Vacation Home Staging:
Decorating a home intentionally to ensure rental appeal and meet regional character and style expectation.
YOUR VACATION HOME: When you design your home, you want to make it appeal to YOU and personalize it like it’s your wardrobe. Every room, wall, cubby, and shelf should have your signature on it saying “this is mine/this is me”.
YOUR VACATION RENTAL: The opposite is true when trying to attract Vacation Renters in this highly competitive arena. Although your fingerprints can be on the design, after all this is your home and you need to enjoy it too – the focus should be on your coming renters. You want to invite their attention and keep it with a booking. It’s a totally different animal than just decorating for your pleasure. It’s staging a scene to catch their attention and entice – you want potential renters to think “yes, that’s where I want to be”.
Your house should be the Jessica Rabbit of vacation rentals
How to do this? You can do this yourself or hire a professional Vacation Home Stager to design it for you (I recommend this one for obvious reasons)… either way do your homework first. Like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it. Think of décor of your vacation rental as an investment that can pay off in big ways for years to come.
Remember “if you build it, they will come”?
Well if you design it… you know… Renters will come!
Start here: Before you jump in, talk to local Vacation Rental Agencies where you want to own your vacation rental. I find that they are always open to answering questions and their input is invaluable, after all this is their region and area of expertise.
- What style home rents most often?
- Homes, flats, condos, cabins or chalets?
- Rural and secluded or in town and walkable?
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms?
- If you haven’t purchased your home yet, their response to this will give you a vital edge narrowing the properties you shop.
- What demographic should you concentrate on to attract key renters?
- If your place is too kitschy you may lose desirable renters.
- Is your area romantic? Attract couples? Families? Does it attract “snowbirds”?
- What amenities do the top homes in your area offer?
- Temporary Golf Membership? Lake Access? Ski-in/Ski-out?
- Jacuzzis, pool tables, bikes, barbeques, gourmet kitchens?
- Books, board games, ping pong table?
- What are renters asking for when they call?
- Spas? Beds? Zen? Trails? Fireplaces?
- This may seem silly but when we purchased our home in Palm Springs we were told that people wanted bathrooms for each bedroom yet when we shopped Big Bear Mountain for a cabin we were told Jacuzzis and beds – to sleep as many people as possible with no regard to bathrooms. Every area is different.
- What kind of décor attracts most renters?
- If you are doing it yourself, please please don’t overkill the décor buying every ocean themed décor you can get your hands on. (I cringe when I see people “vomit” a theme.) If you want to look beachy you don’t have to paint your walls blue and put 12 sea turtles on the wall when a coral print pillow and a candle on sea glass may be enough.
- Décor is just as much about the way a space makes you feel as it is the furnishings.
- Ask for pictures of the top 3 renting homes in your category.
- Already purchased a 3 bed 3 bath? See what other 3/3 vacation rentals are doing right.
- Notice what appeals to you, it will probably appeal to everyone.
Here’s one more question, although not related to design, BUT absolutely necessary to ask before you buy…
- How much can you expect to earn per day, per season, per year, assuming you did everything right?
- This is really important, do you need your home to make money now or to break even? Your attitude toward your home will help manage your expectations for the following years to come. When we purchased our vacation home we were looking at the long term investment. We had looked at it as a vacation home we could use that is paid for 30 years by renters and someday income we could use in retirement. If it made money, great, but it needed to pay for itself monthly within the first 12-18 months.
- If you need your vacation rental to pay for itself immediately, this may not be for you. It takes time to get great ratings under your belt and gain better ranking and visibility on the sites you choose.
- If you want to get up and running quickly, you may choose to have it managed by a local vacation rental agency who can focus renter’s attentions your way intentionally. This takes the stress off you day to day but you share profits.
(Pros & Cons of Self-managing vs. Vacation Rental Agency is a blog for another day 🙂
Whether you decorate it yourself or hire a pro, this is your starting point. Your designer will need this information to pinpoint your specific needs and create a home that charms on site.
If you do it yourself, show restraint without killing the whimsy. When my grandfather past away we found a framed painting of Frank and Nancy Sinatra in his garage – it was such an odd find for this 94 year old Cuban immigrant. We just had to keep it and use it somewhere. When we bought the home in Palm Springs we struggled to finds a place for it that wouldn’t look “cheesy”, it didn’t match the décor and took itself much too seriously. So, we put it over the toilet facing the shower – unexpected and whimsical. We get almost as many hysterical comments on Sinatra in our guest book as we get “beautiful home” and “incredible vibes”.
Would love to hear from you if you have any comments, questions or suggestions.
Thanks for stopping by,