Duuo Community Blog

Your source for insurance resources, tips, interviews, and more!

March Break is coming! Preparing your vacation rental home for families

Posted by Rachel Devitt | Sharing Economy

March Break isn’t just about kids getting time off school. It’s also the season for hosts on platforms like Airbnb and CanadaStays to make some extra income. Over the past 10 years, thanks in large part to online vacation rental platforms like Airbnb, family vacation rentals in Canada have skyrocketed in popularity.

Families like them because of the savings and convenience they offer. Hosts like them because of the opportunity to make some extra money while also meeting people from other parts of Canada, the United States, and the rest of the world.

But renting out your March Break retreat in Canada is about much more than putting your listing online and waiting for guests to book. Here’s everything you need to know to profitably and safely prepare your rental for March Break visitors.

Know your guest profile

The old adage of knowing your customer holds true no matter what business you are in. And, as a vacation rental host, you are most certainly a business owner. If you understand the demographics of the March Break guest, then you can more easily tailor your product to them. This means you need to realize that families will be staying at your rental. Also, keep in mind the type of family activities available in your area.

Six tips for listing your March Break property

What happens after your guests arrive is just as important as getting them to book in the first place. People that use vacation home rentals in Canada are looking for a nice place to stay and one that fires up their imaginations.

Here are six important tips to follow to help your place stand out – and to protect yourself, your property, and your guests.

  1. Be a great concierge by meeting guests in person – or creating a great welcome book using a service like Hostfully – to let them know about all the activities nearby like events geared towards kids.
  2. Little things like cheese, or some light snacks make guests feel like they’re welcome in your home after spending a day on the go. Remember, your profile leans heavily to parents with kids.
  3. Keep your place spotless by hiring a professional cleaner to clean up between guests, and for those that stay a week or more. If you need help, consider options like BnBCare or TurnoverBnb.
  4. Declutter by removing as much of your personal stuff as possible to leave plenty of space for guests to store their things.
  5. Keep your vacation rental well stocked for guests with plenty of toiletries, extra towels in the bathroom, and coffee, and hot chocolate in the kitchen for those chilly winter mornings.
  6. Manage guest expectations right from the start by letting them know what is and is not allowed in your rental.

Maximize your bookings and profits

Once you’ve set the right expectations with your guests it’s time to think about how to increase your bookings over March Break. Here are a few ideas:

  • Keep your description accurate, your booking calendar updated, and your photos professional.
  • Upgrade your outdoor living space, consider a kitchen update, and always keep interior décor and design in mind.
  • Maximize the design of your home to cater to parents with young children.
  • Market to your dream guest by offering a fun experience and pricing accordingly – guests that are willing to pay higher prices to stay in your rental are more likely to take care of it (although you’ll still want to have short-term rental insurance for the unexpected).
  • Always use dynamic pricing (tools like BeyondPricing can be helpful) to vary your nightly rate based on items like specific events, the average price in your area, and the length of a guest stay.

Amenities: Put yourself in the parent’s shoes

As we’ve discussed, the more you understand your target renter the better you’ll be able to offer the amenities they want. 

Some of the most sought-after amenities for vacation rental property in Canada that will increase your bookings and profit potential include:

  • Staging the master bedroom with luxuriously warm bedding lets parents dream of having a cozy bed to slip into at the end of a long day on the town.
  • Intelligent keyless electronic entry systems and connectivity systems for climate control make it easy for guests to come and go, and for you to keep utility bills low.
  • Luxury kitchen items like a Nespresso coffee machine and a Vitamix blender show your guests they’re getting the quality that they’re paying for.
  • Safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and basic first-aid kit combined with short-term rental insurance is part of being a good vacation rental host – you’ll sleep better at night because, let’s face it, accidents can happen.

How to avoid challenges when renting out your vacation home in Canada

You’ve followed all the tips to make your vacation rental property stand out. You’ve selected the right amenities that your target guests expect (and are willing to pay more for), Yet, despite your best efforts, something still happens…

Maybe they accidentally left the water running after they checked out. Maybe there’s a giant red wine spot on your expensive white couch. Or maybe one of your guests missed a step on your front porch and broke their ankle.

Now what?

While popular online vacation rental platforms like Airbnb provide hosts with Host Guarantees and Host Protection Insurance, these programs may not be providing you with all the coverage you’d like. It’s not that the rental platforms want to leave you unprotected – it’s simply that insurance really isn’t their thing.

That’s why more and more owners of vacation rental properties in Canada are opting for short-term rental insurance.

As you prepare for March Break there are many things you need to consider. Outside of knowing your target customer, there are other considerations like amenities, your protection as a host, and guest satisfaction. Let’s face it, new bookings are always good, but the best guest of all is a happy one who returns for summer vacation.

About the author

Rachel Devitt
As Duuo’s Brand & Communications Manager, Rachel manages Duuo’s content, events calendar, and PR initiatives. During Duuo team trivia games you’ll often find Rachel racking up points as a result of her pop-culture obsession.