If you think you can handle managing your vacation rental property yourself, you might be in for a rude awakening. Unlike yearly rentals, vacation homes demand a level of labor intensity and customer service that many property owners are ill-equipped to handle. That’s because a vacation rental puts its owner in the hospitality business. Generally, only management companies experienced in this segment of the rental industry can perform the job well. That doesn’t stop many companies or individuals masquerading as property managers from trying. So before you take a chance to outsource your side hustle to the wrong person, here are some tips to help you choose the right vacation property manager.
Look for Experience
One of the most important things to look for is a management company’s experience. Superhosts on Airbnb should know what they are doing, especially if they are responsible for managing a portfolio of properties. With reviews to back them up, susperhosts have a system in place to deal with the 24/7 demands of being in the hospitality business.
Deep Understanding of Marketing on Multiple Platforms
To do their job efficiently and keep vacation rentals booked year-round, a property manager should be adept at listing properties on multiple platforms. They also stay on top of multiple bookings, so they don’t overlap, resulting in double bookings. Equally, they will know how to modify their prices in the slower seasons and sometimes book for more extended periods with discounts to ensure the rental remains full.
Different management companies adhere to different payment structures. For example, some demand a flat fee which includes multiple services such as photography, marketing, cleaning, bookings, and customer service. Others might be commission based and charge extra for certain services.
There are no one-size-fits-all because vacation properties vary so much. For example, a block of 20 condos in a luxury resort is different to market and rent than a solitary lake house in the woods. However, an excellent rental vacation management company should know that it behooves them to keep your property rented, and their payment structure should reflect that.
Cleaning and maintenance
In the hospitality business, having a rock-solid cleaning and maintenance crew is essential. Make sure your prospective management team has both at hand. Meticulous, sanitized cleanings with plush bedding with a “just washed” feel will likely earn you rave reviews. Equally, ensure your maintenance team is punctual and effective so that they can take care of any repairs between bookings. In the worst-case scenario, if something goes wrong and a guest is on the premises, the crew can handle the situation without inconveniencing them.
Professional looking website
While most vacation bookings are made on platforms such as Airbnb, booking.com, and VRBO, any reputable property management company should present itself in a professional light online. If they are responsible for multiple homes they should have a professional website that explains exactly who they are and what they do.
A clear understanding of all fees
Fees for additional services, such as extra cleanings, photography, maintenance, marketing, and professional copywriting, should be laid out if they are not included in part of the flat fee.
A seamless automated check-in/check-out system ensures the smooth running of your vacation business. In most cases, this consists of having a keypad entry system with e-mailed instructions. Ensure the protocols for your guests’ arrivals and departures are straightforward and do not require additional customer service involvement.
Night time service
Emergencies do happen. If so, ensure that your management company has a system for dealing with these out-of-office hours. Whether it’s a water heater exploding, a break-in, or a house party that goes against the house rules, your management should have clearly defined protocols that protect you and your home while holding any wrongdoers responsible.
Vacations are booked virtually, and a modern-day property management company should run seamlessly alongside online platforms. However, However, running an efficient vacation property management team has many moving parts, and having the personnel to perform them is vital.
A website can be deceiving, so checking reviews and experience is essential for vacation rentals. Also, just because a management company has a lot of good reviews in one area does not mean they can perform well in your location. Check local reviews to ensure that they can perform where your business is. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals so you can question their clients in person and not have to trust what their website testimonials say.