How To Create Memorable Experiences Your Guests Will Cherish A Lifetime (With Just A Little Effort)

Sep 1, 2016 | Guest Experience

The key to getting a good review is making your guest’s stay memorable. Not just another vacation. Not just good. Not even great. But the best darn vacation they’ve ever taken. One they’ll remember for a lifetime, and reminisce about year after year. Even better, give them such a stellar experience that they’ll come back year after year.

Now that’s customer loyalty.

Customer loyalty? That’s right. Every guest that stays in your home is a customer (and potential repeat customer). Just as we reward brands that provide us with a great experience, travelers reward hosts who exceed their expectations. They’ll do so by telling everyone about their stay and, most importantly, writing an awesome review.

So how do you create an over-the-top experience? With just a little bit of effort, you can truly wow your guests. It doesn’t take a helicopter pick-up or installing a new infinity pool, but it does take more than just clean linens and a stocked refrigerator. The goal is to treat your guests to something unique and thoughtful, so much so that they’ll want to tell all their friends about it. When people ask “How was your trip?,” it’ll be the first thing they mention.

For inspiration, we’ve compiled three examples from real homeowners who have done something so memorable for their guests that they can’t stop raving about it in the reviews. None of these things are groundbreaking, but all are creative and thoughtful – just the types of ideas that guests appreciate most. With a small amount of effort, you can easily implement them into your own rental strategy.

1. Loyalty Leads To Repeat Guests

This clever transportation idea adds convenience and has guests raving about – and returning to – one homeowner’s Florida rental.


Homeowner Scotta R. boasts a perfect five-out-of-five rating from more than 40 reviews of her Destin, Florida property. It’s not just first-timers that she hosts, either. Scotta understands that her rental property is her brand. From the home itself, the furniture, decorations, amenities and – most importantly – her service, she is building loyalty with her customers. Because of this, Scotta sees many repeat guests, which are vital for the continued success of your rental business.

 “Second time staying at the property. By far our best vacation ever!” – Review from April 2015

How does she do it? By making her guest’s lives easy and convenient during their stay. One item that constantly gets referenced is the golf cart that’s available to guests. “The biggest hit was probably the golf cart because nobody had to walk to the ocean,” says one TripAdvisor reviewer. “Only a block away from the ocean but having a golf cart made it a breeze getting the kids back and forth from the beach,” says another.

Guest Convenience Makes For Happy Guests

Some homeowners would be content with the fact their property is just minutes to the sand. But Scotta understands that even an already-convenient feature can be improved.

For just a few hundred bucks (golf cart prices may vary), Scotta now provides guests with an immensely helpful utility, with benefits that any vacationer would appreciate.

Not only can guests transport themselves to and from the beach more easily, but bringing towels, umbrellas, chairs, toys and coolers is also breeze. Walking five minutes doesn’t seem like much, but with all those items in tow? Not necessarily a relaxing way to start the day.

Imagine your hosting a family reunion, but the grandparents aren’t so mobile. Getting to the beach could be a big concern, regardless of how close by it is. Enter the golf cart. “Great to have for family members that may not be able to make the walk,” claims a past guest. “Such a handy addition.”

Convenience Is Key

Whether it’s a clever transportation idea or something else, the goal is to improve your guest’s convenience while they’re on vacation. It may be a fancy coffee machine, a picnic set or even just detailed instructions on using your appliances (more on that, next). Whatever it is that adds convenience, that extra effort can create a great experience in your rental, leading to repeat guests.

2. Be A Stellar Host

It’s easier than you think. Small gestures go a long way when a guest writes a review. By being an incredible host, they won’t just rate your property, but they’ll recommend it.


Sometimes it’s you that makes a guest’s stay so memorable. Certain things about your property are out of your control: the location, size, appliances, amenities, etc. A guest’s expectations should be set realistically about those various items simply from them researching your rental and reading the description. However, where you can exceed their expectations is with your personal service and accessibility.

It’s The Little Things

Take Chicago condo owner Cheryl S., whose beautiful one-bedroom suite has a perfect five-out-of-five score from over 35 reviews.

“I highly recommend any one going to Chicago to stay with Cheryl, everything was perfect.” – Review from July 2016

It’s clear that Cheryl goes beyond standard procedure when accommodating new guests. “The little things that she does for her guests do not go unnoticed, from the snacks and water she leaves to the welcome letter she gives you with all the details you could ask for,” says one reviewer. “Cheryl provides several very nice, thoughtful touches,” says another. “A detailed welcome letter with helpful information about the neighborhood and apartment; lots of brochures, guide books and maps of the city to peruse; a microwave, coffee maker and small fridge that make breakfast or other simple meals possible; and a selection of snacks and bottled water that were very welcome.”

Snacks, brochures, a welcome pack and other helpful information are always a good idea. But Cheryl takes her service a step further. “She even adjusted the thermostat to accommodate me,” says a past guest. “She checked in with us regularly on email to make sure everything was fine.”

Just a little effort makes Cheryl a top-notch host, and travelers have noticed. It’s why so many of her reviews aren’t just talking about their stay, but actually recommending others to stay there, too.

“Yes I would stay again. Home away from home, maybe better. Try it and you will love it!” – Review from August 2013

3. Food Surprises

What’s going to make their stay at your place different from somewhere else? How about a freshly baked pie?


Everyone loves food. And everyone loves surprises. So why not combine the two for your guests and truly wow them during their stay? Whether you’re close enough to drop something off yourself or need to arrange for a local delivery service, surprising your guests with a tasty treat can leave a lasting impression.

“They had a lovely bottle of wine and a tray of homemade cookies for us when we arrived. We also had a wonderful surprise of a homemade almond cake waiting for us in the hallway a few days into the trip.” – Review from June 2012

Even if your rental’s location is enough to grab a booking – take Positano, Italy, for example – don’t be content with just that. Villa owners Giuseppe and Chiara, who rent out their Positano property Villa le Sirene on TripAdvisor, know that food is the way to a traveler’s heart…and a good review!

Food For Thought(fulness)

The majority of their perfect-score reviews (40 and counting) mention a surprise baked good that was left for guests when they returned home from their day of exploration. “There were several occasions when we came home to find home-cooked delicacies left for us to enjoy,” says one reviewer. “The hostess left us with a huge bowl of fresh fruit, enough coffee for the week and other snacks,” claims another. “Later she delivered a delicious homemade chocolate almond torte!”

Want to take it up a notch? Surprise them with something authentic and local. A big reason travelers choose a rental is because they prefer the “authentic” experience it provides: living among the locals, cooking with ingredients from the market down the street, etc. Imagine how much they’d appreciate a home-cooked treat that reflects that experience.

Maybe it’s a special dish known specifically in your region, or just a dish with a particular local ingredient not used in other cultures. “Chiara made us a cake during our stay – the traditional Easter Cake of the region,” says a past guest. “Talk about delicious!”

Just as it’s the “thought that counts” when buying a birthday present or anniversary gift, the same can be said for being a rental owner. A food surprise is a great gesture to showcase your thoughtfulness – even if you aren’t a world-class cook!

Why List On TripAdvisor?

Listing on TripAdvisor Rentals means you’ll be advertising your home on the world’s largest travel website. You’ll gain exposure to travelers seeking the perfect accommodation for their vacation. While you’re treating someone to a great rental experience, you could be earning enough money for your own getaway, too.

You can list a whole home, apartment or even spare room on TripAdvisor Rentals. Your listing will be automatically translated to appear on 26 TripAdvisor sites around the world, as well as TripAdvisor-branded sites FlipKey and HolidayLettings. It takes just minutes to set up, and the best part – it’s free.

Haven’t listed your property yet on TripAdvisor?


Think Like A Local: What’s In Your Area?

“What’s the area like?” is an inevitable question that pops into travelers’ minds when choosing a vacation rental. It doesn’t matter whether your place is surrounded by tourist attractions or whether it’s a secluded rural retreat, your guest will want to know why they should choose your home over one in a neighboring area.

9 Fun Home Products That Your Vacation Guests Will Love

Whether you’re hosting a family, group of friends, or a couple honeymooners, you want your home to be one of the most memorable aspects of their getaway. Here’s 9 awesome home products that your guests will love.

Bon Appetit: Vacationers Love a Private Chef, Maid Service

What your guests experience after they arrive is the most important factor to a positive vacation, and in turn, a great review. One way to ensure your guests have a laid-back, responsibility-free getaway is by providing exceptional home services with their stay.

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