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? 

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! 
As property managers, we are frequently presented with difficult situations. Dealing with our clients in a professional yet assertive manner can be especially challenging. One common issue that arises is the concept of restricting owners’ use of their properties. Many can’t help but wonder: to restrict or not to restrict? 
In the vacation rental industry, we often can be quick to offer a full or partial refund to guests when an issue arises, just to stop the pain of the complaint and do whatever it takes to avoid the dreaded negative review. However, refunding guests when there is an issue creates a major profit loss for your business and the property owner — creating more pain in the long term as you damage that relationship. Often, you can avoid giving a refund while also avoiding a poor review by offering to fix the issue with great service, a good attitude and alternative forms of compensation. Ultimately, the goal for your vacation rental business should be to provide great service, keep guests happy, and maintain high profit margins. At Vacation Rental University we have dozens of strategies to help you accomplish all 3 of these goals, even when things go wrong. Here are a few to get you started. 
What’s the best way to kill your success in the vacation rental business? Bad reviews. Put yourself in the shoes of a traveler for a moment. You go onto your OTA of choice, you look at the properties and find a gorgeous property that fits in your budget and is available for your travel dates. This property has flawless photos, a great description, you are so excited, so you decide to book. But wait!! Just before booking you see a 1-star review from someone warning you that this is all too good to be true. The property was dirty, or not as described, or the owners were rude. Back to the search … Looks like a similar property just down the road is available. Maybe you won’t be booking this perfect property after all. Vacation rental reviews can make or break you in this industry. Monitoring guest feedback, providing good service, and fixing what’s wrong will create happy guests who you can confidently request reviews from. This is essential if you want to see your vacation rental business succeed. 
Marketing broadly is key to running an efficient vacation rental business. Generating traffic to your vacation rental website through pay-per-click ads, SEO, blogging, social, and referral and repeat marketing is important for your vacation rental business because this generates direct bookings, which are the most high-profit bookings. However, creating a successful marketing campaign and website can take years, and relying on only direct bookings can hurt your business and profits tremendously. Using online travel agents (OTAs) like Airbnb,, or HomeAway is an effective way to supplement your direct bookings and increase your profits. If you’re just getting started, OTAs are a great way to earn quick profits — over time, think of them as insurance to make sure you always hit your revenue targets. At Vacation Rental University, we provide detailed lessons and tools to help you master the marketing of your vacation rental properties on OTAs, but here is a quick overview of our favorite OTAs that you can use to improve your business today. 
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and in the world of vacation rental management this could not be more accurate. People don’t like to spend a lot of time reading, especially about their upcoming vacation. Pictures tell a story about your vacation rental very quickly — they are the first thing a future guest sees during their search, and ultimately it is the photos of your property that will determine whether that guest keeps scrolling down the list or clicks to the next property. A single photo will capture attention, but it is the written description of the property and its amenities that will ultimately turn that initial inquiry into a booking. Creating a quality written description of your property, therefore, is extremely important. Here are the top 3 rules to follow when creating a quality property description for your vacation rental.