Five Easy Ways to Make Your Vacation Rental Family Friendly
Many vacation rental hosts and property managers are surprised to learn just how big the family travel opportunity is. At BabyQuip we know because we deliver clean, safe and insured baby equipment to families at vacation rentals every day.
The good news for vacation rental hosts is that more and more families, especially those with young children, are seeking a home-like experience when they travel. It’s so much easier to have the comforts and conveniences of home available when vacationing with little ones, not to mention some extra space, two or more bathrooms, a real kitchen, and a backyard or nearby park. These are conveniences that matter to families, and ones that hotels often can’t provide. This bodes well for anyone interested in positioning their rental property as family friendly.
Here are five important strategies that can help you attract more families to your rental property.
It’s All About Sleep
When babies take long daytime naps and sleep comfortably through the night, everyone gets to rest and recharge on a vacation. Well-rested families are happy ones! They do more, play longer, get out and about more frequently and have more fun.
What can you do to help your littlest guests nap well and sleep all night long?
- Provide a crib. It’s just like what the baby sleeps in at home and will feel familiar and comfortable. Make sure the mattress is appropriate for the baby’s age.
- Consider providing “get ready to sleep gear,” which might be an infant swing or some mellow storybooks that help wide-awake babies and toddlers slow down and prepare for bed.
- Provide blackout shades, if necessary, to make rooms dark enough for daytime naps and help prevent early morning sun from prematurely waking a baby.
- Share information in advance about the quietest bedrooms in your home. This way parents won’t set up a room for their toddler, only to realize the neighbor practices saxophone every day during afternoon nap time.
BabyQuip surveyed 250 parents with young children to dive a little deeper into their concerns about safety when traveling. We see these concerns daily, as parents frequently rent safety gates, bed rails, cribs, and high chairs to name a few.
Almost a third of the parents said they would like information about the cleaning products used at their accommodation, and nearly three quarters want to be sure they can quickly and easily find nearby emergency rooms.
To help traveling families, you can provide as much information as possible for your guests. You are the expert about your property, including its idiosyncrasies and potential safety concerns. You know about the quality of the drinking water and the cleaning products used. Are you sharing what you know?
What are some easy ways you can help parents relax and feel reassured their little ones will be safe at your property?
- Provide parents with access to a full-size crib. One that has been checked for recalls and meets all the current regulations. Cribs should not be used with blankets, pillows, bumpers or even stuffed animals, according to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) guidelines from leading SIDS organizations like First Candle.
- Provide information about nearby pharmacies, emergency rooms and cleaning products used in your home.
- Safety gates and bed rails will help parents feel more at ease as their more mobile babies and toddlers explore your home. Remember that pressure-mounted safety gates should not be used at the top of the stairs. You’ll need wall-mounting gates there.
If you want to provide safety-related gear, but don’t want to have to clean it and store it between hosting guests with young children, or aren’t sure about baby gear regulations, work with a baby gear rental provider in your area.
If you’re a parent, you know the easiest nights with young children are where everyone magically falls asleep without a fuss. This is largely due to routines that cue children about what’s coming next in their day. Most parents can tell you their baby’s, or toddler’s, bedtime routine.
Of course, travel can wreak havoc on family routines, and everyone has to do some adjusting. Vacation rentals that can mostly accommodate bedtime and other routines make it easier for parents who are hoping to stay on schedule themselves.
How can you help families stick to their most important routines while staying at your rental?
- Ask them. They’ll be impressed that you thought to do this.
- Consider providing a few of the most common bedtime routine items at your rental, like an infant bathtub or a few bath toys that will help toddlers stick to their bath-before-bed routine.
- Help parents rent bulkier baby gear that is likely to be part of their family’s bedtime routine including infant swings and rocking chairs.
We’ve noticed that families staying at vacation rentals actually rent more gear than those staying at hotels. And they often ask us to distribute the gear throughout the house, with sleep gear in the bedroom, safety gates near doorways, and toys, books, and games out in common areas, often within sight of the kitchen. Parents at vacation rentals also enjoy outdoor play gear, including water tables for toddlers to enjoy on warm summer days and even pretend camping gear for make-believe camping adventures!
For families with children of varying ages, spreading out allows quiet time in one part of the house while a more boisterous playtime can take place in another area.
How can you help families use your full property?
- Consider creating special activity zones, like a giant beanbag chair and good lighting in a little nook somewhere that might encourage kids to read or play quietly and independently, or board games and a game table for older kids and parents.
- Manage your backyard like it’s your rental house. Periodically inspect it. Is it fenced and free of debris? Does it have an area where young children can sit or play? These things will appeal to families.
Play is Important
At BabyQuip we know playtime is an important part of any family vacation. This is why we launched the business with giant toy and book rental packages as a key inventory item. You should see the look on a child’s face when you show up at his family’s vacation rental with toys!
Ask yourself: What kind of fun can families have at my rental?
- Spend a few minutes crawling around your property. This will give you a glimpse of what it looks like to a one-year-old. Is it fun and inviting? Can you reach age-appropriate toys? Are there soft, clean places to sit, rest and play?
- Do you have toys? Toys help keep children actively engaged. Engaged children are happy children, which means parents are happy too.
- Games and sports gear can go a long way to keep older kids having fun too.
- Don’t forget to equip families with gear, and information, they’ll need to get out and about and enjoy all that your city has to offer. Insider tips on parking, traffic, smaller or off-the-beaten-path museums or other family attractions are helpful too.
It may be easier than you think to attract more families to your rental and get positive and persuasive reviews after their stay. Start by thinking like a parent, and then take a look at your property from the eyes of a child. If you have questions about baby gear, your friends at BabyQuip are happy to help!
Trish McDermott brings a lifetime of community, communications, and storytelling experience to BabyQuip (formerly Babierge). She is best known for her ten years running communications for Match.com, serving as Spokesperson and Vice President of Public Relations for the company. You may have seen her on Nightline or 60 Minutes, or Today, explaining the benefits of online dating, read about her in the New York Times, People Magazine, and MarketWatch, or in lively conversations with audiences at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, attempting to decipher the emerging culture and etiquette of online dating communities.
Having traveled solo with her four children over the years, Trish now feels eminently qualified to speak to the challenges of family travel, as well as the solutions BabyQuip and its collaborative economy of Independent Quality Providers offer. Read more about Trish’s role in launching BabyQuip in this Moneyish story.