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PARK IT! - Tips for getting your guests to park where you want

Guests often choose short-term rentals for the experience of living like a local in a home-like atmosphere. But we can’t forget that they’re temporarily living amongst locals, too – our neighbors – so it’s important that we prevent vacation rental complaints by ensuring our guests are good neighbors who enhance the quality of the community.

The average reservation has three or more guests. Meaning there is likely more than one vehicle that will need to be parked at your rental. Those who are familiar with the Finger Lakes understand the shortage of parking space there is on certain lake roads. For instance any rentals that are located on the Bluff on Keuka Lake know first hand how tight the parking really can be. But, it doesn't just stop at cars, many like to enjoy their lake vacation to the fullest by bringing their boat or jet ski's which means they need trailer space parking as well. In this article we are defining the key tips that short term rental owners such as yourself can implement into your guests experience to help ensure they park in the right spot!

Vacationing is exciting and can be stressful at times. The guest arrives, the kids are excited and hungry, some may be whining, one spouse is trying to get in the rental and the other is trying to unload. Let's face it, arrival at your vacation rental is chaotic. So giving your guests all the rules in multiple places and being as clear as possible will only help them know what to do when they arrive. Let's break it down by stages...

Pre Arrival
  • Website listing - List how many spots there are for vehicles, if large vehicles are going to be tight or not will help and list if there is room for a trailer.

  • OTA listing - Some listings are limited on space, you could put this in your description at the very bottom if they don't have a specific area or you could do both! List same content as your website listing.

  • Email Confirmation - When your guests secures your rental you likely provide them with a rental policies and procedures or a Guest License Agreement. In that agreement it should state how many cars are allowed to park at the property and clearly state where they are allowed to park.

  • Email Reminder - 10 days before the guest arrives you should send them a reminder email with important details regarding their upcoming stay. In that email you can highlight where they can park when they arrive at your rental.

Many owners are attached to their vacation home, maybe it has been passed down through generations or they want to keep it as a cozy home or B&B like setting. What many don't understand is that as soon as you turn your vacation home into a short term rental you are now operating as a small business and with that comes different guest expectations. Hotels provide the level of service in each of the Exterior signage tips below and guest have come to expect this at your rental too.

Exterior Signage
  • Parking Sign - Pick up a couple parking signs at your local hardware store and place them in front of each parking space to clearly define where they can park.

  • Mark - Paint or tape your parking spaces on the ground, you may have to redo this each season but its the more inexpensive option. Make sure you purchase the right kind of paint that will not dissolve in rain or snow. Your local paint store can help with choosing the right kind.

  • Greet - Meet your guests at check-in to help with parking.

  • Overflow Parking - If there is overflow, identify alternate locations where guests can park their cars, contact information, and rates, if applicable and make sure it is approved by the location you are sending them to such as town parks.

In House
  • Parking Map - Include a parking map on your refrigerator, showing property lines and parking area.

  • Guest Binder - Provide a copy of your rental policy in a binder detailing where guests can park.

  • Communicate Clearly - Guests should not take an inordinate amount of street parking or block driveways, mailboxes, alleys, fire hydrants, or trash cans.

  • Doorbell cameras and street-facing security cameras can help you enforce parking rules if a guest is not following the rules.

With the short term rental market becoming even more competitive with a 27% increase in inventory in the US in 2022 alone. Being clear with your guests on parking and rules in general will only help you maintain a competitive advantage and keep your neighborhood happy.


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