29 of the Best Vacation Rental Upgrades that are Worth the Money

Thinking of upping your game but can’t decide what vacation rental upgrades are worth the money? We got you covered for every season!

Even occasional vacation rental upgrades can be expensive. You have to be careful where you put your money. Whatever your budget, remember to choose the upgrades that give you the best returns.

To help you make the best decisions, we give you the ultimate guide to vacation rental upgrades that will surely help you get ahead if not at par with the toughest competitors.

Spring Upgrades

1. Deep Clean

Upgrades don’t always have to be all about the money. Sometimes all that’s needed is a little elbow grease. When spring comes and the promise of summer vacations are just around the corner, now is the best time to do a top-to-bottom cleaning of your vacation rental.

Deep cleaning is a must even if your property is being cleaned on a regular basis. You should do a deep clean at least twice a year to keep your vacation rental in great condition for your guests. Get your property ready for the busy summer travel season – declutter, clean the gutters, power-wash the exterior, clean every nook and crannie, etc.

2. Front Door Repaint

Repainting the front door is hands down the easiest exterior project that can reap big rewards. A freshly painted front door helps your vacation rental stand out in the search results and welcomes guests warmly. You can do the painting yourself in less than an afternoon but be sure to pick that afternoon wisely, when the temperature is at least 50 degrees or so and isn’t dipping below the 40s at night.

Summer Upgrades                                                   

3. BBQ Grill or Smoker

When the weather starts to warm up, the urge to grill hits up. If you don’t have a BBQ grill or smoker in your vacation rental, summer is the best time to spend on one. Your guests enjoying barbecues in your backyard would surely make their summer a hit.

4. Fire Pit

If you already have a BBQ grill or smoker, then you may want to consider also having a fire pit. Building a fire pit not only adds flare to your backyard especially during summer, it also allows guests to enjoy the long, warm nights gathered around with some s’mores and wine.

5. Al Fresco Dining

Add a dining table with comfortable seating arrangements outdoors where guests can have a great al fresco dining experience during their stay. Choose a spot with close access to the kitchen to make cooking and bringing foods and dining ware outdoors easy and convenient.

6. Outdoor Lighting

Add a romantic feel to your guests’ warm and starry night out in the backyard. Invest on a fabulous outdoor lighting – glass hurricane pendants hanging from the covered porch or dimly lit Chinese lanterns strung through the branches of a tree should do the job.

7. Install Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans these days can spruce up any room. It can also help you save on the air conditioning costs. There are a variety of ceiling fans with decorative styles and colors to match your vacation rental style.

8. Window Drapes

Summer is for airy and light window curtains. Let the sun shine through with lightweight sheers or linen curtains. You can also add some shutters in your kitchen to keep the harsh sunlight at bay while guests busy themselves in the kitchen during the day.

9. Blender or Smoothie Maker

Add a blender or smoothie maker in your kitchen. Welcome guests with a basket of seasonal fruits. Let them quench their thirst with refreshing fresh fruits smoothies after a long day under the heat of the sun. They will thank you for sure!

10. Fresh Sheets

Pull those heavy duvets off your beds and then wash and store them for winter. Use airy and fresh bed linens for summer. This can make your guests sleep coolly and comfortably without skyrocketing your air conditioning costs.

11. Fluffy Towels

Everybody loves a good shower and a fluffy towel to dry off right after. Guests tend to go out and explore your area and get sweaty during summer. With all the active activities outdoors, they would most likely come ‘home’ for a shower.

Please don’t wait for towels to become frayed, stiff and dull before replacing. Investing on a set of nice towels should be a routine for vacation home rentals. Buy the highest quality you can afford. To max life of your towels, here are top tips for keeping your towels soft and fluffy from Britain’s most respected laundry experts.

12. Landscaping

Lawn beautification goes a long way for a vacation home rental’s curb appeal. It adds to the home’s character. It is the first impression your guests see when they arrive – either they have made the right choice booking your property or not.

You can do the landscaping yourself or you can hire a professional. The landscaping should only take a weekend to complete. Consider creating a walkway and adding solar lighting so guests can walk around and marvel at your landscaping day and night.

13. Repaint

House painting is ideal in the summer, when there is less rain to deal with. When your vacation home’s paint has faded and is peeling, consider having the whole house repainted in a cheerful color.

14. Private Pool

A private pool is a great attraction for guests, especially in sunny locations. It is expensive and may take longer to construct, you may have to block off rentals for a few weeks, but it will pay off in the long run.

Don’t forget to add visible safety reminders for guests and make sure you have them sign a waiver in case any untoward incident happens.

15. Unexpected Amenities

If you can, provide guests at no additional charge (except for a deposit) some unexpected amenities such as bicycles, skateboards, beach toys and boogies boards for tropical locations, and sleds, and snowboards for colder climates. Remember to include these as well in the waiver for your protection.

You can also add a guide full of local activities. Include maps of the town, restaurant recommendations, nearby shopping centers, and any other information about what makes your area unique.

16. Family-friendly Equipment and Safety Devices

If your vacation rental has lots of room to accommodate families of four or more, then you may want to consider making your property family-friendly. Add a crib, stroller, a safety gate on the stairs and in the entry way to the swimming pool if you have one, etc. Again, these should be at no additional charge (except for possibly a deposit).

Fall Upgrades

17. Weatherproof Windows and Doors

If updating to dual-paned windows is out of your budget, at least seal gaps larger than ⅛ inch around windows and doors to cut your winter heating bill by up to 15 percent.

18. Gutters

In addition to cleaning leaves and other debris out of the gutters, channel water away from the house by adding extensions to the end of the downspouts. The cost for this is very minimal but can protect your vacation rental from water damage and lengthen the life of exterior paints.


Winter Upgrades

19. Dual-Paned Windows

Investing in window upgrades can never go wrong. Install dual-paned windows if possible. It offers energy efficiency and insulation against outside noise. Compared to older, single-paned models, dual-paned vinyl or wood-framed windows can reduce energy usage by up to 24 percent in cold climates during the winter, and by up to 18 percent in hot climates during the summer.

20. Epoxy-floored Garage

Not only is epoxy flooring safe and durable, it is also slip resistant even with spills or puddles. It can also be wiped easily, just keep a mop handy in the garage. Your guests are safe even when they bring in the melting snow from the outside.

21. Gas Fireplace

Fall and winter are seasons to curl up in front of a cozy warm fire. If you already have a working fireplace, upgrade to a gas fire to make keeping warm easy and convenient for your guests. No hauling of wood inside and moving it from time to time needed to keep the fire burning. They only have to enjoy the warmth with a glass of champagne.

22. Radiant Heated Floors

This may be an expensive project but is definitely worthy of investment in the long run. You can have radiant heating installed with a wide range of flooring options – ceramic, wood, linoleum, carpet and stone.

23. Jet Tub

Upgrade your standard bathtub to a jet tub and have your guests relax in a makeshift spa after a long day outside. Hang waterproof signage in the bathroom that includes spa rules, operation and a troubleshooting checklist to help ensure guests take good care of your jet tub at all times.

All-Season Upgrades

24. Full Kitchen

Upgrade into a full kitchen where guests can prepare their meals like they are right in their very own homes – which is one of the main reasons they chose a vacation rental over a hotel.

Updating kitchens varies on a case to case basis, from stocking your kitchen with supplies and necessities like pots and pans, sharp knives, can opener, etc. to adding kitchen appliances such as a coffeemaker and blender or  updating cabinets, flooring, lighting to repainting the whole area. Block off a week or two if you have to.

25. Linen Sheets, Comfortable Mattresses, Fluffy Duvets, and Extra Pillows

Your ultimate goal should be to give your guests the luxury of a hotel in the comfort of your vacation rental, especially in the bedroom. Premium quality linen sheets, comfortable mattresses, fluffy duvets, and extra pillows make a great sleeping experience. Fail on this and you’ll surely end up with bad reviews.

26. Smart Locks

While it is personal and special to welcome your guests yourself, there are times when you won’t be available to do just that. Perhaps it’s a late arrival or at an inconvenient time. Smart locks come handy at times like these. It also boosts security of your vacation rental. Choose one that can generate a new unlock code for each set of guests, or have them scan their mobile phone for access.

Smart locks also make arranging for cleaners and maintenance for repairs fast and easy.

27. Home automation

Automating your vacation rental is energy-saving and efficient. Install motion-activated faucets to ensure guests use just enough water and that they don’t forget and leave faucet open overnight. Add solar-powered motion sensor lights by the front door, side door, back door, and garage. And if you have a bit of money to splurge, you can even order automatic rise and lowering shades, garage door openers, gas fireplace automation, and some to even turn on and off the lights, all with a touch of a button or a click.

28. Free WiFi

Indulge your guests by giving them free WiFi at your vacation rental. Let them know they can surf the internet, play on their gadgets, and post their vacation photos on social media. Add visible signage with the password, which should be easy to remember. They will thank you for it.

29. Extras

There are many extras you can add to update your vacation rental. Consider adding blackout curtains for some shade from the sun on sleepy mornings, an extension cord to make up for an outlet being far from the bed, or candles and mood soaps in the bathroom. Guests will feel extra special and will most likely leave good reviews.

So what rental upgrades are you going to tackle soon?

Make sure you bookmark this post so you can have a handy guide for updating your vacation home. Start saving a few dollars from each of your rental fees for upgrading purposes. It is a must for your vacation rental business to thrive.

Every update you make, be sure to also update your vacation rental listing’s titles, descriptions , photos and captions. Flaunt the benefits potential guests will be getting by choosing your property over others.

Every upgrade provides a return on investment, some are immediate while others are subtle yet tangible. Whatever you choose to upgrade, you will reap the benefits at some point, be it in the form of more bookings, 5-star reviews, recommendations and then you can eventually increase your rates making all your vacation rental upgrades worth the investment.

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