Competition for Airbnb bookings is fierce. We have stayed at over 50 different vacation rental properties (mostly Airbnb and VRBO) and we’d like to share our experience to help you increase your bookings by attracting more families to your vacation rental.
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Family travel and multi-generational travel is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry, with affordability and value being two of the most important factors for these travelling families (source: skift.com). With more families travelling together, bedroom space, kitchen facilities and laundry become increasingly important. Vacation rentals are the perfect solution at an affordable price.
We made the move to vacation rentals from hotels when our first child was old enough to start standing in her travel cot and could see us. Staying in a hotel with a baby forced us to spend the evening in the dark or to hide in the bathroom – this got old pretty quickly. Once we started staying in vacation rentals, there was no looking back. We were able to have our own rooms, prepare our own meals and pack much lighter thanks to laundry facilities.
If you are a family looking to stay in a vacation rental, read these posts:
As travelers who have frequently stayed in vacation rentals, we know what we look for when choosing a place to stay. Whether you have a second home to rent or you are a family looking to fund a great adventure, here’s how you can get more bookings on Airbnb by making your vacation rental attractive to families:
1. LIST YOUR HOME AS FAMILY FRIENDLY
When you are creating your listing, if there is an option to specify family friendly or children welcome make sure you include this. As parents searching for a place to stay, we always use this filter option. We want to make sure the places we stay are accepting of children and have put some thought into whether or not their property is family friendly.
2. BE HONEST AND CLEAR ABOUT THE NUMBER OF BEDROOMS
Parents looking to stay at your property will take the time to consider where each of their children will sleep. We will look through the pictures and take note of how many bedrooms there actually are. If the property is listed as a two bedroom but there are only pictures of one bedroom we will move on to the next listing.
If you property has only one bedroom but the living room also converts a sleeping area, don’t list it as a two bedroom or make it very clear that this is the case. Also, don’t assume that parents travelling with a baby want to have their baby sleep in their room. If they rent the apartment because it’s listed as a three bedroom, they likely want to use that space. If you charge more for access to all the rooms, be up front with your renters.
3. HIGHLIGHT FAMILY FRIENDLY FEATURES IN YOUR LISTING
If there is anything specific that makes your property family friendly, make sure to include those in your listing description. For example: Are you on a quiet street? Do you have any playgrounds, family friendly attractions or restaurants nearby? If so, mention these in your ad.
4. KITCHEN AND LAUNDRY FACILITIES ARE IMPORTANT
Having all the kitchen amenities and laundry are so beneficial to travelling parents. Parents travelling with children are more likely to want to have breakfast before heading out for the day. We also like to have laundry so we can pack less. We also love when laundry detergent is provided. Laundry detergent is not something that can typically be purchased in small quantities and we would prefer to not have to lug it around with us. This isn’t a must, but it sure is nice if we don’t have to go out and buy it!
5. MATTRESS PROTECTORS!!
For your own benefit, please make sure you have mattress protectors. Kids have accidents and kids get sick. We do not want to ruin your mattresses. It makes everyone’s life easier and less stressful if an accident happens. Trust me, this one is worth it.
6. KEEP DECORATIVE PIECES TO A MINIMUM
They make your place look beautiful, but we will actually choose a property based on how little clutter there is. Why? Because kids like to get into everything – even well behaved kids. Our first order of business when we stay at a new property is to do a sweep and move anything breakable or that we don’t want our kids to touch. If you want to keep something in your property, just be aware that it’s likely to get moved if you haven’t done so already.
7. ADDRESS ANY SAFETY CONCERNS
If there are any safety issues with your apartment, address them. We always suggest that parents contact the host before booking a vacation rental. If you have anything that might be a concern for the parents, this would be a good time to discuss it with them if you haven’t included it in your listing.
8. FREE WI-FI
Many people will actually filter on this, including parents – we recommend offering free Wi-Fi.
9. MEET AT THE VACATION RENTAL
It’s a huge hassle for parents to haul the whole family to an office to pick up the keys. Imagine getting off a 9 hour flight with two kids, then having to haul all your suitcases and kids to an office to pick up keys, then hopping back on a bus or metro to go to your apartment. It’s not fun and no one is happy at this point.
Or, even better, have a lock box at your property so we don’t have to arrange a meeting at all.
Want to go the extra mile and get parents to rave in the reviews?
10. TOYS AND BOOKS
A few books and simple toys are enough to keep kids occupied for a few days. It’s such a treat to stay in a place that has this. Our kids get super excited about toys that aren’t theirs. It’s amazing how it will keep them occupied during our times in the apartment – allowing us to easily prepare for our daily outing.
11. COFFEE (please?)
12. BLACKOUT BLINDS
Sleep is pretty important when it comes to travelling with kids and parents will do whatever they can to help everyone sleep better. This also helps to deal with jet lag. Having blackout blinds is a benefit.
13. TAKE THE TIME TO PULL TOGETHER SOME INFORMATION FOR YOUR GUESTS
Create a list of local knowledge for your guests. Where is the best place to buy groceries, diapers or baby food? Are there any playgrounds nearby – especially ones that may not be obvious to tourists? Where are the best ice cream and family friendly restaurants? Do you know of any places that are great for children? Also, include some indoor activities. A little research will go a long way and save parents the trouble. You’ll only need to do this once, then you can create laminated pages in a binder.
14. HELP PARENTS FIND YOUR PLACE
We rarely rent a car or take a taxi, as we dislike travelling with car seats, so any information we can get on public transportation options (i.e. to/from airport and to attractions if your property is far away) is really helpful.
15. NICE TO HAVES
Thinking of listing your property as a vacation rental? Here are a few popular listing sites: