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The holiday season is upon us! It’s a time to celebrate family, friends, and it’s a season of giving. So if you’re a vacation rental owner who likes to get in the holiday spirit, now’s your chance to create a festive, Christmassy atmosphere for your seasonal guests.

Don’t worry if you feel like the clock is ticking, the following tips will help you prepare for the festive season in no time.

1. Decorate for Christmas


Simple, right? This is the best place to start with your Christmas preparations. As soon as December arrives, you should plan to put up a few decorations to add festive spirit to your vacation rental. It doesn’t need to be anything overwhelming (for you or your guests), but will certainly add a special touch to put your visitors in a cozy, Christmassy mood.

A good way to begin is to string up soft, white Christmas lights to set a warm tone throughout the inside and outside of your rental. Time and space might limit putting up an actual Christmas tree – but that’s not a problem.

Consider buying a simple, miniature tree instead, or hang a decorative wreath on the front door. You could even place a few seasonal ornaments in a glass bowl on the coffee table. Collect a few holiday movies and display them on the TV. If you have a fireplace mantel, hang a few stockings above it. A little effort will go a long way to put your guests in the Christmas spirit.

2. Offer your guests a small gift when they arrive


When guests have booked for the holiday season, consider leaving an extra token in their room to celebrate the spirit of giving. Welcome every new guest into your vacation rental with a decorative basket full of hot cocoa and apple cider mixes, complete with festive Christmas mugs or a plate of delicious Christmas cookies.

If you want to be extra generous you could include special discounts to nearby activities or restaurants. You could approach local businesses and create a small basket with a few gift items from local stores. Be sure to include a Christmas card featuring the names of each business so if they love the gift, they can pick up another for their loved ones!

3. Incentivize a vacation getaway as a Christmas present


Everyone knows vacations make great presents for the extra special people in your life, so boost your off-peak reservations in the New Year by incentivizing holiday bookings!

Email your former guests and newsletter readers, or publish posts to your social media followers to convince them that they should give someone they love a weekend away at your vacation rental home.

Offer special money-off deals, or a limited number of discounted gift certificates for weekends within a specific time frame and grab the attention of someone who has no idea what to give their loved ones.

4. Create a “Christmas package” deal


Consider creating a Christmas package deal for the guest who books Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Or package it for the whole week or weekend – as best suits your rental’s schedule. Use images and descriptions to promote the stay in such a way that the appeal far outweighs any extra fees!

Suggestions to include within the Christmas Package:

  • Gift certificate to a local restaurant for Christmas meal
  • Champagne/wine gift basket
  • Tickets to a local showing of a Christmas production
  • Breakfast delivery on Christmas morning

Bonus tip: this same concept could be recycled again and offered as a New Year’s Eve Special!

5. Send out a Christmas newsletter


Once your Christmas action plan is in play (i.e. the first four points above), make sure your whole network knows about it!

Instead of traditional Christmas cards, create a festive newsletter to send around to your guest database which not only outlines your Christmas incentives, but that will also make them feel unique and remind them of the wonderful time they spent at your rental.

Be sure to include:

  • A special Christmas greeting
  • Photos of your charming festive décor – preferably showing cozy sofas with heaps of blankets and the little gift like the cocoa basket
  • A clear description of how and when to buy gift certificates for your rental as a Christmas present for others, including details of the special offers
  • Information about the Christmas Package deal and what it contains

6. Donate to charity

Although Christmas is meant to be a time for sharing, exchanging gifts and spending time with your loved ones, there are many who are less fortunate and aren’t able to get into the Christmas spirit.

You can use GuideStar.com to get a first-hand look at how much money they use for donations and find the perfect charity for your business. Choose a charity you trust and decide how you’re going to be giving them your donations – Are you going to donate a % of your revenue made with each booking during the holiday season? Are you going to ask your guests to donate?


Ultimately, Christmas is a season of family, cheer, and giving. Embrace that spirit in your vacation rental: decorate with a Christmas spirit and offer your guests a little extra something at every stay.

You know your rental and the type of guests it attracts better than anyone! So embrace the type of Christmas that perfectly fits your rental and offer that to your guests. Even if they come a few weeks before Christmas, they’ll still love that you’ve gone to the trouble of making it homely in the holidays!

What are your favorite ways to make the festive season special for your guests? Let us know in the comments!

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