Close your eyes and picture your dream vacation. Maybe it’s a Mediterranean getaway, a 7-day cruise up the coast of Alaska. Maybe you’re dreaming of exploring the Grand Canyon or driving across the United States.
But, have you ever considered that your Whistler vacation home may be someone else’s ideal travel accommodation? The Whistler Mountains are at the top of many people’s bucket list. Travelers from all over the world make their way here to ski, hike, fish, immerse themselves in Whistler’s natural beauty and just relax.
Keep reading for all the information you need on how to turn the home you only use a few months of the year into an in-demand vacation rental.
1. Due Diligence & Paperwork
Make sure your Whistler home is zoned for nightly rentals and tourist accommodation. It’s important to inquire not only at the municipal level but also with your Strata and front desk if you have one, as some complexes have what’s called a rental pool, whereby short-term rentals may be restricted to being managed by a certain entity.
In terms of home insurance, not only is it worth getting extra liability or damage insurance when you decide to become a rental host but in most cases, vacation rentals have a completely different insurance policy designation altogether. Whether it’s insurance for a primary home, vacation home or for another asset like a car, insurance varies depending on what the primary use of an asset is. For cars, they can be used for business, personal use or have extended coverage if say you want to ensure drivers under 25 year of age. Even the best-behaved people can have accidents, and you don’t want those mistakes to cost you the big bucks if your insurance is not set-up properly.
Next, get your municipal business license. All vacation rentals are required to carry an active Resort Municipality Business Licence, which costs $165 per year and may be pro-rated (https://www.whistler.ca/business/business-licences/tourist-accommodation-business-licence).
2. Guest Access, Home Security & Communication
Consider your check-in procedure. Will you meet your guests at the property or use a lockbox or smart lock? Currently, the most predominant smart lock used in Whistler is the Kaba lock system. You can generate individual unique codes that only work between check-in and check-out time before they expire. These codes provide added security and ease of use because you can also create separate codes for cleaners, maintenance staff and so on. The Kaba 660i version is a complete handle set, whereas the 460i is a deadbolt system that will work with your existing door handle. Both “i” versions allow you to see a record online of when any given code was used to access the home. If there is ever an issue or damage, you can see which code was used last. Be sure to review your Strata by-laws to make sure that it is okay to change out the lock/door handle.
Will you be available around the clock to respond to your guests? If not, who can you rely on to help? The rental rates in Whistler have been skyrocketing. When visitors are paying premium rates to visit the world-class ski resort at Whistler, it’s important to deliver quick and responsive service to guests. Not only to have good reviews and for the success of your rental, but also so that guests return for years to come.
Think about the logistics and overall customer experience to determine if you can do it alone or if you require some help from a Whistler local or professional management company.
3. Prepare the Home for Your First Guests
The final step in your vacation host preparations is to welcome your very first guests! Most hosts choose to not be on the property when guests arrive. Instead, they leave the key in a lockbox or use a smart lock. This requires a very clear and concise set of instructions and rules for the guests to follow.
This is the most hands-off way of doing things, but it still requires planning on your end. Make sure you have all the most important details of the house written out. This includes everything from the wifi password, to explaining how to work a finicky pullout couch for instance. Every bit of information you can give helps make the guests’ stay more stress-free.
Don’t forget about supplying them with the basics, either. The bathrooms should have clean towels, soaps and shampoo, while the bedrooms should have clean sheets and extra pillows and blankets. A bit of coffee in the kitchen and standard cooking utensils are also good to have.
Leaving a bottle of wine or other welcome gifts really goes a long way to show that you are doing everything you can to make their trip special.
4. Begin Marketing
Once your home is well decorated and equipped, it’s time to bring in a professional photographer to properly showcase your home. Before the shoot, make sure your home is spotlessly clean and decorated with the right amount of trinkets. If you have old floral duvet covers from the 1990’s, it’s time for an upgrade. Minor upgrades like bed skirts, duvet covers and art go a long way to improving the look of even the oldest ski chalets that were in their prime 20 or 30 years ago. On the day of the photo shoot, put out some fresh fruit, a wine and cheese board in the kitchen, and lay a tea tray out with coffee mugs and some pastry’s out on the master bed to show your guests that you are a passionate and dedicated host that cares about even the smallest details. Conveying that you as a host have thought of everything will give visitors more confidence that you and your home are the safe choices for their vacation.
Post your listing on home-sharing platforms like Booking.com, VRBO, AirBnB, and HomeAway. Make sure you do extensive research on pricing as there are huge swings in the per night price in Whistler to maximize revenue.
5. Deliver a great vacation experience
Once you’ve got your home ready and showcase it online on various home-sharing platforms, bookings will begin to roll in. Now that you’ve diligently prepared your home and thought of all operational details, all that’s left to do is make sure your guests have all the information they need before their trip and have the place clean and ready for their arrival to enjoy.
How to Host with Whistler Vacation Homes
- If figuring out how to host a vacation property sounds like a lot of work for you or if you feel like a manager would be able to get better results, don’t worry. That’s where we come in! Whistler Vacation Homes offers homeowners a stress-free, satisfying experience when turning their personal property into a prime vacation rental.
- We help you maximize rental revenue by properly staging and photographing your home and also by using dynamic pricing strategies year-round. We also take care of all the guest-related preparations, like amenities and cleaning!
- The process is simple and straightforward. Click here to learn more!
If you are exploring various management options, which we encourage all owners to do, make sure you ask about what’s included in the service and if there are any additional fees or booking commissions and exactly how the fee break down works. WVH Management has zero hidden fees, no markups and no booking commissions and works with a flexible 30 days cancellation as we do not believe in locking owners into annual contractual agreements.