Want to maximize your occupancy and your income? Become an extraordinary vacation home owner. Success leaves clues. Extraordinary vacation home owners possess many important qualities, but I have listed five here that are a must if you are to see the favorable return on investment you expect. Below is a short video if you prefer to watch.
An Extraordinary Vacation Home Owner Will Treat Their Vacation Rental as a Business
There will be many decisions to make once you have taken the plunge. Closing on your vacation home means making rental income. You will have to consider how you will furnish this new home to both attract guests and maximize occupancy while limiting excessive wear. You will have to decide what linens to buy and what rates to charge. Will the home be pet friendly? This is where many new vacation home owners make some of their first and most costly mistakes. A good rule of thumb is the home should be appealing yet practical.
Common Vacation Rental Expenses to Consider
Hopefully, before you decided on a home you assessed the cost to operate and have income projections and budgets on paper that you can reference. As you make these decisions, ensure that the options you choose fall in line with the numbers that were previously planned. For instance, you may love dogs and have one of your own. However, if when you calculated the cost you only allocated 1 carpet clean per year (not a wise move) and you do not want to charge guests a security deposit, it is pretty clear that guests will need to leave Fido at home. In addition, vacation homes need to be equipped with durable items that are easy to replace. There is a reason why hotels always have white towels. They can be bleached easily and are less expensive to replenish when necessary.
Owning a vacation rental is a business and not a hobby.
Extraordinary vacation home owners know this. If you don’t learn this in the early days your bank account will ensure you learn it at the end of your first year. For this reason, the profit and loss statement should be reviewed monthly and adjustments made to operations accordingly. Don’t wait until the end of the year to be shocked that you have experienced a financial loss.
They Show Guests That They Are Valued
Happy guests are THE lifeblood of a successful vacation home rental! I can’t say this enough. It costs more to attract a new guest than to keep a happy guest coming back. Think of all the marketing dollars that are spent just trying to get a new traveler to look at your listing.
The vacation rental industry is saturated, so you really need to stand out.
The best time to do this, believe it or not, is during the guest’s actual stay. Guests travel to get away from their reality and to experience the finer things in life for a few wonderful days. So, make certain it is wonderful and you will have a guest who will tell the world via social media. A positive review via Instagram or any platform is a powerful thing! Here is a post with example reviews for AirBnB, read these to understand what a review should look like. Showing your guests you appreciate them can be as easy as a thank you card sent after their departure or a quick handwritten note mailed two weeks prior to their arrival. You can leave a welcome pack which is quite common or acknowledge a special occasion with some champagne on arrival for a special touch.
They Are Responsive
There is nothing more frightening and frustrating to a traveler than to have made the final payment on their vacation home rental and then not receive any communication from the home owner about access or house details. There are too many negative and downright scary experiences. Travelers are often skeptical and afraid. It is important to have a system in place to ensure that information is communicated promptly and at the right time. It is equally important to ensure guests are responded to quickly. Which leads me to point number four…
They Take Care to Choose The Right Partners
Each one of the points I have made in this post deserves a post of their own. This one is certainly no exception. Living out of state or even out of country brings unique challenges. Assemble a local trustworthy team on the ground. I will be providing more information on how to choose a vacation rental manager in a separate post. However, be clear about expectations. Clearly explain how much guest interaction is expected. Same goes with responsiveness. Savvy vacation home owners know that their cleaners, property manager, and maintenance staff are an extension of them, so they choose well.
They Learn From Their Partners
The people you contract to help you with your vacation home rental are on the ground and see the home oftentimes more than you do! They interact with your guests and know important details about the guest experience that you may never have the opportunity to learn otherwise. Dissatisfied guests are often silent. They may not leave a negative review about that lumpy mattress or the stained carpet. However, the negative memory is etched in their mind. Your guests will tell their friends where NOT to stay!
Your cleaners and property managers may have received feedback directly from those guests.
Listen to them and make changes when necessary. They are your eyes and ears and can really be a window allowing you to see inside your guest’s vacation rental experience. Necessary changes learned through partner feedback that cannot be made immediately should be priority when conducting your next budget review.