestas.
Fluffy Towels— and lots of ‘em
Have at least two towels available per person that your home can accommodate. For example, if your home has room for up to twelve guests, then you should have 24 bath towels available. Have hand towels and washcloths available too. All towels should be fluffy and fresh-smelling— buy the highest quality of towels you can afford.
Don’t forget the kitchen towels too. Make sure they are free from lingering stains from previous guests.
An Outdoor Grill
Everyone loves dinner on the grill! Having a clean gas grill outside is ideal for grilling up some juicy burgers or fresh-caught fish dinner. And there’s also the added bonus of making s’ mores— a quintessential Smoky Mountain desert.
A Private Pool or Hot Tub
Having a way for guests to swim or soak— either in an indoor pool or a hot tub on the deck— is the ideal way to make your Smoky Mountain vacation rental home stand out from the crowd. They also photograph well and add an additional “pop” to your online listing.
Eden Crest Vacation Rentals offers local activities packages for all of our guests through a partnership with Xplorie. Guests receive tickets to different attractions including the Biltmore Estate, Dollywood Theme Park, Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Park, Five Oaks Riding Stables, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the Smoky Mountain Opry, and WonderWorks. Offering an activities package relieves a lot of planning stress for your guest, and provides an extra level of service and value to your home.
The vacation rental experts at Eden Crest are here to help you make the most out of your Smoky Mountain vacation home. Give us a call for more info on how to attract more repeat guests to your short term rental.