Real Estate Marketing

9 Ways to Update Your Vacation Rental for Millennial Travelers

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties
15 Articles Written
Couple walking in front door of vacation rental with suitcases

Odds are, your vacation rental features haven’t changed much in the past 20 years. But guess what? Your guest demographics have. According to a recent AARP study [1], Millennials will take significantly more trips in coming years than GenX-ers or Baby Boomers. They’re also more likely to book a weekend trip. The Millennials are coming! And updating your home to make their stay more comfortable can give you a leg up on the competition.

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To find out what Millennials want in their vacation rentals, we surveyed the Millennial vacation rental aficionados at my company—which is to say, most of the people in our 300-plus person office. It’s not a perfect study, but the folks we surveyed regularly book vacation homes for work and fun. In fact, the Millennials we spoke to are so passionate about staying at vacation rentals that many even admit to sharing their favorite homes with coworkers on our in-office instant messaging platform.

According to our team, these are the features that make all the difference when marketing your vacation home to Millennials.

9 Ways to Update Your Vacation Rental for Millennial Travelers

1. Lightning-Fast WiFi

Speedy WiFi is a top selling point for Millennials. Invest in better bandwidth and bask in the glory of positive reviews and a full calendar.

2. Smart Devices

Millennials may be the first generation to actually hate your VHS tapes. Treat them to a streaming media device so they can watch their own collections. That fancy HDTV you advertise is just a big-screen disappointment if not paired with some sort of streaming capability.

3. Instagram-Worthy Spaces

Increasingly, spaces are being designed with Instagram in mind. [2] If a room in your home gets fantastic natural light, set it up for memorable guest photos. Bright colors and big contrast make all the difference.

4. Relevant Games

Your Trivial Pursuit Genus Edition from 1981 isn’t helping you woo Millennials. Try refreshing your game selection with newer favorites like Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity.

5. Chef’s Kitchen

Millennials are less likely to be homeowners but more likely to boast kitchens with chef-level accoutrements. Help them feel at home by upgrading your knives, blender, and pots and pans.

6. Convenient Outlets

Nothing frustrates Millennials more than having to get out of bed to access their devices. Install USB-enabled outlets near all beds and common areas.

7. The Right Sound

Millennials value modern convenience and classic vibes. Install Bluetooth speakers and invest in a record player and a library of timeless vinyl. Don’t forget the Coltrane.

nicely decorated bedroom with big windows and open curtains

8. Coffee Is King

Your coffee maker is “meh” to Millennials. Top off your listing with a French press or AeroPress—or go all-out with an espresso machine to maximize bookings from the most sophisticated coffee generation yet.

9. Kid Toys for Adults

They say Millennials never want to grow up. We say they just know how to have fun. Invest in some adult-sized kid toys like unexpected pool floats, sleds, and beach balls. A couple of fidget spinners wouldn’t hurt either.

Branding your vacation home for Millennials opens the door to the next generation of travelers. Nearly 60 percent of Millennials are active on Instagram, and around the same number (62 percent) are active on Facebook. If you make the right updates and show your Millennial guests a good time, they’re likely to take to social media and help do some marketing for you.




How do you tweak your marketing to cater to the Millennial audience?

Let me know with a comment!

Shaun Greer currently serves as the senior director of real estate at Vacasa and is responsible for the in-house real estate activity and broker/agent partne...
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    John Underwood Investor from Greer, South Carolina
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Right now I am maximizing my rental income on my VRBO by renting more to the Baby Boomer crowd. I do already have many of the things you list and will consider others for future improvements. It seems more of the Millennials are using AirBnb and they seem to be more budget conscious because I don’t get many rental on AirBNB unless I discount my running prices that I have on Thanks for the article.
    Sharon Vornholt from Goshen, KY
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    That’s a great list Cliff. I’m sure a lot of those things aren’t currently in vacation rentals.
    Cody Hannaford from London, Ontario
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Excellent list, Cliff! I just recently came back from a weekend get away, and as a millennial I have to admit, many of the things you listed would have made the entire experience that much more memorable for me, and would have guaranteed a repeat stay. Things like Bluetooth speakers and a Google Chromecast (or similar) in the TV, are not only incredibly convenient, but they are also CHEAP! If you are already providing your guests with (fuzzy) cable TV, skip the bill. Pay the one time $40 (relative to your location) cost of a streaming device, and let your guests use their own Netflix subscription. They are already paying for it, and likely in the middle of a series 🙂 Hotels are especially falling behind in this area, and I predict you will see many attempting to appeal to the millennial crowd in an effort to combat the ever growing prominence of AirBnB. While I agree with most of the things listed, a few of the ideas feel a bit over the top and like forced pandering. Remember the reaction when Hilary Clinton said she carried Hot Sauce in her purse at all times? Not a good look. Things like “a record player and a library of timeless vinyl” are 1) Expensive, and 2) Will go completely unused by most of your guests. You cannot compete with the unlimited, personalized library of of music that most (75%) of millennials already have access to in the palm of their hands. Once again, skip the bill, let me use my Spotify subscription. I supply the playlists, you supply the speakers. On the topic of forced pandering, don’t even get me started on fidget spinners. (An idea that is ALREADY feeling outdated and out of touch.) Keep it simple, keep it convenient. Most of the ideas listed here are great additions for every guest. The last thing you want is to alienate any of your guests by making them feel like they are staying in a kids play room. Who doesn’t like coffee and Netflix these days? Cody
    Shaun Greer Real Estate Professional from Boise, ID
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Thanks for the great feedback, Cody! Apologies if any of this sounded like generational stereotyping. I tried my best to avoid that by getting these answers straight from the Millennials in our office. The whole story actually sparked an interesting conversation in our office about what West Coast Millennials want vs what the East Coast Millennials valued. Vacasa being headquartered in Portland, a lot of the team’s answers included a distinct Portland vibe, including things like supplying SPF 40 for Millennials with tattoos… We tried to shave it down and balance the list as much as possible while still having some fun with it. If you think of anything else to add to the list, please share in the comments! Most of these seem like basic upgrades but doing them (and advertising them on unit description pages) really can help increase bookings. Again, I appreciate your comment! Everything you said makes total sense. Thanks Cody.
    Naren Gunasekera from Moorpark, CA
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Love the idea of the chromecast and bluetooth speakers. I would agree that the vinyl is overkill. Also would be hard to monitor damage to an expensive asset. I also think that old classic board games like Monopoly, Jenga and others would go down well if groups are renting your property.
    Ben Ruskin
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    Great post Cliff. My brother and I just discussed vacation rentals the other day. I’d say that most of your points in the article should be requirements for every vacation rental owner to seriously consider. How smart would it be if every owner did a walkthrough of their property WITH people from 2 or 3 different generations and asked them what they think? “Vet your vacation rentals!” should probably be a saying. They require more work and should produce more net income than your typical rental, so owners should definitely be asking for input along the way.
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    What about decor for millenials? I’d like to see an article about that. I’m a baby boomer and I’m perplexed by the carpet/furniture/drapery choices that young people are making. Since when did everything have to have a trellis pattern on it? Yecch. It seems like they want everything to be grey, beige, black or white. How boring is that? Also, from perusing websites like Restoration Hardware and CB2, I think that very plain, or none, curtains are called for these days. Maybe just a roller shade for room darkening in bedrooms?
    Shaun Greer Real Estate Professional from Boise, ID
    Replied almost 3 years ago
    You read our minds, Laurel! Our interior design team is passionate about crafting spaces for the biggest impact. They will be doing a presentation / happy hour at our Portland HQ on September 20th if you’re in town. I believe the event starts at 6pm. I bet they’d be very interested in working with me on a post about the topic. Thanks for the good idea!
    Michael Baum from Olympia, Washington
    Replied 12 months ago
    Our rental has many of these things already in place but I rarely rent to millennials. We get the big family or the extended family guests. All our TVs have built in streaming (Roku). I have avoided buying expensive games as they have a tendency to walk away. I wouldn't provide something like Cards Against Humanity. It is a rate R game and with our focus on families, no need to have that type of game where kids are going to be. The one thing I have gotten as a comment to provide is music. I don't currently have any kind of music system in the house, so I am working on that. Probably a single source streaming device of some kind. I am avoiding Alexa or Google Home powered devices. I am not a big fan of their listening habits, although they would be perfect for streaming music. Regarding the internet, I totally agree. Unfortunately, a lot of vacation homes are off the beaten path and speedy internet isn't always available. We are in a small town 35 miles from the larger town and our DSL line is 12mb and that is MAXed.
    Joseph Walsh from Brookfield, Wisconsin
    Replied 12 months ago
    These sound great, and on the surface make sense. However, one has to ask, did you implement any of these items in some rentals and compare the results to similar rentals that did not have them? You ASKED them what they wanted, which is not always the most Voice of the Customer data (which is a whole other conversation), backing it up with observable data is key. Otherwise you really have the potential for RE equivalent of the Pontiac Aztec. The car made to meet all the things the target audience SAID they wanted, then nobody bought it. Did you see an increase in these rentals due to "Instagram moments", increase in rates? etc.
    Joseph Walsh from Brookfield, Wisconsin
    Replied 12 months ago
    To be clear, thanks for the great post, not trying to sound critical, just curios if there are metrics to back it up, always a data guy I guess.