Starting a Vacation Rental on your own might seem like entering the unknown but you may not be the only one. As evidenced by the popularity of AirBnB, more and more people are venturing into partnerships with OTAs to rent out their spare properties as a vacation rental. While there are revenue opportunities with the very simple ‘home sharing’ model that AirBnB began with, there are some simple steps to take to develop a full vacation rental business for your property.
With the latest advancements in information technology you have the ability to reach out to many potential guests. You can turn your spare property into a full time condo or seasonal vacation rental depending on the time you can devote to the business, and your location. The greatest benefit of this kind of business is that you can utilize the space for yourself or for your family in between reservations. Starting a this kind of venture might be challenging so it is necessary to know the nuts and bolts before getting your hands onto it. This article will provide some insights on resources and planning you need.
A goal without a plan is just a wish.
- Antoine de Saint
First thing, find out if your property is rentable. Your property’s location, available amenities play a major role in determining the performance of your property as a successful condo or vacation rental. Find out what the local attractions are. Often home or condo rentals are preferred by avid travelers, folks on business trips, or people undergoing therapy in a local medical facility. If you can find other rental homes in your neighborhood, it’s a pretty good sign that your place is a favorable location.
Keep tabs on what your local competitors are providing. It’s necessary to provide amenities according to the industry standard. Psst! No one has to know that you’re a new kid on the block.
2. Find out what the law of the land states
Look up what local laws are in place for condo, vacation or home rentals. Local lodging, bed and breakfast, or vacation rental associations are a great resource for advice and required regulations to be met. Essential paperwork and permits are necessary, without these you can be penalized. Note that the laws vary on full time and seasonal rental which is why careful consideration is required.
Talk to an insurance agent, brief him about your business and get the insurance that would suit you best.
4. Make it rentable
Check for broken faucets, lamps and other electrical fittings that are to be addressed. You don’t want to rent a place with leaking faucets! While buying fittings for the property make sure you buy stuff that is durable and can withstand lots of wear and tear. Make sure the design is made to withstand careless handling. Find a local electrician, carpenter, plumber, pest control who can arrive and attend to issues with a short notice.
According to an article in Huffington post, WIFI is the most desirable amenity in the Hotel industry. “A week without WIFI can leave the guests grumpier than a week without coffee.” Our advice, have access to both WIFI and coffee arranged, granting peace for your guests and yourself.
6. Setting up Housekeeping
Once your property is almost physically fit for rental, it’s time to plan services required to host your new guests. Managing housekeeping is a major piece of the business, to keep a high standard of cleanliness and guest satisfaction. Depending on the size of your property, you may have your own staff do cleaning, or hire a cleaning service company. When selecting a software to manage your reservations, be sure it includes a module for scheduling housekeeping and tracking the status of your rooms.
7. Set up a Booking Engine
In today’s market, your website and social media page are the gateway to your property! Give the same kind of attention to the appearance of your ‘online brochure,’ as you do the display of your property and rooms. Every online outlet you use to market your property, must include an easy-to-use Book Now button, so that a guest can make an immediate, confirmed booking.
8. Benefits of OTA presence
For start-up properties, online travel sites provide a great marketing tool to reach new guests. Do some online research to find where your competitors are listed (AirBnB, Expedia, Booking.com, VRBO). Not every online system will provide the same benefit to your location. Once you select which sites to use, plan to manage these bookings through a ‘Property management software. An effective property management system, will automatically update your local and online availability. Especially for a vacation rental or condo property, you don’t have the luxury of hotel volume to deal with overbookings. So you must carefully manage any rooms sold on sites like Expedia, because they can oversell your rooms if you are not careful.
Although initial booking fees through these online travel agents may be considerable, if you are diligent in collecting and storing data once the guest arrives, you can win back their repeat business without Expedia’s fees.