Vacation rental hosting can be time consuming and difficult. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
But you’re not everyone. You have a profitable rental property and I’m going to teach you how to put it on autopilot.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve traveled to several countries and have set a goal of traveling to two new cities every year. I always hit the goal.
When I travel, I stay at a new vacation rental every time, so you can imagine, I’ve seen it all. I’ve stayed in everything from a tiny studio in the grittiest part of San Francisco to villas near Dubai’s Marina district.
Through all this travel, I’ve met several rental owners who have taught me how to maximize my rental income with a few simple steps.
Here are 4 essential steps you should use to manage your vacation rental.
1. Marketing Is Everything
You’re a marketer by default, whether you like it or not. Your listing must stand out among the other 100+ listings in your area. Tenants will travel for a comfortable and appealing rental and you get 3 seconds to win them over. Put on your marketing hat and ensure you have the following done.
Professional Images. Your images can significantly improve your booking rate. Chances are that users are browsing your area through their phone. They’ll stop at whatever catches their eye so make your images distinctive.
Ensure your photographs stand out by hiring a professional photographer using Photographers.com or Craigslist.
Write like a copywriter, not like a professor.
Think of your writing as a readable photograph. Your user’s first positive impression depends on the visual appeal of your writing. A couple tips to follow are:
- Two sentence paragraphs, plenty of proper spacing
- No CAPS, ellipsis, or exclamation marks
- Plenty of numbering and bullets
- Triple check your spelling and grammar
Mention the essential details right away.
What would your potential guests ask if they came in off the street?
- How big is the space?
- What does the rental include? What’s off limits?
- Do you have free WiFi? Parking?
- What’s near by? How is public transportation?
- How safe is it?
- Any good restaurants?
Tell a story.
Your renters are humans. We’re illogical creatures driven by our emotions. Don’t sell us solutions, sell us a story about your rental; it’s neighborhood and history, the significance of the paintings in the house, why you live there, and interesting details that would make the stay more enjoyable.
If you want help writing the perfect listing, check out “How To Write A Craigslist Ad” by Noah Kagan.
2. Price Dynamically
Price at the number that is reasonable for your location, date, and quality of your rental. Renters tend to price in three buckets: low price, average, or high priced and if your goal is to have a high booking rate, you can always be the lowest priced listing, but that’s not going to make you money.
Your price should fluctuate based on user demand. For vacation rentals, that means looking at local and major events, the time of season, and especially holidays.
You can predict the prices your renters are willing to pay by looking at rental price changes online through Flipkey, Craigslist, and other sites or you can use tools like Beyond Pricing and SmartHost, pay a small fee and let them handle the job.
3. Automate Maintenance (3rd Party Providers)
As your booking rates and revenue increase from dynamic pricing so will the maintenance and upkeep. Don’t get sucked into another full time job by trying to manage your rental alone.
3rd party services for maintaining your vacation rental are abundant and have a wide range of prices to fit your budget.
If you’re on the lookout for the ideal tool, take a look at Pillow which integrates with most vacation rental sites.
4. Put Your Rental Finances On Autopilot
Finally, make sure you’re proactive with your rental finances. The easiest way to increase your revenue is to actively lower your taxable income and pay less tax.
There are dozens of tax deductions which may potentially be available to you. Your CPA or accountant can help you better understand everything you need to track so that you can lower your taxable income and make more money.
Some of the key tax deductions you can potentially use for your rental are on expenses like toiletry costs, cleaning, maintenance on the area you rent and many more. For a list of tax deductions to get you started, see the Hurdlr landlord and hosts tax guide written by our in-house CPA Matt Breifer.
Many vacation rental owners use tax software and spreadsheets to manage their finances but if you would prefer to save both time and money, you can throw away your spreadsheet and use Hurdlr.
Hurdlr is a mobile finance app for vacation rentals and the gig economy. Hurdlr gives you a better understanding of your finances by automatically managing your revenue, expenses, and taxes.
Sajad Ghanizada heads growth at Hurdlr, a mobile finance app for vacation rentals and the gig-economy. When he’s not working you can find him exploring DC or off on a weekend trip. He’s an avid fan of Flipkey and prefers the comfort of short term vacation rentals.