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Six tips to make your short-term or vacation rental stand out

Summer FanousDecember 16, 20218 min

The difference between an okay trip and a great one could all come down to accommodations. Staying at a lackluster property can leave vacationers scratching their heads and wondering what they’ve actually paid for.

If your home doesn’t meet expectations, you’re likely not going to get the best reviews or repeat bookings. But your short-term rental could blow the competition out of the water with a little thought and creativity. Here are some helpful tips to make your short-term/vacation rental stand out.


First impressions make lasting ones. Start by welcoming your guests with a visually appealing setup at the entrance. A cozy bench or chair to sit on and take shoes off near the doorway says “you’re guests—we’re so happy to have you here,” and sets the tone for the rest of the home. A console table or small dresser with a space for keys and perhaps even a “welcome” sign with wifi password framed on top is ideal to have close to the entryway.

This would also be the perfect place to leave a personalized list of your recommendations of nearby restaurants (try to vary the type of cuisine) or pharmacies and other points of interest. Take it up a notch and consider leaving a gift for the renters: a bottle of wine or water, packaged treats or magazines. If children will be staying, perhaps a small souvenir would delight them. Adding a lightly scented candle or diffuser is a bonus.


Let’s be honest: staying somewhere other than your home could be dreadful, even if you’re doing it by choice. So when your vacation rental offers something more than a roof to sleep under, it can become an experience. Give renters a place they can make memories in by creating a themed abode. This is your opportunity to really infuse your personality or explore a colour scheme that you wouldn’t normally choose.

Is your rental located in a hockey lovers’ destination? Incorporate your favourite team’s swag. You can even set up furniture and accessories made of hockey sticks, or a wall of pucks.

Maybe your vacation rental is up on a mountain—decorate the space to feel like a chalet. A thick, warm blanket draped on the sofa and wooden items incorporated throughout the space will help bring the outside in.


Some people think of their short-term rental only as a way to make money and not as a place for guests to enjoy themselves. This could result in furnishings being cheap, too bulky, mismatched or small and uninviting. Be sure to assess the size of your rental and furnish it in a way that would allow your guest to feel snug, as if they’re in their own home. For example, if you have the room to use a king size bed, get that instead of a smaller size.


Towels and bedding are a necessity at any rental, and the quality of what guests receive varies from place to place. If you want your vacation rental to stand out, opt for luxury items such as high thread count sheets and extra absorbent towels. Your guests are sure to notice your attention to detail during their stay. Similarly, consider upgrading any toiletries you’d be leaving for guests’ use.


The golden rule of treating others the way you want to be treated couldn’t be any truer for short-term rentals. This is where your investment in the space will help dictate your return. If you focus on incorporating elements that make guests feel welcomed, pampered and comfortable, you’re on your way to having a vacation rental that will stand out. In other words, when it comes down to the essentials, don’t cheap out. A well-rated place can command more money and guests will be happy—a win-win.

Go beyond

Take your vacation rental a step further by offering extra amenities or services. For example, create the option of adding a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly cleaning service on top of what’s included in the rental. Offer to pick up or have groceries delivered and stocked for guests before arrival, at a fee of your choice.

Work with your guests and local companies to help arrange baby items if you’re renting to a family with small children. There are companies who rent out strollers, play pens, cribs, high chairs and other furniture you may not have. Putting in the time to make sure your guests are happy and well taken care of will likely result in better reviews, repeat bookings and referrals.

Have any short-term rental tips we’ve missed? Share them in the comments!

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Summer Fanous

Summer Fanous is an international freelance writer specializing in real estate, health and lifestyle content. A graduate of Northeastern Illinois University, she enjoys traveling and crafting in her spare time.

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