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:
1. 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.
4. 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.
7. 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.