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As a property manager, stocking your vacation rental amenities shouldn’t be a one-time-only job. Guests can now use amenity filters to pick out the one property that caters most to their needs or offers exciting amenities they don't have at home.
The key is knowing how your guests’ demands have changed. Among these changes are the rise of remote working, an appetite for open spaces, and concerns for health and safety.
Wondering how to give your property a facelift? No need to scour the internet yourself—we’ve done the hard work for you.
After finishing this article, you’ll learn:
AND you can get inspired to start your “amenity make-over” with our “100 most essential items for vacation rentals” checklist, plus UPGRADES to keep those review scores up!
How can vacation rental amenities help your business?
Vacation rentals are all about comfort, convenience, and escape. A VRBO survey reveals that 1 in 3 families plan on spending more on nicer accommodation and longer stays . Guests need to feel at home while also experiencing that 'extra' something. This is where your amenities will shine.
By adding special touches to basic amenities, you'll enhance your guests’ vacation experience, boosting review scores and repeat bookings—all by looking to meet their changing needs.
Throughout the pandemic, the short-term rental (STR) industry’s share of the total lodging revenue in the U.S rose to over 25% . Guests have pivoted to STRs for minimal human contact and a more personalized experience. STRs are also more affordable and flexible with customer service, which is a great bonus for travel planning and budgeting.
Below are some of the most prominent trends property managers have to keep up with.
“Workcation” and “flexcation” allow people to be anywhere
A “Workcation,” like its name suggests, refers to a trip that combines work and travel, taking advantage of work-from-home (WFH) policies. Similarly, a “flexcation” is when a family combines WFH, virtual school, and vacation for a change of scenery.
With the majority of US employees preferring some form of WFH arrangement even after the pandemic ends, vacation rental amenities have become one of the top priorities for travelers when choosing an ideal “workcation” property.
People book longer trips and further away from home
The flexibility of working remotely allows people to plan longer trips without fear of losing paid time off from work. Every 1 out of 5 nights booked on Airbnb in Q3 (2021) was for stays of 28 days or longer, and 45% of nights booked were for at least one week , compared to 38% in 2019.
Travelers are also exploring further from home. Over New Year’s, Airbnb saw that 40% of nights booked were 1000 miles or further away from guests’ original locations, spreading across 53,000 cities around the world.
Many destinations, especially warm-weathered and celebratory ones, saw a traveler spike over New Year 2022, compared to New Year 2019. For example, the number of Canadian travelers to Peru grew by 190%.
This incredible shift in behavior highlights the importance of turning your vacation rental into a “home-away-from-home” and differentiating your property with accommodating features.
People prefer outdoorsy destinations for a change of scenery
“Workcation” guests find surrounding themselves with nature boosts productivity and mental health. Families, on the other hand, love a short drive to a nearby lake, river, or stream for a change of scenery and quality time outdoors.
So, vacation rentals in rural areas are in demand and, with the right amenities can becime fun-filled, year-round healing accommodations.
Source: @Tower Paddle Boards on Unsplash
Contactless and cleanliness are a must!
Prior to COVID, contactless check-in was an experimental add-on. Now, it’s a necessity for customers to plan their arrival more flexibly, bypass crowded lobbies and communicate faster with the property’s host.
An Oracle survey found 71% of consumers are more likely to stay in hotels offering self-service technology. Coupled with a transparent policy in health and cleanliness, contactless tech allows vacation rentals to operate more safely and efficiently, which benefits both guests and staff.
Ready to give your property an amenity make-over? Let’s check out the Top 100 vacation rental amenities to make a long-lasting impression on your guests and keep them coming back.
Here are ways you can give your guests the warmest welcome to their new home-away-from-home
A RueBaRue Digital Guestbook can be sent out as soon as guests have finished booking via texts or emails to help plan their trip. It’s filled with everything they need, from arrival information, Wi-Fi passwords, amenities instructions to safety information. Each Digital Guestbook has a secured and shareable link that’s self-destructive once guests have checked out.
The digital guestbook automatically calculates the distance from the vacation rental to every destination in the area guide and is customizable with the brand’s unique style. A true time-saver, it has proven to reduce pre-arrival inquiries by 50%!
Welcome baskets add a personal touch that most commercial hotels don’t offer. They carry anything from luxury toiletries, seasonal gifts to locally sourced goodies like fruits, soaps, and honey.
Managing important signages, such as safety instructions, become so much easier with the Digital Guestbook doing most of the heavy lifting. But having reminder notes where caution is needed can’t hurt!
By showing your guests that your property cares about their health and safety, even before the trip via the Digital Guestbook, guests are more likely to book, review positively, and re-book for their next trip. As their temporary home, your property needs to be equipped with these essential vacation rental amenities:
While not exactly cleaning supplies, scented products such as candles, fabric fresheners, and fragrance diffusers enhance the overall cleanliness of the property.
For guests staying more than a week, mid-stay cleaning is necessary to maintain the quality of the property. You can include the schedule and fees under the “House Rules” section in the Digital Guestbook, as well as communicating with guests in detail via SMS instant messaging like RueBaRue, which saves time and cuts out face-to-face interactions.
Here are some security measures you can consider for your vacation rental and so minimize the possibility of liability .
A must for contactless check-in , smart locks are fantastic for the modern guest and for your operational efficiency (no more driving across town to meet guests and hand over keys).
Make sure to only install the cameras in public areas such as the lobby, elevators, and parking lots to respect guests’ privacy. Displaying surveillance signs in those areas can also prevent thefts.
You can help avoid accidents by installing lighting and signage near darker areas such as parking lots, pools, walkways, and staircases.
A requirement in most U.S based rentals, smoke and CO detectors can save lives. Airbnb even provides a free CO detector for eligible hosts and recommends travelers have a portable one to ensure their safety.
You can avoid complaints with the help of a noise monitor in each property. This device sends an alert to the property manager, who in turn can quickly send a polite request to keep the noise down via RueBaRue.
A safe box is digitally programmed and can fit nicely in any standard closet space. It adds a layer of security, storing guests' valuables like laptops or important travel documents, and gives them peace of mind.
For most people, a well-equipped kitchen is a deal-breaker when choosing a vacation rental. See this checklist for kitchen essentials and how to spice things up to keep guests staying longer.
The three most common kitchen appliances are an oven/microwave, a stove, and a fridge. Higher quality electronics always last longer and can save you money in the long run.
Pots and pans, colanders, peelers, graters, whisks, measuring cups, knives, bottle openers.
Spoons, forks, knives, and chopsticks.
A simple 4-piece porcelain set of a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, and a mug for each person is a start. You can add extra items for larger guest numbers, or opt for more fancy materials such as bone china, stoneware, melamine, and laminated glass.
Oil, salt, and pepper are just the base spices! Feel free to customize your stock pantry per cooking customs and regions.
Kitchen exhausts, or vent hoods, are especially useful for smaller properties in keeping the space ventilated and refreshed.
Many travelers can’t do without a rice cooker, so add one to your kitchen and be sure to include it in your property’s amenity list and descriptions.
An electric kettle paired with a pour-over coffee maker is less energy-consuming and easier to clean than a typical drip coffee machine. Stock the appropriate amount of coffee filters, tea bags, and some instant coffee, too.
You can install a filtration system directly on tap, under the sink, or use replaceable filter cartridges for pitchers.
Long-stay guests will want to clean up regularly, so stocking garbage bags, dish soaps, dish sponges, and stovetop cleaners will make their lives a lot easier.
The bathroom is where vacation rentals’ standards of cleanliness are put to the test. It’s also a sanctuary where guests relax, pamper and take time to care for themselves. These are our recommended vacation rental amenities for a spa-like bathroom:
These are easily customizable with the property’s logos for a put-together look.
Hand towels, bath towels, face towels, and bathmats. Stock extra for properties with indoor pools, jacuzzis, and rainy weather.
Vacation is THE time to doll up for pictures, so a 5X zoom mirror will be greatly appreciated by all the makeup lovers.
Cotton swabs, sunscreen, complimentary face masks, razors, and more. While not necessary, including some of these will enhance the pampering experience.
An Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant bathroom needs to have: a roll-in shower, a foldable shower seat, water controls within reach, and a grab bar. Providing inclusive amenities can boost your visibility on STR sites and attract positive reviews!
By adding a few elements of comfort, you can showcase exceptional attention to detail and enhance guests’ experience over long stays.
You should have two to three sets of beddings per bed, which includes pillows, duvet, covers, and extra pillows for comfort. The extra sets are backup for any mishaps and also make changing for incoming guests easier on your staff.
These are great additions for sensitive sleepers!
A hot cup of chamomile tea can soothe your guests to sleep in no time, especially those traveling from far away.
Let’s not forget that many guests combine work and travel, so include wooden or suede hangers for their business suits or formal attire.
This adds extra space for any overnight visitor with little to no extra cost!
Guests might want to turn off the AC to enjoy the nice breeze outside, so this economical and stylish amenity will add value to your vacation rental.
These are a must-have for the east-facing properties, adding extra darkness for your guests’ good night's sleep.
The communal area is especially important for family time. This is also where property managers can show off the latest technology and unique amenities that only a vacation rental can deliver.
A comfortable pull-out couch or sofa is ideal for movie time, game night and can serve as a lounging spot for extra comfort.
Streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+ are becoming a must-have feature for any modern vacation rental. Guests can jump back where they left off, or opt for good old cable entertainment and news.
Design your space so that guests with accessibility needs can move throughout the property and into each room with ease i.e., wider entrance doors with no steps or gaps.
Scattered outlets and charging cords can be a real source of confusion and inconvenience. Setting up a charging station in the living room with plenty of universal adapters is a great organization hack.
Landline phones are still necessary for emergency cases, interrupted cell signals, or to accommodate the elderly.
The ultimate symbol of comfort and quality time, an indoor fireplace can double as a stunning decorative piece to your property. 87% of vacation homes in Steamboat Springs, Colorado have an indoor fireplace — one of the most sought-after vacation rental amenities.
The “workcation” trend opens the opportunity to travel and work simultaneously. Between 2020 and 2021, Airbnb’s number of long-term guests using their stay to transition into a “nomadic lifestyle” grew from 9% to 12%.
Update your vacation rental amenities to create an ideal workspace that promotes healthy postures and reduces stress for working guests.!
A Cornell research suggests that, while it’s impossible to have a workstation that accommodates all five main office tasks (keyboarding, mousing, writing, viewing documents, and viewing the screen), an adjustable sit-and-stand workstation encourages the changing of positions throughout the day, relieves musculoskeletal discomfort and promotes better productivity.
It can cost more than your average wooden chair, but the comfort and health benefits will leave you with only the best reviews.
The display can also be adjusted with a monitor arm or laptop stand to match guests’ eye level and prevent neck straining.
For more on workcations, check out our seven tips on becoming the go-to work-from-home rental for remote workers!
An ergonomic workstation. Source: @Standing Desk on Unsplash
Whether it’s mountain-view or beachfront, there’s no denying that travelers are leaning towards outdoorsy accommodations. See our amenity suggestions to give your nature lovers a personalized experience!
Pre-arranged transportation or shared route to the beach emphasizes your thorough customer service and can be a star feature in your pre-arrival Digital Guestbook!
Don’t forget to include a pool lift and sloped entry to make your pool more accessible.
Balcony, patio, or even a gazebo provides space to appreciate picturesque sceneries, so make them clean, attractive, and accessible (and use them as a fantastic selling point!).
To create an optimal ADA-accessible outdoor space is no easy task, but you can start by making sure outdoor benches, tables and grilling areas are wheelchair-accessible, ramps and paths are firm and slip-resistant, and accessible parking slots are reserved.
Balls, rackets, nets, bats, and Frisby discs are essential for a memorable family fun day.
As more guests prefer to drive than fly to their vacation, offering free parking will help you gain a huge competitive advantage in high-traffic neighborhoods.
Every family beach vacation needs these essentials: cooler box, fold-up chairs, sandcastle toys, and floaties.
Prepare these for your beachgoers as they will most likely want some shade to spend all day under the sun.
Prevent bug bites and potential insect-borne diseases by having multiple bug repellents at visible spots at guests’ disposal, as well as natural repellents from plant oil, like lemon eucalyptus.
Imagine looking out at a beautiful ocean view while all your aches and pains melt away in an outdoor hot tub.
You can partner with a local ski rental service to offer guests attractive discounts.
Our suggestions for that “something extra” that your guests won’t mind paying more for.
If your premises doesn’t include a separate gym, stocking some workout gear like dumbbells, yoga mats, and a workout bench can emphasize your deluxe offerings. Guests can also take these outside.
With 59% of families opting for a road trip rather than flying, having a basic car maintenance service onsite to take care of their vehicles is a huge upsell.
You can offer your own chauffeured service or partner with a local company to level up the experience.
Smart vacation rental technology helps you save time, streamline operational workflows, and impress young, professional guests.
Vacation rentals dedicate a lot of staff effort to answering queries when they could all be dealt with instantly via text or email.
RueBaRue sends out local guides and check-in information before the trip, finds a vacancy to offer early check-in, and collects feedback right after guests’ stay, among other quick and efficient features to manage your property smarter.
Amazon’s Echo Studio and Google Nest are among the top picks for smart home displays, acting as the central control hub for every other smart device in your vacation rental property.
A smart thermostat can integrate with your other smart technology to create a streamlined, automated workflow that can also save on energy costs.
The majority of smart audio systems now are integrated with voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, making the music streaming experience even easier.
Motion-sensor lights, paired with smart security cameras, make a powerful duo for maximum security. Smart lights can be voice-controlled with smart home devices or through a mobile app.
Creating a family-friendly space and fun activities, whether in or outdoors, can make the trip much more memorable, boosting your reviews and chance of re-booking.
Books, puzzles, board games, and coloring books for children are great for indoor entertainment.
Guests can take a trip down memory lane with their loved ones playing childhood games like horseshoes, flying a kite, or table tennis.
You can assure parents with a variety of baby-proof essentials such as outlet covers, a baby gate, toilet locks, and corner tapes.
Amid the remote working movement, amenity searches for the term “allow pets” jumped up by 90% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Find out how you can extend the welcome to these furry guests with thoughtful vacation rental amenities for pets.
Just like their humans, pets can also appreciate a warm welcome basket with their treats, chew toys, and other comforting items. For a personal touch, contact their owners in advance via RueBaRue SMS Messaging to find out their favorites and create a lasting impression.
Pets and owners will appreciate a designated pet playground with clear caution signs, fun exercises, and nearby waste stations.
Finally, guests want to feel like they are at home while still getting a unique vibe of the destination. Having purposeful decorations makes the vacation rental a true 'home away from home'.
Artificial plants are better for maintenance while still creating a homely feeling for the space.
Don’t leave your walls blank and boring! Adding scenic imagery stimulates excitement for outdoor adventures, while cute and bright frames are perfect for a family vibe.
These keep your feet warm and clean while doubling as “floor arts”.
Designing closet space, racks, and built-in nooks for storage keeps your home organized and clutter-free, especially over longer stays.
More and more travelers are looking to enjoy a fantastic vacation while working at the same time. They also love the outdoors, book longer stays, and want to spend time with the family.
By upgrading your current vacation rental amenities, you can serve those changing needs, and gain a competitive advantage.
So, strategically add sought-after vacation rental amenities, like an ergonomic workspace, indoor gym equipment, and smart technology, to create a personalized experience that keeps guests staying longer.
And with RueBaRue’s guest communication solutions, you can enhance the guest experience while streamlining operations.
Start by identifying your typical guest profiles, their accommodation needs, and upgrade your amenities to match their expectations. For example, invest in high-speed Wi-Fi, kitchen extras, and exercise equipment.
Learn about your guests’ unique needs with a guest SMS messaging system like RueBaRue quickly and surprise them with a welcome basket, including their favorite coffee and snacks. You could also consider an ergonomic workstation for remote workers, outdoor fun supplies, family entertainment amenities, extra safety measures, and contactless technology.
Upgrades take careful consideration and budgeting, but due to changing behaviors in traveling, they are worthy investments in the long term.
For example, you might decide to add extra stationery for the remote working guest, upgrade the Wi-Fi speed in their unit, and include a welcome basket filled with delicious treats for their pet.
Use a guest communication platform like RueBaRue to automate communications and help develop your relationship with guests, use smart locks for contactless energy, and add tech amenities to your properties, like smart thermostats.
Follow our blog for inspiration and helpful tips for your vacation rental business.