Homeowners often wonder which amenities will add the greatest appeal to their vacation rentals. To help answer this question, we regularly analyze data from actual travelers searching for properties on MountainLodging™. To broaden the industry perspective, we have included data from HomeAway, VRBO and VacationRentals to determine the most in-demand amenities.
Here's what we found for the top 10:
1. Pool. No big surprise here. When people go on vacation, they typically look for some body of water in close proximity. Even if you don't have a pool in your own backyard, advertise the shared pool in your complex or a nearby community pool.
2. Hot Tub. Hot tubs have become a must-have amenity in many markets, especially those with cooler weather. A hot tub can even increase the shoulder season “rentability” of properties in areas with chilly spring and fall seasons.
3. “Pet Friendly.” According to the Travel Industry Association, 14% of all American adults have traveled with a pet at some point in the past three years. Although it may not be a traditional amenity, accepting pets at your vacation rental could significantly increase your bookings.
4. TV. Even with the rising popularity of HD TVs, just plain “TV” remains the more popular search term. However, it doesn't hurt to include more details in your listing about any high-end televisions you may have. “Cable” and “satellite TV” also rank highly in traveler searches.
5. Tennis. If you don't have a tennis court in your backyard, subdivision, or complex, consider looking up local courts and including information about them in your listing.
6. Internet. Even on vacation, travelers still want to be connected, and wireless Internet has become the preferred method. If you don't already offer a Wi-Fi connection, contact your local cable or phone company for more details.
7. "Jacuzzi" Tub. Just like Kleenex and Google, "Jacuzzi" is a brand name that has become synonymous with its category. Many travelers search for "Jacuzzi" when seeking a whirlpool bathtub, and some use "Jacuzzi" interchangeably with "hot tub." If you own a jetted bathtub, consider checking off both the "hot tub" and "Jacuzzi" checkboxes in the amenities section of your listings - just be sure to specify which type you have in the free text section of your listing so as not to mislead your guests.
8. Pool Table. Pool tables are especially popular in certain ski and mountain regions because they offer reliable indoor entertainment.
9. Fireplace. When vacationing in a cooler climate, renters look forward to cuddling up by the fireplace after a long day outdoors. For slightly warmer destinations, an outdoor fireplace can be a huge draw for off-season travelers.
10. Porch. No matter what type of outdoor living area you have, be it a porch, deck, terrace or patio, be sure to provide a detailed description and photo(s) in your listing. Another popular search term is “balcony,” so don't forget that keyword when posting a photo of your view.
Many standard amenities, such as air conditioning, telephone, and washer and dryer also ranked highly in traveler searches. While they might not sound as exciting, they are equally as important to mention in your listing. Otherwise, travelers may not find your home when searching, or they may just assume you don't have something they're looking for.
If you're considering adding new amenities to your vacation home, these top requests from actual travelers are a great starting point. And when you do make upgrades to your home, be sure to update all of your listings so that travelers are aware of everything you have to offer.
Updated: May 25, 2010