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Getting a five-star review on your STR units means giving your customer an experience that is comfortable, relaxing, and emotionally satisfying.

You want them to feel like you care about them, even if you never meet them face to face.

You can accomplish this through a strategic combination of providing basic essentials, fun extras, and a personal touch.

This isn’t an exhaustive list—and I highly recommend adding your own unique twist since you know your customers better than I do—but it’s a great start.

#1 Easy-to-follow directions to get there

Your customer’s experience begins before they even arrive at your unit.

If they’re from out of town/state/country, they won’t be familiar with your roads, landmarks, and modes of transportation.

And we all know what it’s like when things catch us off guard. It’s nice to be warned about traffic patterns or things that are easy to miss if you’re not paying attention.

Google Maps is great, but adding your own personal, helpful touches to the directions can only help.

#2 Comfortable furniture

Is there anything worse than getting back to your room after a long day of meetings or hiking or whatever it is you’ve been doing and sitting down on a really stiff couch?

Or kicking your shoes off and leaning back on a really uncomfortable bed?

Don’t try to scrimp on seating and bedding in your rentals. You want durable, soft (but firm), lots of pillows, a place to put your feet up, a king-sized bed when possible. And you want it all to look good, too.

Yes, this will cost you a bit more money upfront. It will be worth it in the end. Trust me.

#3 Quality bedding and linens

Along those same lines, you don’t want cheap sheets, blankets, and towels. Buying the softest sheets, the most comfortable blankets, and the fluffiest towels is a relatively easy way to make your guests feel like they’re staying in luxurious accommodations.

Climbing into bed and feeling super comfortable sheets? Stepping out of the shower and wrapping up in a big, warm towel? These are experiences you want your guests to have and remember.

#4 Kitchen essentials

Have you ever stayed in an Airbnb that had the absolute minimum in the kitchen? That’s the worst, right?

You need to fill your kitchen with usable equipment that works well and is in nice condition. Some of the things you might want to have on hand:

  • Brita water filter
  • Tea kettle (and tea bags/sugar)
  • Tumblers, wine glasses, and mugs
  • Cookie sheets
  • Rice cooker
  • Nice set of knives
  • Plenty of utensils (including chopsticks)
  • Dishes that match the overall theme of your unit
  • Good dish towels and washcloths (no holes!)
  • Salad spinner
  • Blender, mixer
  • Coffee maker (and coffee/creamer/sugar)
  • Paper towels/napkins

#5 Instructions for how everything works

Just because you know how to use the TV remote doesn’t mean your guests will. They also might not know which light switches go with which lights, how to turn on the ceiling fan, how to work the DVD player.

Leaving easy, clear, fun instructions (laminating them is a good idea) will go a long way in putting your guests at ease and helping them avoid unnecessary frustration.

#6 Up-to-date technology.

Speaking of all those instructions, you’ll need them for all the technology, too. The only exception is if you’re specifically marketing a rustic, off-the-grid experience for your guests.

Here are some necessities:

  • Fast WiFi
  • 4k TV (wall mounted) with simple remotes
  • Roku TV with easy remote.
  • A good router
  • Basic cable
  • Apple TV in every room 

And make sure it’s all working properly each time a guest checks out and before another guest checks in.

#7: Local art

One of the best things you can do is partner with a local artist who will let you hang their artwork in your units for free.

The artist can leave their card and put small plaques on the artwork that say it’s for sale and how much it costs. Then, if a guest falls in love with a piece, they can take it home with them (or you can ship it for them).

And then the artist can replace the piece with another one.

You really don’t want your rental to look like it came straight from a chain store. Custom artwork is the way to go, but it’s really expensive if you have to buy it all outright.

Letting your walls double as a gallery for local artists is a win-win-win for you, your guest, and the artist.

#8 Nice personal touches

This one is totally up to you. Is there something special that’s unique to your geographical location that you could leave for your guest? A small souvenir or token?

You could use soaps or candles from local artisans in your rental. You could have a bookshelf filled with bestselling novels, kids’ books, board games.

An assortment of teas and coffee (from local roasters) would be fun. Mugs from local establishments. Reusable grocery bags. A guest book for your guests to sign.

Let those creative juices flow.

The bottom line: make your customer feel like they’re important and valuable and you care deeply about their comfort and happiness, which you absolutely do.

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If you’d like more invaluable information on getting started in STRs, grab our FREE STR Playbook here. It has absolutely everything you need to get you headed down the road of STR success.

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