When it comes to your vacation rental business, the quality of your customer service and the extra steps you take to ensure a high-quality guest experience can mean the difference between a six-figure side hustle and a portfolio of cash flow negative properties. The experience that you provide to your guests will impact your business and reputation as a vacation rental owner.

Because of their many advantages over a traditional hotel experience and the simplicity of getting started in the industry, there’s plenty of competition to keep you on your toes. Make sure you stand out in this crowded niche and add your personal touch to keep guests coming back. Here’s a list of small things that will improve your guests experience.

1. Make Sure that the Bedroom (If Nothing Else) Is Fully Upgraded 

The feature that will have the biggest impact on your guests experience is the bedroom. Providing a nice cozy place for them to fall asleep after a long day vacationing is can mean the difference between a repeat guest for life and an angry Google review complaining about that lumpy ‘ol mattress. 

You want them to feel like they’re sleeping in their bed at home or better, as such, investing in a high quality (note: this does not have to mean expensive) mattress from a company like Bear, Leesa, or Purple will transform the guest experience and ensure that they’re rested enough to enjoy their stay. 

Another upgrade would be offering blackout shades for those who like to sleep in. Little touches like this will always bring referrals or repeat customers.

Investing in furniture upgrades, nice linens, lamps, and side tables will let your guest know you have their comfort and best interest in mind. When someone can see themselves at home in your rental home they are more likely to book with you.

2. Help Guests Live Like a Local

People want to know where the locals are spending their time and what their culture is like.  Suggest sites and areas to visit, great restaurants and taverns serving local food, interesting walks and much more depending on your guest’s interests. This will make for a memorable guest experience.

Living like a local includes knowing where to go for emergencies. Giving your guest a contact list for places like the nearest medical clinic or hospital lets your guests know you have their safety in mind.

3. Focus on Anticipatory Customer Service

Great customer service starts as soon as the guest inquires about your vacation rental.  You have a unique opportunity to provide the guests with a personal experience that they can’t get at an average hotel.

You should not only answer the questions they have, but take note on what they’re saying and see if there are any clues that would allow you to anticipate the guests needs. Is it a special occasion like an anniversary? This gives you the opportunity to go the extra mile for your guests.

Are you near a beach? Let them know you care by providing towels, beach toys, extra sunscreen etc.. if they are a family with young children. Little things like this will go a long way and make guests want to book with you again.

Offering exceptional customer service does not only have to be personal it can be shown by the amenities you have in your rental home. Something like picking up a sample of olive oil, a bottle of wine, and some local desserts for a welcome basket would be a great way to make your guests feel extra special.

4. 24/7 Availability

Guests want to be able to reach you at all times if something doesn’t go as planned or they need anything extra.

This doesn’t mean you need to worry about being available 24/7, you just need some sort of automated response system in place. This will make a great first impression on your guests.

5. Invest in Fast and Convenient Wifi

In our hyper-connected world, having access to fast internet service is more important than ever before. So much so that providing your guests with the fastest router and modem you can afford could be the difference between a 2 star customer review and a repeat guest for life.

While you don’t need to spend thousands on the fanciest equipment, investing in a high quality internet service provider is paramount to your guests experience. A good rule of thumb is to ensure you can stream videos from every room in the house with no buffer time. 

6. Spend Top Dollar on an Upgraded kitchen

One of the biggest reason people book a vacation rental is because they want the feel of a home away from home. They want a full kitchen to cook and entertain.

You can’t always completely overhaul your kitchen, but adding things like a dining room table, silverware, and nice appliances will bring in some great reviews.

Another nice touch would be to add in the necessities like cooking oil, salt and pepper, flour, and maybe even a spice rack. People don’t need to purchase these items if they are only staying for a week.

These little additions will have a big impact on your guest’s experience by keeping their cost down while they’re in stay.

7. Keep a Welcome Book

When your guests arrive at your rental they may have already done some research on the area or know what they want to do but some may not have.

A welcome book gives you a place to welcome the guest with a personal note, lay down house rules, list emergency contacts, local businesses, etc.. Your guests will love having an all in one guide on how to get the most out of their stay.

You can even leave a page in the book that will allow them to leave a personal message with their own recommendations for future guests.

8. Keep the Rental As Clean as a Whistle 

The number one thing guests will be concerned with is an exceptionally clean rental. Would you want to arrive and find someone elses dirt?

Your rental should compare to the level of clean provided by a 5-star hotel. Your guests will notice and thank you for the attention to detail. This is yet another thing that will bring your guests back again and again.