Creating Memorable Stays: Insider Tips for Short-Term Rentals

Creating Memorable Stays: Insider Tips for Short-Term Rentals

Whether you’re a seasoned host, or just dipping your toes into the hospitality waters, this is your ultimate guide to curating unforgettable guest experiences at your short-term rental. Derived from first-hand experiences, we’re spilling sweet tea on our most helpful tips. From practical strategies to thoughtful amenities, this is going to help you transform your rental property into a sought-after getaway.  

  1. 1. Create a Guest Handbook 


Compile essential information for guests, including house rules, emergency contacts, and local recommendations. Clearly communicate rules regarding noise, smoking, pets, and other important guidelines. Guests appreciate transparency.  


Make it easily accessible in both digital and printed formats and communicate the guide’s location clearly to guests prior to their check-in.  

  1. 2. Label Item Locations 


Label key items listed in the guidebook (e.g., Wi-Fi password, thermostat, first aid kit) to help guests find what they need quickly. You should also be labelling things like dimmer switches, extra linens according to size, etc. Anything that has a caveat, such as a light switch that needs to be left in a certain position, should be labeled. 


We recommend small labels using a Brother P-touch labeler. They are easy to read, yet small enough so that the labels don’t disrupt the ambiance.  

  1. 3. Charging Stations 


Install charging stations near beds and common areas. Guests shouldn’t hunt for outlets.  


There are many options for charging solutions, such as furniture with builtin outlets. You can also look for lamps with USB ports included. Any solution that makes it extremely easy for people to plug in is going to be beneficial.  

  1. 4. Multiple Sheet Sets 


Have 3-4 extra sets of sheets. Quick turnovers are essential, especially if you manage cleaning yourself. It also gives you a backup set in case of an accident or spill.  


We also recommend getting a waterproof mattress protector sheet. This will ensure the longevity of your mattress and it is more sanitary.  

  1. 5. Lighting Considerations 


You may think this is something small, but communication with guests about lighting in the home is essential. Guests won’t always notice small details in a new environment, so taking precautions such as calling out areas that have skylights are important and guests will appreciate it. 


Installing shades and draperies for every scenario is another perk. Blackout curtains enhance guest comfort for those who can’t sleep with light or who have little ones. Inversely, a light filtering curtain can be installed behind the blackout curtain for those who like light coming in.  


My family’s shortterm rental in Hilton Head, SC has a skylight in the primary bedroom, so we make sure to let guests know that room is probably not conducive to someone who cannot sleep with light coming in. However, the skylight provides some great natural light during the day, which guests have loved.  

  1. 6. Luxury Bathrooms 


Upgrade bathrooms with quality amenities. Modern, clean bathrooms are a guest priority. 


Upgrades don’t necessarily need to break the bank, either. Consider things like a new showerhead with handheld attachment, favorable water pressure, proper lighting, paint, and an upgraded sink faucet.  

  1. 7. Thoughtful Curation and Design 


When my family bought our first shortterm rental, I created a scale furniture plan and mood board for each room and sourced the furnishings. For the interior design, we replaced all the flooring, added accent walls in several bedrooms, and neutral paint color throughout. 


In the living room, we created a feature wall around the fireplace using 3” flat stock molding and Benjamin Moore’s: In the Midnight Hour paint in a flat finish. Next, we updated the outdated built-ins with ¼” HDF (High Density Fiberboard) to get rid of the dated beadboard look. This transformed the living room by creating depth and symmetry. We became premier hosts in under 2 months.  


The home should be well-furnished, but not overly furnished. Guests should feel like they have enough space to spread out, but they should also feel like each space in the home has a purpose, including outdoor areas.  


Consider extras like beach chairs, games, a firepit (we recommend propane with electric ignition), bikes, etc. Those small touches go a long way in making your guests feel welcome.  

  1. 8. Coffee Options 


Offer various coffee-making methods (Keurig or Nespresso, French press, pour-over). Coffee lovers will thank you! 

  1. 9. Personally Stay in Your Rental 


This may be the most important part! Test everything out by personally staying in your own rental. Identify any issues or missing amenities. 


For example, we found that the electrical in one of the bedrooms was connected to the living room TV, so anytime the light was off in that bedroom, the TV did not work. Because we stayed in our own rental, we were able to catch this and get an electrician over right away.  


How annoying would it be to have a member of your group go to sleep and suddenly you can’t watch TV! 

When setting up a home, there’s no one-size fits all. Each guest will be different with their own set of needs. The key to a successful shortterm rental and continuous raving 5-star reviews is how well you cater to all the possible scenarios. Think of everything.  

Remember, setting up a short-term rental can be a time-consuming and confusing process. It takes a lot of planning and time. At Design Organize Gather, we offer packages for STR’s where everything is done for you, from the renovations to the furnishings to the guidebook. A lot of STR’s are purchased by someone who lives out of state and cannot get there easily to set up. But there are services like ours that can simplify the process for interested property owners. 😊 

-Kayla & Shawn

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