A guide to selecting the best vacation rental property management company.
Selecting the right vacation rental property manager is a big decision. Although there are many property managers available, homeowners often compare TurnKey and Vacasa because we are two of the largest full-service vacation rental management companies. Below you’ll find all of the key details about what we do, how we do it, and what our business can do for you, your rental, and your guests. We’re hoping it will help you know the right questions to ask and feel confident in the vacation rental property management company you choose.
Property Management Fees
This is almost always the first set of questions that many homeowners have for us, whether they are transferring from another property manager or seeking rental management services for the first time.
- Management commission: A management commission is what a management company charges to manage your property. Most of this time, this is a percentage of each booking. TurnKey offers an industry-low commission rate, typically half of the 35-50% other property managers charge. We’ve built our company to be successful at a lower rate from the ground up using proprietary technologies that allow us to operate locally while reducing overhead costs. At this time, Vacasa charges a 35% commission rate, and many other property managers come in at a similar price point or higher.
- Guest booking fee: If you ask the right questions upfront, you’ll find most vacation rental property managers will charge an additional guest fee. It’s a cost of doing business and guests have come to expect it when booking a professionally managed vacation rental. Guests should expect an upgraded experience in exchange for this fee. While Vacasa charges a 12% fee, TurnKey only charges 9%. Both companies pay for all travel agent commissions out of those fees. You’ll want to vet other management companies in this area as well, since they may or may not have the resources on hand to provide quality guest support at a reasonable price.
- Other fees
- Hot tub fees: Read no further if you do not have a hot tub. However, if you do have a hot tub, you’ll find that many property managers charge a nightly fee. Vacasa charges the guest a $10/nightly fee.
- Stocking Fee: TurnKey stocks every home before each visit with a minimum of three rolls of toilet paper per bathroom, two rolls of paper towels, and high-quality eco brand biodegradable soap, shampoo, and conditioner. We also stock dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, and basic cleaning supplies. We charge a homeowner $10-25 per booking (based on the number of bedrooms in their home) to resupply. This charge is in place to ensure we continue to provide high-quality products. Other property management companies like Vacasa roll supply costs into their commissions. We suggest you ask what types of brands property managers are using and how frequently they are restocking your property.
- Credit card fees: At TurnKey we charge a 3-4% credit card processing fee. We share that fee equally with homeowners – it comes out of our commission the same as it does any rent. One thing that sets TurnKey apart is that TurnKey covers any and all chargebacks and fraud – something we are not aware any credit card processor or property manager does. Our guest screening has allowed us to charge less than processors like Square or Paypal – and guarantee you will see the revenue. Your property manager should absolutely be protecting you from fraud, so make sure to ask how they’re doing that.
Here’s how the fees break down between TurnKey and Vacasa:
- Rental listing descriptions: TurnKey provides an in-house, professional copywriting team who have conducted research, data analysis, and interviews with experts to develop a specific set of listing guidelines. Not only do they craft each and every property listing with care, but they ensure all of the information is accurate at all times to best set expectations for guests.
- Rental photography: TurnKey sources, edits, and publishes professional looking photos for all of our properties at no expense to the homeowner. Having high-quality photos is key to reaching more quests and getting them to convert.
- 360 virtual tours: We’ve partnered with InsideMaps to provide online 360 virtual tours and digital floor plans on the TurnKey website. Here’s an example of InsideMaps in one of our homes. Unfortunately, many distribution sites do not support this yet, but we’re well ahead of the curve by offering this feature for our owners and guest. Guests love these features in listings because they can virtually tour the entire property and quickly answer so many of their questions upfront. Not only does this feature make guests feel more comfortable booking instantly, but it helps to better set expectations for an overall improved experience.
- Distribution websites: Not only do we craft and manage your listing from end-to-end, but we list your property on 50+ sites including Homeaway, VRBO, Airbnb, FlipKey, Expedia, Booking.com, and many more to help you reach 95% of online travelers. Here is a comprehensive list:
|HomeAway Sites||Top Travel Sites||Local Sites|
|Abritel.fr||Airbnb||Owner Direct Vacation Rentals|
|HomeAway.ca.fr||Travelocity||Vacation Rental Supermarket|
|HomeAway.pt||Colorado Vacation Rentals|
- Pricing management: Our dedicated revenue team researches pricing in your area and monitors the success of each and every vacation rental across multiple listing sites at all times. Your property will always be priced to best meet market demand and our proprietary pricing algorithm ensures that no revenue is left on the table. We’re one of the few vacation rental property managers that is able to maximize bookings all year long, not just your peak season. It’s one of our more impressive service offerings.
- Guest inquiries and bookings: Our reservations team works tirelessly to answer every guest inquiry within 5 minutes or less and strives to turn rental inquiries into reservations. This tactic has helped make TurnKey a top property manager on HomeAway and one of their Premier Partners.
- Guest review acquisition: Not only do we provide welcoming and informative communication from booking to check-out, but we have multiple tactics in place to encourage your guests to leave a review so we can continuously improve how we market your rental on your behalf. We also surface all guest reviews of a property in our Owner Dashboard, so you can always have your finger on the pulse of your rental property.
Security, Safety, and Maintenance
Here is a high-level overview of how TurnKey works to maintain, secure, and ensure your home is always guest-ready:
- Bank-level guest verification: We conduct thorough guest screenings on some bookings via IDology, a multi-layered, end-to-end authentication solution that helps streamline guest identification and age verification.
- Property maintenance: TurnKey does not charge homeowners any labor fees to do small maintenance such as changing light bulbs, replacing batteries, etc. This should be expected from any property management company. The only cost to you will be for supplies which we will always communicate directly to you so you are fully aware of the status of your property and any additional purchases that need to take place to make sure your rental is always guest-ready.
- Housekeeping photo inspection process: TurnKey takes housekeeping quality very seriously. After every single housekeeping job completed, a homeowner can review 20+ photos of their home in our TurnKey Owner Dashboard. Not only does our TurnKey team review each of these photos before the housekeeping team is able to leave the property, but owners will always have a record or be able to provide feedback as they see fit. Again, all guest reviews will be available in our Owner Dashboard as well, so you can feel confident your property’s performance is top notch.
- Guest supplies: As mentioned above, TurnKey stocks every home before each visit with a minimum of three rolls of toilet paper per bathroom, two rolls of paper towels, and high-quality eco brand biodegradable soap, shampoo, and conditioner. We also stock dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, and basic cleaning supplies. They are also not travel-sized like many other property managers may provide or something you can find at a local CVS or Walgreens.
- Digital lock: If you want this basic level of security, many property managers require you to buy and install your own digital lock. If you were not aware, in order to truly be secure and manage entry into your rental, you’ll need a lock with one-time usage codes and timestamp management. Otherwise, you’re going to need to be on-site or might run into issues where you need to contact your property manager regularly. Codes with specific activation and deactivation times are not something many small or large property managers like Vacasa are able to provide or handle for that matter. Our TurnKey proprietary digital lock will not only help you never have to endure an awkward or inconvenient key exchange, but allows you to automatically create and send custom codes to your guests, housekeepers, etc.
- Digital noise monitors: TurnKey wants to make sure our homeowner’s homes are good neighbors. To do that, we monitor whether guests are being too loud. If they are, TurnKey reaches out to those guests before a neighbor complains. In areas like South Lake Tahoe, where noise complaints can result in the loss of a rental permit, this feature is critical. Comparable noise monitors and the monitoring subscription are $100/year.
- Occupancy monitoring via Wi-Fi router: On top of all the features we’ve listed already, we also provide a Wi-Fi portal for your home. This is a staple item for any rental, but we’ll also use this router to monitor how many devices are accessing the Wi-Fi. It’s just one more tool to make sure guests are being respectful of your home and are honest about the size of their group.
- Local rental compliance monitoring: You can’t read the news these days without hearing about some new, more stringent government regulation being imposed on vacation rentals. Regulations like “3 strikes and you’ll lose your license,” or “you must have a live representative at the rental within 30 minutes of a complaint,” and tightening up of permitting hurdles are part of our everyday business now. Our teams will also make sure your rental(s) remains compliant with any tax, license, and regulation changes specific to your property’s location. We recently revamped our Wi-Fi to launch a pop up prompting guests to review and sign a specific set of forms required by HOAs and/or local regulations if required in your area.
- Patrolling services: Our local teams (and in most markets, private security services) help us monitor and make sure guests aren’t violating noise, occupancy, parking, trash, HOA-specific, or other local ordinances or rules. This enables us to address these issues quickly and, in some cases, remove guests from the property before your neighbors complain or it reaches the police blotter.
As a result of all of the services and technology listed above, we are proud to report that our incidence of material guest damages has stayed below 3 in 1,000 stays and we have not lost a single rental permit in 2017.
TurnKey Technology Advantage
One of the most frequent questions we are asked is, “How can TurnKey provide great service and results, but charge almost half the management fee of local managers or major players like Vacasa?” The answer is our proprietary technology discussed above. This is what allows for TurnKey Vacation Rentals to work smarter and reduce overhead so we can boost our local teams and provide comprehensive and excellent service quality for homeowners and guests.
All of the following technology is provided at no additional cost to our rental owners or guests:
- Rate & revenue management: TurnKey’s dedicated revenue management team uses advanced algorithms to set rental rates in real time according to market demand.
- Identity verification: We leverage the same technology used by financial institutions to identify the renter and prevent fraud during booking, which has grown increasingly common within the industry.
- Homeowner dashboard app: Every homeowner can view and contribute to the entire rental process: reservations, lock code generator, booking calendar, housekeeping & maintenance scheduling, guests logging onto Wi-Fi, and more.
- Smart lock: TurnKey’s digital lock is installed on every TurnKey home. Codes are generated automatically or manually and sent via SMS to guests, cleaners, and service providers via Homeowner dashboard app.
- FieldSync housekeeping scheduler: Uber-style dispatch fully automates scheduling and payment of housekeeping vendors. A new booking generates a housekeeping job and unique door lock code with time stamps. Cleaners check in on the TurnKey HomeDroid tablet to access a work checklist and home photos. All cleaning vendors must complete a photo inspection verification process via the HomeDroid. This process results in 98% guest satisfaction rating of cleanliness upon check-in.
- Decibel noise monitoring: Subtle noise monitoring detects excessive decibel levels in a home and triggers a text to the guest or to local TurnKey staff, who will make house calls to help ensure properties avoid damage, neighbors are not disturbed, and homeowner associations remain happy.
- Wi-Fi router: Again, this is a staple item for vacation rentals these days. TurnKey provides a Wi-Fi router and a subscription to the Wifi-Soft secure, private network to keep your internet connection safe. All TurnKey guests will see the same TurnKey Wi-Fi network, a simple login screen gets rid of the need to track Wi-Fi passwords which can be challenging. It also tunnels internet traffic directly to a server, and offers security so guests cannot get onto an owner’s personal network. So, for instance, if your rental has a Mac router with a backup hard drive on it, this security tunnel will keep guests from getting access to that hard drive. The same can be said if your home computer is connected. Our security funnel will protect that as well. All of this comes at no additional cost to homeowners.
- Listing integrations: We’re able to distribute our expertly crafted listings, pricing, and availability to 50+ vacation rental and travel websites and keep the listings, pricing, photos, and availability updated in real-time. Our custom integrations and partnerships allow for this to be possible, and it’s pretty impressive. All we can say is if you’ve ever managed your own property, you know that one website alone requires a great deal of time.
We hope that this sheds some light on what we’re all about here at TurnKey, and the questions you should ask when vetting different vacation rental property management companies. If you have any questions, we’re more than happy to answer any inquiries you may have at a time that works best for you! Please feel free to learn more on our website, email us at email@example.com, or call (855) 633-4319! We’ll be ready and waiting to discuss how our services can help make your vacation rental a success.