The startup of a vacation rental has the ability to take you back in time to buying your very first home. You realize the youthful excitement of decorating a new space that is all yours never truly went away, and nightly runs to the home improvement store have once again become routine.
It feels like having a second chance at designing the home of your dreams when you once again put your interior design skills to the test, buy the latest appliances, select art from local vendors at weekend markets, and organically create an ambiance that is a direct reflection of who you are.
But this time around, it might be even more exciting because you’re decorating a home in the way you love, but for other people to enjoy.
Think back to the first home you bought, decorated, and prepared for your family. Did you spend hours picking out the right shade of taupe that would make your home feel bright and airy yet cozy and elegant all in one? Perhaps you laid on approximately 50 mattresses, in search to find the one with the ultimate balance of firmness and comfort? And when you were all moved in, did you triple check to make sure all the safety features were working properly because this is your family we’re talking about, and you want safety to be a non-issue?
When designing and preparing a home for yourself and your own family, it’s likely you’ve won the gold medal in creating a home that’s both stylish yet safe for anyone who’s to step inside.
You know, carbon monoxide detectors that will sound the alarm so loudly it will wake up the whole block, sturdy furniture that your kids can run, play, and jump on and around without the worry of them getting hurt, and fire prevention preparation to ensure everyone in the home knows exactly what to do in the unlikely event that the alarms go off.
Safety was probably even more important than any color of paint or any piece of artwork that makes your home the beauty that it is.
This is the kind of proactive thinking that should be part of the process when preparing your vacation rental, but sometimes, because the home is technically a business, you may have no idea where to even start. But here’s the good news, you’re in the business of treating guests as family, so truly you need to simply plan the vacation rental as you would for your own family.
It can feel like a daunting task, covering your safety basics in a vacation rental, but luckily there are simple precautions you can take in order to seamlessly cover your grounds and fit out your vacation rental and best keep your guests safe.
Here are JZ Vacation Rentals simple tasks to promote health and safety in your vacation rental. First, let’s split safety up into the three different sections of your home: indoor, outdoor, and general health.
Vacation rental indoor safety precautions:
The last thing guests are thinking about when they arrive at a vacation home is what to do in case there is a fire, and quite frankly this is the last thing a guest SHOULD have to worry about. With safety not being at the top of your guest’s mind, it’s important to arm your home with the necessary precautions so fire dangers never have to become a thought. Here are a few simple guidelines to follow:
- Be sure there is a fire extinguisher in the kitchen that is in plain sight, easily accessible, and ready for use
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children
- Regularly check to see that smoke detectors are working properly
- Ensure all kitchen vents are cleaned regularly
Bathrooms are prone to wet floors, unforeseen moisture on the walls, and a place where anyone, no matter the age or physical condition, is more likely to fall if not careful.
One study finds that one out of every five people who slip and fall end up breaking a bone, and when this happens in your vacation home, it not only harms your guests but puts yourself in a slick situation as well since they are on your property.
For bathrooms and areas of the home that are more prone to moisture, provide a nonslip mat to add a layer of safety for your guests. On top of that, installing safety handrails in the bathroom will give guests the extra support they may need.
Carbon Monoxide Safety:
Carbon Monoxide safety is taught early on in school, as it’s known as the “silent killer” that can impact anyone unknowingly.
It’s crucial to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home and checked regularly as certain oils, woods, coals, and gasses sometimes do not burn properly, producing the dangerous gas.
JZ Vacation Rentals Tip: Making sure your chimney and vents are often cleaned our can help with the continuous release of all gasses and chemicals in a home.
Furniture and Appliance Safety
Have you ever spent hours putting together a new piece of furniture to finally finish, stand up the structure, and it all topples over because one little bolt is out of place?
With just one bolt loose and furniture naturally wearing over time, this can make for a potentially dangerous situation.
It’s important to think about the different people that come and go from your vacation home. One week three kids are running and jumping around the home, the next week large groups of people are there to celebrate a wedding, the week after an elderly couple is in the home for a relaxing vacation. Your furniture will see it all very quickly.
Think of vacation home furniture a little differently than your own furniture. This furniture has the potential to be worn down much quicker, so it’s important to:
- Make sure the pieces are set up correctly the first time around
- Keep a close eye on the stability of each piece
If necessary, you can always hire a professional to put together everything for you to ensure perfection!
Thorough housekeeping is essential for the look and comfort of your vacation rental, but cleaning only to make the home smell and look perfect is not enough.
Having your vacation rental cleaned to perfection is one thing, but being sure to comply with all health regulations is another.
It’s important to ensure all areas of the house are being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each guest. Guests often come in with colds, flues, or acquire some sort of sickness during their trip. Each area of the home needs to be cleaned so that your future guests won’t be contracting germs from the previous ones.
We highly recommend hiring a professional to do your cleaning for you.
Vacation rental outdoor safety precautions:
A well-lit porch, patio, and deck
Remember going trick or treating as a kid? If you lived in a medium to a large city, your teachers and parents probably taught you to only go to those homes that are well lit with their porch light on. You knew the homeowners would be home, and it would be safer to approach this stranger’s house.
The same “trick or treating” mindset goes for vacation rentals.
A well-lit home does make enjoying the front porch, patio, or deck easier for guests, but it also tells strangers or unwanted visitors that someone is home. This goes back to the old rule that unwanted visitors are more likely to stay away from a home if it is in fact well lit.
Making sure porch, patio, and deck lights are working and ready for use only adds another layer of protection.
JZ Vacation Rentals Tip: Outdoor lighting can also be done in a fashionable way with lanterns and string lights to create a warm and fun atmosphere.
Health and safety planning:
Guide book for guests
This is all a lot of information to keep in mind, even for property owners who are in the business each day, let alone guests who are only in the home for one week.
Since safety is the last thing your guests want to be thinking about on their vacation, we suggest creating a health and safety guest booklet to leave for your renters.
This book should be personalized to your home, emphasizing safety precautions you have in place, how to use potentially dangerous or complicated appliances, and escape plans in case of emergency.
One of our favorite ways to create a guide book and relay important information to our guests is with the help of TouchStay. With TouchStay, you can simply share a link with your guests (no mobile app or sign-in required), which gives them instant access to your properties safety guide, pre-arrival information, property features, recommended activities, and more. TouchStay has the capabilities to be used offline for guests with no connection and even printed for those without a device.
Vacation home safety doesn’t have to be a complex thing. Just treat your rental and guests like family, and the right precautions will be put into place.