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custom buit in dry bar with wine storage and custom mahogany cabinets.

Hosting Island Style – 2 Approaches To Vacation Rental Design

Here in the USVI, our biggest and best product is vacation (OK, yes, there’s also rum) but really, what we manufacture is fun! Living on an island in the Caribbean is a unique experience to be sure. As soon as the weather turns cool up north, the vacationers flock to the little latitudes for some sun and a little R&R.

Beautiful porch in the caribbean complete with a hangning birdsnest daybed and views of the ocean.

Being a top vacation destination means lots of short-term rental properties all over the island. This area has seen noticeable growth in the past couple of years. We at Lagnappe are on a mission to help owners of short-term rental properties create exceptional guest experiences and elevate the overall tourism product in the Virgin Islands. Big Goals, I know! It’s a small community, so our small business can really make an impact. This past spring, I traveled to the Vacation Rental Design Summit to speak, share my knowledge, become inspired by other designers, and find amazing new resources for our client’s projects.

What I found is that there are two main approaches when designing vacation rental homes:

1. Keep everything very neutral, and offend no one.

I see that done here in the Virgin Islands, and I respect that perspective. So many people feel that beige and neutral tones create a restful environment. HMM…

In a recent podcast episode of “Design Time” by Domino, Brian Chesky, the founder of Airbnb, delves into this exact topic. It’s worth listening to him explain how unique experiences drive growth in the Airbnb market. He highlights that hotel design tends to be consistently neutral, engaging, and offending nobody simultaneously.

For instance, when you stay at a Marriott, you can expect a familiar experience each time. Their in-house teams carefully craft the design to align with the brand’s corporate goals and aesthetic preferences. As a result, staying at a hotel becomes predictable and slightly dull. Aside from hotels, we often see these neutral elements in vacation rentals, too. The emphasis on consistency may lead to a less personalized approach, making guests feel like just another customer rather than receiving a more tailored and attentive experience.

custom buit in dry bar with wine storage and custom mahogany cabinets.

2. Transform your vacation rental into an unforgettable experience.

Represent the area and go big. You all know this is where I fit in! When someone rents a home via Airbnb or a similar platform, they seek something different from what you’d find in a hotel. So engage them! Find ways through your décor and offering to share bits of you and what you love about the area. After all, I presume you bought a vacation home because you love the area. Why? Start with what’s special and what you love here, and then find ways to share that with your guests. Love to Scuba dive? Frame some of your own underwater photography.

Tiffany Cassidy Interior design, Lagnappe interiors, St. Thomas interior desing, design for vacation homes, virgin island vacation rental, VRBO interior designer, Airbnb interior designer. Luxury vacation rental condo, kitchen design and remodeling, Luxury master bedroom suite, luxury bath remodel, Tiny jewel box condo

At Lagnappe, we love to create unique experiences for our clients and their guests so that they feel safe being on vacation in the Caribbean, but without palm trees and “this way to beach” signs all over! We use lots of organic textures and shapes, reclaimed materials when possible, and a color palette inspired by the natural elements around us. When feasible, we love incorporating local art to promote the community aspect. There’s so much talent here in the art community.

We’d love to help you design the perfect space to delight guests. Visit our services page to see how Lagnappe can help transform your vacation rental. The best way to start is always to book a free discovery call so we can get to know each other and your home’s needs. We look forward to hearing from you!

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