You can hear the loons calling and birds chirping, which means Canadians are considering booking their next summer adventure.

As a vacation rental owner, this means one thing: it’s time to welcome guests eager to experience the unique and awe-inspiring beauty of the Great White North, a destination we are privileged to share with the world.

You are far from alone. Statistics Canada shows a growing wave of private short-term rentals is popular and thriving in Canada’s accommodation sector. Short-term rentals (whole homes and condos rented one to 28 days online) doubled in market share from 7% in 2017 to 15.2% in 2021. Even during COVID, vacation rental property landlords saw smaller revenue declines (-26.2%) compared to hotels (-38.1%).

That’s good news for vacation rental property owners across Canada who are eager to attract vacationers to their properties, whether a private property listed on Airbnb or VRBO or a listing on an online travel agency (OTA) such as or Expedia.

10 vacation rental property tips

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However, before you open the doors and welcome your first summer guests, ensuring your property is in top-notch condition is crucial. Your role in this preparatory work is not just important; it’s a responsibility that can make your rental property the shining star of the summer show.

Here are 10 tips to get your vacation rental property sparkling clean, fully equipped, and ready to wow your guests this summer:

1. Do a Deep Clean and Refresh Blitz

Power wash decks, patios, and walkways to remove winter grime. Don’t forget the outdoor furniture! A fresh coat of paint or stain can work wonders.

Clean your rental thoroughly from top to bottom. Pay special attention to areas that might collect dust or cobwebs during the off-season. Wash windows to maximize natural light and showcase the beauty of your surroundings, vacuum carpets, and declutter surfaces. Consider a professional cleaning for a sparkling first impression. Sparkling interiors create a great first impression.

2. Welcome the Season with a Splash

Add pops of summer colour with blooming flowers in pots or hanging planters. Boost your curb appeal with some light landscaping. Plant colourful flowers, trim overgrown bushes, and ensure your walkway is clear of debris (to help prevent trip and fall accidents). Place comfy outdoor seating for guests to relax and soak up the sun, creating a welcoming and vibrant outdoor space for your guests.

3. Enhance the Outdoor Experience

Canadians love spending time outside. Make your patio or deck a haven with comfortable seating, a fire pit (where permitted), and some hammocks for ultimate relaxation. If you have a fireplace, ensure it’s properly cleaned and ready for cozy evenings. Don’t forget to stock up on yard games like horseshoes, croquet, or frisbee to encourage outdoor fun.

4. Refresh Bathroom Amenities

Making a positive impression on your guests means providing world-class customer service by doing little things that make them feel welcome and appreciated. One way to do that is by stocking your bathrooms with necessary toiletry items, including bars of soap, shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrushes, mouthwash, cotton ear swabs, and moisturizing skin lotion.

5. Replace Bedroom Linen and Towels

Bedroom linen, blankets, washcloths, and bath and dish towels wear out rapidly. Take stock of what’s in your digs and replace older or stained linen and towels. It can’t hurt to provide disposable disinfectant and cosmetic remover wipes in bathrooms to help extend the life of your washcloths and towels.

6. Stock Up on Summer Essentials

Ensure your rental has everything guests need to enjoy the warm weather and stay comfortably. That might include beach towels, lawn chairs, sunscreen (depending on location), or board games for rainy days. Extra towels, blankets, and basic toiletries are a thoughtful touch.

7. Update Your Airbnb, VRBO, or OTA Listing

Update your listing with clear instructions on arrival, check-in, and check-out procedures. Be responsive to inquiries and provide local recommendations. Update your listing with fresh, high-quality photos and videos that showcase your rental’s best features during the summer season and attract potential renters.

Remember, you compete with thousands of other hosts, with countless new properties being added frequently. Research what other hosts in your region offer and check their pricing to ensure your rates are competitive.

Also, avoiding fraudulent bookings on OTAs you list with by:

  • Only allowing guests to book with a credit card and CVC or CVV code.
  • Using a secure payment processing method to pre-authorize bookings by charging the card. If the card is declined, give the guest a few hours to update their payment details on the OTA site or cancel the reservation.
  • Verify who your guests are by email, letting them know their credit card has been charged and advising them there’s a self-check-in process that requires them to provide their contact information.
  • Being wary of last-minute bookings. Advise potential guests you reserve the right to decline a booking if your confirmation policies are not followed.

8. Maintenance Matters

Preventative maintenance is essential for any property. Go through the kitchen and examine the appliances to ensure they’re clean and working. Likewise, look carefully at the cutlery, dishware, glassware, and cooking utensils in your place. Replace them if they look old, scratched up, cracked, or bent out of shape. 

Check plumbing throughout the abode for leaks, install new batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and test them to ensure they work. Addressing minor issues can prevent significant headaches and negative reviews in the future.

Additionally, keep an inventory of all the items you have in the place so you’ll know if something goes missing or was accidentally broken by a guest and needs replacing. Your rental property item inventory should be included in your broader business contents inventory as part of your commercial property coverage.

9. Do a Tech Check

Many Canadians rely on technology during their travels. Ensure your Wi-Fi is working correctly and that TVs and entertainment systems are functioning properly for those who need to stay connected. Consider offering smart TVs with access to streaming services for entertainment and smart features like thermostats or lighting that guests can conveniently control.

Also, if your property has an electronic door lock your guests use to gain access with a secure code, replace its batteries. You don’t want to get a phone call or email from an angry guest who cannot enter the property because the electronic door lock is out of juice.

10. Highlight Local Amenities

Canadians are proud of their unique culture and landscapes. Showcase local art, leave guidebooks featuring nearby attractions, and consider offering guests a basket of locally sourced treats. Doing so adds a personal touch and shows guests you care about their experience, helping them plan their itinerary to experience the best of your region.

Bonus Tips to Grow Your Bookings

Offer Summer Specials

Boost your summer rental business by offering special promotions and discounts to encourage customers to book early and extend their stay. Don’t miss the opportunity to increase your revenue and attract more guests.

Celebrate Positive Reviews

Positive reviews are gold for any vacation rental owner! Encourage satisfied guests to leave positive reviews on your listing platform to improve your guest experience continuously. Positive feedback builds trust and attracts future bookings. Happy guests can lead to positive reviews, increasing your rental’s visibility in search results. 

Be a Helpful and Resourceful Host

As a host, it’s essential to be resourceful and accommodating. One way to achieve this is by creating a guest information booklet. This booklet should include clear instructions on how to use appliances, Wi-Fi passwords, and local emergency contact details. Additionally, highlight nearby attractions, restaurants, and activities to provide a one-stop shop for an unforgettable Canadian vacation experience.

How to Get Low-Cost Vacation Rental Property Insurance

Sharing your home on Airbnb and VRBO (formerly HomeAway) is a fantastic way to earn extra cash. But what happens if a rogue baseball smashes a window or a guest trips and needs medical attention? Regular homeowner’s insurance might not cut it since private residential home insurance is not designed to cover business properties (and a rental property is a business property).

There are many ways for Airbnb and VRBO hosts to be successful, such as paying attention to the details and ensuring they have the custom business insurance policy they need to protect their properties and finances. 

Let’s face it – insurance policies aren’t exactly beach reads, but they’re necessary to get the coverage you need. That’s where Zensurance can help.

A low-cost Airbnb insurance or VRBO insurance from Zensurance protects you from unexpected events and liability issues that may arise while your guests use your property.

Fill out our online application for a free quote.

Our experienced and friendly brokers will take the hassle of getting insured off your hands by shopping our partner network of over 50 insurance providers and customizing it to suit your property.

– Updated May 1, 2024.

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About the Author: Mario Petramala

Mario Petramala is a Team Lead, New Business, Medical Malpractice, Zensurance.