Step-By-Step Guide to Making Your Rental Property Family Friendly
This is a guest post by Jennifer Wold, Director of Content & Marketing Communications at BabyQuip, the leading baby equipment rental service and marketplace for property management companies.
Out of the 72 million millennials in the United States, 62% of them are parents who travel with their young children under the age of five. With close to 45 million potential guests searching for rental properties, it’s a wise choice to take the extra steps necessary to make your rental property family-friendly.
When parents start thinking about planning the ultimate family vacation the first step they often begin with is their accommodations. More and more traveling families, especially those with babies and toddlers, are seeking vacation rentals so they can create a comfortable, homelike experience for their family. They commonly ask themselves questions like…where will everyone sleep? Is the layout safe for my child(ren)? Will we have enough room to spread out and play? Or, what makes this property better than the others?
Your goal as a property manager, or host, is to learn how to create a great rental experience for families, and how to effectively market your offering to families!
Below we highlight several ways you can attract more families to your properties. Rest assured, these simple acts will help create the safe and family-friendly environment that your guests are looking for and that they will really appreciate!
Step 1: Safety First
Parents are always concerned about their child(ren)’s safety and well-being. So, what can you, as a property owner, do to ensure the safety of a traveling family’s youngest members? Having, or not having the items below could be a deciding factor in a family choosing to reserve your home or someone else’s.
- Cleaning Products: Make sure your cleaning crew is using only non-toxic, baby safe and parent-approved cleaning products. If you are unsure if the products being used are safe, check out the Environmental Working Group website to find out how specific products rank. Once you are sure the cleaning products are safe, make sure they are stored somewhere high and out of a child’s reach.
- Latches, Covers and Locks: Install outlet covers and cabinet locks on bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors and drawers that have items inside that could potentially pose a threat. If possible, lock doors that lead onto balconies or down a flight of steps (like to the basement). If locking doors isn’t an option, install baby proof door knobs on those doors.
- Water Temperature: Check your hot water heater and make sure it’s not too hot. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends setting the water heater at no more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) to prevent scalding. This is especially important if your property has a bathtub.
- Baby Gates: If you have stairs at your property, having a sturdy pressure-mounted baby gate available is a great idea. While this type of baby gate should never be used at the top of the stairs, parents can put them up at the bottom to prevent babies from climbing up. They are easy to tuck away in a closet and will give parents peace of mind.
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors: Know your local requirements for carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. While they aren’t required in all cities and states, it’s still a really good idea to have them.
- Keys: If doors to the bedrooms or bathrooms lock, make double sure your guests have access to multiple sets of keys placed throughout the house. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare when their child accidentally locks themselves in a room and can’t get out.
- Emergency Information: Provide a list of names, numbers and addresses for the local emergency room, pharmacy and urgent care. Put it on the fridge or in place that’s not easily missed. Make sure your personal contact information is also on there!
Step 2: The Comforts of Sleep
When parents take their children on vacation, they are no doubt hoping to be able to rest, relax and recharge. Making sure everyone gets enough sleep is vital for this to happen! Use the list below to make sure your guests can pleasantly dream their nights away and wake up refreshed.
- Bed Rails: Kids fall out of bed. It’s a fact of life, but having a bed rail can prevent the entire family from awakening in the middle of the night to a loud thud followed by screaming. They are super simple to use and parents will thank you!
- Crib or Pack ‘n Play: Consider investing in a portable full size wooden folding crib and an appropriate mattress from a reputable company like Dream on Me. Don’t forget to provide a tight fitting sheet. Parents likely won’t be traveling with one!
- Blackout Curtains: Choose the quietest bedroom in the house and designate it the child room or nursery. Install blackout curtains on the window(s) so it’s easier for a baby or child to nap during the day. This should be a room with a smaller bed and/or space to set up a crib.
- Sleep Accessories: Babies are often used to sleeping with a white noise machine, humidifier, fan or nightlight. Providing these items means you are really going above and beyond. Parents will undoubtedly appreciate these items, however, they will not expect them.
If providing everything on this list of items to make your vacation rental family-friendly is starting to seem daunting, don’t fret. You can refer your guests to a baby gear rental company like BabyQuip for most of the items highlighted in this article. They offer thousands of items from cribs, strollers, and high chairs to toys, books and games! (More on toys below!)
Step 3: Playtime
Investing in a few quality toys will have parents leaving you the best reviews! Toys are often big, bulky or heavy making them difficult to pack and travel with. Having something for the kids to play with during down time is a literal lifesaver for parents! If you want to keep costs down, check your local Facebook Marketplace. There are always parents selling old quality toys for super cheap! Here are some good options to have available to your guests:
- Balls: Leave a basket, bin or bucket of balls in one of the bedrooms or in a common area where it’s safe to roll and bounce balls! Small playground balls, plush balls and beach balls are good options. Keep size in mind. Make sure you don’t have anything small enough a child could put in their mouth and choke on—like marbles or small bouncy balls.
- Duplo: If you aren’t familiar with Duplo, they are a large version of Lego, specifically designed for young toddlers and children. But don’t be fooled, big kids like them too and they will definitely get used when families stay at your property!
- Puzzles: Think about offering simple, large piece jigsaw puzzles and wooden puzzles. They can make a world of difference for parents who need a few uninterrupted minutes to prepare meals or get things ready for an outing or day trip.
- Electronics: If you want to appeal to families with older children, having an XBox, Playstation or some other gaming console will be a definite highlight. Since it’s hard enough to turn on the TV at someone else’s home, leave detailed instructions on how to use the console!
Step 4: Local Love
Your property is unique and as the owner you know all the good things the local area has to offer. Before your guests arrive they will have likely already researched the tourist attractions, but think about leaving them a list of all the places the locals love! This is your chance to show off your city!
- Restaurants: If you’re a parent yourself, you already know that finding restaurants where families with babies and toddlers are welcome is a must. Kids can be loud, and are sometimes really messy, so skip suggesting the Michelin star restaurants in the area. Ask friends with small kids or call around to restaurants in close proximity and ask questions about their accommodations.
- Parks and Beaches: These aren’t always easily searchable in advance and going to parks and/or beaches on a family vacation is definitely on the itinerary.
- Recommend parks that have good playgrounds, lots of space for kids to run and good places for the parents to sit and relax while supervising. Park bonuses: drinking fountains, bathrooms, stroller friendly hiking trails or walking paths, big trees or shade structures.
- If you’re in a beach location, recommend beaches with shallow water or wading pools and that aren’t overly crowded or are popular/tourist beaches. Provide a link or a print out of the tide times. Beach bonuses: bathrooms with changing tables, easily accessible, close parking spots.
- Local Attractions: You might be promoting your property as one of the best rentals in a top national park destination, but you’ll also want to let your guests know that the local annual Cheesecake Festival is not to be missed. Think of all the unique, seasonal festivals, concerts and events families can experience and let them know about all of them! These smaller more intimate experiences are often what families remember most.
Step 5: Ask Questions
Last but not least, ask your renters what they need to make their stay as comfortable as possible. They’ll be impressed that you did! Then, make all attempts to accommodate their requests! If for some reason you cannot provide them with what they need, let them know right away so they can make other arrangements.
Summary: Go Above And Beyond For Your Guests!
Following the steps above will attract more families to your property, have you renting your property consistently and you’ll be providing your guests with the very best family vacations!
Want more ways to provide your guests with a top-notch experience? Check out Guesty’s rapidly expanding Marketplace to see what third-party solutions you can integrate with to save time, and streamline every aspect of your property management business.