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A recent survey conducted by Airbnb revealed that a massive 91 percent of travelers love to “live like a local” when they book a vacation rental, and 79 percent want to explore a specific neighborhood. Unlike big-name hotels, often located in tourist hotspots, short term rentals provide guests with an opportunity to absorb the local way of life and experience local traditions. Want to provide your house guests with an unforgettable experience? Here are a few ways you can help your guests “live like a local.”

Leave a Welcome Gift

A welcome gift from a local vendor can serve as the perfect introduction to your property and to the locality. Tasty welcome treats are a great option, too. For a lot of travelers, being introduced to local foods is a priority and often a key player in choosing a destination. If your rental is in San Francisco, how about a chocolate gift box from Dandelion Chocolate? This Mission District store stocks sweet treats and roasted cocoa beans. Or how about a bottle of Merlot from nearby Treasure Island Wines? If your property is located in Los Angeles, try giving them a six-pack of beer crafted by Angel City Brewery.

Leaving gifts from local businesses shows that you go above and beyond with your customer service (and hopefully, your guests will return the favor with a five-star review on your Airbnb or HomeAway profile), but it also provides the added benefit of introducing guests to the neighborhood and giving them a taste (literally) of what it’s like to live there.

Design your Décor to Set the Local Stage

Displaying art by local artists can add a splash of color to your property and instantly transform bland, boring wall spaces. A design featuring a cityscape or a local landmark – such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Santa Monica Pier or Seattle Space Needle – can look great in your home and help your guests feel immersed in local culture.

The annual San Diego Festival of the Arts (in June) is a fantastic place to buy work from local artists and sculptors and support a non-profit at the same time.  In addition, the San Francisco International Arts Festival promotes artists from the Golden Gate City and surrounding areas.

Provide a Guidebook of Local Attractions

A guidebook that recommends the best restaurants, bars, attractions and shops in your city will provide your guests with ideas for their vacation. Create a guidebook that includes up-to-date information, with times and locations of local events – like farmer’s markets and festivals. Be sure to include a variety!

You can also display a coffee table book detailing the architecture, local vibe or history of your city or neighborhood. Like artwork, they add to the décor of your property and provide guests a peek into the city you call home. Photography books from local artists are an especially great idea. As guests casually thumb through, they’ll quickly be immersed in the beauty of the local culture. If you’re in San Diego, head over to Bluestocking Books, an independent bookstore in the Hillcrest neighborhood to find the perfect book.

Introduce the Local Flora

It’s no secret that plants make you feel better by helping you relax and reduce stress. Keeping native plants around the home and filling a vase with local, in-season flowers can be the perfect way to welcome guests and help them relax. If your short term rental is in California, monkey flowers are perennial plants with bright bloomers; in Seattle, blue columbine flowers bloom in the spring and can grow up to 18 inches tall.

Furnishing your home and decorating it with native plants, guidebooks, and local welcome treats will make your rental stand out from the crowd. These simple gestures help generate five-star reviews, boost your booking rates, and increase repeat guest reservations.

Looking for more tips and tricks that help optimize your vacation rental? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, or subscribe to our blog! Here at Pillow, we can maintain your property and promote your rental on sites like Airbnb and VRBO, helping you get the most out of your short term rental.

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