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My Ottoman Seats Five? Space Saving Furniture For Small Vacation Rentals

February 21st, 2015 at 2:24 pm


Is your vacation rental lacking in square footage?  If so, the solution to your problem may be multi-functional furniture.  These pieces are truly inspiring addressing any small space dilemma you may have.  Imagine having an ottoman that seats five, or a coffee table that converts into a full size dining table, the options are endless and are at your fingertips.  

Featured below are two companies that offer multi functional furniture; Resource Furniture and Expand Furniture. Take a look at their clever designs of pieces that fold, unfold, expand and contract.  They may just have the answer you're looking for.

Both companies have fantastic websites and blogs.  In fact, Resource Furniture directly addresses vacation rentals here:

So how do these two compare?  Below is a quick comparison of the two companies.  Due your own due diligence; note that prices and policies may change over time.  As of February 2014, this is what I found:  



Price Point More expensive - Prices by quote (as high as 2x the cost) Less expensive - Prices on site
Quality Guarantee Life time warranty on mechanisms 3-5 years on mechanisms but will ship replacement parts
Lead Time Up to 20 weeks Up to 12 weeks but most popular items in stock for fast delivery
Shipping Worldwide Worldwide
Returns No?  Here's their answer: 

Can I cancel an order?
Every sales associate at Resource
Furniture is a qualified designer. We
understand this is a large purchase
and therefore we are dedicated to
ensuring that you purchase exactly what you need for your space.

Yes, within 30 days in original packaging and no signs of use
Design Consultants Yes Yes

As you can see there are pros and cons with both companies.  There is a definitely a difference in price.  I love the life time warranty of Resource and the lead time of Expand.  Both have pros and cons, as any company, and both seem to have solid reputations.  As for the quality of the furniture; the ease of the mechanisms, the durability of the fabrics and the strength of the frames etc. I do not have first hand knowledge. I'd love to hear from you if you have purchased any multi functional furniture.  How is it working for you and your guests?  

Tags: how to furnish a vacation rental, how to set up a vacation rental, small vacation rental, space saving furniture, space saving, vacation rentals


That's About The Size Of It - Round Table Sizing For Your Guests' Comfort

February 18th, 2015 at 11:34 pm



Round Dining Tables are so versatile.  They are great for smaller spaces and also look fantastic as the centerpiece of a room. They have a nice curve in relation to any streamlined furniture you may have and, with rounded edges, are safe for children.  They are relaxed, casual and create more of a sense of intimacy than you would find in a rectangular or square table.  So how do you ensure the table you choose is large enough to accommodate all your guests, it's as simple as PI or π.

π is commonly defined as the ration of a circle's circumference (C) to its diameter (d):   \pi = \frac{C}{d}  

By following the simple formula below you'll have a surefire way to ensure your guests are eating comfortably: 

  • consider the maximum amount of people you allow to sleep in your property and multiply that amount by 24 (these are the inches one person would need on average to sit and eat comfortably),
  • divide this amount by 3.14.

The resulting number equals the diameter your guests would need in order to feel comfortable. For example, 4 people multiplied by 24 and divided by 3.14 equals a 31 inch diameter.

few other tips:

  • If the dining area is large enough to hold a credenza this is a solid purchasing option. If you wish to purchase a credenza ensure there is at least 40 inches of space from it to the back of your chair (24 inches if the chair positioned as if someone were at the table eating).
  • The chairs you purchase must be of good quality.  Iron is extremely strong, but I find wood will work well if the chair is well made. A broken chair is not something you will want to deal with as part of the regular maintenance on your property. As for the chair covering, a perfect type to consider is leather, in a darker shade. Leather is so forgiving, especially around a dining table. It is easily wiped of spills and food and keeps looking good for years to come.
  • If you're looking to save money, purchase a less expensive table and sturdier chairs. There is no need to purchase a set at your local store. A less expensive table flanked with leather parson chairs make your entire set look high end and no one is the wiser. Match the wood of the table with the wood of the legs of the chairs.


A few cautions:

  • Accommodating more than 8 people diminishes the versatility of the table.  It would no longer space spacing or intimate making it difficult to reach food in the center of the table or items such as cards if you're playing a game.
  • If the table you choose has a pedestal leg ensure you put some weight on the edge of table to check the stability.

The round table is a perfect table for the gathering of friends and family.  Besides a place where guests consume the delicious food they cook in the fully equipped kitchen, it is a great place to play games, laugh and be social.  It is, by far, the most intimate table to purchase for your vacation rental.


Tags: furniture for vacation rentals, dining table, determining correct size, measuring, measurement, vacation rental, guests, decorating, how to furnish a vacation rental


What The He** Are Psychodemographics and How Do They Pertain To My Vacation Rental?

February 15th, 2015 at 11:33 pm

...and Can I Use Them to Attract and Ensure Repeat Business?


That's a YES!  First of all let's start with something we know and have heard of before...




What are the demographics of the people that will be interested in a vacation or executive rental? Well, they are a lot like you:

  • one third of them earn a yearly income of at least $100,000

  • over 60% of them are college educated

  • 90% take at least two leisure trips per year

  • 75% are online more than one hour per day, and

  • 90% would rent a vacation rental again and recommend them to family and friends.

These individuals are in varying stages of their life. From young couples to families to empty nesters. Even though they come from varying backgrounds one thing remains constant and that is why they buy (or rent in our case).

They buy for three reasons:

  • to satisfy a basic need,

  • to solve problems, and

  • to make themselves feel good.

So, what are the basic needs? How do you solve their problems and make them feel good? In other words What More Can You Do To Attract Clients?


Let’s explore further to answer these questions so you are able to take advantage of history and trends and use this invaluable information to create what your tenants want and need.


This brings us to:


Psychodemographics or Psychographics Marketing


What is it?  It is marketing that answers the questions of the lifestyle, behavior and attitude of the person in question to build up a more detailed picture of who they are.  Psychographics marketing can work alongside demographic marketing to allow advertisers to promote their products effectively, in order to sell their products in the long term.  

Psychographics marketing leaves advertisers one-step ahead of their competition. 

Psychographically speaking, there are four different types of vacationers, they are:

Tour Groupies: These vacationers enjoy the convenience and ease of guided tours and prefer packaged deals to independent travel.

Kickin’ Back Vacationers: Use their vacation time to rest and relax; the effort involved in taking a foreign trip, sightseeing or even going on a cruise is not for them.  They prefer to travel by themselves or in small groups.

Active Adventurers: Choose vacation destinations that give them plenty to do. Frequent and independent travelers, they like theme parks and sightseeing, physical exercise and outdoor recreation—especially while on vacation.

Ever the Spring Breakers: Go for the fun, not the sights.  They like guided or package tours for the convenience.

So now that we know this, how do we use this information to our full advantage?  Where is the best place to provide your findings?  




Your website and guest information book.


Simply follow the easy "To Do" list outlined below and you will be using Psychographics to their full advantage and getting that edge over your competition.


To Do:

• Decide what kind of tenants you wish to attract.

• Insert tabs in your guest binder for the ones you choose, name the tabs with interesting descriptions like the ones above.

• Add the following researched information listed below.  You may be able to think of many more since you know your own vacation rental/location, but begin with these as they are fairly standard and will start you down the right path:

  • For Tour Groupies list an abundance of tours that are available with contact information, reviews and brochures. 
    • Find companies that offer tours individually or use a company that books multiple tours, call and ask if they will give a discount if your tenants use their services.
  • For Kickin’ Back Vacationers list popular beaches, if your area offers these, popular picnic sites, nice places to stroll and explain the relaxing benefits they would expect to find.
    • List yoga, mediation classes, bookstores, nearby theatres and live shows along with contact information and map directions.
    • On your website, speak of long, leisurely meals on the deck or patio, relaxing by the pool or going in the hot tub. Mention that their schedule is their own and explain that once they arrive they will have everything at their fingertips.
  • For Active Adventures follow the steps for Tour Groupies.
    • List an abundance of activities that are available with contact information, reviews and brochures i.e. ziplining, parasailing, best mountain runs for skiing for example.
    • Find companies that offer these adventures and call to ask if they will give a discount if your tenants use their services.
  • Ever the Spring Breakers will be interested in guided tours as well as more night life activities.
    • Research hot night spots and restaurants in your area and include those in your information binder. Mention those with happy hour.
    • Add places that are often frequented by Hollywood’s elite if there are such places.
    • Write of the best shopping, discount stores etc.

You can also use this information to distract certain tenants from your property. Should you decide that Ever the Spring Breakers are not the type of tenants you want simply do not add information on your site that may entice them.

We are all different, with our own little quirks, so ensure you cater to different personalities; the ones you want to attract.  Marketing to specific group(s) will ensure you present your rental in a meaningful and relevant way thereby attracting your target audience.







(©2009 PhoCusWright’s Vacation Rental Marketplace: Poised for Change)



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Tags: vacation rental, how to appeal to your guests, decorate, vacation guest information book, attract vacation rental guests how to


What Do Your Guests Want?

October 13th, 2013 at 3:30 pm


A look at social psychology and how to appeal to your guests.


I furnish, equip and decorate short term rentals.  What I do is not rocket science.  It’s simple, it’s direct and it’s measurable.  As far as I am concerned, there couldn’t be an easier job.  Why?  Because those who frequent vacation rentals have already said what it is that they want and it is the same across the board.

They want a home.  They want to be able to make food in a kitchen, relax in a living room, wash clothes, have privacy...the list goes on and on.  We all know it.  Basically, they want what they already have, just in a different location for a few weeks a year.  

The rub is they not only want these things, they want to “feel” that they have these things.  It’s not just a matter of supplying furniture, equipping and decorating.  It’s not only location, or square footage, or amenities.   It’s perceived value and it’s emotional.


And therein lies the ticket.

That’s the difference between vacation rentals, the difference between a booked property and one that just doesn’t seem appealing to those looking.

To really understand the reason someone would choose your property over another we have to look at social psychology.  Social psychology was proposed by Kurt Lewin who stated that Behavior is function of a Person and that person’s Environment.  

B = f (P,E)

It’s the study of how people are influenced by those around them, whether presently in their lives or not.  Their behavior, their judgment and decision processes, is a result of their interactions with others.

People have an acceptable standard of a vacation rental based on their own experiences and perceptions.  For example, a young, just out of college and traveling young adult is going to have a different idea of traveling than your target market.  Why? Because their influenced by their social circles.  Unless you are running a hostel, the demographics of your target market are quite different.   Your target market are those individuals over 30 years of age, mostly college educated, and making $80,000+ per year.  These individuals have a specific set of criteria they wish to have met in a vacation rental.  It runs on a scale of mid-end to luxurious depending on their social influencers i.e. those people who are around them, what they watch on television, and even what they believe people think about them.  Simply put, your guests want “what they already have, or what they perceive is better than what they have.”

They want what they want, there is no need to delve into their past as to find out why, that is not our concern at all and frankly none of our business.  Our concern is to give them what they are seeking, for whatever reason they are seeking it.  Our concern is to hear them and to acknowledge them.

So what is this demographic seeking?  Status, luxury, accomplishment, a sense that they deserve a certain lifestyle and that they belong to that lifestyle.  They have a set of ideals that they want fulfilled.  They work hard for their money and want the most value for their dollar.  They are spenders but not wasters (well sometimes everybody wastes a bit) of money.  They have goals and dreams of acquiring more than what they have or what they perceive as better than what they have.  

Consider this equation:


SVR=f(W+ A)

 A successful vacation rental is a function of the right combination of guest wants and the application of those wants.


When it comes to decorating, one of the best ways I know to give guests what they want  is to stay safe and adopt the attitude that “less is more.”  Less accessories, but really make a statement with the accessories you employ.  Less ornately designed furniture will ensure the clean lines have timeless appeal. 

Be luxurious only when it is demanded, i.e. linens, towels, cookware, knives, king bed, flat screen TV.  Spend less on items that are not on your guests’ radar.  Those are items where the quality is not as important as the functionality. i.e. garbage can, cutting board etc. 

Ensure you have what guests see as non-negotiable i.e. wifi, security.

Invest in natural stone countertops, great faucets and a good quality tile.  These items will go a long way in presenting a certain lifestyle and will last for many years to come.


Lastly, show them these items, describe them, sell them, because you are not only describing your vacation rental, you are describing them.

There is huge difference between a property that is slapped together and one that is prepared with forethought; so much so that even photographs show the difference. Vacationers in your demographic will know the difference immediately.  The photos will “speak” to them and they will instinctively know if this is a property that matches with who they are or who they want to be.



Tags: vacation rentals, home, kitchen, furniture, equipping, decorating, value, amenities, vacation rental, property, know your vacation rental guests, attracting vacation rental guests


Evaluation - Florida, 427100

October 27th, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Crescent Beach, Florida Vacation Rental by Owner Listing 427100


Evaluation Report



The evaluation will:


  • create an open, airy environment
  • show every room to its full potential
  • ensure the rooms flow into one another
  • ensure potential guests are left with a positive impression
  • ensure potential guests envision themselves staying in the rental



The property seems bright and cheery.  Many large windows let in an abundance of light.  It obviously once was a higher end very fashionable condo, but in 2012 now seems dated.  Using color to pull together the burgundy countertops and sink with the rest of the condo was a wise idea, but the fact remains that the countertops are still burgundy.   Updating the countertop will go a long way in bringing your property to the present time.  This combined with fresh paint and switching out some key pieces will work miracles.

To start with a fresh palette I suggest all of the rooms be painted Benjamin Moore Elephant Tusk™.  This is a very neutral color that will go beautifully with your existing flooring and cupboards.  It has a touch of yellow that you seem to prefer and I believe you would like.  This color changes depending on the different light conditions that occur throughout the day.





  • Appliances, flooring and cupboards seem to be in good shape.
  • Countertop should be replaced with preferably granite, but if this is not feasible a laminate.  Use the example shown as a guide.  Ensure the granite or laminate has within it specks of the same colors as the flooring.  Combine this with a stainless steel sink and a new higher end faucet. 
  • Move the ceramic chef down approximately three inches.

Living Room:

  • To warm your space remove all burgundy throw pillows and replace with browns and creams.
  • Move the coffee table a few inches closer to the hide-a-bed.
  • Shift the leather chair and ottoman back a bit so there is a direct line to the patio doors and a person does not have to make two distinct turns to reach the outside.
  • I believe the ceiling fan blades are wood, but if they are burgundy replace with a wood version in dark brown.
  • Purchase an area rug to be placed in front of the hide a bed in dark brown and cream tones. 
  • Replace the floral patterned sofa with a match to your existing side chair.  Set these at right angles to eachother with a low table to separate them. 

  • Clean and protect the hide-a-bed.
  • Add one large print or a series of three prints spanning the length of the sofa with the following color combination:



Dining Area:

  • Replace area rug under the dining table with the same color combination as the new area rug in the living room.
  • Replace existing burgundy placemats with those in the same color combination as the art above.
  • Remove art to left and right of the mirror.

Master Bedroom:


  • Replace bedding with hotel-like high thread count white linens and adorn with decorative pillows similar to the example below.
  • Replace lamp shades with a luxurious cream colored shade.
  • Place a series of two to three pieces of art or one large singular piece in the same color combination as your newly purchased linens.


Second Bedroom:


  • Replace bedding with white sheets, pillows and duvets. 
  • Either place one picture above each bed or leave free of pictures and place a picture on an opposite wall.  Again stay with the neutral color palette suggested.



I could not find bathroom photos.  I believe those inquiring will be asking for photos of this as well.  Should the bathrooms need refurbishing follow the suggestions for the kitchen as this will bring cohesion to the entire property.

This is quite an extensive refurbish.  Making all the improvements suggested would go a long way in attracting guests.  If only a few of the items I recommend are being considered I would suggest the kitchen countertop and bathrooms are by far the most important.






© 2012 Anita Ericksen




Tags: vacation rental, decorating, refurbishing, evaluation, evaluate, vacation property, florida, vrbo


Would You Bake a Cake and Not Ice It?

October 22nd, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Preparing a short term vacation rental or an executive/corporate suite is truly a detail oriented task.  There may be some refurbishing to be done before furniture ever graces the floor and inventory is placed.  If done correctly, with the guest in mind, you will have created a well thought out property for your tenants.  It will have many things that contribute to comfort and convenience, except one thing......... the icing.  That finishing touch that impresses and evokes emotion. 

More than ever before forum members have been questioning the importance of supplying an aesthetically pleasing property.   As vacation and corporate rentals become more mainstream, having a property that stands out is of the utmost importance.  Years ago, cost savings and location was what many guests based their decision on, but now presentation is considered by many as a very important influencer, higher even than travelers' reviews.  TripAdvisors Second Annual Vacation Rental Survey illustrates this perfectly:

When deciding between different rental properties, the key influences cited by respondents are:

  • Photos of the home (42 percent)
  • Traveler reviews (27 percent)
  • Cost of staying at the properties (13 percent).

Erin Colbert recently posted a good article on staging vacation rentals citing:

"The thing is, people are emotional creatures. Your home won’t leave a lasting impression because it had two bedrooms and a balcony. Instead, the tone for their trip will largely be set by what they find when they step through the doorway."  I couldn't agree more.

It seems that finding specifics on how to decorate, that is, exactly what to do, are a bit hard to come by.  Many sites describe decorating in a very general sense that leaves the reader still unsure of how to proceed with their own property.  When decorating a property there are some fundamental rules that should be adhered to.  I've taken an excerpt of "FF&E, Furnish and Equip Your Vacation or Executive Property in 5 Days" to explain the specifics of how to purchase Art when decorating a rental in the hopes of adding clarity to your decision making process in this regard.


Art and Accessory Purchase and Placement

To appeal to the majority of your tenants, we have previously incorporated earth tones.  Now we are going to bring in vibrancy through art and accessories.

Your main goal is to get your individual tastes out of the equation and only use decorative pieces that attract the majority of the extended stay tenants.

Whether one is on vacation or in an executive suite, the goal is to feel comfortable and relax in what feels like home.  For a vacationer and an executive this is one of the ultimate goals.

There are fundamental rules to decorating and we are going to be touching on these as we look for and purchase art and accessories.  It’s going to be really simple.  So, let’s get started.




The size of your art is so very important.  It has to be in scale with the wall it is adhered to and to what is placed beside and underneath it.

The eye loves to go down “in steps” and up “in steps” that is why the decorating rule of thumb of ½, 2/3, and ¾ is so important and should not be ignored.

When placing either one singular piece or a series of pieces together, the art should take up 2/3 to ¾ of the area or space you are trying to cover.  It is imperative if placing a series of pieces together that the space between each piece is equal and your groupings make up an odd number.

The art you choose should be colourful otherwise your rental may look too washed out and diluted.  Look for art that makes you feel energetic.  Stay away from pastels as these colours seem to date themselves very easily. 

If you are purchasing art for a vacation property look in local stores catering to tourists and outdoor markets and you will find amazing handmade authentic pieces in your price range.  Here is where geographical location comes into play.  There is no need to go to an art gallery.  The look we are going to create will feel rich without having to spend a lot of money.

If you are decorating an executive suite, I would stay mostly with mainstream art that you would find at Winners™ or HomeSense™.  Choose abstract (non life-like) pictures because they can be incorporated into a contemporary interior easily.  Abstract art has no rules so you will be able to find and match with ease.

Choose a store that carries a large selection of decorative accessories besides art (vases, bowls, pillows, rugs etc.) so that you are not traveling from store to store looking for items.  This is overly time consuming, not to mention frustrating.

Once you have found a piece of art that you like, choose a colour in that art to expand upon.  The colour you choose will come through in the additional decorations your purchase.

The psychology of colour is useful knowledge to have when deciding which colour you wish to expand upon.  As you will see below, different colours evoke different moods in people.

Warm Hues

Warm colours create a mood of excitement & warmth, stimulating activity and creativity

Cool Hues

Cool colours have passive, calming qualities that aid concentration and can create a mood of peacefulness and tranquility, reducing tension.


Energy, Passion, Power, Excitement


Health, Regeneration, Contentment, Harmony


Happiness, Confidence, Creativity, Adventurousness


Honesty, Integrity, Trustworthiness


Wisdom, Playfulness, Satisfaction, Optimism


Regalness, Mysticity, Beauty, Inspiration




Neutrals are great for adding stability and balance in a room. They include white, black, gray and colours that contain any significant amount of gray.


Once you find one piece of art that you believe would work in the property, and you find the colour in that art that you would like to expand upon, continue to find other pieces of art that have this specific colour in them.  This will be fairly easy to do if you are looking at a large selection. 

If you feel you are second guessing; stop.  Nothing is more damaging to the creative process than questioning yourself. 

If by chance you are not finding additional art that goes with your chosen colour, don’t panic, the idea here is to be versatile and compromising.  Relax and it will all come together.  Look at your art again and choose a different colour to expand upon.  Please keep in mind that, first and foremost, we are creating continuity.

If “going with your gut” makes you feel uncomfortable, take the Benjamin Moore Timeless Neutrals™ brochure with you to the store.  Match the complimentary colours shown beside your main wall colour with the art.  Super easy, and flawless.   ................... ©anitaericksen

The example above is part of the "icing".  That little bit better you do to attract tenants.  It is part of the creation of a "lifestyle that is the same or better than your guests' current lifestyle."  It's not just that you decorate that matters, it's how you decorate. 

Tags: Preparing a short term vacation rental, executive/corporate suite, decorating a rental, vacation rental, corporate rental, rental, property, TripAdvisor, decorate, decorating, how to decorate, decorating a property, vacation property, executive property,


Bad Energy Continued

September 21st, 2012 at 4:42 pm


In my last blog I wrote about the importance of presentation when it comes to your rental.  How the degree of care and consideration put into a property reflects back on itself affecting your bottom line.

One of the reasons I wrote the book "FF&E, Furnish and Equip Your Vacation or Executive Property in Five Days" was to help more people than I would have otherwise prepare their property for rent in a way that attracts clients.  As the book approaches release I am on pins and needles.  Patience is being practiced everyday.  As I wait, patiently, I ponder, "what else can do before the launch?"  Of course, the answer is at my fingertips.

So I offer this to you,


Do you have a property that you believe could use some TLC?   If you wish to impress and therefore attract, retain and have repeat tenants send me a photo of the room in question and I will get back to you with a quick evaluation and suggestions to make your property more appealing to prospective tenants.  If you have questions about equipping I'll be happy to answer them as well.


If you allow me blog about my adventures with "email furnishing and equipping" I will consider that fair compensation.

I look forward to seeing your property (now I'm on pins and needles about this!).  Anita.


Tags: presentation, vacation, executive rental, furnish, equip, how to, book, launch, internet, evaluation, suggestions


Bad Energy

September 13th, 2012 at 4:27 pm


Yesterday I met an owner of condo who has fallen out of love with her property.  In fact, she despises it and it got me thinking,


"How much does the energy in a property affect the bottom line?" 


I dare say an incredible amount.  As I looked upon the owner describing her property it was obvious she had dismissed and rejected it in her mind.  There was no pride in her voice and no love in her eyes as we viewed her property.  The property felt barren and lifeless even though it had furniture, inventory and amenities.  It was slapped together with no forethought and the result was that it felt neglected. 


If you put minimal effort into something you will get minimal results.  Much like writing a essay for school for example.  You put in the effort for a "C" grade, guess what?  You get a "C".  You work your a** off for a "A", well now you just may accomplish something.  Why would it be any different for furnishing and equipping a property?  It's not.  Your attitude shows everywhere.  It shows in the placement of furniture and accessories, in the art and in the inventory.  It comes through in photos and virtual tours.  If you can easily dismiss your property why wouldn't others?  If you aren't proud, why should others be?


So take the time.  Work on your property until you love it, because that energy will come through in your voice when you're describing it.  It will come through in photographs.  It will come through the internet and most importantly, it will be in your walls and it will be felt.  

Tags: energy, house, home, bad, good, furnish, equip, furnished, equipped, rental, short term, vacation, executive


Color Capture

July 27th, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Everyday I come across something new that makes it easier for people to furnish, equip or decorate their properties for rent. 

Today is no exception. 

Color Capture from Benjamin Moore™ is an inspiring app.  Simply take a picture of your accessories and Benjamin Moore™ will color match them.  For example, take a picture of a piece of art and all of the colors in that art will be matched to Benjamin Moore colors.   

Now you can easily choose a matching or complimentary wall color to accessories and furniture.

So Simple!

Keep in mind that colors may vary a bit depending upon your screen resolution and lighting. 


Here's a link for more information:


Tags: Color Capture, Benjamin Moore, app