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No matter the season, it’s time to make your cabin a source of income …

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Flying south this season? Hmmm: the jury is out. Consumers, perhaps more than ever, are looking closer to home to fulfill their fall / winter vacation ambition.

And given that attitudes towards travel remain somewhat unstable, the trend looks set to continue. Consequently, the country house rental market (even as colder climates are on the way) is enjoying its most optimistic period in years.

But to get great results, it takes effort. Transforming a daily respite into a standout winter retreat can make enormous difference to marketability and Potential benefits, which is why we suggest a little fairness to “tune in” your perspective before diving into the rental economy. Here’s what you need to know …

Security First. Your vacation home should have working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and a first aid kit. In the current climate, guests are more than likely to ask about your COVID protocols, so increase your hygiene regimes and offer contactless transactions (keys in safes, etc.) so no one has to hand anything over.

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First impressions. As important during cold climates as they are in spring and summer. With this in mind, keep the roads clean and defined, and make sure your approach is orderly and easily navigable.

An autumn or winter wreath on the front door will make a nice impression. Also note that a good photograph is essential, especially if you plan to present your cabin on an internet rental site.

Explain it. Create a ‘bible’ that describes your property. Describe how to operate the heat, water, and septic tanks, and include TV / satellite guides, where to buy firewood, information on municipal landfills, and anything else you think guests might have trouble with.

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Suggest where to go for a beautiful fall or winter walk, list the areas of scenic beauty and explain the cabin rules: yes these who care, tenants like to care more … your space.

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Beds are equal to dollars. During the project room featured today, we installed four ‘bunks’ in a small bunk to increase the overall capacity of the cabin. Providing dedicated, well-dressed beds (rather than people crashing onto air mattresses or couches) looks better and means everyone can enjoy personal space when sleep calls for attention.

Create a shared kitchen. Equip yours with all kinds of pots, pans, and gadgets. Establish an environment that encourages sharing and gathering – Something as simple as adding an oversized kitchen table will create a sense of enhanced “community”.

Fan the flames. Add a barbecue to your list of outdoor activities so guests can indulge in their carnal inclinations and explore a side that city life often stifles. Better yet, a dedicated fire pit, or outdoor fireplace, will enhance the experience while allowing PGs to enjoy winter nights around the flames by telling stories, singing songs, and drinking S’mores.

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Get more out of the views. If alterations aren’t on your agenda, at least make sure tenants can see the frozen lake or forest – auspicious ‘sight pruning’ of bushy trees and plants will open up views.

Give your cabin a clear design identity. Arrange furniture to make the most of the shape of your room, and use art and accessories to add style and color. Use the lighting to adjust the mood and get more out of everything.

From dimmer switches and ceiling fixtures to table lamps and floor lighting, creativity amplifies the luxury factor.

Comfort equals luxury. Comfort is worth spending on, so (budget permitting) luxury mattresses, chairs, and sofas. Layer texture blankets on beds and sofas, and use feather-filled (rather than foam) cushions for extra thickness and cutting ability.

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Keep guests connected. Wi-Fi power is everything, so make sure your service is up to the task. If this just isn’t possible, make up for the flaws with an extensive library of movies and box after box of board games.

Hey, you might even suggest that being “offline” is a good thing. Slow life on the lake, huh? Not now that sounds attractive?

To help create the perfect winter getaway, find a trusted agent for advice on prices, deposits and hours. Visit the Ontario Cottage Rental Managers Association (OCRMA) for a list of members: www.ocrma.ca/members/ in your area.

Keep an eye out for Colin and Justin at Cabin Pressure and Great Canadian Cottages (Cottage Life TV) and on Cityline (CityTV). Find the Colin and Justin collection in stores across Canada. Visit www.colinandjustin.tv

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