4 things to consider when choosing a vacation villa
If you want to rent a home instead of a hotel, there’s a few things you might want to put on your checklist
So far in your life, you’ve chosen a resort for every holiday you’ve ever taken. It’s been nice, and for the most part, reliable.
Lately though, people you trust have been bragging about their vacation rentals and telling you how great it was to have their own space, versus staying at a traditional hotel.
But how do you start looking for a rental home, and what type of information should you be looking for, to make sure you book the perfect property?
Here’s a quick list you can consult to make sure you cover all the important bases, before booking that vacation villa:
How clear and complete is the information provided?
One of the most stressful aspects of renting an independent accommodation, is trusting you’ll be getting what’s advertised. After all, there’s no group branding to back it up, so you want to be certain you’ll be dealing with professionals.
Chances are you’ll find a home or villa on a 3rd party rental site like AirBnB, VRBO or other similar platforms. They’re a great starting point!
But while these platforms are helpful in terms of comparing properties between them, you’re going to want to go see the property’s own website.
Why, if the basic information is already elsewhere?
Because a property that cares about providing clear, complete information, on its own platform, will also care about its guests. A villa’s website often mirrors the owner’s commitment to service, so you’ll quickly get a feel for just how generous they are with helping you plan a great holiday.
So what’s the site like?
- Can you easily find answers to all your questions?
- Are there lots and lots of images? Do they have video?
- What about guest reviews?
- Is it easy to contact someone and, more importantly, how fast do they get back to you?
The minute you land on a website, it should resonate with you. The words, the images, the details. You should feel at home, even online.
A great online experience normally transposes to the property.
What types of amenities will we have?
The idea of having your own place sounds nice. But will your home away from home have everything you need, and what if something broke down or wasn’t available?
When looking for a vacation rental, make a list of basic elements that matter most to you and your family. Vacation rental sites have search filters that can help guide you with a starter list, because they cover basics that most travellers are concerned about.
For example, the pool! Do you have to share? Is it kept clean? Is it safe for younger kids? Good for swimming laps? What about lounge beds? Can you swim at night?
Then, there’s the kitchen. If you plan on using it, what things are important to you? Does it have the bare minimum or is it the kind of place you can imagine yourself happily spending time in? What equipment do you want and need?
What’s your ideal temperature? White Villas is located in the tropics, so ensuring a constant, cool breeze was vital to the design of our homes. For obvious reasons, we didn’t focus on heating, but A/C is also important for some of our guests. How important is it to you?
Finally, we hate to bring it up, but let’s face it : WiFi is at the top of the amenities list for many travellers. Including us. Most properties will tell you they have it, but you may want to double check how well it works, if that’s important to you.
There’s more that might matter:
- Entertainment (TVs, games, toys, playground, etc)
- Off-property activities – will I have to book everything on my own? With us, the answer is NO! 🙂 Here’s a list of what we can set-up for you.
- Is the property safe?
- Where is the closest medical clinic? If you’re traveling with a vulnerable loved one, this climbs the priorities list.
Where is the vacation villa located?
- Where exactly will we be, in terms of proximity to the airport and the destination’s main activities and eateries?
- Where is the closest grocery store?
- Is the home close to the beach?
- Is it quiet?
- How close are the neighbors?
- Is it in a safe neighborhood?
- How far is the property manager?
What do previous guests say?
You’re usually motivated to write a review for one of two reasons:
- You loved it
- You were deeply disappointed
Bad reviews are important. But only when you start to detect a pattern and most guests highlight the same issues, over and over again. A random, negative review, sandwiched between loads of great write-ups, usually just means there was a fluke. It happens, but it shouldn’t be the basis from which you choose your property.
Look for specific points that can paint a broader picture of what to expect:
- Where the hosts helpful and friendly?
- Did an issue come up and was it quickly resolved?
- Would the reviewer come back?
- What did they talk about that resonates with you? Did their kids have a blast? Was it better than they expected? What did they rave about?
A great product or service will naturally receive great reviews. However, look at the date on the reviews. Some properties had their glory days a while back, but still ride on great, albeit ancient, reviews. Things might have changed over time, and it doesn’t mean they’re still amazing. It just means they once were.
We hope this list helps you find your first, or next, great vacation villa.
Perhaps, you’ll choose to stay with us. We’d be thrilled if you did.
Simon, Pina and Max
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