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  • Writer's pictureStacy Parkelj

Wait! Before You Finalize Your Build Plans! 5 Things to Include in your New Vacation Rental!

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Building a vacation rental is an exciting process. The prospect of having a beautiful home where you will be hosting many families over the years, including your own, is a dream-come-true for most of us! However, the process can be daunting as well, especially if you've never built a vacation rental before. You surely want to make sure you don't forget to include anything that you might regret later.


building a vacation rental


I certainly have a few things I'd change in my properties if I could have a do-over building a vacation rental, and I figured other property owners felt the same; so, I surveyed a group of seasoned vacation rental owners and asked, "If you could change one thing about your cabin, what would it be?"


Here were the Top 5 most common answers:


1. Larger/More Owners Closets. This was resoundingly the most common feature that STR vacation rental owners wished they had prioritized. Lockable owner's closets are a vacation rental necessity to store items such as toilet paper and paper towels (LOTS of it!), bed linens, towels, toiletries, snacks/coffee, cleaning supplies for yourself (your housekeeper will use their own), seasonal decor (Christmas tree? If you don't store it at your primary residence, you'll need space to store it at your STR!), and maybe even your own inflatable kayak! You'll want to make sure you have ample room (and maybe more than one) in those closets! Make a list and plan accordingly.


vacation rental owner closet


2. Better fireplace pilot ignitions. Many owners will tell you that the most common call from a guest is, "How do I turn on the fireplace?" Most of the cabins in Broken Bow-Hochatown, where I own my properties, are equipped with propane gas fireplaces that light with a pilot light ignition button. These pilot lights can be difficult to ignite if they go out, which they do, quite often! It is even more difficult to try to explain to a guest over the phone! Many owners add videos to their guest manuals to help alleviate the inevitable calls. Some owners have thought about switching over to an electric fireplace, but the cost is quite prohibitive for many. Before you install your gas fireplaces in your new build, do some research on the best gas fireplaces, and invest in one that's easy to light!


vacation rental fireplace

3. More dishwashers and washing machines/dryers (larger vacation homes). When you have as many guests as we do come through our cabins, especially those cabins that sleep large amounts of people, being able to do multiple loads of laundry and wash a large number of dishes is an amenity that both guests and housecleaners love. Cleaners can get their turns done much quicker since they don't have to wait for the multiple loads of laundry. Guests will rave about this feature on their reviews as it's a luxury they don't expect but really appreciate.


vacation rental dishwashers

4. Timers on anything connected to the propane. Your fireplaces and grills will often be hooked up to your propane line. Not only do timers serve as a safety device, preventing your grill or fireplaces from accidentally being left on; but, they also serve to help keep propane costs down.


vacation rental timer

5. Better insulated walls and floors. When you have several people staying at your vacation home, it is nice to be able to find a quiet space when you just need a moment of peace. Many seasoned cabin owners wish they had thought to insulate the floor between the first and second floors or the walls between bedrooms. It is a feature your guests will appreciate when the kids are upstairs practicing their cartwheels or having their little dance parties!


Other commonly overlooked STR necessities when building a vacation rental were things such as more room on the porch, stairs and backyard lighting, vinyl window frames (to prevent condensation), dimmers on light switches, and including a bathroom for every bedroom.


Have fun building your dream vacation rental, and be sure to take this list with you to your builder meeting so that you don't forget to include them in your plans!



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