Marketing Owners I’ve stayed in many vacation rentals over the past few years and find my tolerance levels to lower standards have dropped significantly. The days have gone when it was acceptable to have the cheapest appliances and kitchen equipment; uncomfortable beds with thin comforters and insufficient pillows, and bookcases filled with unwanted Readers’ Digest condensed books. To be successful owners must pay attention to detail in every room in the property. These are a few of the things that made me write great reviews of the places we recently stayed. Sharp knives and stainless steel pans – vacation rentals have a reputation of supplying blunt knives and poor cooking utensils so it was great to find some of the owners have an idea of what makes a guest happy in the kitchen. Poor equipment such as peeling non-stick pans, rusting cheese graters and ineffective peelers are giving way to good quality items that are replaced as soon as they show signs of wear and tear or over-use. Fluffy duvets and crisp cotton sheets – the best review I ever got from someone at my cottage was about the master bed, with the comment, “it was so comfortable, like sleeping under a cloud”. When I’m away I want to feel confident the bedding is clean and fresh, with care taken over the selection of all of it from the quality of the pillows to the comfort of the blankets, duvet or comforter. And, it should go without saying there should be two pillows per person. Entertainment options A few years ago I wrote a post on this blog about how important it was to supply sufficient means for guests to entertain themselves on a rainy day. I got a strong response from an owner who indignantly commented it was not her responsibility to ensure her guests has enough to do and they should be more self-sufficient. My belief is that if we can contribute to our guests’ satisfaction even in the event of bad weather, we’ve done our job as hosts. This can be as simple as supplying a range of paperbacks in different genres and for different age groups; traditional board games (Scrabble, Monopoly, Clue etc), a DVD collection, and even a dressing up box for children. Bathroom beauty It doesn’t take much to make a bathroom attractive and appealing. Attention to detail on cleanliness is a given, but a few additional touches can make a difference between a so-so impression and a sparkling impact. Fluffy white towels, dried or artificial flower arrangements, natural pot pourri, and art work, can lift an ordinary washroom to an elegant space. Having the experience of being a guest has helped me to raise standards in my own property, so I highly recommend that all owners do this at some time in a property other than their own. What have you learned by staying in another vacation rental?