Gone are the days when you could dump all your leftover furniture from college into your Airbnb and call it a day. Now the competition is fierce and clients actually care about high design in the homes that they rent. They want to have a luxury experience and (pay attention here) they are willing to pay for it. So if you want to rackup the big bucks in the VRBO game you’ve got to thoughtfully spend money to take your interior design game up to the HGTV level.
1. Get Clarity.
Why are people staying at your house, what are they paying for? Is it the beach, the outdoors, the theater room? Make no mistake, your guests are coming for an experience. Create vignettes for the experiences that your guests want to have: a great family game room, cozy outdoor area, etc. Get clarity about this and then create purpose in your design plan.
2. Spend your $$ wisely.
Yes, you will need to put money into this project, so spend wisely. A big screen TV and great artwork is memorable, and part of your elevated design plan.
When it comes to furniture, it takes a beating in a VRBO environment. Buy furniture that is comfortable, sturdy yet inexpensive, because you’ll end up replacing it every few years.
3. Use outdoor fabrics.
As much as possible, use outdoor fabrics and those that are wrinkle and soil resistant. Use these for your indoor pillows and furniture too. This fabric will hold up better to wear and tear, and clean up easier.
4. More is more.
Do you want to command the same price of a fancy hotel? Then think like a fancy hotel. Anything your client wants, they should have it available. Luxury soaps and shampoos, candles and lots of comfy, luxurious blankets.
How many people does the home accommodate? Take that number and double it: dishes, silverware, glassware, etc. Have more than just one backup set of linens, have a backup to the backup. Accidents happen, and it’s better to be prepared.
5. De-personalize Your Space.
In a true AirBnB situation your home should look like a model home, a staged home, on Human Growth Hormone. I shouldn’t be seeing ANY of your family photos or stuff that gives me the impression that you own this house. This is my fantasy, I’m here on vacation and I’m living here for a week. Not you.
6. Think of everything.
People are coming to your house to have FUN. It’s going to get bananas up in here. Make sure there are no sharp surfaces on tables (kids running, perhaps adults too), and secure your heavy duty lamps so they don’t easily tip over. Basically, prepare your home for a full time frat party and you’ll be all set.
7. Print up a book that your guests can take with them.
It’s natural for people to want to take something as a momento from their trip, because your house was so perfect and they had a great time. Print up a lovely little book about your special house and town, and leave space for your clients to add their family photos. They can take this with them and stop stealing your other stuff. Plus it helps them remember you for next year when they want to book their next vacation.
8. Tell a Story/Have Fun with Your Design.
You would never decorate your real home with a whimsical, nautical theme throughout, or design a 1970’s David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust living room. But here you can, and guests will LOVE it. Anything extra cool that helps you stand out and become memorable while still being functional. Do it. Not only will your guests remember your unique home but they will tell their friends alllll about it. Hello referrals.
9. Clean like a ninja.
There’s nothing more disgusting than going to an Airbnb only to find it hasn’t been properly cleaned. This is a dealbreaker and will make your clients unlikely to ever return. Everyone has a different definition of “clean”. If you don’t have a high standard in this department then make sure you have professional cleaners come between guests.
10. Don’t forget your outdoor spaces.
Just like selling a home, your curb appeal is huge. Get your guests excited from the moment they drive up in the car. It’s like a Sprinkles cupcake, the best part is looking at it and the anticipation of what’s to come.
Bonus Tip: Don’t scrimp on professional photos. You can have the Taj Mahal up for grabs but if you have blurry, dark or otherwise mediocre photos it’s going to greatly diminish your chances of getting booked.
I have so much to say on this subject it’s hard to stop. If you need help preparing your AirBnb, VRBO, or property for lease, we’d love to help you design a property that stands out. Check out our Services page for information and schedule a Discovery Call at your convenience.