Managing a vacation rental is a “people-centered” business. The product is a home, but the service is about providing guests an experience they’ll never forget. It can be easy to think of a rental home as an additional source of passive income, but it’s not always that simple. Successfully managing a vacation rental property involves providing a home that is safe and comfortable in addition to giving guests a truly memorable experience. That takes work. Getting stressed? Don’t. Here’s how to manage a vacation rental property the right way.
Sometimes, managing a vacation rental can seem like another “to-do” on your already long list of responsibilities. Taking care of guest issues, staying current on home maintenance and repairs, and handling marketing and advertising all require time. That’s a hot commodity for many busy professionals like you. Time management is key when learning how to manage your own vacation rental property the right way. To successfully maintain your property while still having time to live the life you love, try these time-saving strategies:
Make Lists. It may sound obvious, but writing down what needs to be done can help you get an idea of where to start. When you have so many things to do swirling around in your head it may feel overwhelming. But seeing it all on paper can help you focus. Prioritize the list so that the most important things get done first. Leave the smaller, less urgent things until the house is vacant and you have more time. A list-taking app like Wunderlist can do wonders to help you keep track of and cross off those to-dos.
Delegate. Trying to manage a vacation rental all on your own can easily make you feel frustrated and overwhelmed. Surround yourself with a team of people who can help you, and split up the responsibilities. Effective communication is key when working with a team. Have a daily or weekly meeting with those you work with to make sure everyone is on the same page and has the same end goal in mind.
Use Your Mornings. Studies show people are more productive in the morning—after a cup of coffee or two, most likely. So do your bigger, more difficult projects in the morning while you’re more rested and focused. Getting a big “to-do” marked off of your list first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day. Breaking up big tasks into smaller jobs keeps you motivated and helps you see results faster.
Let Technology Work For You. Your property manager brain is probably full of things to do, people to call, meetings to attend, supplies to buy, and reservations to make. Luckily, there’s some great technology available to help keep you organized. Get your time back!
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Today you can do anything on your phone. There’s an app for that. You can order groceries, check on your kids at daycare, start your car or order coffee for the whole office all from your phone. It shouldn’t be surprising that there are plenty of apps and technology available to make managing your vacation home as easy as possible. Some ways you can use technology to manage your vacation home include:
Advertising through social media
Sending guests text alerts via mobile apps
Use smart home technology to keep guests happy and costs down
Use aerial drone footage to give guests a bird’s eye view of the property
Offer high-tech amenities such as Free Wi-Fi, keyless entry systems, and phone chargers
There’s a lot to consider when learning how to manage a vacation rental property yourself for the first time. Don’t make the process harder on yourself. Take advantage of technology when you can, especially if it’s free!
Make It Sparkle
The number one complaint from vacation home guests is cleanliness. If you cannot be there to clean the home after each guest, you will need to find a reliable cleaner who knows your standards and can uphold them consistently. Everyone’s idea of clean is subjective, so it’s important that you hire a professional housekeeper to maintain the highest quality of cleanliness possible. Guests who walk into a dirty home will never be able to fully enjoy the vacation they’ve worked so hard for.
Cleaning a vacation home is different than cleaning your primary home. A vacation home needs more than a quick pick up and sweep between guests. It needs to be sanitized and carefully inspected to make sure it is in pristine condition for every guest. Your housekeeper acts as your eyes on the property when you can’t be there. So it’s important that you find a cleaner who you can trust. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend all of your time managing housekeeping. There are digital tools available to help you with scheduling and keeping everyone in the loop. These are exceptionally handy if you’re managing a broad portfolio of vacation properties.
Make An Inviting Impression
Your home may be beautiful, and your customer service may be world-class, but if nobody knows you have a great vacation rental available, none of that matters. Marketing is a huge part of managing a vacation rental property. As a property manager, it’s more important to market the experience than it is to market the actual property. When marketing your vacation rental, you want guests to picture themselves relaxing by the pool. Help them “see” themselves falling asleep in the private master suite or enjoying a family game night in the kitchen. Vacations are all about quality time and memories. To get the bookings, you’ll want to appeal to the emotional aspect of the vacation.
Vacation Rental Photography
The pictures that you use to market your vacation home are just as important as your rental description. Studies show that rentals with 20-25 pictures of the home have the highest click-through rating. But having a lot of pictures isn’t good enough. Having professional photos of your vacation rental will showcase your home in the best light possible. After all, potential guests are sure to look at the pictures first. If they seem appealing, they’ll be more likely to look through the entire description. You only have a few seconds to catch their attention, and professional quality photos are the best way to do that.
Property Listings, Bookings & Calendar Maintenance
Once the description is on point, and you’ve posted the beautiful photos, the bookings will follow. A well-researched CRM system will help you keep all of your guest information, home maintenance logs, and reservation data in one place. Being organized is the key to managing a vacation rental property the right way. Jotting down guest names and dates in your calendar is not a recommended way to run a business. Whether you are managing one home or twenty, it’s important to use a trusted CRM system to stay on track.
Guest Communication & Concierge Services
Many property managers focus solely on getting guests to the home. This is a mistake. Successful property managers think about their guests’ vacation as a big picture. Create a wonderful experience from pre-booking to follow up, and you could have some return guests on your hands—or at least a great post-vacay review. To improve the guest experience, consider offering suggestions for things to do in the area. Adding concierge services can be another great way to enhance the entire experience.
Online Vacation Rental Reviews
Just like any other online shoppers, many travelers look at reviews before they make a vacation rental decision. Stay on top of your reviews and respond to them quickly and professionally. Think of bad reviews as a chance to show potential guests your courtesy, integrity, and professionalism. How you respond to a mistake is more important than the mistake itself. Try to respond within 24 hours and make it personal. People will know if you’re just using a default message to reply to their review. They took the time to leave one. You should take the time to respond thoughtfully. Of course, if you actively work to get more great reviews, a single poor review will do less damage. Try to get as many positive reviews as you can!
Leverage Informed Pricing
Deciding what to charge for your vacation rental can be one of the toughest parts of managing a vacation rental. You don’t want to give it away, but you don’t want to miss out on bookings due to over-pricing. You could spend hours comparing your property with others in the area. You could attempt to keep up with the constant ebb and flow of the vacation rental market or, you could use innovative software and technology like Beyond Pricing. This software analyzes the current market and predicts the future market as well. Having this insider information lets you to set informed and competitive prices for your vacation rentals way ahead of time.
Try Bookfull Vacation Rental Software
Struggling with how to manage a vacation rental property? We’ve got you covered. From managing housekeeping services to updating listings and keeping your scheduling organized, Bookfull is a free vacation rental software makes managing your properties easier than ever.
Start using Bookfull for free today to increase bookings with less hassle.