I have been an interior designer for 14 years, and an Airbnb hostess for 7. Since becoming a hostess, I also have used Aibnb and VRBO a fair amount for travel. One thing I have noticed is that when I am creating, or choosing a rental space, I am looking for really different things than when I am working with a client.
With a clients home, I want to create a complicated visual story. Your room should be something that you can look at for a while, I want your eye to have something pretty to look at every place it wanders, and the room should tell the unfolding story of the family that lives there. Each detail about the home: the colors, the pieces of furniture, the accent pieces, the art, should reflect the history, interests and taste of the people that live in that home. They might love sailing on the Great Lakes, and want charts on the walls, they might have family member who create pottery, they might have lived in Asia. The challenge is creating a harmonious, comfortable whole room that still reflects all the complexity of real life.
With a rental, it is much more important that the story of the room is clear the moment that you look at it. A vacation getaway should look clean, uncluttered and above all comfortable. The feeling of the space should have themes similar to the reason that the guest is visiting. You can assume there is something they like about that setting, that is why they chose to vacation there, instead of a million other places on the earth. They will be attracted to staying at a place that echos the location. If they are searching for a rental by the ocean, the space you are renting out should have some of the natural tones, and airiness of the beach. If you are choosing to go to the mountains, a vacation rental that echos the rocks, the woods, the rough hewn textures of a cabin might be what attracts your eye. I happen to live near a university, and host visiting scholars, often from the EU. Their rooms look cozy, with American quilts and books on our state and local history. I try to incorporate a place to sit with a laptop and get work done. When I am creating a rental space, the story is much more about simplicity, comfort and fun, echoing the vibe of the location, and enough open space for them to imagine making it their own.
There are some things that are the same when designing any space. We try to think deeply about how the beautiful items in the space will help the function of the room. In a private home or in vacation home, people might want to; play board games, cook gourmet meals, share a bottle of wine, work on a laptop, socialize with a group, have a restful nap, work on a creative project, or read a book. We make sure that we know how you want to use the space, and then create an ideal room design makes sure that each of these activities can take place.
Essentially, when you are designing any room you are attempting to give a person beauty, and make them comfortable in that space. The essential difference is that in a vacation rental, that guest is spending their days in relaxation, and your design should help create that feeling of being away from it all.