How to Manage a Vacation Rental Property: 5 Tips for Beginners in the Vacation Rental Industry
If you are thinking about getting started in the vacation rental industry, there has never been a better time than now. Whether you are trying to figure out how to manage one vacation rental property or to grow your vacation rental business into something much larger, these 5 tips will help you to improve your business today and give you a launchpad for success in this industry.
Tip 1 – Answer the Darn Phone!
We live in a world where traditional phone calls are less and less common. Virtual communication is the dominant medium for interaction, yet the simple ability to be able to answer the phone when it rings can have a huge impact on your business. The vacation rental business is a customer service industry FIRST, and we just happen to manage property. It’s a person-to-person business. Emails are great, and a lot of people will never expect to talk to you over the phone, but for those who still want to be able to reach an actual person and have a conversation — make sure you make yourself available to them when they call you.
Tip 2 – Follow Well Designed Plans and Processes
Vacation rental management is a business with a lot of moving parts. As we say at Vacation Rental University, a vacation rental business is the land of 3,000 feathers. Sure, one or two, or even a couple hundred, feathers aren’t going to weigh you down, but 3,000 certainly will be difficult to deal with (try it and send us a video!!). Having systematic processes in place for handling every as aspect of your business is critical for your success — think of it like a huge vacuum when the feathers attack! Find the way that works best for each task you have and then make it into a trainable and repeatable process and always have your staff do it that way.
Tip 3 – Always Be Prospecting for New Owners
This one is critical for your success because without properties to manage you can’t have a successful property management business. Growing your property portfolio is what will make your business a success — if you’re not growing, then you’re dying. The way to grow your property portfolio is through consistently reaching out and talking to potential owners. You cannot expect that property owners will seek you out. You must go to them, talk to them and market your services. Watch our lesson on the basics of prospecting for new property owners to learn more about this topic for free!
Tip 4 – Market Broadly
Listing a few properties on Airbnb and leaving it at that will not create a successful vacation rental management business. This is common mistake for beginners in the industry because it can be an easy way to get a good stream of income when you are starting out, but what is “good”? What is your revenue per property supposed to be? What happens if you get a string of bad reviews and you are no longer the super host you once were? What if Airbnb changes a policy or an algorithm and suddenly your one stream of income is hurt significantly? Just because you are doing well on one OTA or one platform doesn’t mean it will always be that way. If you want to build a truly successful vacation rental business, you can’t depend on one OTA to make that happen. You need to insure your business by listing on multiple platforms, creating your own website, and using SEO content marketing.
Tip 5 – Remember, You’re a Customer Service Business, and You Accidentally Manage Vacation Rentals!
This may be the most important tip on the list. When you are running a vacation rental management business, your customer service will make or break you. This is a service industry. You will have to communicate with property owners, guests, vendors, and staff, and the ability to do so in a prompt, friendly and pleasant way is very important to your success.
To learn more about how to successfully manage your vacation rental property, sign up for VRU! We have hundreds of lessons, downloads, and tools that will help you in every aspect of your vacation rental management business. Join us today and let us provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to be successful in the vacation rental industry.