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10 Oct 2022
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Property Management

Now that the busy summer season is winding down, it’s the perfect time to step back and think about ways to make your OBX vacation rental property even more appealing for guests both in the fall and winter months and for next summer. One of the best ways to do that is to update your outdoor living spaces.

Guests love enjoying a chilly autumn evening outside around a fireplace or tiki bar just as much as they appreciate the chance to spend a warm summer afternoon tanning on a furnished deck. Part of the appeal of coming to the Outer Banks is the chance to enjoy the temperate weather and refreshing climate that comes from being so close to the ocean. 

Creating that perfect place where guests can enjoy the amazing North Carolina weather, whatever time of year they choose to visit, can help increase your bookings while also resulting in even more satisfied guests who will come back year after year to your vacation home.

Keep reading below for some suggestions of upgrades that you can start making now to help boost rental performance and increase guest satisfaction.

1. Make it Cozy

One of the easiest ways to update the outdoor living space in your vacation rental property is to make sure that you have cozy, comfortable outdoor furniture that guests can use for relaxing, reading, or enjoying the beautiful Outer Banks environment. 

When trying to decide what type of furniture to include as part of your outdoor relaxation space, it is important to consider the oceanside or soundside conditions and the climate of the Outer Banks. Weather conditions around here can be somewhat unpredictable, but you can guarantee that you will need to consider humidity and moisture, salt spray (even if your property isn’t oceanfront), sun exposure, and wind/storm/hurricane conditions. You’ll want to invest upfront to ensure that your outdoor space stays beautiful and comfortable, regardless of weather conditions. 

Polywood and HDPE lumber tend to be the most popular choice, such as Adirondack furniture, due to their weather-resistant make, heavy weight that helps keep your furniture from blowing away in a sudden coastal storm, and resistance to sun fading and rot. Other options include teak wood furniture, which can easily withstand salty conditions but can cost a little more upfront, natural or synthetic wicker, which are light and comfortable but fade easily and can be moved around or destroyed in a storm, and salt-treated hardwood, which is wind-resistant and comfortable but requires regular upkeep and maintenance and tends to fade in the sun.

Whatever you choose, make sure to consider upfront cost vs. upkeep, and don’t be afraid to branch out and try something new and exciting. Just make sure it’s comfortable and weather-resistant so that your guests can enjoy quiet relaxation all year round.

2. Provide Somewhere for Guests to Eat

One of the best parts of vacationing on the Outer Banks is the ability to enjoy an al fresco dining experience from the comfort of your vacation rental home. When looking for ways to update your outdoor living space, consider adding a beautiful, designated dining area, preferably with unbeatable views that will have guests raving about your home in reviews. 

There are plenty of different options when it comes to designing your dining area, so feel free to be creative and give your guests a unique and memorable outdoor eating space. Consider providing a table and chairs for at least two guests or even opt for a picnic table made of Polywood or treated wood. You’ll want to make this comfortable, as well, so maybe think about weather-resistant cushions and a nearby storage space to ensure that your beautiful outdoor trappings are made to last.

And don’t forget the lighting! Explore different ways to incorporate string lights or solar lights in your space and set the ambiance for a calming, relaxing outdoor dinner that your guests will be posting about on social media for days. Consider adding awnings or umbrellas so that your guests can enjoy your new furniture under the shade so that they’re able to appreciate your curated outdoor space no matter the weather.

3. Include Something Unique or Memorable

You want your home to be unique and memorable, so don’t be afraid to include something unique and homey that will set your home apart from the rest. When people come to the Outer Banks on vacation, they’re looking for an escape from the normal and the chance to get away from the stressors of everyday life. Help them reach that level of comfort and escapism by including something that guests will remember.

Add bright, colorful seating or side tables to give your home a resort-style feel, or include niche statues that make the perfect spot for a selfie. Lean into the nautical theme by including ship’s wheels or pirate busts in your outdoor space or give your backyard an artsy feel with an accent wall or a mural filled with bright colors and memorable images.

Another option is to focus on a theme that draws guests in. Create a romantic space with candles and hanging fairy lights or make it a pet-friendly space with dog bowls and a weather-resistant pet bed or hammock. Feel free to have fun and embrace anything that you can think of for guests to enjoy! The more special and specific to your home, the better.

4. Consider a Grill and/or Fire Pit

This is a big one. Because of the temperate weather and the nature of staying on the Outer Banks, many guests will exclusively book a home based on whether or not they have a grill. If you have the appropriate space, consider purchasing and including a gas or charcoal grill as well as all the necessary amenities that guests will need to grill up some fresh, local seafood on a warm summer evening. This can increase bookings dramatically while still ensuring more positive reviews.

And if you want to add something even more special that will draw guests to your home year after year, include a fire pit or outdoor gas fireplace for your guests to enjoy the brilliance of the Outer Banks at night. Fire pits help take the chill of a cool autumn night at the beach while offering the perfect space for guests to gather around as a family and make important memories. Consider stocking skewers and s’more ingredients for added excitement. Be sure to check building codes and local regulations before investing and keep in mind that some firepits are portable while others are stationary and choose the one that works best for you!

5. Take Advantage of Nature

But you don’t have to start from scratch when designing your outdoor space! The Outer Banks is a lovely area known around the world for its temperate climate and beautiful natural features so why not capitalize on this when designing your outdoor space? If your home is located near the sound or the ocean, definitely center your outdoor space around the views of the water. Is your home near more foliage or trees? Why not add an outdoor swing or hammock that takes advantage of the afternoon shade? Include a brick-lined path that weaves through the sand or highlight the natural sea grass that grows along the edge of your property.

Let the sun do the work and design your space around indigenous foliage or your carefully curated landscaping. And don’t forget to consider the seasonality of plants and try to incorporate different plants for different seasons that your space is welcoming all year round.

Consider Seaside Vacations for Property Management

And once you’ve spent your precious time and money creating an outdoor living space that your vacation rental guests will love, make sure that you’re getting the most of your property by working with a property management company like Seaside Vacations. Eliminate the stress of bookings and maintenance while earning passive income on your vacation rental investment.

With decades of experience and a dedicated revenue team, Seaside Vacations will work with you to set yearly rates that are competitive while ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your property investment. We love property management on the Outer Banks and it shows. Family-owned and locally managed for over 30 years, Seaside Vacations goes above and beyond to make sure property management is Hassle-Free, meaning that we’ll take care of the details so that you can get back to taking care of the things that matter most to you.  

When you’re ready to give us a try, fill out this form for your Complimentary Rental Projection or give us a call at (252) 616-1056 to find out more about property management with Seaside Vacations today! 

We’re experienced and here to help.

About the Author: Lauren is a mom, author, and travel enthusiast. She grew up on the Outer Banks and only left for a few years to get her degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and complete a tour in the Coast Guard before making her way back to the beach in 2017. When she isn’t writing for the Seaside Vacations Travel Blog, Lauren can usually be found with a book and cup of tea in hand, planning her next travel adventure.