What Do Renters Want: A Vacation Rental Checklist

Guests want all the comforts of home mixed with some added amenities that come with a relaxing, carefree vacation.

The vacation rental home market is a competitive one, especially in Ocean City, Maryland. Property owners seeking steady bookings at the highest rates have to keep up with what guests are looking for and, in some cases, offer a little more to stand out from the crowd.

As property management experts, we’ve discovered one overarching theme to what guests want: all the comforts of home mixed with some added amenities that come with a relaxing, carefree vacation. We know the ins and outs of making your vacation rental guests leave with a smile, give positive reviews and personal referrals, and come back next year.

We’ve put together a vacation rental checklist to help you improve the allure of your property.

A home that’s clean and pristine

Renters want their vacation homes to be spotless.

It almost goes without saying (but we’d be remiss not to bring it up here) that renters want their vacation homes to be spotless. Your best bet to ensure an immaculate property is to enlist a professional cleaning service, or a property manager who uses one. Keep basic cleaning supplies on hand as well—like all-purpose sprays and disinfectant wipes—so guests have the ability to clean as they go.

Speedy connectivity

Consider investing in a powerful wireless router that serves only your unit.

Renters of all ages have a need for internet speed. And can you blame them? Sure, lounging on the beach or trying new restaurants are ways to relax on vacation. But plenty of guests don’t like to unplug completely. They want to catch up on all the articles they’ve been meaning to read for months, share their wonderful vacation experiences on social media or binge the latest show on a streaming channel.  

If you haven’t already, consider investing in a powerful wireless router that serves only your unit, rather than the whole building. Wi-Fi interruptions are anything but relaxing!

TVs with all the trimmings

Renters expect at least one high-quality TV along with a channel package beyond the bare minimum.

If you don’t have a flat-screen high-definition TV for your rental property, you’ll want to catch up with the times. For rainy days, downtime and just hanging out, renters expect at least one high-quality TV along with a channel package beyond the bare minimum. Like their cable or streaming service back home, your guests will look for major network stations along with channels airing news and sports, lifestyle and kids’ programming and movies.

You may want to include a streaming system, like a Roku Streaming Stick or a smart TV. Perhaps you might get a subscription to Netflix or another streaming option for renters to use. You could also add a video game console for an easy way to win over kids, and kids at heart.

A dreamy night’s sleep

Making sure you have excellent mattresses—like those with memory foam, perhaps—goes a long way.

We’ve all been there. You’re thrilled to have found the perfect vacation spot, only to plop down on a mattress that’s too firm, two soft or too old. You can’t please every kind of sleeper, but making sure you have excellent mattresses—like those with memory foam, perhaps—goes a long way. If you offer linens to your guests, don’t skimp on quality. Comfortable sheets, fluffy towels, good pillows and a selection of cozy blankets can help to put your Ocean City, MD vacation home above the rest.

A fully equipped kitchen

Amenities like a coffee maker (including the coffee!), tea kettle (including the tea!) and a blender for smoothies and cocktails are also thoughtful touches.

For some, vacation means a reprieve from cooking. But plenty of guests prefer fixing their own meals to save money and bond with their families. They are very appreciative of owners who provide pots and pans of all sizes, more than enough cooking utensils, dishes, silverware, cups, mugs and, of course, wine glasses.

Amenities like a coffee maker (including the coffee!), tea kettle (including the tea!) and a blender for smoothies and cocktails are also thoughtful touches. For maximum appeal, consider upgrading to granite countertops and stainless steel appliances.

Here’s an easy one: Check your cabinets regularly for clutter. Renters want space to store their own food.

Hooks, hangers and racks

Provide multiple strong hooks and towel bars in bathrooms and other strategic locations for hanging damp bathing suits and towels.

During the summer in Ocean City, MD, your renters will surely be heading to the beach and the pool. That means everyone comes home wet. What your guests want here is quite simple: multiple strong hooks and towel bars in bathrooms and other strategic locations for hanging damp bathing suits and towels. After all, balconies and chairs are for sitting and relaxing, not for hanging laundry.

Outdoor comfort

Who doesn’t want to sip a cool beverage in lounge chairs?

Speaking of balconies, vacation guests appreciate (and often expect) rental homes with a well-furnished outdoor space. Who doesn’t want to sip a cool beverage in lounge chairs, do some quality people watching or crack crabs at an outdoor table? An umbrella for shade is a top priority if your property gets lots of sun, and if you have a yard, a grill for barbecues can score you bonus points.

Experience-based items ready to go

Stock your rental home with a selection of board games.

Some of your guests may come to Ocean City, MD, with their own fishing poles or bikes. It’s less likely they’ll arrive with their own crabbing equipment, kayaks and paddleboards. They’ll certainly appreciate having these and similar items at their disposal to enhance their experience during their stay.

The same principle applies to less-intense activities. Stock your rental home with a selection of board games, binoculars for viewing birds and dolphins, playing cards and a library. (Guests will love these options on rainy days.)

Personal recommendations

Craft a welcome letter you can tape to the fridge or leave on the kitchen counter.

Use your familiarity with Ocean City as an advantage by providing guests with recommendations. For example, craft a welcome letter you can tape to the fridge or leave on the kitchen counter. Include your favorite places to eat, can’t-miss family activities, day trip ideas and the best takeout restaurants nearby.

Essentials and extras

Stock your home with basic supplies like soap, shampoo, and toilet paper,

One of the most basic things vacation rental owners can do to please guests is stock their homes with basic supplies like soap, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels and dishwashing and laundry soap. You get the idea.

Think about going above and beyond. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can provide bottled water for the beach or pool, a basket of fresh fruit or baked goods, maybe a bottle of wine—all personal touches that mean a lot to renters. Just be sure to let them know they are gifts from you and not leftovers from previous guests.   

Luxury amenities like robes, lotions, face masks and flowers make renters feel pampered in your home. And you’d be surprised how leaving a few phone chargers around can shape a renter’s experience.

Steady communication

Let your guests know that you or your property manager are available at any time by email, text or phone.

Your guests will probably have questions before they ever arrive at your property. They may have an issue during their stay. In any case, they should always know who to contact—and that they’ll receive a prompt response. Let your guests know that you or your property manager are available at any time by email, text or phone. If you don’t live near your property or you don’t want to try fixing a leaky sink at 3 a.m., team up with a property management partner with 24/7 availability and a history of outstanding guest service.

Give your renters more of what they want

The Vantage team specializes in helping vacation rental owners offer exceptional experiences for guests.

This vacation rental checklist only scratches the surface of ideas to attract and satisfy guests at your Ocean City rental property. The Vantage team specializes in helping vacation rental owners offer exceptional experiences for guests—increasing bookings and revenue as a result. To learn more about how we can help you improve the allure of your property, contact us at 800-555-4099, option 5, or visit www.VantageOceanCity.com.

About Vantage

Founded in 2007, Vantage Vacation Rentals specializes in delivering exceptional experiences for both vacation property owners and their rental guests in popular Maryland destinations such as Ocean City, Annapolis and the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the Delaware beaches and North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Vantage serves owners with extensive property marketing and promotion as well as comprehensive property management services to help maximize rental income opportunities. With over 550 managed properties, Vantage makes it easy for vacationing guests to find and reserve the perfect option—then enhances their stay with exclusive benefits and discounts. To learn more about Vantage Vacation Rentals, visit VantageOceanCity.com, EasternShoreVacations.com and VantageMB.com.