Many things had to change during the pandemic, including how to furnish a vacation rental home. Travelers’ preferences shifted to longer stays, leading to changes in guest needs. In fact, according to our recent research, the average stay equals 4.9 days in comparison to 3.4 days in November 2019.
With staycations and workations on the rise, you have to think carefully about which amenities can help create a perfect home away from home if guests are planning to book for a longer stay.
Read on to learn how to furnish your vacation rental home in 12 simple steps.
First, let’s look at the financial aspect of your furnishing and design project. If you are looking to create a more luxurious vacation rental, you can spend anything from $25,000 to $100,000 to furnish your property.
If you already have a few items and will settle for something less luxurious, but still comfortable, you could get away with spending less than $10,000. At the end of the day, hosts need to remember that while there are big purchases, there is also a long list of smaller items that can also quickly add up. You will also need to remember about the annual operating expenses to keep your property looking perfect.
Ultimately, your property’s furnishings will depend on the type of guests you plan to attract. You can, for instance, target the following types of travelers:
Make sure to keep your target audience in mind whenever you furnish your vacation rental home. If you are catering your short-term rental to families, they will appreciate items like plastic cutlery and plug protectors. Millennials, on the other hand, will care less about the cutlery and more about the Wi-Fi speed and other touches of automation.
It is important that you make sure each room is fully furnished. While you do not have to offer every possible kitchen utensil that you would find in a primary residence, your property should be fully functional.
It is a good idea to go room by room and create a checklist that you can use for every room before you make any purchases. This way, you will ensure that you do not forget an essential item, but, at the same time, not buy unnecessary duplicates. So, if you have any pre-owned furniture that is still almost good as new, you can also tick it off this list.
It is even better to have two separate checklists for basics and extras. The basics are the items that are must-haves before you rent out your vacation rental property. The extras are nice-to-have items like artwork or board games that you can still add at a later stage when you have more funds available.
Before you can buy any furnishings, it is essential to pick a style. Luckily, there are many free resources available online! You can find inspiration on Instagram, Pinterest, vacation rental blogs or websites of interior design studios.
Whatever your style might be, you shouldn’t let your personal tastes dominate the decision-making process. It is better to choose a style that most travelers will find appealing. Though, try to let your style match your region. For example, if you have a mountain cabin, rustic furniture would work much better than a nautical theme.
It is also key that you keep it simple by not using too many accessories. This reduces the number of things that can get damaged. Plus, it makes the cleaning process much easier, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can stick to neutral colors as your foundation and then add accent colors by purchasing, for example, a colored fruit bowl.
One of the common mistakes that hosts make when furnishing their properties is that they use furniture that meets their personal standards. When it comes to furnishing a vacation rental home, it should be more than just adequate.
Also, considering that your vacation rental property will have more traffic than a normal residence, it is even more important that everything is durable and easy to use. Most renters understand the basics of Airbnb etiquette and will treat your property with the utmost care most of the time. However, the reality is that accidents still happen. So, to limit the damage, hard-wearing furniture will make more sense in the long run.
For example, furnishings with lacquered finishes can be difficult to keep in good condition. Instead, you can, for example, intentionally create weathered looks that will improve with age and add to the character of your property.
Good lighting is often overlooked by hosts. Well-thought-out lighting can help create the right ambiance in your vacation rental. It can also help to limit nasty accidents. Remember that your guests are not acquainted with your property yet. So, ensure that the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathrooms, hallways, entrance ways, and outside areas are all lit properly.
Also, remember to place lamps strategically. Table lamps next to all your beds are must-have items! Not only are they functional pieces, but they can also be decorative.
It is best to opt for energy-efficient lighting, like LED bulbs. These will last longer and your guests will appreciate your effort to do your bit for our environment.
Even those who travel light will require storage space. After all, who likes to live out of a suitcase?
Your guests will only be grateful for ample storage, especially if you offer extended stays. Also, considering that extended stays are a dominant trend, creative storage solutions are becoming much more critical for creating the ultimate guest experience.
From bedside tables with drawers to floating shelves, there are many ways that every property (irrespective of its size) can offer sufficient storage space. All you have to do is look at the storage solutions that tiny homes are using.
While your property should offer a space where guests can get together, you also need to ensure that it provides a secluded space where guests can enjoy peace and quiet, and get some work done. According to Jasper Ribbers, co-founder of STR Legends, in 2021, more employees will book short-term rental properties for workations. These guests will need fast Internet and a comfortable area to work.
This data was echoed in Vrbo’s data about new travel habits. According to Vrbo, two-thirds of travelers who combined work with a family vacation will do so again in 2021. So, creating a comfortable area where your guests can work will become invaluable.
If you are lucky to have an outdoor area or balcony, ensure that you offer a table and seating outside as well. Not only can you promote it as a feature, but it will prevent guests from moving your indoor furniture (only to forget it there overnight).
Small touches can help to create a more home-like feel in your vacation rental. Here are examples of items that you can add to ensure a memorable home-away-from-home experience:
Just like your quirky personal style should best be used for furnishing your primary residence, it is also better to confine personal items to your own residence. These are items like family photographs, personal healthcare and beauty products, clothing, and electronic devices.
For starters, by including sentimental personal items when furnishing your vacation rental property, you always run the risk that they will get damaged, misplaced, or stolen. It can also make your guests feel as if they are encroaching on your personal space (which it no longer is).
If storage space is an issue, you can lock away these personal items in a locked closet that should be labeled for personal use. It is also a convenient solution if you plan on using your property for personal use from time to time.
If you are pressed for time and need to get your listing published as soon as possible, it can be a good idea to enlist the services of an interior designer. As mentioned earlier, you should decide on a style that most travelers will find comfortable. Who better to ask than a professional interior designer who has experience in furnishing a vacation rental home?
Hiring a professional designer will save you time and turn your vacation home into something your target guest will like. By making sure your property looks up to par and provides an enhanced level of comfort, you can aim for more high-end guests and increase your nightly rate.
To help all your hard work come together, take some time to highlight enhancements to your property in your vacation rental listing. Here are a few handy suggestions to help you present these updates in your listing:
Having a beautifully decorated property is the first step to a flawless guest experience. Now that you have invested a lot of time and money to furnish your vacation rental home, ensure that other aspects like your guest communication are up to par. After all, you do not want your guest to blow a fuse because they could not reach you when an electrical appliance stopped working.
Software, like iGMS, comes in handy to ensure the perfect guest experience, while saving you time on routine operations like messaging or writing reviews. You can, for example, use iGMS to create a template message regarding how to use appliances or use ready-made review templates and automate review send-outs.
iGMS can also help you with many of your other routine tasks. These include:
About the Author
Olga Vasylieva is the Content and Social Media Team Lead at iGMS. Olga is on a mission to help hosts and property managers grow their businesses and deliver an excellent guest experience. She is a travel enthusiast and is inspired by life in all its aspects.
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