Managing vacation rentals is a confusing job. We are in the travel and hospitality industry but not a hotel. We are in the real estate industry but we aren’t a realtor. We are a property manager but we don’t lease homes to live in. The short-term rental business is this interesting niche that spans across lots of different jobs. It’s fun but stressful. Let’s ease some of those stressful moments by answers some of those nagging questions you may have about how to manage a vacation rental.
How to Deal With Less Than Ideal Guests
Ever had sleepless nights worrying about the party of 10 staying at your vacation home? Or do you worry about predicting who is going to be a good guest and who isn’t? Here are some tips on dealing with unpleasant guests and how to handle the aftermath going forward.
- One trick to keeping unwanted guests out of your vacation home is to read reviews guests have given other hosts. This can tell you a lot about whether a guest will be easygoing or complicated.
- Another important aspect is being fully transparent with your listing. Make sure you list the obvious things, like if you don’t allow parties, smoking or loud music at late hours and be specific as to what late hours are.
- Make sure to ask questions! It’s important to ask your guest what they will be doing in your rental and exactly what they are looking for so you both are on the same page.
- Also, take time to look at their profile and the reviews they have received so you can get a better picture of the guest and how they have been in the past with other short-term rentals.
Be on the lookout for same-day bookings. That vacant opening on your reservation calendar may bother you, but it’s a little sketchy that someone would be traveling to a different city without any place to stay. It does happen that people wait until the last minute to book but for the most part, there’s a chance they are up to something less than ideal. This is where that tip about asking questions really comes in handy.
Handling Inquiries On and Off the Booking Site
This can get tricky. You’d rather get a direct booking because you and your guest avoid all those OTA fees. But if a guest made an inquiry on an OTA and is now trying to move communication from that platform it could be a red flag. Also, it could cause problems later if the OTA decides to audit your account and guests and discovers the guest communicated with you on their site. According to some OTAs terms and conditions, you are responsible to still pay the fees/commission for that guest because it was technically a “lead” from the OTA platform.
To Discount or Not, That is the Question
It’s not uncommon for people to inquire about discounts on your rental. But you may want to avoid someone who asks for a price below the discount you are already offering. This is a sign that the guest is going to be stingy and a hassle before they even make the reservation.
Should You Splurge on a King Bed
Take a few things into consideration before making this decision. Will a king-sized bed even fit in your room and leave enough room for benches for luggage, a desk, end tables, or room to move? Having sufficient room and space to move around the room is key. Don’t forget, guests come with a lot of stuff. Another big factor to consider is your market. Is your short-term rental a budget-friendly place or is it more on the high-end luxury side? If you fall into the high-end category you’ll want to invest in the king-sized bed because guests will be expecting it.
How do I Decorate My Units?
Where you are located and your typical guest are the best ways to determine how to decorate your short-term rental. Is your rental a beach house or an apartment downtown? Guests coming to the beach are most likely on vacation while if they are renting a downtown apartment it could be they are in town on business. Message each new guest and ask what they are coming in town for, find out a little about them and why they chose your place. This will give you an understanding of how guests use your vacation rental and will help you determine what you need in the unit and the style they are looking for. No matter what remember to de-clutter. Check out all of our staging tips and get your checklist here.
How to Handle Reviews
One of your biggest concerns you may have is bad reviews and how to handle them. If you get a bad review are you supposed to reply or leave it alone? Airbnb allows hosts to publicly respond to reviews so they can write an explanation if they choose. While this tool can be useful occasional, you should use it sparingly. Replying too much draws attention to you and could paint you in a bad light. The best course of action is to reply to reviews that represent any shortcoming in your unit that you have fixed. For example, if a review said that the freezer was broken and you installed a new one. For more tips on how to handle bad reviews check out this article. Regardless, remember to take a deep breath and step away for a few minutes.
At the end of the day managing your vacation rental is about using common sense and trusting your gut is going to be the best way for you to handle most situations. If something stands out to you as a red flag and your gut is telling you it’s bad news… it probably is. Go with your gut and save yourself the headache. Sign up for Bookfull’s weekly newsletter and stay up to date on how to manage a vacation rental.
What are your burning questions about how to manage a vacation rental? Let us know in the comments and we’ll work on getting you an answer or an article so we can all learn together.