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How to Turn Your Short-Term Vacation Rental into a Haven for Your Guests

List your rental on multiple platforms

Cressell uses Booking.com, VRBO and Airbnb, but there are also others.

“When one platform isn’t performing that well, in my experience, another tends to kick in,” she says. Synchronize them to avoid double bookings.

Allow guests to bring pets—within reason.

“You’ll get more bookings,” she says. “But it’s something you have to weigh. There are gains on both sides, but there’s more cleaning involved and some guests have allergies.

It also depends on the pet. “When I was asked about bringing guinea pigs, I had to turn the person down,” she says.

Declutter and walk in your guest’s shoes

Less is more. Clutter-free spaces and clear countertops are signs of a restful space. In fact, go the extra mile and stay in your rental for the full experience, Cressell suggests. “How does the shower mat feel under your toes? Is there a neighbor’s porch light that shines through the bedroom window in the wrong way?” she asks. Staying there is how you’ll find out.

And, Cressell says, a crucial component to a successful short term is “having a dependable handyman and a punctual, dedicated cleaning crew.”

Delight guests with local treats

“You’re helping make memories out of everyday moments,” Cressell explains. Remember, you’re competing with hotels that won’t be offering this kind of experience. Find ways to delight guests by putting out local treats that highlight Sarasota, like local honey from Sarasota Honey Co., and local teas and coffee.

Make sure your communication is timely and clear.

“Tell guests where to park and how to get in. Remind them that their trip is coming up, and tell them what they should bring,” she says. “Do you provide beach towels? Let them know. One less thing for them to haul is a bonus they may not know about otherwise.”

“Also, send a reminder of your house rules, and ask that they please share them with everyone on the trip,” she says. And be timely. “Send information too soon, and the communication may get lost in their inbox or in their texts. Wait too long and your guests won’t have what they need in time.”

deliver solutions

Hosts live and die by guest reviews. “Does the guest need a blender suddenly? Go get the blender,” she says. “If you’re not local, you’ll have to have someone do it for you. If it’s a maintenance issue like plumbing or electricity, you have to jump on that right away.” Be ready and available to respond to requests, questions and issues as they arise.

To learn more, follow Cressell’s Facebook page or email her at [email protected] to sign up for a course.

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