It’s no secret that to keep a business running, the company has to make sure they’re making money. It is not a simple task for vacation rental managers to maintain payment schedules, cancellations, future payments due, deposits, and declined or charged back cards or who wants a refund. A job like this requires constant organization and a structured plan. Here are 4 important payment processing rules for vacation rentals to follow to ensure that your payment systems run smoothly: 
When working in a business it is pretty standard practice that customers come first. However, you must always have top of mind that a great company, and amazing customer service, starts with the employees. Many times, businesses do not end up succeeding because they focus solely on sales and making money. Yes, the reason we are in business (most of us) is to make money, but there are so many pieces that go into making that sustainable — that if you want to make real money you won’t do it alone. You may manage every part of the business in the early days, and make money doing that. If that is all you want to do, then this article may not be for you. 
Social media is critical today, but not everyone thinks about Instagram. Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms out there, with more than 800 million users worldwide and owned by Facebook. Not every business can use Instagram, but vacation rentals are rich with photo and video opportunities (try memes too!). You can leverage Instagram as a platform to visually display your vacation rentals to great success. With the right tools and mindset, you’ll be on your way to booking new guests in no time! Here are 7 helpful tips on how to promote your vacation rental business on Instagram. 
So now that you’re a property manager, you should have accepted that many responsibilities fall onto your shoulders — many of which you have absolutely no control over! Not only are you handling the property owners’ needs, but the guests and your staff as well, not to mention the physical aspects of caring for the properties. Are you and your team equipped to tackle the duty of checking clients in and out? Do you have a protocol in place for when clients damage the property? You do a good job each day to control all of the things you can control between turns, but how do you handle guest damages that you can’t control? 
Financial management is key to being successful in the vacation rental industry. Read on to learn 3 main things about financial management in the vacation rental industry that are important to know. 
Net-rate is becoming a crucial financial component of managing vacation rentals. So, what is this new thing and why do I need it? Well, to start — it isn’t actually a new concept, but for some reason vacation rental managers have forgotten about it or ignored it. Talented, hardworking entrepreneurs in any industry should always win at the end of the day. Instead of winning (being profitable) we find ourselves, as property managers, doing all the dirty work when it comes to the vacation rental sector, yet we end up feeling eaten alive by “ever increasing OTA costs.” Most managers today are working harder than ever before on things like guest experience, turnover management, and owner satisfaction, but making less money than they ever have before. This just ain’t right, folks! It is not sustainable, much less fun. You should be making good money as a property manager. 

What Makes up Your Value Proposition in a Crowded Space?

The best vacation rental managers are those who are prepared for anything, anytime. Every nook and cranny is observed, and every “t” is crossed and “i” gets dotted. To keep your clients happy, your services must be worth every penny — or someone else will get those pennies. So, how can you make sure your offer is good enough to get the business? What makes you different will be your forward thinking into the future of your business and how your processes can affect the 3 main areas property owners are looking for — CASH, CARE, and COMMUNICATION. 
One of the key components in any form of real estate is knowing your market. For vacation rentals, knowing which channels are most effective for the homes you manage is the key to success. Bear in mind that certain distribution sources may be “hot” in some areas, while others may not produce. For instance, HomeAway can be of limited value in certain areas, like urban destinations, while and Airbnb are big producers. This is different in every market and changes over time — so stay on top of your data! You should always be building your own SEO presence and testing PPC, social, and email marketing — these are channels for distribution too but take some time to build. The opportunity is there for you to tap into enormous marketing engines from day one and see your profits begin to soar quickly. 

How Often Should You Check in with Property Owners?

Many property managers tend to only reach out to owners when there is a problem — we use the cover of being “busy” to justify this awful customer service. This is unfortunately a very reactionary business by default, so managers need to take every opportunity they can to be proactive. Control the things you can while you can to limit unnecessary problems from adding to your unpredictable work load. Keep in mind that this strategy is different for everyone, but it is essential to reach out, in some form, at least once a month. With several properties to manage, it is not uncommon for us to completely forget to contact our clients. However, it is crucial to focus on each of your business relationships so that the owners have security in knowing you have not forgotten them. It’s easy to forget this when you’re busy managing the property, but owners have no idea how hard you’re working if you do not let them know. There is a difference between visible work and invisible work — you must take every opportunity you can to make your efforts visible. Otherwise, your clients will come into town and find a few issues and assume you aren’t doing a good job for them in all other areas. 

The Truth

It’s easy to get caught up in multiple to-dos. Your day job may be a 9-5, but your home life is always 24/7! Unfortunately, so is your vacation rental business. If you think your vacation rental property will rent itself out naturally and your cleaners will always do a great job, you’re mistaken. You might get away with managing when you’re available for a while, but there will be a number of items you’re missing and over time, that will cost you big time in revenue and property condition!