If you are going to spend money advertising your vacation rental property on vacation rental websites, you want to make sure it is a success. Here are six things you can practice which will help ensure you receive the most "bang for the buck".
1. SET RENTAL RATES APPROPRIATELY.
If you want your vacation property to rent, you must be realistic, optimistic, but not greedy! Set realistic rental rates for your property and ensure that the rates are correct on the site(s) that your listing is placed, and regularly reviewed as the market changes. Search for comparable properties ("comps") in the same location as yours. Only charge a premium if your property has some distinct features. In addition, be willing to discount your property on occasion, as needed. In this business, if you lose money for a week-long rental, you can't make that up!
2. CHECK INQUIRIES REGULARLY
When using an internet vacation rental property website such as VRBO.com and AirBNB.com, remember your users. They are typically Internet "savvy" and probably check their e-mails frequently...especially if they have requested some info. Also, be sure your phone number is listed on sites that allow you to as sometimes people choose to just call you directly, so be sure to check phone messages.
3. RESPOND IMMEDIATELY
Vacation goers usually see a few properties that are of interest to them and then contact those owners. The faster you respond, the better chance (most of the time) you have of winning them over. There have been times I have rented properties in the past and because it took an owner 24 hours to respond, I had already chosen another property. A timely and efficient response gives the renter confidence that the rental experience will follow suit.
4. YOUR LISTING SHOULD BE ACCURATE AND COMPLETE
Be sure that your listing details are kept up to date and are complete. Review your online listing frequently to be sure that your contact information is up to date. Also, be sure that it is accurate on the description of your property and its amenities. This will help you with repeat customers but will also keep you out of trouble with rental contracts or laws with regards to such things.
5. USE GREAT PHOTOS
It is true what they say, "a picture speaks a thousand words". Remember, renters are considering staying at your rental based (most of the time) solely on your pictures and your word. The more pictures to help them be comfortable with the decision, the better. Here is how I look at it. If you were going to buy a used car, would you do so over the Internet without a good look at the outside/inside of the vehicle, the engine, etc. Not exactly the same, but you get the picture. The more pictures and the prettier, the better. Be sure to have pictures of your rental amenities such as a pool, the beach, a mountain view, the lake, or a golf course - these are top vacation rental sellers!
6. ASK FOR REVIEWS
People often pick the most highly rated places that are reviewed by a lot of previous customers. Ask every person who stayed to review your listings. Don’t have any history yet? Let a few friends and family who have stayed there review the properties, leaving honest and accurate (but positive) feedback.
Finally, make sure you check local laws, rules, ordinances and HOA regulations that may limit or dictate how you can use your rental property as a short-term vacation rental. Do NOT wait until after buying it to find out your plan has been foiled! Also, keep in mind that such laws, rules, ordinances, and regulation may change from time to time, so make sure that you have a backup plan if your short-term rental strategy does not work out anymore.