10 Surefire Signs You’re A Savvy Vacation Rental Pro

By: Matt Landau

Vacation rentals are taking the travel industry by storm of late with a new PhoCusWright study proclaiming that they will account for up to 30% of the entire US travel market before the end of 2014.

But with so much growth and success, and many new owners rushing to cash in on this booming trend, experienced veterans of the industry are taking advantage of their time-tested efforts to capitalize on monthly bookings.

Here are 10 signs that you’re operating your vacation rental business like a savvy pro: 

tetris1. You operate your calendar like Tetris

If you shuffle around bookings, offer special discounts/upgrades, or are successful in convincing guests to reserve specific nights – all in search of the almighty flush booked calendar – you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.

2. You are suspicious of any renter under the age of 25

If you raise an eyebrow when a potential guest asks about the minimum age requirement or inquires about staying with “their colleagues” during Spring Break-like vacation weeks, you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.

3. You know when someone has been smoking in your home before even stepping inside

If the first thing you think when you smell the faint odor of cigarette smoke in your vacation rental is “$500 Special Cleaning Fee,” you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.

facebook_like_thumb4. You ask guests to post pictures from their stay on your Facebook

If you have an automatic message that goes out to all guests a day after their vacation, asking them to post any and all wonderful family photos on your rental’s Facebook wall in an effort to enhance your marketing brand, you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.

5. You look through guest’s trash

If you or anyone on your staff looks through guest’s trash just to “observe” (or perhaps to re-stock their favorite drinks for a second visit) you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.

6. You have a graveyard of iPhone and Blackberry chargers

If you have, somewhere stowed away, a massive tangled basket of smart phone chargers left behind by guests and are eager to re-gift them to new guests in need, you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.

classified_ads17. You frequently scan classified sites to make sure no one is stealing your vacation rental identity

If part of your monthly regimen is checking online to see if anyone has stolen your photos and started secretly selling nights to unsuspecting travelers, you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro. 

8. You under-promise and over-deliver

If your guests arrive and are WOW’ed by your vacation rental experience (“The photos don’t do this place justice!” or “This host was like our own private concierge!”) and you intentionally blow guests like this away on purpose, you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.

9. You secretly know that vacation rentals are creeping up on the hotel industry

If you don’t need to hear from PhoCusWright that vacation rentals will make up 30% of the US travel market by the end of 2014 (because you secretly knew this all along), you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.

10. You run your own Groupon-style deals

If you keep track of all your previous guests’ email addresses and, in the low season, offer them flash sales in which they can purchase $500 credit for only $250 cash, you’re probably a savvy vacation rental pro.

Matt Landau is a vacation rental marketing expert and the author of 20 Tips Under 20 Minutes, a free eBook designed to help vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings for their property using simple, effective, and efficient tips.

Tips for Accommodating Holiday Travelers

The holidays are a busy time for travelers and property owners alike. Prepare for the holiday season by considering these tips so that you can impress your guests while taking advantage of your own holiday plans!

Fall Seasonal Touches

Be Festive!

Get in the spirit and share those holiday comforts that you enjoy in your own home with your guests! A simple wreath on the door, gourd centerpiece on the dining table, or autumn scented candle in the living room is an inexpensive way of showing your attention to detail and can get your guests in the mood for the season. When decorating your property look for simple autumn or winter themed decorations. Take this opportunity to have fun and get creative with your surroundings! If your property is in a region with particular fall or winter foliage, incorporate it in the home to give your renters a closer connection with the new surroundings. If you use physical keys for your property, consider sending them in a holiday wrapped box to get renters extra excited about renting with you.

Add a Personal Touch

In the vacation rental world, personalization is key to set yourself apart from the competition. Offering rental deals during the holidays is a great way to draw attention to your property. Consider including a gift card to a local restaurant or shop with your guest’s holiday reservation and present it as a gift upon their arrival. In light of the gift-giving season, having something tangible to give to travelers can be more special than simply offering a seasonal discount. If a gift for each booking is out of your budget, something as small as a signed holiday card can be a great way to welcome guests to your home.

Be Well Informed

Although not always the case, chances are that you know more about your rental area than the traveler that has rented your property, so use this knowledge to better include them in your greater community. No matter how large or small your town may be, it is almost guaranteed that it will host some combination of holiday events that are open to the public such as light shows, concerts, festivals, and specialty theater or sporting events. Use this special season to your advantage and learn everything you can about what your surroundings have to offer at this time. Leave a brochure or a simple collection of community event information in your home for guests to use as a reference. If you feel comfortable, consider asking your travelers what their favorite fall and winter activities are so that you may focus your research in one direction.

Plan Ahead

In order to ensure that your own holiday plans will be stress free, be extra careful about updating your calendar and property functions for your in-coming holiday guests. The better prepared you are for the needs of your renters, the less they will need your assistance while you’re celebrating with your own friends and family. Go the extra mile and try to anticipate the needs of a holiday traveler. If you don’t already, consider leaving a guide in your home that includes the locations of shops for great last minute gifts, stores with gift-wrapping services, or restaurants that are guaranteed to be open during the holiday period while most are closed.

Avoid unnecessary stressors by incorporating these tips prior to your guests’ stay this holiday season. You’ll thank yourself for the preparations made and your guests will take delight in the outcome they produce. Happy bookings!