Deciding Between Marketing-Only or Full-Service Vacation Rental Property Management

More than likely you purchased your vacation rental to maximize your return on investment and create an additional source of income. To do so, you may consider hiring a property management company to assist you with your rental needs.

While you may have a variety of options, many property owners tend to select between a marketing-only and  full-service property management organization. You’re at a crossroad and need the tools to identify which company will serve your unique needs best. If you’re looking to maximize your revenue, receive better home care, and have greater peace of mind, a full-service property manager is the better choice for your home.

Here’s what you need to know when choosing between a marketing-only company or a full-service property management company and why the latter is the smarter partnership

Increase Revenue

What’s the point of owning a vacation rental if you’re not maximizing your rental revenue? This may be the most important factor when choosing a property management firm. You want to work with a company who understands the rental market, can get your listing in front of more potential vacation renters, and dynamically prices your home to secure more bookings.

Most property management companies will help you improve your listing. They do this by optimizing the description of your property and using better photography to grab potential renters’ attention.

If you decide to list your home with a company that is a marketing-only property management company, it’s wise to ask where they plan to feature your listing and how they’re managing your rates.

It’s important to have your property listed on as many sites as possible and a team watching your rates to make seasonal and demand-based adjustments. With hundreds of vacation rental sites available, you need a vacation rental manager that maximizes your listing’s reach and is helping your home reach its potential.

While marketing-only property management company’s may claim to be experts when it comes to marketing your property, a full-service firm may have a better grasp on what it takes to attract renters and get them to book. Marketing your property isn’t just about making your booking as attractive as possible. Good marketing involves, proper pricing, booking analysis, and high-quality customer care.

Take for example guest who left a negative review on your listing. This could hurt your future bookings. Or, perhaps one of your guests had an emergency in the middle of the night, and your full-service property management team was ready and available to take proper action at the drop of a hat. They made sure your guest’s needs were met, even in the middle of the night.  

When you work with a property management company that offers excellent service to guests, you create loyal customers for life. Providing this level of service on your own may be almost impossible. But having a full-service management company by your side can ensure your guests are properly taken care of.

The more involved a property management firm is with all aspect of managing your rental, the better grasp they may have on your rental marketing strategy.

Keeping Your Vacation Rental Safe

As technology continues to advance, so does your ability to protect your vacation property. Many property owners install monitoring devices in and around their vacation rental to safeguard their property and minimize unnecessary costs.

When your property is vacant, it can be a vulnerable target for thieves and intruders. Monitoring the property for loud noise, unwanted activity, and potential hazards can prevent visits from unwanted guests and reduce the risk of accidents.

Often, full-service property managers aid in the protection of your property. The use of digital locks, Ring Video Doorbell, and other monitoring systems are common options to keep your property safe.

For example, TurnKey utilizes decibel monitors to keep track of the noise levels in the properties they manage and identify any potential issues. If a decibel monitor is triggered, TurnKey will contact the guests in home and make sure everything is alright at the property. Marketing-only firms may not provide this convenience for your property.

Additionally, screening your guests is another way to protect your vacation rental from parties that get out of hand or visitors who tamper your personal belongings. To screen guests, TurnKey uses IDology, which verifies an individual’s identity and age. With this information, TurnKey can confirm that inquiring guests are not frauds and meet the minimum age requirement to rent a home.

A marketing-only firm doesn’t offer any technology advancements to help with the rental process. This means that if you hire a marketing-only firm, you’re responsible for screening your guests. While you may want to forgo this extra step, you could be putting your vacation rental in jeopardy.  

Care for Your Property

Maintaining your property is time-consuming and takes a lot of energy. If you live in another state, the effort is even greater. Tending to repairs can be challenging if you’re not in close proximity to your vacation rental.

Some full-service property management companies, like TurnKey,  provide local teams to assist your renters with their needs. From plumbing issues to lock malfunctions, having a local team allows you to rest at ease.

If you hire a marketing-only firm, you eliminate the opportunity to provide this level of convenience for you and your guests. The burden of managing guest’s problems and inquires falls into your lap. You will have to find (and manage) a local plumber, handyman, locksmith, and more to serve you’re the needs of your guests.

Operational Guidance

Legal requirements for property owners change all of the time. It can be daunting to stay current on all new laws and regulations for short-term rentals in your area. Not staying up to date can end up costing you

Good property managers are knowledgeable on local regulations, including tax policy. At TurnKey, for example, their local teams attend council meetings, donate time and money to STR advocacy groups, and keep homeowners informed of any and all policy changes. 

Operation guidance isn’t something that marketing-only property management firms offer. If you choose to work with one, the responsibility of understanding new laws and regulations is up to you.  

Managing Tax Obligations

Do you love managing your vacation rental tax obligations? Probably not. Aside from property taxes on the vacation rental home, other taxes can come into play. As a property owner, you’re responsible for federal tax implications, as well as state and lodging tax.

If you don’t want to add taxation management to your list of daily tasks, some full-service property management companies will help manage your tax responsibilities. For instance, TurnKey collects any required taxes on your home and puts them into our owner escrow-style account.

It’s extremely important to understand what hand your management firm will take in your taxes. Managing your tax obligation may not be a part of a marketing-only property management firm’s expertise. If you’d prefer that taxes are not a task you’re handling on your own, ensure the company you’re working with manages that portion of your obligation. You will more than likely need to enlist the services of a full service property management company to receive this type of support.

Guest Satisfaction and Retention

From the time your guests book their stay to the moment they walk through the door, they want to feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. They work hard and want to ensure their hard-earned dollars are going toward the vacation of their dreams. They want to have a completely hands-off experience.

Ensuring that your property is hotel-grade clean, fully stocked, and in mint condition for your guest’s arrival is only half the battle. What if they need something? What if there’s an issue during their stay?  You need a point of contact to take care of all of their questions and needs.

Hiring a marketing-only property management firm may help you with some of your bookings, but would leave the rest of your guests’ experience up to you. This means you’ll have to be available all hours of the day to cater to your vacation guests’ needs.

However, if you partner with a full-service property management company, they can assist your guests with all of their inquiries. Since larger full-service property management companies work with a lot of rentals, they can implement processes and procedures for making your guests’ vacation unforgettable. From hiring housekeeping services to providing welcome and informative communications, they can be by your guests’ side every step of the way.

In addition to making your guests feel right at home, you’ll want to request proper feedback on their stay. This will help you improve your accommodations and enhance your marketing efforts. When booking accommodations, many renters will review previous renters feedback. The more positive reviews you have the greater chance vacationers will consider your property. Partnering with a full-service property management firm can take care of this task as well.

Your guests are the top priority when it comes to the success of your rental property. It’s important to take the time and effort to ensure their stay surpasses their expectations. If you don’t have the capacity to manage your guests’ expectations, a full-service property management firm may be a better fit than a simple marketing-only firm.

Should You Hire a Marketing-Only or Full-Service Property Manager?

On average it takes about 15-30 hours per week to manage a successful vacation rental. This involves crafting listings, updating nightly rates, responding to guest inquiries, and handling maintenance. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the scope of property management.

If you’re planning to regularly rent out your home, a full-service property manager can help you maximize your revenue and reduce your workload as a vacation rental owner. While a marketing-only firm may help with your marketing efforts, there’s so much more to increasing your property’s profitability.

If you’re choosing between a marketing-only and full-service property management company, take the time to thoroughly review both of the options and their offerings. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to understand how the firm will help you maximize your revenue and maintain your vacation rental. The better understanding you have of what each firm has to offer, the better decision you’ll be able to make when selecting a property management company.

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