Buying a house you intend to rent out is very different than buying one you plan to live in. This is especially the case if you’re planning on making it a vacation rental. You are not buying for yourself, so all the usual criteria you would use to judge a home no longer stand. So, how do you know you are investing in a property people will want to spend their vacations in?

Research Local Tourism

 Look for areas that are popular hubs for vacation rentals and tourists due to their wealth of attractions and activities–perhaps a property near the Denver Zoo or a cabin home close to Flagstaff. Whether you decide on a new or existing home for your investment, you can earn a good income by renting it out in a vacation hotspot.

When it comes to tourists’ preferences, researching demographics for both visitors and residents can help you make a better decision on your rental. For example, Boulder is home to more than 100,000 people, a third of which are college students. It might make sense to research the types of accommodation that these students’ families seek out when in town visiting.

Make the Right Renovations

 Focus on renovations that make your home more appealing to a short-term visitor while providing great ROI, such as getting rid of carpeting, fixing up the bathrooms, or adding more parking space. Remember that people aren’t going to be living here long-term, so certain priorities for a home, like ample storage space, aren’t as much of a priority here.

Stage the House

 For vacation rentals, it’s a good idea to stage the home like you would an open house. After all, in both cases, you are trying to appeal to the broadest possible demographic. Pictures or paintings of local places of interest, or decorative details that tie in with the local culture, can be a nice touch if done subtly.

Diversify Your Marketing

 Vacation rental owners who only use listings websites to market their property have an annual occupancy rate of 54 percent. You can boost this number by making your own website for the property and using social media, which brings the average occupancy rate to 76 percent. Social media, in particular, is a good investment since it’s easy to use ads and hashtags to reach new customers. Thrive has a useful guide to using social media to advertise vacation rentals, including specific tips for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and even Google Plus.

Use a Vacation Rental Management Company

Using a vacation rental management company will take a huge amount of work and pressure off your back. Most of them offer local support and cleanings between guests. These companies are especially helpful if you live far enough away from your property that it’s difficult for you to maintain it yourself, and they can also handle bookings online.

Add Some Perks

 When you’re booking a place to stay on vacation, you always look at the perks. Remember that, as a vacation rental, you are competing with hotels, B&Bs, Airbnbs, and every other rental property on the market. You need to make sure you have great amenities, from fast WiFi to air conditioning, premium bedding, and basic toiletries. If your house is near nature, things like bikes and basic hiking gear can be a welcome touch. Make sure to advertise your amenities properly, but also leave a couple of surprises. This can be something as simple as a welcome basket with treats, or a handwritten note with tips on how to enjoy the area.

Buying a vacation rental is a big investment, so it is important to do your research and understand the market you’re getting into. You are not only purchasing real estate — you are getting into the tourism and hospitality industry. Balancing both these roles can be tricky, which is why it is crucial to rely on trusted experts that can help you with the process.