Turning a second home into a vacation rental is almost never as easy as hanging a "for rent" sign in the window and waiting for the guests to arrive. At the very least there are local regulations to abide by, tax laws to consider, and plans to make for managing emergencies. FlipKey CEO TJ Mahony shared some of his own experiences in this blog post from 2007.
This week in vacation rental news, the media has been focused on the behind-the-scenes efforts that homeowners must make to run successful vacation rental operations. The New York Times "Bucks" blog addressed the importance of interacting with guests and being prepared. Writer and homeowner Christine Negroni stressed that doing some research in advance is crucial for both the guest and the property owner: "If they do their homework, both renters and owners can have a good experience."
In addition to knowing who your guests are, it is also important to understand local rental regulations. Grover Beach, CA is considering an ordinance that would require property owners to apply for a vacation rental permit. If passed, violators would be subject to fines. This type of regulation is already in place in many areas, so you should make sure to investigate local laws if you are considering turning your property into a vacation rental (check out our vacation rental marketing guide for more tips on getting started).
Finally, the Obama's "Winter White House" vacation rental in Kailua, Hawaii is now on Tweet Traveler - an interesting new service that could help vacation home renters interested in doing more with Twitter. As we've written before, social networking can be a valuable tool for promoting your vacation rental. Of course, a testimonial from the president can't hurt either!