Below, you’ll find some of the most common concerns of potential vacation rental guests. Many of these concerns come from guests who have previously only stayed in hotels and don’t have an accurate understanding of how vacation rental properties work. For each of the following concerns, we’ve offered suggestions as to how to reassure your guests that your vacation rental fits their needs and will actually provide a better guest experience than a hotel would.
1. Misleading Descriptions
Guests who tend to choose hotels over vacation rentals are often wary of misleading descriptions. You can find plenty of horror stories online about vacation rentals that were advertised one way, but proved to be something completely different upon arrival.
To help alleviate this concern, showcase your vacation rental’s best features, but keep your listing as realistic as possible. If there are any drawbacks or potentially negative aspects of your vacation rental, it’s better to be upfront about them rather than neglecting to mention them. It should go without saying that you should never blatantly lie or try to make your vacation rental look better than it actually is. While there is so much that can be done with photo and video editing as well as creative writing, don’t go too far with these tools. Stay true to the property in your listing; your guests will thank you.
2. Uncommunicative Hosts
Another common worry for guests who are hesitant to book vacation rentals is that their host won’t be readily available to answer questions or troubleshoot issues. The first thing you can do to put guests’ minds at ease is to provide as much information to them as possible. This starts with your listing. It’s wise to have a dedicated area for FAQs; the more you answer on your vacation rental website or in your listing, the fewer questions potential guests will have for you.
You can also set up automated messages to be sent out to various questions from guests using a PMS, or Property Management System. This allows you to respond to your guests and provide them with information immediately. Always strive to be responsive, friendly, and helpful whenever you receive a message.
Once guests have arrived, it’s a great idea to provide a welcome letter, book, or binder filled with all the information they could possibly need during their stay. Not only does this cut back on the number of times guests will reach out to you with simple questions like, “How do I preheat the oven?” but it also shows guests how much effort you’ve put into managing your vacation rental. Be sure to include your contact info in the welcome binder so that guests know they can get in touch if needed.
3. Lack of Cleanliness
The most common complaint (and biggest concern) about vacation rentals is a lack of cleanliness. People who haven’t stayed in a vacation rental before or have had a negative experience with vacation rentals in the past tend to believe that they are much dirtier than hotels. Many people have the perspective that staying in a vacation rental is essentially staying in someone’s home. Therefore, they associate it with the kind of dirtiness that typically builds up in a living space.
To assuage this concern, there are plenty of things you can do. First, show your guests that your vacation rental is a professional accommodation. You can outline your cleaning procedures or even name your cleaning company in your vacation rental listing to show that your property is cleaned regularly. Another option is to display any cleaning and sanitizing badges you have. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic began, this is something that many guests look for in a vacation rental property. They want the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your property has been thoroughly cleaned since the last guest was there.
4. Poor Sleeping Arrangements
Could there be anything worse than arriving at your vacation destination and finding that the sleeping arrangements are less than satisfactory? It could be a dented mattress, threadbare sheets, a few stray hairs on the pillow, or even noisy neighbors, but whatever the reason, poor sleeping conditions are something many people fear when considering booking a vacation rental property.
Since most people travel and go on vacation to relax, you should definitely focus on providing the best sleeping arrangements possible. A good night’s sleep is essential, so be sure to invest in quality mattresses, blankets, and pillows. It’s equally as important to ensure that the bedclothes are freshly washed in between each guest’s stay. If your vacation rental is an apartment with noisy upstairs neighbors, you might even want to look into various soundproofing measures to keep the space quiet and conducive to sleep. A low-cost variation of this is to provide complimentary earplugs to your guests.
If you have a low-budget vacation rental or rent out a room in your house, guests are less likely to expect hotel-quality sleeping arrangements. However, at the very least, you should be transparent about what you’re offering so that guests have realistic expectations. No matter what type of vacation rental you have, provide accurate photos and descriptions of the sleeping arrangements.
5. No WiFi
Another common concern for guests staying at vacation rentals is bad or nonexistent WiFi. Frequent fears include advertising WiFi but not having it at the vacation rental, having a spotty or slow internet connection, and the WIFi not covering the entire property (for example, if a guest wants to work on the patio, but the WiFi doesn’t extend that far). Having a fast, reliable internet connection is a must these days, especially since more people are working remotely than ever before.
If you advertise WiFi as an amenity, then you’ll need to make sure that your provider is reliable and provides truly high-speed internet. You’ll also want to have someone that you can contact anytime if something goes wrong. It’s smart to have some backup options, like an ethernet cable or a portable hotspot, so that your guests can use the internet even if the WiFi goes down.
Also, keep in mind that remote workers aren’t the only people who will need to use the internet. If you provide streaming services like Netflix and Hulu for your guests, then a good internet connection is required to enjoy those forms of entertainment.
6. Lack of Customer Service
Potential vacation rental guests that have always stayed in hotels in the past often worry about the lack of customer service available. Since there’s no concierge, no streamlined process of checking in with a staff member, and no housekeeping services on staff, they’re concerned this lack of customer service will negatively affect their experience.
Show your guests that a lack of interaction with staff doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Emphasize the convenience of self check-in and check-out if you offer it, and be sure to “greet” your guests even if you don’t meet them in person. This is as simple as leaving a welcome letter and basket for your guests to discover when they enter your vacation rental property.
7. Too Many Rules
Since most vacation rental owners require guests to sign a rental agreement, a common concern is having too many rules to follow. You can find plenty of reviews online of guests who were annoyed by numerous rules posted on the walls of the vacation rental and outlined in detail in the rental agreement. If you have rules posted all over your vacation rental, you run the risk of making guests feel uncomfortable, like they have to walk on eggshells to ensure they don’t break any rules. You should never want your guests to feel on edge like this; this is their vacation time, after all, and they need to be able to fully relax!
Therefore, to handle this concern, do your best to keep your rental agreement as simple as possible. Some rules are expected and not too bothersome; think policies regarding parking, quiet hours, and not having parties. However, more extensive rules like expecting guests to do all their own laundry and unplug all electronics and appliances before they check out can make guests feel like they have too many responsibilities to worry about.
Be sure to make your rules clear from the beginning by mentioning anything important in your listing. Guests should be able to know what they’re getting into from the get-go, rather than being bombarded with a long rulebook upon arrival at your vacation rental property.
8. No Privacy
Many potential guests who have chosen to stay in hotels previously worry about the potential lack of privacy at a vacation rental property. This is especially true if you’re renting out a room in your house and will be sharing certain spaces with your guests. It’s crucial to ensure your guests have plenty of privacy and space to be alone without having to interact with (or even hear) anyone else.
Also, avoid putting cameras indoors, particularly in areas where guests would generally assume they have privacy, such as the bedroom and bathroom. Even if you’re renting out a whole property and not just part of your house, do your best to prevent guests from feeling like they don’t have privacy as far as neighbors go. A few well-placed shrubs can do wonders for creating privacy in the outdoor area of your rental.
Here are eight of the most common concerns guests have about vacation rental properties. Do your best to alleviate these concerns and show your guests why your vacation rental is the right choice for their trip!
- Misleading descriptions
- Uncommunicative hosts
- Lack of cleanliness
- Poor sleeping arrangements
- No WiFi
- Lack of customer service
- Too many rules
- No privacy