3 Replies Latest reply: Apr 14, 2012 7:36 PM by carol RSS

    Attracting Guests while Renovating

    New Member

      My wife and I purchased a Puget Sound based vacation home that we are in the midst of remodeling which includes new carpeting throughout, new furniture throughout, new kitchen cabinets and appliances etc.  The house was previously listed on VRBO so photos exist but they are not particularly attractive. 


      The renovation should be complete by June 1st which begins the busiest part of the year but obviously people are making vacation plans now for the summer.


      Any suggestions for steps to take now to maximize our rentals?



        • Re: Attracting Guests while Renovating
          Active Contributor

          Hi Tia.  This question has come up before:  http://community.homeaway.com/message/11518#11518  Marym's advice in this other thread was very good.  We would also put up some photos of the progress and swap them out frequently whenever you get further along, even if it's not the finished product.  Great exterior shots will help a lot as will an eye-catching headline, something like - Puget Sound Stunner: Total Renovation in Progress!  Or whatever.  Then give a proposed date of completion and keep adding photos, which is pretty easy on VRBO.  Good luck!

          • Re: Attracting Guests while Renovating
            anja Senior Contributor

            June 1st is not that far away if you plan to be done with the renovation by that date {give or take a few days}. I think you can use the time wisely to promote your place. I like the suggestions made by  stjvilla and marym of uploading photos as the work progresses and using your VRBO {or HA} listing to 'show progress'.   If it is at all possible to keep it "clean" and "organized" enough during stages of the renovation, you might be able to start renting part of the place out with a "renovation special discount" {make it a good discount] --- it really depends upon how much of the house will be "affected".   I know someone who did their reno work in such an organized way that they could rent out the place for the weekends when workers were gone --- but their place was being done room by room {so the room being worked on was locked}...and the house was kept in immaculate condition for renters.  They offered a 'reno discount' during that time.   I would use my VRBO/HA ad as a "blog" and keep updating the info.  I love the idea of uploading new photos as you finish  -- so using your HA / VRBO listing as a "blog" to report on progress could be fun and interesting for "followers" who may be thinking about a Puget Sound vacation next summer.  Write briefly each week about what you are doing, and give your listing readers a sense of what the place will look like {colors, decor, etc.}.  For bookings for the summer:  I think you can incite interest along the way and get some bookings for the future when the work is done by offering -a "time-sensitive"-  SPECIAL for a your NEW Puget home when you are ready to open.  Sounds like a wonderful and exciting project for you.

            • Re: Attracting Guests while Renovating
              carol Premier Contributor

              This is a great question -- and as someone who has spend tons of money updating and renovating a 100 year old house, I've been there!


              I've seen some people post architectural drawings instead of photos -- would this work for you?


              I try to start my projects early in the off-season so that they will be done long before rentals start.  However, this hardly ever works because of all those delays in construction we all encounter.  The most important thing is to make sure your builder knows your absolute deadlines -- when the work has to be finished and inspections complete.  I've never intentionally cut it as close as you are doing, so here's a suggestion.  Your potential renters will be nervous that it won't be ready in time, so you really need to have a generous cancellation clause in your agreement - if the house hasn't passed inspection by the time they are due to arrive, what will you do?  Are there alternative housing arrangements that you can make at the last minute, or is your area fully booked months ahead?  In my case, most of my renters are large extended families for a reunion, so it would be hard to find alternative lodgings.  But if your place is designed for a family of four, it might be easy for them or you find another place at the last minute. 


              A generous cancellation clause plus a discount should lure them in.  Be prepared to not make your max profit this year -- next year you can raise your rates once you have great pictures and good reviews!!