Unlike in the case of a regular 9 to 5 job, deciding to list your property or the one you rent in the long-term and become a vacation rental host does not require possessing a formal qualification nor does it have apprenticeship requirements. However, an owner looking to hire a property manager will likely look for experience and proof of success. Meanwhile, venturing out to become a short term vacation rental host is to run a business and a specialized one at that and it always helps to learn from experts on the subject in order to avoid mistakes, improve your business, and grow from the start. Even hosts and property managers who have been doing it for a while can always learn more to increase efficiencies, improve their operations, and cater to new and emerging trends in the short term rental market.
A short term rental course is an educational class or program that is targeted at owners, hosts, and property managers of short term vacation rental properties. Conducted by experts across the different areas of hosting vacation rentals and managing short term rental property, they can help new and experienced hosts learn from successful professionals, specialists, and other experts.
As the short term rental landscape grows ever more competitive, every little efficiency, process improvement, and marketing effort that breaks through the clutter that a host can realize becomes essential to continue to grow occupancy, ADR, and ultimately revenue.
Vacation rental owners don’t usually get into the short term rental business for the short term. If you want to keep growing your business in the long-term, educating yourself on just how to keep doing that through changes in the market is essential. Gain first mover advantage by stepping into emerging and niche opportunities revealed by experts.
Being a short term rental host is a multi-faceted role requiring the wearing of many hats, often simultaneously. But no one starts out fully skilled in all the skills required. Short term rental courses can teach you new skills, from accounting and inventory management to marketing and automation.
The vacation rental landscape continues to evolve as new technologies, customer expectations, and economic conditions change. Property managers must keep up with them all in order to adapt and cater to the emerging demands of travelers. Short term rental courses are an easy way to stay up to date with what is happening and how to adapt.
Most courses are conducted online saving hosts from having to carve out several hours or even days to travel and make it to in-person events. Hosts also have agency over which time of the day or even the day they allocate for following the program.
Ultimately, the best short term rental courses for you will be the classes, workshops, and other educational programs that best suit your requirements. If you are struggling to figure out what those are, take into consideration:
The areas you need the most help with
The amount of time you can devote to learning
Your learning style
Once you have identified courses that meet your requirements, make sure to read the reviews of students who have already followed the course before committing yourself.
The internet is full of short term rental courses but not all of them are created the same. Some are better than others, others great, while a few are not. Some might even be scams. Here is a selection of the best short term rental courses for owners, hosts, and property managers, covering a wide range of topics and class types.
The Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) is a prestigious professional body that works to advance the vacation rental industry through education, information, networking, research, and advocacy. It offers a Vacation Rental Management Certificate Program that is designed for vacation rental managers to strengthen their industry knowledge, sharpen their skills, advance their careers, and gain a competitive edge. Areas covered include operations, planning, and organizational management, marketing, guest relations, and owner management. The certification also proffers students’ vacation rental businesses enhanced reputation.
In addition to the lauded program, the VRMA also offers an Accredited Professional Property Management Company Program that helps short term rental businesses differentiate themselves from the competition. Members can also access webinars on a variety of topics including an archive of completed sessions, training packages for vacation rental staff, and events including the annual international conference.
Vacation Rental University (VRU) offers online education and training to vacation rental managers to help them run a profitable business. Its courses are designed for those at every level, from those just getting started in the vacation rental industry to corporations struggling to keep their staff adequately trained and educated.
VRU offers courses across 4 levels: Basic, Masters, Enterprise, and One-on-One Consultation. The Basic package is free to access and includes over 340 video lessons with more lessons being added over time. The Masters level is available at a one-time fee of $495 or a monthly fee of $49 and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Host of the Vacation Rental World Summit, Vacation Rental Secrets (VRS) is led by Antonio Borlotti, a travel entrepreneur with a proven track record of success. While remotely managing several vacation rental projects across the world, he also developed the Fully Booked Formula, an interactive online course that is offered across 3 modules and includes cheat sheets, step-by-step guides, tutorials, etc. The courses focus on conversions, brand building, and creating a standout website. Each module is priced at $197 and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. VRS also provides bespoke vacation rental websites, vacation rental business audits, and one-on-one consultancy.
Short Term Rental University (STRU) was founded by vacation rental expert Richard Fertig, a highly successful Airbnb Superhost and founder of the Fifteen Year Plan, a 15-year plan that anyone can utilize. Fertig offers a cohort based course costing $1,500, a self-paced course for finding and buying short term rental properties, as well as 75-minute long one-on-one consultation sessions. STRU is also known for much anticipated live sessions which have been held in cities such as Miami and Nashville. The university also offers a variety of toolkits for amenities, accounting, website design, dynamic pricing, getting started on Airbnb, and more.
Fertig also provides plenty of free resources available on YouTube and the STRU podcast that cover tips, tricks, and techniques on a broad range of vacation rental topics.
Udemy is a globally known platform for online learning that has served over 54 million students and offers over 204,000 courses. It is no surprise that it offers several courses related to vacation rental management. One of its best courses is Mastering Airbnb, a bestseller on the platform that costs $84.99. Created by Evan Kimbrell, it contains over 16 hours of content, cheat sheets, and 300+ five-star reviews. The course aims to teach learners how to land on the first page of Airbnb search, optimize the listing, get 5-star reviews, and become a Superhost.
Another recommended course on Udemy is Vacation Rental, Airbnb Management – From Beginner to Pro which teaches learners how to operate multiple short term rental properties, generate profits quickly, avoid costly mistakes, and scale your business. The $99.99 course has been created by VRU experts. Airbnb Entrepreneur: Become the Best Listing in Town! ($99.99), Introduction to Small Business Accounting Training Tutorial ($24.99), and Effective Property Management Advance Course are other recommended courses.
Transparent, a leading provider of short term rental data and insights, had developed a popular course on revenue management. The Become an expert in vacation rental revenue management with Transparent online course covers the fundamentals of short term rental revenue management, tactics to increase occupancy, and rate optimization. Each of the modules is concluded with a quiz and includes additional articles and other valuable reading material. Upon successfully completing the course, learners receive a certificate.
The Airbnb Course is developed and provided by Nathan Rice. An Airbnb host since 2015, he has created a replicable process for opening and acquiring properties without having to own or invest in real estate. The Airbnb Course includes a free training program that teaches how to create, promote, and maximize profit from your Airbnb listing for those hosting a private room and those hosting multiple properties. It also includes 2 free e-books.
In addition, Rice offers paid courses at $997 each for successfully hosting with private rooms and starting, growing, and automating a successful business on the phone, without owning real estate. He also provided coaching, with 2 lessons costing $89.
The California Association of Realtors (CAR) is a pre-eminent association that is dedicated to advancing professionalism and a pre-eminent source of essential business services. It offers a wide array of real estate educational courses, certifications, and designations; marketing tools; information on California’s housing market, economy, and issues impacting the industry; as well as meetings and events. CAR’s Vacation Rental Management course is an online course available anytime that counts towards CAR’s Property Management Certification and Property Management Masters certifications. The course covers vacation rental basics, management concepts and strategies, procedures and processes as well as CAR’s exclusive authorization for vacation rentals and vacation rental agreements.
The BNB Mastery program teaches short term rental hosts how to earn a good income managing others’ properties on Airbnb. Created by the co-authors of Airbnb for Dummies and top 1% performers on Airbnb, James Svetec and Symon He, the program is a 6-week online training program that has been successfully used by hosts in over 10 countries. The step-by-step program includes tools, templates, and resources and teaches learners how to get started managing other people’s listings, maximizing their income, and how to turn their business semi-passive or completely passive.
There is also BNB Inner Circle for one-on-one mentoring from experts and BNB Hosting Accelerator for in-depth training on how to become a top-performing host in any Airbnb market. Free resources can be found on the BNB blog or their YouTube channel.
Founded by vacation rental industry expert Matt Landau, the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog (VRMB) offers a plethora of free resources to teach short term rental owners and property managers. It claims to teach people “how to think about your craft in creative new ways” and not how to “get rich off Airbnb overnight”. These include podcasts, travel shows, and a documentary project. There is also a free newsletter and a paid membership program. VRMB also functions as a worldwide online community of vacation rental professionals.
The STR Certification course was developed by Julie Davies as a response to requests from public officials in Las Vegas. The curriculum was tested in 2017 and after receiving excellent reviews has been rolled out by the Nevada System of Higher Education as well as colleges and universities in other cities. The college-level course also uses a textbook. It is also available as a 2-day live course, flexible enrollment self-study e-course, hybrid live and online 2-day course, and 2-day afternoon to evening class.
Alterschool is a transformational force in vacation rental education. It provides digital learning in Spanish. Alterschool works with professionals from some of the biggest vacation rental companies including Expedia, Booking.com, Transparent, AirDNA, Tripadvisor, and Hilton.
Programs are offered across three masters: Entrepreneur Tech, Vacation Rental Growth, and Revenue for Pros. Each master includes free classes so learners can get a sense of the teaching before forking out E595 for the complete package. Even more interestingly, each program is taught over 15-minute long classes to suit modern lifestyles.
VR Mastered was founded by Alanna Schroeder, an owner and manager of 5-star vacation rentals and hospitality supplier, and Tyanna Marinck, a vacation rental photography expert and community ambassador for Touch Stay digital books. The VR Mastered Vacation Rental Boot Camp for hosts is an in-person boot camp style training session that covers a wide variety of topics, from storytelling and marketing to SEO and social media, productivity tools, communication tips, and towel folding. Boot camps have been held in Nashville in the US and Mexico.
Cleanliness is of primary importance to any vacation rental and having your cleaners complete the Cleaning Certification course provides your vacation rental business with a verified badge that can be displayed on your OTA listing descriptions, website, and other marketing materials. The courses are easy to follow and include quizzes to help retain learning.
Created in collaboration with OSHA and CDC and also based on FDA, DOH, and WHO protocols, the Cleaning Certification course is run by the team at VRScheduler.
The Short-Term Rental Profit Academy course teaches the 6-Figure Host method to help short term rental operators start and scale their business to over $10,000 per month. It also covers building real estate wealth without owning or leasing property, automating your business, generating direct bookings, running the business remotely, and scaling it. While the course is open to operators of different experience levels, it is recommended for those at intermediate level and upwards. STR Profit Academy was developed by Eric D. Moeller, the host of Airbnb Mastery Summit and Jasper Ribbers, author of Get Paid for Your Pad. The program costs $1,497 as a one-time payment or $1996 split over four payments.
The duo is also responsible for launching STR Legends, an exclusive community of leaders, visionaries, and innovators in the industry and the Short-Term Rental Inner Circle, which provides access to a private Facebook community of STR Profit Academy hosts, weekly training with experts, and live Q&As with the founders.
A vacation rental digital marketing strategist, Heidi Miget teaches new homeowners how to become successful hosts on OTAs like Airbnb and VRBO with her course, Fully Booked. The signature course offered is Barely Booked to Fully Booked. There are also free classes and e-books on the website and both the blog and Youtube channel are full of great tips and tricks.
Google Digital Garage offers a range of free learning content ranging from courses that are less than 2 hours in length to those counting over 20 hours. Its Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course is a 40-hour, self-paced training that is accredited by the Interactive Advertising Bureau Europe and The Open University. Created by Google trainers and packed with practical exercises and real-world examples, it also bestows a certification upon successful completion.
Coursera is a well-known provider of massive open online courses (MOOCs) ranging from certificates and diplomas and degrees. Its What is Social? course offered by Northwestern University. The course covers social media marketing holistically, including trends, understanding big data, and taking a real-time, integrated approach. It consists of videos, readings, quizzes, and peer-reviewed assignments and will see you set up and use social media throughout the modules.
Tax Smart investor University’s Short-Term Rental Tax Course is designed to help short term rental investors reduce their taxes and build their wealth using the “STR loophole”. Created by tax strategist and real estate investor Thomas Castelli, the course costs $247 and teaches learners how to do their taxes and maximize their savings while avoiding critical mistakes. It also offers online boot camps for QuickBooks targeted at landlords and short term rental owners and tax strategy as well as access to their tax and legal summit.
J Massey, the CEO and founder of Cashflow Diary, is a real estate investor, short term rental entrepreneur, author, and speaker. Through Cashflow Diary, he offers plenty of free resources including a short term rental playbook, training sessions, a regularly updated blog, the Cashflow Diary podcast, and a YouTube channel. People who join the Facebook group also receive free trainings every week. He does however charge for consultations and one-on-one coaching.
Short Term Sage is the product of Julian Sage and Jon Bell. The two “vacationpreneuers” aim to provide education geared to vacation rental operators interested in short term rental investing, i.e. using a rental arbitrage model. Sage and Bell believe it is the fastest way to reach financial freedom while enjoying free time. Their 8-week long VRM Formula course is a step-by-step guide for those looking to start an Airbnb business, without owning property and setting it on autopilot while their 8-week long VRM Accelerator course is for established short term rental business owners who want to jump-start their business with one-on-one coaching and personal assistance. They also host the Vacation Rental Machine podcast.
If you are struggling to manage the myriad tasks required of being a short term vacation rental property manager, then consider automating many of those tasks by using a vacation rental software like Hostaway. It will even free up more than enough time to follow a short term rental course.
In the meantime, use our picks of the best short term rental courses available right now to choose what best suits your requirements. Other ways to keep gaining valuable knowledge is to follow experts like Richard Fertig on their social media and other channels and listen to vacation rental podcasts.
Keep learning and keep growing.