So, you’re thinking about hiring a property manager for your vacation property. This probably means one of two things: either you’ve tried going it alone for a season or two and are finally raising the white flag as spring break inquiries start to loom; or you’ve done your research, learned from others’ experiences, and want to hit the ground running by hiring a vacation rental property manager.
In either situation, how do you know if you’re hiring the right property manager? What questions should you ask potential property managers before hiring them? And how can you tell a great property manager from one that could become just another management headache for you?
Asking these 3 questions is a surefire way to protect your vacation rental and ensure you hire the right property manager.
“What are your fees for property management, and what is included?”
One of the main reasons homeowners often hesitate to hire a property manager is the reluctance to part with what can seem like a big piece of their profit, especially when it’s not clear what the return on this investment can (and should) be. Good property managers can quantify their cost/benefit ratio and demonstrate the value they bring to homeowners who are already in their portfolio. Excellent property managers—like TurnKey Vacation Rentals—can actually help homeowners increase their property’s value, generate more revenue for their homes, and provide peace of mind. TurnKey does all this and more, while also charging a commission rate that’s only about half of the industry average. Whichever way you decide to go, always ask your potential property manager to explain (and justify) all of their fees—and check carefully for hidden costs, such as “a la carte” fees like providing/changing linens, a vacancy retainer, maintenance or “deep clean” surcharges—before hiring them!
“How do you market the properties you manage?”
Potential guests expect more than “just” a nice, clean property—and they certainly don’t want to take your word for it! Successful marketing involves offering high-quality property photos of the rental…and lots of them. Clients want to see details like the interesting subway tile, or marble countertops, or fabulous ocean view in your gorgeous kitchen. Sparse, bad-quality property photos turn a viewer off fast, and fair enough – it’s the only calling card your home has to offer.
One of the most-compelling reasons to hire an experienced property manager is to gain access to their marketing expertise and digital reach. Effectively marketing your property is not only the best way to ensure a steady income stream, but it can also be a full-time job in itself. As new vacation rental homeowners quickly learn, identifying which listing sites have the right guest profiles for their specific property, responding to queries quickly and efficiently, and then managing a booking calendar can eat up hours of time.
Property staging, good photography, floor plans and an appropriate (and accurate) property description are crucial to your home’s success. Property managers like TurnKey can bring their SEO expertise to bear here and help you maximize your online presence and appeal to the widest-possible cross-section of potential guests across more than 50 of the top listing sites.
“How can you create an A+ guest experience at my property?”
One of the barriers to entry for potential vacation-rental guests is their reluctance to give up the comforts that come with a stay at a fine hotel. They don’t want to make small talk with a host upon arrival (or any time, we often find), but they do want a clear line to someone who is in charge and there to answer questions or field complaints. They want a sparkling-clean property that’s stocked with high-end toiletries and all the kitchen and bathroom essentials (nobody likes having to make a corkscrew run before the first night’s sunset cruise or après-ski!). And, importantly, they want a property that exactly matches the description that sold them—just like at their favorite hotel, they want the confidence that what they saw is exactly what they’re going to get.
One of the best ways to learn about what is important to guests is to really listen to them. A good manager will not only pay attention to guest reviews and general feedback, but they will also actively solicit them in order to learn from real-world experiences and use the findings to improve future guest experience. A really great property manager will first take these actions and then immediately apply them to your home and its listings.
Little experiential extras that take a home from good to “wow” will be noticed by your guests…and appreciated by future renters who were attracted by your attention to these details. TurnKey, for example, offers proprietary digital home locks, which gets rid of the need fumbling for keys; and a hugely popular HomeDroid Concierge App, which provides guests with local recommendations as well as practical information like how to work the TV, what the Wi-Fi code is, or where to find groceries nearby.
Hiring a property manager can not only give you peace of mind and help save you time, but can generate more revenue for you than you could on your own. Vetting your property manager is crucial – and these 3 questions are a great place to start.