The Vacation Rental That Got it Right

By Alex Gaggioli, February 28, 2017


A few weeks ago, I stayed at a vacation rental property called Palms at Park that blew me away. I spend a lot of time researching hospitality trends in all verticals from hotels to hostels to vacation rentals. There are some basic trends I see take form including operations, marketing, and the property itself.  A recent Airbnb/vacation rental nailed the entire experience from start to finish, in my opinion. Pre-stay, during, and after all had a “buttoned-up” feel to them in a really succinct way. Here’s why I think it was so great.

Before Arrival

Palms at Park 2

The Right Distribution Channels

I found the property via Airbnb, but upon further inspection I saw they were on multiple booking sites. In the age of channel managers, we always suggest that properties distribute their inventory on the most popular channels in their space. For vacation rentals, that usually includes Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, among others. No matter what type of property you have, you want to make sure you’re advertising and distributing where your clientele is looking.

Pre-Booking Communication

Prior to booking the property, my party and I had a few questions concerning the required length of stay, bedroom sizes, and age requirements. Pre-booking questions are quite common, and if they go unanswered, you, the property owner, run the risk of either frustrating the guest or losing the booking entirely. In my party’s case, the owner and operator responded promptly and even followed-up with a phone call, which brings me to my next point.

Go for the Upsell – but don’t be too pushy

When the owner responded to our questions, he was sure to mention some of the available extra services. They offer some pretty snazzy upsells like a personal chef, daily cleaning (like you’d expect in a hotel), and a service that provides rollaway beds.

These upsells were presented to us in a non-aggressive, helpful way. Had we been looking for them they would have been great. You never know if your guests or clients are interested in a particular upsell unless you ask.

Push Direct Bookings

Remember the Billboard Effect? That theory that says you get direct bookings simply by posting your inventory on other distribution channels? Well, that happened in our case. When we chatted with the property owner, he told us that if we booked direct on their website, we wouldn’t have to pay a $300 service fee. That was a pretty good incentive to book on a different website.

But, you can’t push direct bookings if your website isn’t set up correctly. A booking engine is essential to each and every property, no matter the type. If a guest has managed to find their way to your website, use it as an opportunity to grab a commission-free booking.

A Solid Website

The Palms at Park website was helpful during both the booking process and during our stay. Their website has big beautiful pictures, a video, and testimonials from previous guests. There is also a frequently asked questions section where they’ve compiled a comprehensive list of people’s previous questions.

For example, this property is located in Palm Springs which has extremely strict noise restrictions. The neighbors have a special hotline to call for vacation rental noise. When the police arrive, you’re automatically on the hook for a $250 ticket. Pretty intense. Their FAQ page does a good job at explaining all of that plus more.

Their website also includes a mini city guide that includes good places to eat and things to do. They’ve even included information on which airlines offer direct flights to Palm Springs. The owners have obviously gone the extra mile to provide as much information as they could find.

The property also has an active Instagram account and has it linkedin various places. They encourage guests to share photos and tag them. We believe in the power of social media, especially when it comes to vacation rentals.

During Our Stay

Palms at Park 4

The Property Itself

The property itself was astounding. It was specifically designed and built to be a vacation rental. The spaces were thoughtfully layed out and they made good design decisions for a house that gathers large groups of people.

Each room has its own bathroom which is essential for groups traveling together. The rooms are located on the perimeter of the house so that there is an added layer of privacy. The house is centered around an open kitchen and living room that opens out to the pool deck. It’s very functional and works with any number of people.

The rooms were nicely decorated and everything was hotel-quality or better, from the sheets to the beds to the toiletries. In my opinion, it was the perfect mixture of a vacation rental and a typical hotel experience. They put time and effort into the details and it shows.

Everything was in proper working order and there were directions on how to use everything within the house.

While it’s probably not in your vacation rental’s budget to completly renovate the space, there are small things you can do to elevate the experience. The details elevate the overall quaility, and personally it made a huge difference for this trip.

On-Site Info Book

To supplement the information Palms at Park provided online, there was also a binder filled with helpful information. Simple info on wifi password, how to lock the doors, etc. were included, but so were some extras. There were more restaurant and activity suggestions, as well as other helpful tips about the area.


Palms at Park 5

Post-stay was pretty straight-forward. After we left the property, the property owner followed up asking for feedback on the property. At Cloudbeds, we strongly believe in the power of reviews and feedback for properties (and our own product!) because it gives you a chance to grow and/or show-off to potential new bookings online.

The only thing the owner did not ask us to do was leave a review online, which we always suggest, especially when the guests were happy.

And In Conclusion

Creating an all-around enjoyable experience from pre-booking to post-stay takes a lot of time and effort. This property, Palms At Park, has taken the time to ensure a positive experience for each guest who visits their Palms Springs property. Everything we needed for the weekend was readily available, and the property itself was just beyond gorgeous.

From their website to the sheets on their beds, I believe this property deserves a big old stamp of approval. Thanks for an incredible weekend!

You can check out Palms at Park’s website here.

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