Vacation rentals are here to stay. According to the Global Vacation Rental Market 2018-2022 report, the market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 6.89 percent in five years. That’s billions of dollars being spent and invested in staying in a home away from home. With the boom of Airbnb, HomeAway, and similar vacation rental platforms, it’s clear that going into this market is a lucrative business decision for hotels and individuals alike.
But what does it take to make a home away from home?
Welcome to the neighborhood
When you buy a house, you typically avoid busy areas and loud neighborhoods. Home is supposed to be a sanctuary, not a stress magnet. For a home away from home, the same principle applies. The best vacation rentals are within the city or a tourist spot, but outside the hustle and bustle of the urban center. Set apart from the traffic, the smoke, and the honking horns of the city, your little slice of paradise can give guests the privacy they’ve been craving—just like a real home.
House rules apply
The key to making a good home (rental) is having enough house rules without impeding the freedom of the tenants (to cook, do laundry, etc.). A home without rules isn’t so much a home as it is a house party in the making. So to prove to your guests that you’re invested in their comfort, make rules (but not too many). This will remind them of the rules their parents set in their houses growing up, and also remind them to respect the house as much as you respect them.
Keep it cozy
A house isn’t a home just because you call it that. It’s the atmosphere, the aura, and the environment that makes it so. From the queen-sized bed with a canopy straight out of your grandmother’s home to the fireplace that always stays lit—your home has to give off the vibes that they can kick off their shoes and rest their feet on the coffee table without getting reprimanded by a concierge.
It’s all in the details
Aside from the furniture and the big details of a home, it’s the small things that’ll remind your guests of home. It will be the patterned tiles, wooden interiors, overflowing bookshelves, free Netflix, fully-packed refrigerator, and Ming dynasty teacups that’ll complete the sense of home. More than that, they give the building something that can’t be bought—character.
And last, what is a home without an owner. The host is the defining factor of any vacation rental—the one who will guide guests through the house, give them reminders, offer odd stories of former guests and the history of the house, and ultimately hand them the keys to the home. The guest-host relationship is a crucial, if underrated, element of the art of homestaying, and if done right, it’ll transform the building from a vacation rental into a place you actually want to move into.
All of these factors will make or break your homestay, but they also serve as a reminder that each homestay is carefully thought out and catered to the guest. Unlike a hotel, where guests check in and out like a revolving door, a homestay digests your stay into its story, leaving not only an impact on the guest but also on the home.
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