3 Golden Keys to Successful Vacation Rental

3 Golden Keys to Successful Vacation Rental

By Heather Bayer

Hundreds of thousands of vacation rental owners list their properties each year and expectantly wait for the enquiries to come pouring in so they can achieve maximum occupancy. Successful owners know that there is more to vacation property rental than posting a few photos and some descriptive text. They have a game plan for marketing; treat their customers with respect and courtesy from the moment of the first enquiry, and follow-up promptly after the vacation has ended. These golden keys to vacation rental success can make the difference between average and occasional occupancy, and a solidly booked season with a high proportion of returning renters.

Know Your Market

Before starting out and posting rates, thoroughly research the market in your area. Look at properties with similar features and facilities and price competitively. Setting a rate too high will yield fewer rentals and more demanding clients as they expect value for their money, while undercutting your competitors will attract the types of renters you would probably prefer not to have.

Select several properties that show good occupancy for more in-depth research and study. The goal is to determine what is attracting potential renters to those listings or sites. What keywords are they using to keep them high in search engines? How are they presenting the property overall? What can you use in you own promotions?

Having a good knowledge of the competition will give you an edge over them.

Treat it Like a Business

From the moment you begin advertising your second home, you become a supplier to the travelling public, and are essentially running a small business, even if you don’t register it as such. Being business-like in every aspect of renting out your home will make your prospective guests feel more confident in paying you money in advance. They will see your professional approach to a rental agreement and Terms and Conditions as a sign of a genuine transaction rather than worrying about being scammed. It’s a great benefit to you as well since a well-run business will have sound policies, processes and systems, giving you the confidence that you will never run the risk of double-booking or be concerned about how to handle a cancellation or damage issue.

Be Customer Focused

Customer service skills are an integral requirement for managing successful rentals. If you don’t like people then don’t do this business because dealing with them is a major part of the operation. Unless you plan on using a rental management company and a trusted property manager or caretaker to look after the people side, you will need a whole bunch of patience, compassion, empathy and kindness to cope with all the issues that will come your way. Being customer focused means you will always have your guests needs at the front of your mind, and constantly think of ways to improve their experience.


Heather Bayer is founder of Renting For Profit – a membership and resource site for vacation rental owners. http://www.rentingforprofit.com She is also the author of Renting Your Recreational Property for Profit, and has owned and rented eight of her own properties in the past 20 years.

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