Prepping your vacation rental for the holidays

Prepping your Vacation Rental for the Holidays

10/17/2019 | by Jessica Nani | Vacation Rentals

In a ski town like Park City, the winter season sells itself. With unbeatable ski resorts and a town built around winter activities, doing extra for your holiday vacation rentals might seem overkill when it’s already your busiest season.

But for other vacation spots, the winter is the offseason and getting holiday rentals feels like a far off dream. Whatever side of the coin you fall on, doing a little extra during the holiday season can bring in more revenue and happier guests.

Park City, Utah

Decorate, but keep it simple.

Like most people, I love a fully decorated house. During the holiday season, you can find my home decked out with every form of tinsel, twinkle lights, and more than one tree. But in a vacation rental less really is more.

While most holiday guests are coming to celebrate their various holiday traditions while on vacation, some are not. Subtle nods to the season are the best way to bring the homey touches that make vacation rentals preferable to hotels, without overwhelming your guests.

Here are a few ideas:

Halloween & Thanksgiving

Pumpkins and Gourds and Squash, Oh My!

The best part about decorating for fall is how EASY it is. Run to your local grocery store and pick up some assorted sized and colored pumpkins, gourds, and more to add a little flair around your home.

Some key areas:

  • Table (coffee or dining) centerpiece
  • Front porch
  • Side tables
  • Fireplace Mantle
  • Inside year-round decorative bowls

If you want a more permanent pumpkin set that you can use year after year, pick up a set of decorative pumpkins from Etsy or similar shops for the same effect.

White pumpkins arranged on a hay bail with flower pots around them on a front porch.

Scented Candles

Candles are a great touch in your home year-round. Buy some Autumn scented candles (I love a good general fall scent for a more subtle scent than the pumpkin pie scented candle offers), and place them around the home for guest use.

Adding the scents of the season can evoke the cozy feeling holidays bring without needing the flair of extra decor.

Winter Holidays

As much as I love a well-decorated Christmas tree, in a vacation rental they can be a little much. Go for more winter-themed decor items instead.

Garland & Pinecones

Simple garland in a few places around the home brings the festivity without forcing the season on your guests. However, if you’re like me, garland can get a bit out of hand when you get going. A good rule of thumb is making sure none of the decorations you put up impede the guest’s use of your home.

 Fireplace with garland.
Learn how to achieve this look in your home here.

Places to avoid:

  • Stair banisters
  • Tables
  • In front of the TV

Pinecones are another way to bring a little winter spirit inside. Just like with the pumpkins, place them in your year-round decorative bowls, as a table centerpiece or in vases (see above).


Wreaths are a great seasonal touch. Find a good, sturdy wreath for the front door that greets guests upon arrival.

Holiday evergreen wreath

Get a wreath for every season for another year-round homey-touch.

Change up your goody bag.

Chances are you’ve jumped on the guest-gift train. We do an assortment of local goodies for our guests at the beginning of their trip. It’s just a nice way to say “welcome to the area.”

Not already doing this? START! Learn more about guest gift bags here.

The guest goodie bag is an excellent place to make holiday-themed adjustments. Do seasonal treats like pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, fall-seasoned coffee, and similar. If you feature wine or similar in your gift basket, do a seasonal bottle (this is a great strategy year-round).

Holiday goody basket.
Want to make a few of these sweet treats? Find the recipes here.

Do a holiday promotion.

Are you a beach town owner looking for a winter guest? Run a promotion! Reach out to previous guests or do a social media blast about your holiday deal.

Take a minute to highlight the fun things you CAN do in your area during the offseason. Park City’s offseason is the Fall, but we have a ton of awesome things to do during this slow season that can only be done in the fall! Do you have a festival? Winter shows? Highlight and advertise those events that make your town unique and worth visiting.


If you live in a heavy snow area, you probably take a lot of precautions to avoid winter damage as the temperatures drop. While heat tape and sprinkler blow-outs are necessary to maintain your home, taking the winterization inside is also a holiday must.

Adding extra blankets, more hot beverage options, and ensuring that the heat and amenities can stand up to the cold are essential to please guests.

A nice touch, if you want to go the extra mile, is adding a few pairs of slippers to your guest basket for use in the home. This is especially great if you have a home with notoriously cold floors.

Bonus: Help Guests Ring in the New Year

Finally, for your New Year’s Eve Guests, do a little something extra to help make their New Year’s a smash. For New Year’s goody bags, add a few noisemakers, a bottle of champagne, or similar for an extra touch.

For even more holiday ideas, check out our Pinterest board: Simple Holiday Decor.

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  • The blog contributors at Cooper’s LHC are Park City and outdoor adventuring pros. We’ve spent time discovering the best this city has to offer and want to give that knowledge back to you. Enjoy!

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