How to Upsell Vacation Rentals

The power of a good first impression is undeniable, and it’s even a powerful aspect of the vacation rental industry. When a rental property makes a good first impression on a potential guest, it can determine whether or not it gets the booked. This first impression is made early on as soon as potential guests start browsing booking platforms. 

With so many vacation rental websites of top-notch properties to choose from, a good first impression is more important than ever for rental industry members. No matter if a property is located in one of the world’s best cities to visit or in a small town in Arizona, coming out on top of the vacation rental market takes work. And making a good first impression is the first step of it all.

There are a few ways to make an impression – more importantly a good one – on guests browsing through booking engines like Airbnb and Booking.com. The best way to do it is to upsell vacation rentals. In other words, hosts need to put forward a place to stay that is too good to pass up. Here are a few upselling tips to not only provide a good first impression during the booking process but also to keep guests happy during their stay.  

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Guests Love a Warm Welcome

When a host leaves a welcome basket for their guests, chances are they’ll leave a good review mentioning this friendly addition to their stay. As potential guests are browsing booking sites, they’ll read these comments, and that welcome basket might just land a property more bookings in the future. 

There’s no need to get too fancy with this warm welcome though, just include a few things that show you are a good host. The easiest way to create a basket is to put together a list of things that guests would enjoy upon arrival. Perhaps some cookies, chocolates, or local produce unique to the rental’s area of the world. Hosts can even welcome new guests into your home with fresh flowers in a vase on the kitchen counter.

Oprah says that in order to be a good host, “focus on giving attention, not getting attention.” Although this is technically your property, this trip is all about the guest and the guest’s experience. Cater to that experience right from the getgo by offering a welcome basket filled with treats and goodies. 

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Invest in Smart Devices for Comfort and Convenience 

One common practice that guests tend to do when browsing booking sites is to scroll down to the “Amenities” list when checking out a property. Here, the browser can see if the accommodation is equipped with security cameras, air-con, cable TV, and high-speed internet. These main staples are not the only things that guests are looking for though. 

Nowadays, guests are much more likely to book properties that feature smart devices, including amenities like keyless entry (AKA smart locks), smart TVs, and smart speakers. The inclusion of high-quality smart devices isn’t essential for all guests, but it is one of the best things a host can do to upsell vacation rentals and increase profits.

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Interior Design

Outsiders have no idea how true the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is until they have lived life as a rental property manager or owner. Saying that high-quality photos are important for listing a property is an insane understatement. Remember discussing the importance of a good first impression? 

Well, it’s impossible to make a good first impression with low-quality pictures of an apartment unit or home on property listing sites. Putting “your best photo forward” is important, but there is no way to make that happen if a vacation rental doesn’t have some sense of design. Get rid of those outdated fixtures and furniture pieces and swap them for something more stylish, preferably something that will photograph well. 

Pops of color, modern furniture, and funky artwork will make all the difference; even budget travelers will pay a little extra for a nicely-designed rental property. For those hosts that have no sense of design whatsoever, don’t hesitate to hire a professional interior designer to help out. 

Dishing out a bit of cash on professional property design has been proven to have a high ROI. It allows vacation rental owners and management companies to increase revenue streams and upsell vacation rentals. 

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Try Not to Forget About Social Media

If you don’t have a social media account for your rental property, now is the time to start one (or several). It doesn’t matter how small or large the rental operation is, social media is a powerful resource for reaching out to past and future guests. Even if your social media following is small, it’s an amazing tool for guests to reach out to you with questions about the property. 

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Be Thorough with the Guest Manual

Knowing exactly what guests will or will not appreciate can be difficult since each guest is different from the next. For instance, one guest might appreciate receiving phone calls regarding the booking, while others wouldn’t answer a phone call in a million years. One thing is for sure, though, and that is the appreciation that will come along with offering a guest manual. 

Including a guest manual within the property basically means you’ll provide all information relevant to the guest and the property in one easy-to-find place. The best vacation rental owners and management companies understand the importance of a house manual, and that’s basically what a guest manifesto is. This is a great place to lay down the property laws, among other things. 

Try to have a good time with this, offer advice on where to go to travel like a local, and provide some directions and maps. Manifestos can even include a FAQs section where current guests can find answers to the common questions asked by previous guests. Add all the bottom lines possible, and don’t forget to include the WiFi password!

Map, Tourism, Lost, Direction, Guide, Tourist Guide

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About the Author: Caitlin has been traveling and working as a freelance web developer, content writer, and SCUBA instructor since 2014. She is originally from Ohio but has recently lived in Central America, Southeast Asia, India, and Australia – loving life as a digital nomad. Other than writing about her travel experiences, her main passions are yoga, ocean conservation, and sustainable development.