They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and it certainly seems true of travel. After a long hiatus, people are out to make their vacation count. According to Vrbo, 48% of families are willing to spend more on nicer accommodation while 55% would shell out for longer stays. 

The shift to home working has also birthed the “flexication,” where guests combine work and play. The chance to enjoy different vacation rental amenities was a driver of choice for 35% of those surveyed, with pools, BBQs, and indoor fireplaces in high demand.  

After a difficult year, unique STRs are leading market recovery, so owners now have a great opportunity to differentiate their property with high-tech, high-quality amenities, and little luxuries. 



We’ve put together a list of popular amenities that are guaranteed to get you rave reviews.  


Connect your operations

Choose a tech-forward approach. Guests expect a seamless rental experience—and you can make it happen by automating your property from a single platform.


What are vacation rental amenities—and why are they important?

Vacation rental amenities are additional features or comforts that add extra value to a property and improve the guest experience. 

Renters filter OTA searches by amenities, so if you don’t provide things like fast Wi-Fi, you could be missing out. By contrast, providing amenities that make your place family-friendly, for example, means you’ll show up in more searches. 

These days, vacation rentals compete directly with hotels and guests expect many of the same amenities, so providing little luxuries really sets your property apart. Tech solutions like contactless check-in for vacation rentals also show you’re running a modern operation and can compete with hotels on vacation rental safety. 

Amenities can make the difference between good and bad reviews, so they’re well worth the investment. And since renters are willing to pay more for certain amenities, you can offset costs by raising your rates, especially if you qualify for elite programs like Airbnb’s Plus badge. [1] 


See our piece on Airbnb Plus checklists for more information.  


07_Airbnb Plus interior living room shot with TV

Credit: Airbnb.co.uk


Vacation rental amenities for the modern guest

Modern guests expect personalization, convenience, comfort, and connectivity, which requires leveraging tech solutions. A survey of digital nomads found Wi-Fi, streaming subscriptions, and smart TVs rank above amenities like bedding and cookware. Spotty Wi-Fi was the most common cause of complaints, and guests are particularly willing to pay more for high-speed connections in rural areas. [1]

Traditional staffed check-in desks are expensive to run, and lockboxes and keys are a security risk. Switching to smart locks and keyless entry for rental properties allows you to offer (and monetize) flexible check-in, which guests appreciate in these uncertain times. It also reduces the risk of Covid-19 transmission by eliminating face-to-face contact. 

Operto ConnectTM integrates with your PMS and all major smart lock brands for streamlined operations and staffing and can supply hardware and support you throughout onboarding. See our piece on Airbnb smart locks for tips on choosing the right lock for your rental. 

Other smart-home technology for vacation rentals includes modern HVAC systems, boilers, and thermostats that enable personalized temperature schedules for increased comfort and efficiency. 

While not an amenity guests actively search for, things like vacation rental noise monitoring and occupancy monitoring also ensure a more comfortable stay by improving safety and security, especially in multi-property units. 

As well as enabling real-time monitoring and alerts from smart connected devices, Operto’s Guest Portal streamlines communication and allows you to tailor stays for a truly memorable experience.  

Let’s take a walk through the rest of our ideal vacation rental.

 

Amenities for vacation rentals: Kitchen

Many STRs come up short here, so it’s easy to differentiate your kitchen with in-demand amenities and make it more attractive for longer stays.   

  • Dishwasher - Hands up who loves doing dishes on vacation. No? Thought not. Dishwashers are among the top amenities guests will pay more for. [1]  

  • Microwave - Love them, hate them but you can’t beat them for convenience. 

  • Washer & tumble dryer - Must-haves for longer stays, families, and cooler climates. 

  • Good quality, complete set of knives, cookware, glassware, crockery, and utensils - Hacking at your food with a blunt knife while drinking wine out of tumblers is nobody’s idea of a great vacation. Don’t forget essentials like peelers, bottle openers, etc. 
  • Seasonings, condiments, oil, etc. - So guests can get cooking immediately on arrival. Use Operto’s Housekeeping Portal to automate checks and restocking after each stay. 

  • Coffee maker - Nothing says welcome like the smell of fresh-brewed coffee. Throw in some premium-grade coffee to win their hearts.

  • Kettle - Boiling water in a pan is just primitive. And energy inefficient. 

  • High chair and kid’s crockery - Parents will really appreciate not having to bring these things. Remember to install child locks on cabinets, too. 

  • Cleaning supplies - Nobody wants to cook in a dirty kitchen, especially with kids around. Providing cleaning products and dishwasher tablets also means they’re less likely to leave a mess.  

  • Pet bowls and supplies - Listing as pet-friendly is a personal choice but well worth considering as pet owners are willing to pay more. [1] If you do decide to offer this, including bowls, towels, and maybe even treats and a bed will endear you to owners and their furry friends. 

  • Welcome pack - Give them a welcome to remember with a hamper of goodies, a nice bottle of wine, or a partially stocked fridge. Guests will love it if you reach out via Operto’s Guest Portal beforehand to check dietary restrictions. 


Credit: Locale.com


Vacation rental amenities: Living room

After the kitchen, the most important room in the house. Make it a real home-from-home with these popular amenities:  

  • Smart TV - Combine streaming services like Netflix with local and cable TV so guests can keep an eye on news and local weather or kick back and binge box sets. TVs are particularly in-demand for urban properties, perhaps as these get more business travelers. To really wow them, splash out on a home cinema and entertainment system with surround sound and Bluetooth speakers so they can play their own tunes. And maybe a games console to keep kids entertained.   

  • Offline entertainments - If they’re after less screen time, board games, books, and puzzles will go down well with parents and save them packing theirs. 
     

  • Smart HVAC systems - Give guests a warm welcome by heating the place before they arrive. Or cooling it down. Operto’s tech enables remote, intelligent control of thermostats, boilers, and split A/C units, and allows guests to set custom temperature schedules. 

  • Indoor fireplace - Nothing beats snuggling in front of the fire with a hot drink. Fireplaces are a must in the mountains and look great on your listing—and your guests’ Instagram. 

  • Smart lighting - Add to the ambiance with lamps and “smart” bulbs that automatically adjust brightness and color throughout the day. Connected lighting systems also enable remote access, so you can leave lights on for late-arriving guests or switch them off if they forget.    

  • Information pack - Provide maps, guidebooks, pamphlets, recommendations, and details of attractions that require advance booking. Make information available via Operto’s Guest Portal before check-in, too, so they have it on their phones.  

  • Universal adaptors and chargers - Easy to forget and impossible to live without, guests will appreciate this thoughtful lifesaver. 


Vacation rental amenities: Bedrooms 

A good night’s sleep is key to a great vacation, and good reviews. These amenities will ensure your rental makes a refreshing change: 

  • Good quality, plentiful bedding - This gets a lot of wear and tear so invest in high-thread-count sheets, and extra pillows, throws, and blankets for luxurious comfort and long-term savings.    

  • Smart TV - Not everyone likes to watch in bed but this’ll be a hit with TV addicts.  

  • Travel crib - Parents will appreciate one in the kids’ room or master suite.  

  • Storage - Provide plenty of closet space and hangers so clothes don’t get crumpled. An iron is also handy before those special nights out.    

  • Lamps - Blue light before bedtime makes it hard to drop off so smart, responsive bulbs limit it in the evening.    

  • Thick curtains and sleep aids - Blackout curtains, sleep masks and earplugs will ensure they get a good lie-in. 

hospitality case study corduroy properties

Credit: Corduroy Properties


Vacation rental amenities: Bathrooms 

Bathrooms are often neglected, which is a shame as it’s easy to score big wins with little luxuries. 

  • Toiletries - Guests expect these in hotels but not STRs, so they’ll love it if you provide shampoo, conditioner, lotion, disposable razors, shaving cream, etc. You can up the luxury with “spa” items like face masks, bath bombs, etc., and automate restocking via Operto. 

  • Towels - There’s nothing better than snuggling into a soft, fluffy towel after a hard day at the beach. Like bedding, these should be high-quality and plentiful. 

  • Toilet paper - Nobody likes arriving after a long trip to find they have to go to the store before they can use the bathroom. Add items like this to your vacation rental property management checklist to ensure you’re always well-stocked. 

  • Hairdryer - People will appreciate not having to bring their own. 

  • Storage - Ample shelf space prevents bathrooms from becoming chaotic when large families or groups share.   

  • Underfloor heating - Well worth splashing out on during a refit. As well as being more efficient than radiators, guests will never forget the luxurious underfoot feel.   

  • Grab rails - Install these around tubs and toilets for the elderly or disabled. (You may need to adapt other areas to list as such.) 



Amenities for vacation rentals: multi-functional space 

  • Gym - Provide basic gym equipment like yoga mats and jump ropes so guests can stay in shape. For premium units, The Mirror smart interactive home gym comes with a range of workouts and classes.   

  • Office - A workstation, high-speed Wi-Fi, and extra power outlets will appeal to digital nomads. 

Amenities for vacation rentals: Outdoors 

Guests expect different amenities with beach, mountain, urban or rural properties, but certain things will be a hit anywhere. 

  • Swimming pool - A huge draw for families and groups, and pays for itself over time through higher rates and Instagramability. Invest in smart cleaning robots and sensors for remote monitoring of pH and temperature to keep it looking its best.  

  • Hot tub or jacuzzi - Even more luxurious and in high demand. Even a basic backyard will be transformed by a modern, energy-efficient tub with LED lighting and waterfall features. Keep amenities like these in tip-top shape by using VRScheduler to automate regular maintenance checks. 

  • Barbecue - Everyone’s favorite outdoor activity. Modern smart versions provide instructions on preparation and timing so guests can grill to perfection.  

  • Fire pit - A great focal point for relaxing around in the evening. 

  • Lighting - Makes the place look amazing after dark. Use motion sensors to keep guests safe and costs down. 

  • Furniture - Tables, chairs, sun loungers, and shades are the basics. Couches, cushions, and hammocks provide extra luxury.    

  • Beach or outdoor equipment - Balls, games, towels, sunshades, fold-up chairs, and a cool box for the beach; water bottles, packs, and poles for the hills. 

  • Free parking - Life, and vacations, are too short to waste looking for parking. Guests are prepared to pay more for this, especially near the beach. [1]


Upsells 

Differentiate your property and boost revenue by tailoring their stay with custom upsells offered through Operto ConnectTM. Popular extras include: 

  • Tours, excursions, spas, adventure sports, etc. 

  • Car or bike rental.

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off.

  • Extra linen, towels, and mid-stay cleaning.
     

  • Food deliveries - Partner with local providers for an authentic, sustainable experience. 

A screenshot of the Operto Connect Guest Portal, which enables in-room guest personalization

Credit: Operto.com

Key takeaways 

Now people are traveling again, they’re willing to spend more on longer stays, unique accommodation and amenities like fast Wi-Fi, smart TVs, pools, fireplaces, and free parking.  

Adding in-demand amenities and little luxuries allows STRs to stand out and boost rates and bookings. 

Tech is key to an excellent guest experience and streamlined operations and staffing.

Platforms like Operto enable contactless, flexible check-in, control of smart HVAC systems, and automation for increased savings.  


Frequently asked questions about vacation rental amenities

How do I make my vacation rental stand out?

You can make your vacation rental stand out by using tech like smart devices, automation and contactless check-in to provide a seamless, unique experience. Include these and the other amenities modern guests expect on your listing and accompany them with good-quality, well-lit photos and a virtual tour. Offering amenities that allow you to list as family or pet-friendly and adapted for the elderly or disabled will also ensure you show up in more searches.

What should I include in my vacation rental?

Your vacation rental should include tech-enabled amenities like keyless entry, smart TVs and HVAC systems, and fast Wi-Fi. Other popular amenities include a well-stocked and equipped kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms, pools, BBQs, fireplaces, and free parking.

 

What are the most popular amenities on OTAs?

Popular amenities on OTA Airbnb include a dishwasher, washer and dryer, travel crib, smart TV, free parking, pool, indoor fireplace, coffee maker, and BBQ. [1] Family or pet-friendly amenities are also in demand.  

 


Connect your operations

Choose a tech-forward approach. Guests expect a seamless rental experience—and you can make it happen by automating your property from a single platform.


[1] https://www.hostfully.com/blog/amenities-and-services-vacation-rental-guests-will-pay-more-for/