While renting out your property requires a lot of management, this effort is often worth it if you can make enough income. Here are the most important factors to successfully renting out your vacation home and maximizing the revenue it generates.
Maximize Your Marketing
Most potential guests research and find their vacation rental online. According to a TripAdvisor survey from 2015, 87% of respondents were more likely to book a vacation rental based on online information, including photos and guest reviews. Marketing your property online—and on multiple websites—is key to getting your vacation rental home in front of enough potential guests.
“The biggest mistake I see a typical property owner make is not marketing their property on all the biggest websites” says TJ Clark, co-founder and CEO of TurnKey Vacation Rentals.
According to HomeAway, its website receives 9.8 million visits a year. Airbnb’s website is reported to have more than 60 million bookings since 2008. FlipKey states that its website receives millions of visitors every month. If your property isn’t listed on all of these travel websites, you’re missing out on exposure to millions of potential guests per month—and many potential bookings.
Build a Compelling Listing
Once your property is listed on a vacation rental website, it’s important to have a high-quality listing to attract as many guests as possible. Here’s a great guide TurnKey produced.
Each listing website is a little different, but here are the critical attributes of a successful listing:
If you have these important bases covered, more potential guests will look at your rental listing than they would a similar listing with poor quality photos, vague descriptions and no reviews.
Respond to Inquires and Booking Questions Quickly
If you have a great listing that is on all of the major vacation rental websites, you’ll receive many inquiries and questions about your property. In order to convert these inquiries into stays, you or your vacation rental management company need to respond quickly and answer questions or concerns appropriately.
“We’ve seen a direct correlation between fast, personalized inquiry response and higher booking conversion rates.” says John Banczak, co-founder and executive chairman of TurnKey Vacation Rentals.
Fast, quality responses are one of the biggest reasons homeowners look to property managers. Most owners simply can’t keep up with the 24/7 nature of responding to inquiries and recognize they’re leaving money on the table. “My wife and I both had full-time jobs and busy lives. I got tired of being at dinner with my family when guests would call me because they ran out of toilet paper,” says James McKee, who managed his own home before hiring TurnKey to manage it for him.
Keep Your Availability Calendar Up-To-Date
One of the first things potential guests look at before they consider a property is its availability during the time they want to travel. Having an accurate and up-to-date availability calendar helps attract more guests and bookings.
Potential guests often are frustrated by these two availability calendar issues:
Make Booking Your Property as Easy as Possible: Once a guest decides he or she wants to rent your home, owners and management companies should make it as easy as possible. Enable your property to be instantly bookable online, and accept credit card payments.
“Travelers have been conditioned by the online travel agencies to book instantly online and want instant gratification,” says Clark. “Guests want the same thing when booking a vacation rental.”
Make it easy to book the property with a credit card, because guests prefer the convenience and security of using a credit card.
Homes managed by owners and property management companies that do these five key things well will generate more income than homes that don’t. While it takes additional time and effort, the increase in revenue can be material.
If you’re currently managing your home and don’t have the time or expertise to try these tactics, consider a property management company. The increased revenue and time saved should more than offset the management costs.
If you’re already working with a management company, make sure they’re doing these five things well for your property. Otherwise, you may be leaving money on the table.