So you wanna be a landlord! You’ve heard about people making a fortune renting out their vacation homes on sites like Flipkey and AirBNB, and now you want to put your great looking, (but empty 44 weeks out of the year) vacation home up for rent. Today’s rental listing sites certainly make things simple, with standardized rental agreements and the ability to get you in front of thousands of eager renters. But before you jump in expecting to be an overnight success, remember that for every vacation home being booked solid for the next two years, there are ten that haven’t gotten a booking in months. And although it seems like any vacationer would love staying in your property, experts like Brian Ferdinand, COO, at Vacation Rentals, know that to have a top rental property, it is what you do before and after someone stays in your property that makes all the difference.
Recon the Competition
Always keep in mind that there are likely dozens of similar properties in your area, looking to attract the same vacationers. So first, you need to do some recon on the competition, and sites like Flipkey and AirBNB make it easy. They provide detailed information on the rentals in your area and tell you what vacationers are saying; good or bad, about them. Have a glance through the properties with the most reviews, because they have been rented the most. Read all of their reviews. People spending their money are happy to tell others what they loved or hated about a rental. You will be tempted to think that most are just complaining about small things. But remember, if they wrote it, it is important to them and the customer is always right.
Pay attention to how the highest reviewed properties are presented on the site. Keep in mind that this is the only presentation of your property a vacationer will see, so things like high quality photos and well written descriptions are a good idea. Look for homes similar to yours in order to get a sense of the pricing. Oh, and be aware that pricing will change in and out of season. You now know how to present your property so vacationers want to rent it. Get to work!
Be Responsive to Guest Complaints
Rule #1 is pay attention to the opinions of guests. So read their reviews about your home, and take heed of the things they say. Remember, you are running a business and smart business owners do their best to understand feedback from the customer’s perspective. Complaints need to be addressed and as you address them. point it out, so people know you are responsive to complaints. If you get a particularly bad review, contact that person directly and let them know you are the owner and want to apologize for their discomfort and are taking steps to fix the problems they highlighted. Then, offer them a discount on their next stay.
Reward Guests Who Offer Praise
If someone rents your vacation home and leaves a glowing review, you may have just found your best sales person. Their review is likely getting others to come stay with you, and you need to let them know it is appreciated. Reach out and thank them for their comments and offer them discounts and referral fees for sending their friends.
Treat renting out your vacation home like a business. Present it properly with potential renters, listen to needs needs, apologize when you don’t deliver, and reward them when they help you get more business. If you use this approach, you will always be booked.