10 tips for renovating your vacation apartment

In the past few years, there has been a veritable boom in the rental of private homes. Today, travelers no longer have merely hotels and guest homes at their disposal but rather an array of vacation accommodations offered by private individuals on platforms such as Airbnb, HomeAway, Homelydays or Wimdu. This new form of travel has become an attractive option over the past few years for many homeowners interested in customizing their own apartments to serve as vacation rentals.

From the Mediterranean villa with lemon orchards to adventurous tree houses or igloos in the most remote corners of the world- the options are endless. Those who wish to keep pace in the rental market have to somewhat roll up their sleeves and get to work.

A small investment in renovation is well worth it over the long term. A successful vacation apartment can be a very profitable business for a renter. I have put together the following 10 helpful tips for you.


  1. Guest satisfaction

In the era of internet booking, personal reviews written by guests play a significant role. The highest number of reservations often go to those who can secure the best reviews for their location. Therefore, my first tip is one that you can implement immediately, even without renovating. Often, it is the little details that guests remember in a particular way. A nice welcome package on the kitchen table, a bottle of wine in the refrigerator, a colorful bouquet of flowers or a basket with fresh fruit will not cost you, as the landlord, a fortune, but certainly provide your guest with a positive vibe and an immediate sensation of being “at home”.


  1. Particularly interesting for the owner: reduce costs!

In order to keep the rental business lucrative, it is worthwhile to take a closer look at the apartment’s energy consumption. Energy and water costs in particular can often be lowered using simple measures. Terrific possibilities have been developed to design a wonderful residential lighting concept with energy-saving lamps or LEDs. Savings calculated over the year can often be enormous, without requiring you to make concessions in comfort.

Even electric devices such as refrigerators, washing machines, etc. should have their energy consumption checked on a regular basis.


  1. Color sets the mood

As an interior designer, my work focuses greatly on colors and their effects. I know one landlord, who had to completely renovate one of her five vacation apartments. All of her apartments were designed on the basis of a different color scheme. However, the “red apartment” was not successful at all and she received hardly any requests to book it. As soon as she implemented a new color concept, the number of rentals for this apartment as well increased dramatically. Often, there are no truly “rational” reasons to explain why an apartment is rented or not.

I am happy to provide advice on this topic and we can look at color concepts together to choose one that matches your vacation rental. More information regarding wall colors and various painting techniques can also be found in my article, Time for some new color?”


  1. Storage space

One aspect that you should certainly consider when designing the interior space is providing enough storage and open areas for your guests. Particularly in the bedroom and bathroom, there should be enough free space to comfortably store any personal items that guests have brought with them!


  1. Art as an element of interior design

In all likelihood, you are not going to hang your most expensive pieces of artwork in your vacation rental. However, a lovely painting or unique print can make a big difference in the feel of a room. A good idea is to contact local artists. Placing paintings or photo prints in a popular vacation apartment can be a good opportunity for the artist to publicize his or her work. On the other hand, you will be able to put up unique works with regional character in your apartment, perhaps even at an inexpensive loan rate.


  1. Child-friendly?

kinder-schweiz-04-grWhen planning the design of an apartment, I always ask my clients specific questions with respect to their “target group”. Those wishing to appeal to guests with children should certainly put thought into child safety, high chairs, playpens, etc.


  1. Wellness offers generate demand even in the off-season

If the apartment offers enough room for certain extras such an open fireplace, a steam bath or an infrared sauna, it will attract visitors even beyond the high season, when it is easy to rent. If you are looking for inspiration, take a look at my references in the wellness section.


  1. Do-it-yourself quality check

There is a very simple way to check the quality of the accommodation and functionality of the apartment: spend a day and a night there yourself! You will certainly notice things then that you need to fix before the first guests of the season arrive!


  1. Simple handover of the apartment

When everything is tip top and ready to go, the question remains of how to hand over the keys. Electronic locks offer an interesting option these days. For example, a locking system with a keypad allows you to simply inform your guest of the correct code, then the guests can arrive at any time of day or night.


  1. Last but not least: professional photos

Generally, if you rent through a site such as Airbnb or Wimdu, a photographer is provided free of charge. These internet platforms have based their business on the rental of private homes and know what it takes. A perfect presentation is everything when it comes to convincing future guests of how attractive your accommodation is. Even when you rent to private clients, you should certainly commission a professional shooting of your apartment. Paying for a good photographer is a guaranteed return on investment!


Personally, I use each trip to foreign countries or regions as a source of inspiration for my projects. Let yourself be inspired as well by your impressions as you travel! Should you have questions regarding the renovation of your vacation apartment, do not hesitate to call or contact me by email. I am happy to advise you and put together an individual quote for your project! With that, I would like to wish you an inspiring summer!