Although the beautiful scenery and interesting attractions are what entice travelers to your locale, most of them are going to want something to do in between rounds of sight-seeing and enjoying the regional fare.
As a vacation rental host, you’re not under an obligation to provide additional entertainment options, but doing so will definitely be appreciated by guests looking to pass some time at your place. Just make sure that your online listing is up front and detailed about what entertainment amenities you offer, so that guests don’t show up with unrealistic expectations.
Keep Them Connected (aka, Provide WiFi)
Most people are tech savvy enough that they can find a way to amuse themselves as long as they have an Internet connection. These days, it’s basically a statement if a public establishment doesn’t offer WiFi Internet access, and so it’s probably the only thing on this list that you absolutely should provide for your guests. Unless the primary purpose of your rental is to give travelers a place to unplug and remove themselves from the modern world (and if it is, you should make sure that intention is clearly stated), your visitors are likely going to expect to be able to get online at some point during their stay. Of course, it should go without saying that you’ll want leave the router name and password somewhere easily accessible for guests.
Provide Familiar Viewing Options
Nothing epitomizes idly whiling away time like kicking back and watching some TV, and isn’t that what vacation is all about? After a long day of taking in attractions and perusing the local businesses, guests will want to wind down in your rental with something comfortable and familiar. Much like how the hotel industry spent years luring in customers with the promise of “Free HBO,” your guests will appreciate having a wide selection of viewing options. Offering cable TV may appeal to some, but it’s certainly not a necessity in this day and age. However, you should be providing access to some kind of streaming service, such as Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Because everyone’s entertainment system setup is different, make sure to provide detailed instructions on how to use your devices (even if it seems obvious to you).
Create an Appropriate Party Atmosphere
This one specially pertinent if you have a sizable space that tends to be rented by larger groups of people. Providing the basics of throwing a good party is a great way to eliminate stress for your visitors, so that they can have a relaxing and fun stay. Things like corkscrews and bottle openers, extra koozies and coasters, and even some of those plastic red solo cups will cut down on party preparation, allowing your guests to go straight to having a good time. Obviously, every space is unique and what constitutes a good (and reasonable) party in one rental won’t always fly in another, but knowing the general vibe of your regular guests, how the neighbors react to things, and what kind of experiences are expected from travelers coming to your destination can help guide you. Be sure to clearly set appropriate expectations regarding what is and isn’t acceptable party behavior with your guests before they arrive.
It’s low-tech, sure, but you’d be surprised by how much people appreciate having something simple and engaging to do while they’re spending time away from home. This is a particularly good idea for rentals that tend to bring in a lot of families with kids, as having some old school ways to spend time together can leave your guests with the warm fuzzies you’re hoping to inspire in them during their stay. But let’s be clear: Board games aren’t just for kids. As a baseline, I’d suggest starting with the classics (Monopoly, Sorry, Clue, etc.), but there is no shortage of fun and interesting board games out there that would be an absolute hoot for your guests. Here’s a great list to get you started.
Bathroom Reading Materials
We may not talk about it, but almost everyone reads in the bathroom. A lot of restroom reading has migrated to smartphones and tablets in recent years, but providing some light materials in close proximity to the porcelain throne gives your guests something to do and shows that you’re really thinking about every aspect of their experience. Keep it simple with fact or joke books, or catch their interest and help them learn about where they’re staying with local histories. I’m also a big fan of magazines, and securing a subscription to National Geographic, People, or Entertainment Weekly is a low-cost option for easily digestible content that appeals to the majority of people.
Local Entertainment Guides (from a Real Local)
If they’re anything like me, your guests are likely looking for something resembling an “authentic” experience during their stay. There’s not going to be any shortage of advertisements for the most popular destinations, attractions, and dining establishments in your area, but you can provide them with an unforgettable and unique experience by creating a custom guide of your favorite things to do, places to eat, and ways to entertain yourself. Visitors will appreciate the personal touch, and the more entertained you can keep them outside the rental, the less you’ll feel obliged to provide indoor activities.
The primary appeal of staying in a rental property on a vacation is the ability to feel “at home” even when you’re far from it. That’s why most people appreciate the ability leisurely lounge around their rentals with low-key, simple activities, just like they would in the comfort of their usual space.