Consumer Lookout 

Rent Your Home While You are Away:
5 tricks to help you prepare
Submitted by HomeAway and Kwikset

ConsumerNov15-2.jpgThe holiday season is the busiest travel period of the year, according to a recent study from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. In fact, long-distance trips increase by fifty-four percent around Thanksgiving alone when compared to the rest of the year. Staying with family isn’t always an option and some traditional vacation accommodations like hotels may take advantage of the busy period by hiking up their rates.

More and more holiday travelers are turning to online vacation rental marketplaces like HomeAway to search for holiday accommodations that fit their needs. In fact, HomeAway reports an increased demand (15 percent) for vacation rentals year-over-year during the holiday season. While marketplaces like HomeAway make booking a short-term rental more convenient for travelers, many homeowners struggle to make their homes stand out from the rest on these marketplaces.Austin-based design and building duo Adam Talianchich and Ashley Menger are no strangers to these online marketplaces as the couple rents one of their Austin homes on Airbnb and HomeAway.

We sat down with Adam and Ashley to get their advice on what homeowners can do to transform their properties into beautiful, renter-ready holiday vacation accommodations that will have travelers clicking “Book” in an instant. 

1. Beautify your home. Competition is fierce for short-term vacation rentals, so the more welcoming and fresh your property looks, the more competitive your property becomes. Fresh paint inside and out can do wonders, and won’t break the bank, leaving you a little extra money for yourself around the holiday season. Invest in a few statement furnishings like an interesting piece of artwork, and a design focal point such as a tile backsplash in the kitchen or a great chandelier.

2. Make it user-friendly. Create a welcome packet for guests to review when they arrive, and include instructions for household appliances and utilities such as the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, thermostats, surround sound system, etc. Stock a “goodie” closet with items travelers commonly need — and forget at home — such as shampoo, toothpaste and over-the-counter pain relievers. Store an ample supply of toilet paper, tissues and paper towels. Finally, remember you can never have too many towels!

ConsumerNov15-1.jpg3. Keep the property secure and convenient. According to a recent study by Kwikset, 92 percent of vacation property owners say unreturned keys compromise the security of their rental property. To eliminate this concern, add keyless locks, like touchpad, touch screen or Bluetooth-enabled locks, to all exterior doors. Keyless locks can help you and your renters avoid a host of headaches, such as the complexities of exchanging and returning keys, lost keys and replacement fees and accidental lockouts.

4. Create a great online listing. Booking websites flood the Internet, so you’ll need to research which ones will work best for your rental. Wherever you list, however, you’ll want to create a great listing. It should include professional photographs of your rental property, a detailed and enticing list of amenities, and useful information like proximity to attractions, dining, and local points of interest. Think of it like a dating profile, but for your house.

5. Welcome guests to their temporary home. Welcome new guests with a small token of your appreciation for their business. Your gesture can be as lofty as a fruit basket, as homey as handmade cookies and a pleasant note and as practical as a brochure of menus for area restaurants and the Wi-Fi password. 

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