8 Staging Tips for your Okanagan Short-Term Rental

Do you find staging a challenge? Don’t know where to start? Check out these 8 tips to get you well on your way to making your guest’s stay more comfortable and inviting!

1. Start with Updating

The first step to staging is ensuring the space isn’t dated. Does the space need updating? Items to check include: throw pillows, comforters, furniture, lighting, window coverings, art, rugs, and anything else that may seem outdated. Make a list of these items and shop around. Furniture packages and decor items can be obtained through ROAM at industry discounts should you decide you need help. Feel free to reach out!

2. Restock, Declutter & Rearrange

Restock your vacation rental with fresh linens, towels, toiletries, and toss any used shampoos, conditioners, dish scrubbies, and soaps. Bathroom product dispensers are a wise choice to refill prior to each guests arrival, along with hand and dish soap dispensers. Nothing screams unclean more than a half used bottle of body wash or hand soap. Ensure all linens and towels including dish towels, oven mitts, and pot holders are clean and not faded or stained. Ensure you have an item charge for damaged linens in your house rules or rental agreement and implement it should you need to replace them after a guest damages them. Keep in mind wear and tear comes into play and is an added expense of running a short-term rental. A good rule of thumb is to replace towels and linens once they begin to fade, overly pile, or lose softness. If you wouldn’t want to use it in a hotel, it shouldn’t be in your vacation rental. Take into account the type of vacation rental you are running when choosing linen and towel colours. White may be a great choice for a romantic getaway, but not such a good choice for a home that hosts large groups. Check out linen suppliers as you can often obtain quantity discounts when ordering. Restock paper towels, coffee, tea, sugar, spices, and any pantry items you choose to supply prior to the next set of guests arriving. Guests want to feel like this is their home away from home, so everything should be stocked .

Organize any clutter. This may include straightening books and board games, rearranging knick knacks, straightening wall art, and placing toys in closets. Keep everything neat. Arrange the furniture to provide a more open layout. Create small gathering places where friends and family can spend time together, and nooks where someone can enjoy a good book. Angle things to look their best and open up the space if needed. You’d be amazed what a little furniture re-arranging can do for a space!

3. Check for Cleanliness

Bring in a professional cleaning crew to ensure the vacation rental is spotless at all times. The cleaners should do a thorough cleaning, including vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, cleaning the patio and pool, cleaning all glass, and ensuring the bathrooms are sparkling clean. Always do a double check in areas where the more meticulous guest’s eye may wander, such as high dusting points, inside kitchen cupboards, corners, and along window sills. Ensure all high touch surfaces have been disinfected for Covid-19 with a hospital grade disinfectant and that the cleaning company follows Covid-19 cleaning protocols.

4. Stage Common Areas

Common areas such as bathrooms, the kitchen, living room, and patio can be staged with items like fresh flowers, fruit baskets, wine and glasses, realistic looking electronic candles, and other items for comfort. A nice touch is to run an aromatherapy diffuser with a gentle scent such as citrus or lavender prior to the guests arrival (ensure the guests don’t have fragrance allergies before doing so). Open curtains, blinds, and bedroom doors. Let the light in! Natural light should be maximized. If the vacation rental has a scenic view, showcase that by ensuring the view isn’t compromised by a bad furniture layout, clutter, or draw blinds.

5. Add Little Details & Emphasize Comfort

Prospective guests want to get a sense of the features, comfort, and privacy that your home offers. Staging can create an emotional response that compels them to book your home for their next vacation. Comfortable furniture, soft pillows and towels, and other such items give them a sense of what they can expect if they choose to return. Little details go a long way when staging a vacation rental. Have tasteful decor, fold toilet paper into triangles, add a box of chocolate or bottle of wine and a welcome card, and think of creative ways to make the property stand out among the competition. If the listing is child or pet-friendly, consider adding items that will accommodate these travellers, such as toys and games, high-chairs, a portable playpen, a dog bed, and a list of nearby parks and amenities.

6. Stage For The Season

If the destination has multiple seasons, stage the home for each one with seasonal décor and amenities. For example, if it’s winter in a mountain destination, light an electric fireplace prior to the guests arrival, and drape cozy blankets over the couch to create ambiance (for non electric fireplaces make sure to research liability). In the fall, change decor colours to represent foliage. For spring and summer, have bright colours throughout the home and fresh fruit and flowers.

7. An Invitation to Relax

Stage your short-term rental property in a way that showcases the areas where guests can enjoy their time with family and friends. Photos and online listings should feature your comfortable furniture and relaxing spaces. Sofas, recliners, and beds are where guests want to spend their time in the home. Outdoor areas are ideal for lounging so should be staged for exactly that. Include outdoor pillows, plants, and decor. Arrange your furniture in a way that lets all guests enjoy common areas together, and make sure each space looks inviting, useable, and comfortable.

8. Staging for Sleep

Online reviews usually include comments about the comfort of a home’s beds and bedrooms. Investing in high-quality beds, mattresses, and linens are paramount. Mattress toppers can add that cozy feel if you can’t afford top of the line mattresses, but don’t skimp on comfortable bedding. Keep in mind to avoid feather toppers and pillows for those with allergies. Make sure there are adequate pillows to ensure your guests aren’t left feeling uncomfortable. Many guests sleep with more than one pillow, and the beds look much nicer with more. Our rule of thumb is 4 queen pillows per queen bed, 4 king pillows per king bed, 3 pillows per double bed, and two pillows per twin. Extra pillows and blankets should be made available in an easily accessible place such as a closet (make sure not to allow access to your linen supply closet or you may find yourself left with piles of unnecessary laundry). Always consider sleep conditions when choosing duvet and linen weights. A home with no air conditioning in a warm location or during a warm season won’t need the same duvet weight as a ski hill chalet or home with drafty bedrooms.

Other accessories to include are tasteful throw pillows, rolled bath towels, side tables, and lighting. Anything that helps your guests sleep better and feel more comfortable during their stay can generate positive reviews and return visits. Remember these little added touches go a long way. A tray with wine glasses and a bottle of local wine can be a great addition to a romantic getaway. A USB charger port for cell phones and an alarm clock is also a useable and appreciated added amenity to have for corporate travellers. Always have bedside ambient lighting available such as bedside table lamps or wall lights.. Blinds and other window accessories that block out sunlight are also important for anyone looking to get a good night’s sleep.

The right staging can be the difference between building more income from your holiday rental or not keeping up to local competition. We hope these tips will help you gain a better understanding of what generates positive reviews and return guests to your vacation rental!

Need help? Contact us and we can discuss your needs, from choosing a property, to staging, launch, and hosting, we do it all, and would love to share our industry knowledge and know how with you.