Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.
When you’re managing a vacation rental property (or multiple properties), efficiency connects to profitability. Your time is precious, and you want to spend it on activities that increase your ROI and productivity.
It’s worthwhile to invest in organized tools and strategies that help simplify your operations, keep your guests happy, and secure your steady income stream. Set up structured systems that will work for you long term, and you can keep your vacation rental running smoothly week after week with minimal effort.
1. Be a savvy marketer
Make it easy for potential guests to find your rental and fall in love with it. List your property on popular vacation rental websites like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway—and look for ways to stand out among competitors.
Identify your ideal audience. Is your spacious beach house perfect for large families with kids? Is your downtown loft a great romantic getaway for a couple? Ask yourself what guests value in a vacation home that you can provide:
- What amenities are must-haves for this audience?
- What extras will surpass their expectations (such as cribs, playpens, and toys for families)?
- What nearby attractions are selling points?
- What is missing from other similar properties in the area?
Write a clear, accurate, and thorough description of the property, and include high-quality professional photographs of every room from various angles.
2. Manage bookings in one place
Listing your vacation home on several rental websites is valuable because each attracts a slightly different audience. But it’s challenging to keep track of calendars and reservations across multiple channels. You don’t want to end up in an awkward situation where you’ve accidentally double-booked your rental.
Use a vacation property management software like Orbirental, Kigo or Hostaway that lets you manage and sync all of your listings in one location. Instead of trying to juggle requests, reservations, and messages on many platforms, you can simply log into a central hub. This type of software is an additional expense, but it’s worth the investment if it will help you save time and money in the long run.
3. Hire a good team
Yes, you can do everything yourself. But should you? If business is booming, you’ll reach a point where you need extra help managing your rental property. Take this as a positive sign, and hire a team of professionals to take certain tasks off your to-do list:
- A housekeeper or cleaning service
- A maintenance person
- A gardener or landscaping service
- A bookkeeper
- A tax accountant
A capable and reliable team will help you maintain a beautiful, well-run property and free up your time to handle other responsibilities.
4. Protect your property
Since you can’t watch over your vacation rental twenty-four hours a day, especially if you manage numerous properties, it’s important to find other ways to safeguard your investment.
Research your local laws to make sure your rental is operating legally in your area and you have all the necessary licenses and permits. Check with your insurance company to verify that your policy covers vacation rentals.
To ensure you can keep an eye on your property even when you aren’t physically there, invest in a security system. Choose a home security system with features that give you more control and awareness of your property’s security. Many systems go beyond the traditional burglar alarm and include options such as fire and smoke detectors, home security cameras, and remote monitoring from your smartphone.
5. Promote good communication
When guests reach out to you with questions or concerns, they want you to reply immediately. They may have a simple question (“Where should we put the plastic recycling?”). Or they might have a critical problem they need you to solve right away (“The dishwasher is overflowing and flooding the kitchen”).
Either way, how and when you respond is critical. A prompt, helpful answer will show your guests that you care about their comfort and well-being and that you will come to their aid quickly. Or, consider answering your guests’ questions before they even ask you with a digital guidebook.
Finally, when you first confirm the booking, supply your guests with several ways to get in touch with you. Let them know they should call or text you for urgent matters, and enable push notifications on your smartphone so you see emails and vacation rental website messages right away.
6. Ask for feedback
Your guests are a valuable source of information as you determine what is working well and what needs improvement in your vacation rental. All feedback is useful to you, so ask guests about their experience staying in your property:
- Check in with them as soon as they arrive, asking if they need anything or have any questions.
- Leave a simple questionnaire in the property for them to fill out before they leave.
- Call or text guests the day they leave to thank them and ask if they have any suggestions.
- Send a guest experience survey via email after their stay.
- Read online reviews, and reach out to both positive and negative reviewers, asking for more information.
- Write positive reviews for guests on vacation rental platforms.
By putting in a little extra effort and implementing these small changes, you can make your vacation rental management easier and your guests’ experience more enjoyable.