4 Truths of Furnishing: Furnishing Your Rental Like a Pro
The short-term vacation rental industry can be both exciting and daunting. Whether you’re a seasoned property manager, just starting out in the industry, or looking to expand your portfolio and acquire additional properties, it’s important to think seriously about furnishing and decor.
To be a successful vacation rental business, you must shop like a business owner, not a consumer. The following “Four Truths of Furnishing” represent this business-forward mindset and can help serve as a foundation for property managers seeking guidance.
Truth #1: The “Stuff” You Put in Your Rental Matters
While this may sound simple, you’d be surprised how many people in the industry make mistakes in this category. Furnishing a property with the bare minimum may seem like a cost-saving tactic, but cutting corners this way ultimately hurts the profitability for you and your owners.
The items you do (or don’t) provide significantly impact the overall guest experience. You will see this when browsing reviews from other properties. If you equip the space in a way where guests have everything they need in the kitchen, with comfortable furniture to sit and sleep on, and thoughtful décor, you’ll be raking in those coveted five-star reviews. If you purchase cheap, low-quality, and uncomfortable furniture and uninspiring decor, poor reviews could deter future guests from booking your property.
With this in mind, we recommend you begin by prioritizing design and filling your properties with all the essentials a guest could need. Putting effort into design will help stop the scroll when a potential guest is searching through hundreds of properties that meet their criteria. Once you get guests to book, the items and amenities in your property will provide them with an enjoyable stay. Guests are then more inclined to leave five-star reviews, which will be sure to increase your bookings, making you and your owners more money.
Truth #2: Building a System Is Crucial
There are many moving parts when owning and operating a vacation rental business, and it can be so easy to become disorganized. Whether you’re scheduling your cleaning services, managing guest communications, or replenishing toiletries and cleaning supplies, you’re doing a lot! That’s why you need to have a system for furnishing. When items or furniture break in your properties, it’s important to have a record of where the pieces were from and what property they’re for, making it simple to replace.
When we say you need to build a “system,” we’re referring to that business owner mindset versus consumer mindset. There are tools you should be using when furnishing your rental property that are different from the ways you’d furnish your personal property.
You can’t scale and build a successful vacation rental business without creating systems to help you and your owners stay organized and think strategically.
Truth #3: You Don’t Need a High-End Budget to Be Successful (but That Hand-Me-Down Sofa Has Got to Go)
We’ve touched on how important a strong design is, but we don’t mean you need to exclusively select pieces from luxury brands. We always recommend vacation rental owners invest in the places where guests sit, sleep, and eat. Furnishing a vacation rental is all about balancing functionality and aesthetics while prioritizing quality for high-touch items like sofas, mattresses, dining tables, and other seating.
Functionality describes the practical and useful nature of a piece, and aesthetics describes its look and style. Owners should be investing the biggest amount of their budget on high-touch items that are both functional and aesthetic and, therefore, high quality.
The remainder of your budget can be split into the following categories:
- Cost efficiencies: These are pieces you definitely need but don’t have to break the bank purchasing. Think kitchen items like flatware, a toaster, or coffee mugs.
- Ambiance: Items like light fixtures fall into this category. As long as they look stylish, it doesn’t matter if it’s a Restoration Hardware lamp or a lamp from Wayfair.
- Durability and comfort: It’s important that these pieces feel good and will last, like a mattress.
Spending a little more upfront will get you scroll-stopping spaces that lead to more bookings and buy you pieces that last longer. Buy nice or buy twice!
Truth #4: Make Your Cleaners’ Lives Easier with Standardized, Hospitality-Grade Linens
For the unsung heroes of the vacation rental industry, aka your cleaners, hospitality-grade linens are a game-changer. These linens are manufactured to withstand frequent washing and drying at high temperatures, maintaining hygiene standards essential in today’s travel landscape.
By investing in hospitality-grade linens, you will see turn time decrease. Because every property will have the same linens, there’s no need to sift through the laundry and make sure X brand goes here and Y brand goes there. It’s all the same, and most hospitality brands have color-coded stitching to help easily differentiate a king from a queen from a twin.
By utilizing these four truths of furnishing in your vacation rental business, you’ll set yourself up for success to create a showstopping property—one that’s welcoming and leaves your guests happy and wanting more.