Vacation Rental 101: The Management

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How to manage your vacation home

You’ve just purchased a vacation home – now what? Who’s going to manage your vacation home and how?

There are a handful of vacation rental management styles, like self-managing, conventional property managers and management groups – all with different pros and cons. Most homeowners decide to self-manage, which works nicely for those who have time to dedicate to their vacation rental. For others, some circumstances don’t allow for self-management such as living in a different state or city.

Vacation rental management may seem like a defined list of tasks, starting at arranging bookings and ending at coordinating maintenance. Although these are definitely components to it, there are many other elements to consider.

So, what all does vacation rental management entail? Let’s take a detailed look and break it down into a few categories. After, we’ll review the different vacation rental management options so you can decide which is right for you and your property.

What is Vacation Rental Management?

Promoting your listing

Your prospective guests need a way of finding your vacation rental. Popular listing sites like Airbnb and HomeAway are a great place to start, considering they are easy to use and cost-effective. Major listing sites are already widely used with travelers, so listing your rental here will get a lot of traffic with little effort on your part. Depending on the management style you use, you could also create your own website where guests can book directly or advertise on a property manager’s website. The more marketing and advertising your listing gets – the better, but make sure that all specs, descriptions, pictures and rates remain the same across all sites.

Answering guest inquiries

Often, guests will contact you with questions about your listing, such as whether you have a blender or if its close to a grocery store. If you decide to self-manage your vacation rental, ensure you have time set aside throughout the day to reply to inquiries quickly. If you list your phone number as a point of contact, see to it that your voicemail is professional sounding and friendly. When considering property managers or groups, be sure that swift responses to guest inquiries is a top priority for them.

Managing your bookings and calendar

All major listing sites have a calendar system in place, so prospective guests can view your availability, however – it is up to you or your property manager to continually update your calendar to provide accurate availability. If your listing is promoted on multiple sites, it can be a challenge to keep your calendar in sync across them all. When a guest makes a reservation, you’ll need to ensure that the system blocks those dates near real-time. Doing so can increase your reservations by eliminating the potential for double bookings.

Payment processing

Online payments are now the preferred method by most guests, especially when booking online. Whether the guest uses credits cards or PayPal, you’ll need a method of receiving payments securely and conveniently. It may be useful to have some technical knowledge of your payment system, or a direct line to support if needed. If you decide to outsource your property management, you should ask about how and when the funds will be transferred to you.

Assisting guests

No matter your management style, assisting guests should be a top priority. A good reputation can boost your booking performance and allow you to better optimize your rates. Positive social media and 5-star reviews are only left by guests that have had a positive experience throughout their vacation rental process – from booking all the way to checkout. If you’re self-managing, addressing complaints or issues can be tough if you live out of state or have limited availability. If working with a property manager or group, ask about their processes and guarantees for keeping guests happy.

Cleaning arrangements

A good vacation rental is always clean. If you plan to clean your home yourself, you’ll need to arrange time slots between bookings, as well as purchase cleaning supplies. Hiring a cleaning service may be the easier route, but coordinating with the service is still no small task. Cleaners must know when it’s alright to access the house, and about any changes in dates or times. If hiring a property manager or group, inquire about their cleaning services and how they handle arrangements.

Maintenance and upkeep

There are two types of rental property maintenance – routine and emergency. Home owners are typically responsible for routine maintenance and upkeep, which will keep the property in tip top shape. Emergency maintenance is required if the home needs repair when guests are staying in the house. If you plan on managing your vacation rental on your own, it’s a good idea to know dependable service people who can perform repairs on short notice. If you decide to hire a property manager or group, make sure to discuss emergency maintenance, how its handled and what’s included with your fees.

As you can see, vacation rental management requires expertise in a huge variety of areas. It’s also not steady work. Some weeks require the commitment of a part-time job while other weeks may only demand a few hours of time. Luckily, you have options when it comes to managing your vacation rental. Let’s explore the different styles of management to help you determine the right fit for you.

What’s Your Style?

Self-Management

If saving money is your priority, and you have plenty of time to dedicate to managing your vacation home; self-management may be your style.

Pros:

  • Saves money

Cons:

  • Time consuming
  • Need to become an expert in all areas of vacation rentals
  • May live outside of vacation rental area

Management fees with a conventional property manager can range anywhere from 25% to 50% of your rental income. While you are saving money on fees by self-managing, there are services included in conventional property management that you’ll now have to do (or outsource) yourself. Services like hosting and building a website, advertising and marketing online and writing an enticing vacation home description are a few examples.

If learning these tools of the trade sounds exciting to you, or you’re already an expert, self-management is the way to go! Effectively managing your vacation rental to get enough bookings is a part-time job. If you need help, it’s recommended to outsource some services, such as marketing.

Conventional Property Managers

If the self-management style sounds a little too involved, another option is to hire a conventional property manager. Property managers can provide expertise in marketing and advertising, as well as respond to inquiries on your listing. If your property is out of state from where you live, a property manager is helpful in handling any unforeseen emergencies from guests.

Pros:

  • Advertising and marketing included
  • Vacation rental management expertise
  • Less time commitment from you

Cons:

  • Fees range from 25% to 50% of your rental income
  • Cleaning and maintenance fees not included
  • Less control of your expenses
  • Limits on availability to use your home
  • Committed to a contract

As mentioned earlier, conventional property managers charge stiff fees. And their rates don’t typically include things like cleaning or maintenance fees. Even more, they may have restrictions on who they hire for cleaning and maintenance – leaving you with less control of your expenses.

Using a property manager can sometimes mean your vacation home is not available during times you want to use it. If your property manager is doing a good job, your vacation home will constantly be booked. While this is great for your income, it can be inconvenient in your vacation planning.

If you’re looking for more bang for your buck out of a vacation rental management partner, there is a third and recommended option…

Casiola Vacation Home Rental Network

With all the benefits of a traditional property manager, and none of the cons, the Casiola Vacation Home Rental Network is a third option to manage your vacation rental. From our experience, we learned that traditional options for vacation rental management were not performing to their potential. By providing vacation home owners with powerful marketing, dynamic pricing and an option for fixed monthly income, home owners can expect to maximize their rental income with ease! Our low booking fees keep more income in your pocket.

Pros:

  • Low booking fees (20%)
  • No setup fees
  • Fixed monthly income
  • Powerful marketing
  • Dynamic pricing
  • 5-star property care
  • Booking support
  • Cancel anytime

With Casiola, you’ve got a partner in vacation rental management. Your guests, are our guests – meaning we provide quick response times to booking inquiries, exceptional booking support and 5-star property care. Let us create a polished and effective listing for you, including professional photography and expert property descriptions (as part of our FREE setup process!).

And best of all – you can still use your vacation home whenever you want, it is your house after all!

Join us today!

To learn more about our services, go to https://join.casiola.com/services/ or give us a call at 123-456-7890.

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