The vacation rental industry has grown over the past few years, with an increasing number of homeowners and investors getting into property management. It’s proved to be a popular way to generate an income. The lure of earning extra cash is certainly appealing, but as a vacation rental manager, you’re not going to have it easy!
Short-term rental management can be challenging, and if you want to make a success of your business you need to work hard, formulate a plan and stand out from the competition. We’ve put together this handy guide to vacation rental management. You’ll find it features top tips for vacation rental owners and should help get you started.
How does vacation rental management work?
The concept of vacation rental property management is straightforward. Basically, if you own a property (be it a house, a boat, a caravan, a tree-house, etc.), you can rent it out to paying guests. The duration of the visit varies from guest to guest, but it might be overnight, a long weekend, a couple of weeks, or something even longer.
There are plenty of hotels and B&Bs, but rental properties offer something a little more unique and personalized. Guests can enjoy home comforts, more spacious surroundings, and a homely experience.
What does a vacation rental property manager do?
Vacation rental management requires first-rate communication and organizational skills. If you’re wondering how to manage a vacation rental, here are a few handy tips for you:
Optimize your profile
Competition is fierce, so you need to make sure your rental stands out from all the others. Make sure the description is well-written and distinctive. It should provide plenty of key information about the property. Be sure to include selling points too, such as the roll-top bath and the cozy log burner. Use professional photographs to showcase your pad in its best light.
Develop an effective pricing strategy
Price yourselves too high and you will lose out to more affordable properties, go too low and you run the risk of lessening profits. Check out rental fees for similar properties in your area and make sure you are offering an attractive deal. It’s also a good idea to adjust your pricing in line with demand and other fluctuations in the market. To ensure your pricing is always optimized in response to market fluctuations and trends, consider using dynamic pricing software. With automation, you can rest assured that you are not leaving money on the table.
Automate your operations
As a vacation rental manager, you are responsible for a whole host of tasks. You have to communicate with guests and keep track of guest check-ins and checkouts. You also need to write reviews and leave feedback, as well as set up a cleaning and maintenance schedule to keep your vacation rental in tip-top condition. There’s so much to do (and often not enough time to do it in)!
That’s where vacation rental management companies come in, as they cover these services on your behalf. However, using a property manager can be expensive. As an effective and affordable alternative, you could use vacation rental management software, such as iGMS, instead.
This type of software enables the host to automate key tasks, so you can decrease your manual workload and focus on other important areas of your business. All-in-one automation allows you to manage multiple accounts and deal with everything from one simple dashboard.
Set and communicate the house rules
It’s always a good idea to let your guests know what you do and don’t allow at your property. A good vacation rental host is clear from the start, as this will prevent any confusion and misunderstanding.
Let current and potential guests know whether you allow pets, smoking, etc. If your house is on a busy street, you might want to clarify the parking situation to avoid any tension with neighbors. You can also include reminders such as no loud and large late-night parties! Include the rules in your listing and in the welcome book.
Work with customer satisfaction and reviews
As a vacation rental manager, you need to keep track of what guests think of the property and of your hosting skills. Studying feedback is a useful way to find out about both, as it allows you to celebrate the positives and work on making improvements.
To encourage your guests to leave your reviews and valuable feedback, you can make the first move and write reviews for each guest that you’ve hosted. Don’t forget, you can use your vacation rental software to create review templates. Always post a review, this will prompt your guests to do the same for you! Great reviews will help to build your reputation and attract more business.
Use the power of marketing to beat the competition
Another key part of vacation properties management is the promotion and marketing of your rental property. Airbnb is a renowned platform, but there are others you can try out too. Regardless of which vacation rental platform you choose to create a listing, boost your listing visibility by using attractive photos and composing a clear description of what’s on offer.
You can also make use of social media to pique the interest of potential guests and endorse your vacation rental. Get into the habit of regularly posting stirring photographs on Instagram – the sun setting over the garden, the view of the sea from the bedroom window, etc.
Market what’s going on in the local area too. If there’s a festival or sporting event, let people know. It will encourage visitors to the area, and if they’re coming from afar, they are going to need somewhere nice to stay!
In addition, you can set up your own Facebook page, or you could go even further and build your own website to showcase your property and start receiving direct bookings.
How to start a vacation rental management business?
Keen to get into a vacation rental business? Then you need to do things by the book. Check out the regulations and restrictions in your local area relating to short-term property rentals.
As a vacation rental entrepreneur, you will be responsible for the financial implications of setting up and running the business. This will involve checking the tax rules, declaring earnings, and taking out the relevant insurance. Thus, ensuring your property and its contents are safe and secure.
How to succeed in the vacation rental management business?
To succeed in vacation rental property management, you need to educate yourself. Learn all you can about the locality and identify your target audience. Find out what people are looking for in a vacation rental property, and don’t be afraid to take a peek at what your competitors are offering.
Make sure you keep up with the latest trends too. What type of properties are popular? Are there any experiences that seem to be selling well? Always look for new opportunities to help your business expand. If you’re an accomplished artist, maybe you can value it by offering a workshop along with the guest’s stay at your accommodation.
It’s not easy to manage vacation rentals. But if you use helpful tools, such as property management software to automate tasks, you can streamline your business, make your life easier, and improve profits!