Tips for Homeowners: 5 Ways to Keep Your Guest Entertained

Although many people who visit the lake spend time boating and in the outdoors, there’s always those times when the weather doesn’t cooperate or guests need a break from the hot summer sun.  A great way to keep guests happy and entertained is to have fun things to do indoor.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

  1. DVD Collection:  You don’t have to go out and buy the newest releases, but keep a collection of kids movies and maybe some classics for adults.  Family movies are a great option for the whole family to watch.  Find DVDs for less on Amazon.com or eBay.
  2. A Kids Collection: Board games, crayons and coloring books, and assorted card games are great for kids!!  Some of the best vacation memories are spent competing in a friendly game of Go Fish or Chutes and Ladders (remember that game?).  Believe us,  parents will thank you!
  3. Books:  A small book collection of poetry, illustrated books for little ones, or coffee table books of scenic nature scenes are great choices to keep on hand.  Have a variety so guests will bound to find something interesting.
  4. Listening Pleasure:  Do you have a stereo system?  With everyone having iPods and other audio devices, it’s a good idea to have a cord that will hook up to the stereo system.
  5. Outside Options:  Don’t forget the outside areas!  Add some fun yard games like washers, bean bag toss, or horseshoes. Your guests will love it!! The result — happier guests and return renters!

Tips for Homeowners: A Dining Experience Your Guests Won’t Forget

Your guests will have many opportunities to enjoy meals at your property.  Make that experience as enjoyable as possible and you’ll certainly encourage repeat booking for your vacation property.

Make sure your place settings, dishes and silverware are as complete and desirable set.  And yes, include several optional sets of placemats and napkins.  Pamper your guests.  Doing so will assure that time spent around the dining table or patio set are enjoyable, rewarding and memorable.   It will be no surprise when you reap the rewards with new or repeat bookings.

Tips for Homeowners: Time for a Kitchen Upgrade?

For  guests who choose to rent a home at the Lake in preference to a hotel or resort, cooking is a big part of their vacation.  They have time to prepare and cook meals for friends and family and that isn’t always the case with conflicting work and school events.   With that consideration, what a kitchen looks like can make a big difference in choosing a vacation rental.

Take a candid look at your kitchen.  Do the cabinets and countertops need a radical change – new paint or perhaps new hardware.  Or is it time for a complete makeover?  Money spent on renovating a kitchen can be recovered in a higher rental rate over a period of a year or so.

Here’s an example of a renovation at Senator’s Retreat completed in 2011.  What a difference!

Before:

And after:

Remember guests often comment that ah clean, modern kitchen is high on their priority list in picking the ideal vacation rental.  Having said that, it’s not necessary to do a complete kitchen renovation to make a kitchen look great.

Counter tops – Scrubbed clean, most countertops will be OK as long as there are no burn marks, gouges or deep scratches.  And if you don’t have a large are to cover a new countertop can have an immediate impact.  And the cost will be recovered in improved interest, inquiries and reservations.

Appliances –  Check the color and condition of your  appliances.  Nothing dates a kitchen like outdated appliances which results in a negative impact on people searching for that perfect vacation rental property.  Appliances must be in great condition – no rust or baked on grease.  If so these appliances should be replaced

Cabinets – These can often be freshened up with a simple coat of paint.  Whatever option you take, the cabinets should be spotlessly clean inside and out and well organized.

Hardware – It’s amazing what a difference new handles and pulls can make.  If your hardware has seen better days, replacing  these can effectively change the overall look of your kitchen.

Staging – Transform your kitchen into a desirable space by removing the extraneous objects (like magnets, calendars, extra soaps.)  Simply place a bowl of flowers on the counter and you’ll transform a bland or ordinary kitchen into a more desirable place to be.

Tips for Homeowners: Desirable Sleeping Spaces

I too get captured by great pictures of the Lake, flower gardens, kitchens and other great features of the home I’m renting.  But I’m always brought back to earth by the bedroom shots of a vacation rental property.  We spend one third of or time sleeping and vacationing guests want to know that their nighttime comfort is not being compromised.   Remember guests cannot test out a mattress.  They have to trust that the homeowner will provide new, or nearly new , good quality beds.  Guests have to judge their decision off of what they see.  Not scientific by any means, but it is the only resource they have.

Look at your bedrooms from a reviewing guest’s eye.  Is the space inviting or utilitarian and uninspiring.  Here are a few clear turn-offs for any inquiring guest:  pancake flat pillows, comforters that are outdated  or have seen better days, old throws, tattered or outdated shades, no accent pillows or reading lamps.

Properly presented bedrooms gives guest a much greater scope of the look and feel of a rejuvenating space in your home.   Treat your vacationing guests  with new comforters, over-stuffed pillows, shams, bed skirts and accent pillows or throws.  For a fractional investment you can turn an undesirable space into a heavenly retreat.  Believe it or not, this complete set was created from what the owner had for access pillows and a very inexpensive bedding set for Wal-Mart for under $75.  Bedrooms are where you’ll win over site visitors.   Make them want to be there!

And if you change out of size of bedding for another, please let us know so we can update your listing and get the word out to our guests!

Tips for Homeowners: Clear the Clutter

Guests want to stay at a property that they could easily imagine as their own.  When it is cluttered with your own personal stuff (photos, collections along the mantel, stuffed utensil drawers, etc.) the guest impression could be very different.   It is a known fact from past reviews,  that guests who felt they were staying in someone’s house, rather than a vacation home, found their stay to be an uncomfortable experience.

But be careful in de-cluttering too.  Don’t take out too much as the property will look sterile and not show the charm and character of the home/condo that appeals to reserving guests.  Use plants, accent rugs, colorful pillows and other accents to add life to a room.  Doing so will lift it from being just a rental and elevate it into a very desirable place to spend a vacation with friend and family!

Properly staged rooms can lift a room to another level with simply matching furniture, pillows, lamps and themed accessories.