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  • Writer's pictureJulie Fergus

Time to Differentiate!

It is no secret that the vacation rental industry is saturated. Supply is high; this means lots of competition to get a potential guest's attention. The first step is to get eyeballs on your listing. Your property has to have some eye candy to differentiate from the mundane. If you scroll through property listings online you will notice that most interiors are beige, brown, and grey. Adding a pop of color can catch someone's eye. Give the online browser something interesting to look at.

The eye-candy you choose will appeal to your target market / ideal guest. In this example this property is geared toward large families. Hense the large sectional to convey a comfortable place to gather together.

Besides location and price, amenities are a differentiator to stand out and entice potential guests to choose your property. Let's look at options:


Guests want to feel at home when on vacation. Besides the basics such as TVs, internet, beds, and a good working kitchen, what else do they want? They want more or perhaps better than their own homes. I put links to resources for what the top amenities are below. Here's my take on it based on years of vacation rental ownership.

1. First and foremost is Wi-Fi with fast and reliable service. This is the number one thing. People cannot live without their devices. In tandem with the Wi-Fi is the ability and ease to access receptacles to plug-in and charge their devices. Show

You MUST have a place at each bedside table for a phone to be plugged in. It can be as simple as wrapping an extension cord around the lamp on the bedside table. Do not make your guests crawl under beds or behind furniture to access receptacles. You don't have to mention this in the listing, you have there for guests so they can appreciate it when at your property.

This amenity is a given, if you have a special set-up or network perhaps you highlight that if remote working people is your target audience.

2. Have something special in the kitchen; it might be lobster boil supplies, top notch coffee maker, "trendy" glassware. Showcase that. Or maybe you have two work areas in the kitchen as this example. That is great for large families and guests that want to have home-made meals.

For serious cooks, it's helpful to know what the property is stocked with. A good way to highlight it is to make a collage of the cabinet contents. This will be extremely helpful for travelers.

3. Abundance of towel and extra sheets and blankets are important. Accidents happen, people may shower multiple times per day when on vacation so stock your property well. Showcase your well-stocked towels in the bathroom or linen closet instead of stacking towels on beds.

White towels communicate clean! White can be bleached and that is clean. Click here to learn how to remove stains from white towels and bedding.

4. Standard now is to provide linens and bedding, and to have beds made up for guests. (Just ten years ago this was not standard.) In order to stand apart from other properties, create bedrooms that are not cookie cutter. Beautiful and simple bedding elevate the listing. Clean, crisp, and simple convey fresh and clean.

This bedroom is not cookie-cutter in that it has a vintage country vibe. It may not appeal to all vacationers, but if it looks fresh and checks other boxes this will be not overlooked.

Families with kids can enjoy a shared space. Adding a fresh color will catch an eye when scrolling through the many listings.

In both examples notice that the sheets are white. Always go with white. It says clean and it goes with all styles of decor.

5. Outdoor spaces are a huge perk for vacationers. Whether it's a porch, deck, patio, or yard create a lovely space where family and friends can gather and relax. String lights make outdoor spaces come to life in the evening. Rugs made of plastic are great ways to add eye candy to the listing so that it will get someone's attention.

Scroll through listings on Vrbo or Airbnb and you will see that the majority of the properties are similar in style and color. Make your pop with a color, a pattern, or a special amenity and you increase the chances of being noticed.

Bonus amenity is to be dog friendly. Many people travel and vacation with their dogs. If you allow dogs your increase your market. In past several years and four properties, dogs have not caused damage; people cause damage, not dogs. So give it a though. And be sure to highlight that in your listing.

Thanks for reading.


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