Do you have an underutilized room, basement, or garage space in your vacation rental home? Are you willing to go the extra mile to attract renters with families? Whatever your situation, creating a game room could lead to big rewards for future bookings.
So many homes have game rooms now that it has actually become a prerequisite in some markets, primarily those catering to families. Additionally, it can help increase the appeal of your rental during your off-season. Finally, in a market where a game room is not currency, it might be the perfect way to differentiate your home from the competition.
Pool tables are available for as low as $400. If you check websites like Craigslist.org, you might find a good deal on a gently used table. But you should seriously consider if have the space. Would your own family and your renters prefer the roominess of your space without the added entertainment, or a fairly bulky piece of furniture that would provide some family fun? Remember that guests need room to be able to enjoy the game without knocking elbows and cue sticks against walls. Take accurate measurements before making your investment. There is also added maintenance - cue sticks will likely break, balls might get lost, and the felt could get scratched. You should be prepared to monitor your table and accessories to make sure the return on your investment lasts. If your space can actually accommodate a pool table, it is a worthwhile investment to consider.
Games for all agesGame rooms provide entertainment for pre-teens and teens of all ages. Classic games like Scrabble ($20), Monopoly ($20), Pictionary ($30), Trivial Pursuit ($30), Chess ($15), and Checkers ($10) can help bridge the cultural divide that creeps between parents and teens. New classics like Apples to Apples ($20), Catchphrase ($25) and Taboo ($20) can also help parents get involved in games that their kids love to play with other kids. In the evenings of those family vacations or on that occasional and unanticipated rainy day, putting a little thought behind the group games you provide will absolutely save your guests' vacation.
Upgrade your game room technologyGames comprise just a small facet of game room must-haves. A TV (27” or larger) ($400) and DVD player ($100) are also big selling points. If you are looking to differentiate your game room electronically, spring for an HDTV ($550) or a Blu-Ray Player ($175). You are guaranteed to awe your guests with a quality movie-watching experience that far exceeds their expectations. One Owner Community staffer strongly advocates that every game room should have a Wii ($199), as it provides great entertainment for groups of all ages.
Having a DVD library ($10/DVD) available for your guests is another much appreciated and marketable amenity, especially in remote areas without a nearby video rental store. Most vacationers simply want to get away and relax, and even in high-activity regions, they'll want to unwind in the evenings before setting out to ski, swim, or hike the next day.
To that end, you should also provide comfortable seating options that accommodate the number you sleep.
Upping the "Wow" FactorSpending a little money on unique extras can really help differentiate your home from the competition. One owner added a candy machine ($35) to her game room. Guests put coins in the machine for the candy, and the owner used that money to replenish the candy supply. Another unique alternative is a poker table ($100). Poker tables are relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to pricier investments like pool tables, and they are guaranteed to excite any male over the age of 16. If you really want to make it big with this demographic, supply your own poker set complete with quality chips, several decks of cards, and an organized place to store them ($30).
The best thing about creating a game room in your home is that you can have fun with it! What's something that you've always wanted to have in your house? Whether it's something more traditional like darts ($40), arcade games ($1,000+), foosball ($100+), or air hockey ($75+), or something completely crazy like an indoor tree house ($100), ball pit ($300), or secret hideout for the kids when playing Hide & Go Seek, you have an opportunity to really stand out with what you provide.
If you put a little thought into it, it's not that hard to come up with some creative and inexpensive ideas that will delight your guests. It doesn't have to cost a lot to excite kids' imaginations and give parents a reprieve from the stresses of home.
HomeAway , Owner Community , Amenities & Decor , Vacation Rental Amenities , From Pool Tables to PlayStations: Creating a Game Room at Your Vacation Rental