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Most Important Tips for Vacation Rental Owners & Managers

Most Important Tips for Vacation Rental Owners & Managers

As the short-term rental market continues to expand exponentially, so too has the level of competition between short-term rental owners to make their properties stand out from the crowd. If you are a rental property owner looking to give your home an edge over the competition, you may already have a wide range of marketing tactics at your disposal, but ultimately, making your rental property as appealing as possible is the best way to ensure that your marketing strategies are effective.

As the number of people investing in vacation rental properties grows, the competition intensifies. In order to make short-term rentals profitable, owners must continuously improve their services, amenities, and guest experiences.

Here are the top tips we've compiled to help you improve!

10 Tips to Give Your Short-Term Rental a Competitive Advantage

10 Tips to Give Your Short-Term Rental a Competitive Advantage

1. Enhance the Curb Appeal of your Property

If you want your property to stand out from the crowd, you should invest time and energy into enhancing the curb appeal of your property. Why? Because there are thousands of properties listed on websites such as Airbnb, Booking.com, and Expedia, prospective travelers are scrolling through them all, hoping to find something interesting.

The great thing about these exterior home improvements is that they do not necessarily cost a fortune. If you are looking for a way to stand out among your competition, there are a number of simple improvements that you can make to your home. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Paint the exterior of your property if you haven't done so recently.
  • Add a splash of color to the front door - get some DIY ideas off Pinterest
  • Keep the entrance area spotless and clean at all times
  • Add a few evergreen potted plants at the entrance
  • To keep your garden looking good, trim your hedges and add a few ornamental items
  • Set up a couple of lazy chairs or a garden bench

2. Professional Photography

In order for potential guests to truly experience your rental, you should communicate its feel to them once you have set it up. The best way to convey the feeling of the home is through standout photos. It is important to photograph each room in bright light so that the spaces appear as inviting as possible.

Here are a few tips :

  • In order for the photos to look inviting, make sure every room is clean beforehand.
  • Hire a professional photographer to do the photoshoot
  • Take multiple photos of your property at different times to capture the essence of each space, especially the outdoors.

3. Create a “Word-Portrait” of Your Property

Once potential guests have explored your property's photos, they'll move on to read the description. Your portrayal of your property must provide your guests with descriptions that emphasize what makes it unique and what you have to offer, and refer to the photos you've provided. There must be a seamless blend between your photos and descriptions.

It may be helpful to read descriptions of other listings in your area to get a sense of what guests are looking for, but your focus should entirely be on highlighting the unique characteristics of your home and marketing it to your end consumer.

Here is a guide to listing descriptions and examples

4. Set up a Workstation

The high proportion of people working remotely means that some guests will likely look at your property as a potential place to conduct their work while on vacation. Better known as digital nomads - accommodating these guests with a quality workspace can help you stand out from the crowd. It will be more appealing to your guests if your rental caters to their needs when it comes to the quality workspace.

Here are a few tips :

  • Invest in High-speed internet (this is a MUST!)
  • Create a dedicated workspace - including a desk, multi-plugs, sockets, etc
  • Choose a well-lit area in your home or in the space you allocate.
  • Don't forget to include it in your description and the amenities you offer!

Check out this guide to marketing your rental to digital nomads.

5. Automate your Business

It may not seem easy to scale your vacation rental business amid intense competition, but it doesn’t have to be hard! Globally, technology is changing travelers' expectations and experiences. Effective vacation rental property management is key to standing out. As technology hacks break down barriers within the industry, advancing into guest automation is a must-do!

Automation is the process of reducing costs and increasing efficiency by automating daily and recurring tasks such as - guest messaging, booking calendar updates, coordinating with the cleaning crew, analyzing and adjusting nightly prices, guest reviews, etc.

With automation services, you could provide your guests with unparalleled service, plus you can focus on other areas of your business. Here are some of the benefits :

  • Guest Messaging - React to messages immediately using pre-programmed or event-triggered replies
  • Adjust rates based on supply and demand with the help of a dynamic pricing tool
  • Keep your booking calendars synchronized on multiple platforms
  • Improve the guest check-in experience
  • Make your guests feel at home by installing smart amenities
  • Automate Tasks - Create tasks based on reservations for the cleaning and maintenance crew
  • Before the window closes, leave a review for your guests and in the same message, you can request the guest to review you too!

Check out our tips for a full list of automation tips

6. Upgrade Amenities

Guests are always drawn to properties that are equipped with generous amenities. Guests often filter through the amenities to determine if the property offers what they are looking for. When guests are paying for a rental, basic amenities won't suffice! With the right amenities, you can keep your occupancy rate high, keep your nightly rates buzzing, and get a great return on your investment!

Here are a few must-haves to add to your list,

  • High-Speed internet
  • Air conditioning / Heating
  • Free Parking
  • Self Check-in option
  • Kitchen equipped with essentials (pots, coffee machine, kettle, fridge, toaster, etc)
  • Washer + Dryer
  • Being Kid friendly / family friendly
  • Being Pet friendly
  • Laptop friendly workspace
  • Having a Pool or Jacuzzi would be a hands-down win-over!

Here is a complete list of the best ROI amenities for your business

7. Functional Appliances

Paying guests expect everything to be in fine working order. Be sure your appliances are working and are fully functional to make your property stand out. In addition, this makes for an enjoyable stay and may give you an edge over your competition.

If you haven't replaced your appliances in a while, it may be time to do so or at least have them serviced or checked out by a professional to ensure they are fully functional. Don't risk a poor guest review by having one of your appliances malfunction!

8. Add Luxury to Living Spaces

Guests are looking to relax, so any luxury you can provide them will do wonders for giving your property an edge over the competition. Bathrooms and bedrooms are two areas of the home where luxury can be delivered and furnishing your property with the right accessories will gain the attention of your target audience.

Some tips for getting started:

__Bedroom __

  • Invest in a high-quality bedspread and pillows (the luxury of Egyptian cotton linen can't be understated)
  • Add curtains, and rugs according to a theme
  • Invest in a high-quality mattress
  • Colorful throw pillows are a great addition (but don't let it clash with the theme or color palette of the room)

__Bathroom __

  • High-quality shower heads with consistent water pressure
  • A large relaxing tub will help to deliver a luxurious atmosphere
  • Provide shampoo, conditioner, and soap
  • Well-organized and uncluttered bathrooms are very welcoming - especially if they are spotlessly clean!

Pro Tip: You can get some great pointers on Pinterest or you can opt to hire an interior designer (depending on your budget allowance of course!)

9. Safety Amenities

Your rental's safety is one of the most overlooked and understated areas. When a guest stays at your property, it is one of their top concerns. These upgrades can easily be added to your property. By including these in your listing, you can assure your guests that your property is safe and secure.

  • Carbon monoxide alarm
  • Smoke alarm
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First-aid kit
  • Emergency plan and local numbers

10. Adapt to Smart Technology

It is imperative that vacation rentals meet a high level of excellence and safety. You can improve your vacation rental’s conversion rate by creating a smooth flow throughout the booking process ‌and delivering an absolutely stand out guest experience. Adapting to smart technology will benefit you greatly - it will enhance guests' experiences, resulting in better reviews, which will help you increase occupancy rates in the long run.

New digital technologies have been developed to meet the needs of an increasingly well-informed, digitized customer. In the vacation rental industry, technological advancements have evolved exponentially over the years, facilitating property management tasks.

Here are some ‌areas you can incorporate into your vacation rental,

  • Digital check-in
  • Chatbots and voice concierges
  • Welcome apps
  • Data intelligence tools
  • Insurance and ID verification tools
  • Channel manager
  • Property management software

Learn how to make vacation rentals more efficient with these smart technology hacks.

Key Takeaways

Staying current and ahead of the curve is the key to success in any form of business. There is one thing we have discussed today that is common to all these tips, and that is that vacation rental homes are a business that aims to make guests happy. Making guests' stay memorable and exceeding their expectations can certainly contribute to vacation rental success. Remember, Great Service + Great Reviews = High Occupancy!

By implementing automated systems, upgrading amenities, and keeping your property spotless, you can increase the chances of travelers leaving glowing five-star reviews. A professional approach and attention to detail can make all the difference in flipping the virtual vacancy light on or off. If you're just starting out or a seasoned host, these tips will ensure you launch a successful short-term rental business. In addition to enhancing your guest experiences, these proven best practices will help you grow your business.

Reach out to the Industry Experts!

Hostaway partners with many hosts on OTAs such as Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com so they can reach their full potential. The Property Management System (PMS) we offer simplifies the process of growing your business by automating and streamlining every aspect of it. With solutions for all your needs, we can quickly evaluate if we are the right solution for you and provide you with a quote.

To learn how Hostaway can fit your vacation rental business and maximize your growth potential, schedule a demo call at your preferred time with one of our product experts.

Ready to find out how Hostaway can transform your business?

Hostaway is proud to support thousands of Property Managers and Airbnb Hosts Around the world. We take pride in being Top Ranked in Vacation Rental Software Review Sites: Capterra, G2, Software Advice, Trust Pilot, to name just a few! Check out our reviews and read the Hostaway Case Studies from real successful and growing Short-Term Rental Managers!