Vacation rentals have been growing popular in recent years. But running your vacation rental can be a hard task to do especially when you are hundreds miles away from the property. This article will help you in managing your vacation rentals even if you don’t live near them. You will learn how to manage your vacation rental remotely in an efficient and effective way.
Whether you have decided to buy a vacation home and rent it out while you are not vacationing or you have decided to purchase a short-term rental property miles away or a country away, we can help guide you in the process.
So what’s the secret to successfully managing a vacation rental from a distance? Here are a few remote vacation rental tips and tricks!
Make sure you are informed on all laws and regulations
Remember each state and each country has their own laws when it comes down to short-term rentals. Do your due diligence before purchasing the property. Some areas have limits on how many nights you can rent per year, some require licenses and some ban renting short-term rentals altogether.
You might find specific tax rules for a short-term rental or a separate vacation rental business tax in that location. You don’t want to end up purchasing a property that you won’t be able to rent out or that won’t be making you a return on your investment.
Inform yourself on these things before you decide to purchase the property.
Connect with other vacation rental property home owners in the area
Do your research! Talk to other vacation rental property home owners in the area you are interested in making a purchase. Ask them questions about the location or how their short-term vacation rental operates throughout the year. You can also get information on a property management company they recommend or contractors in the area.
Trust us, vacation rental owners are most often willing to help and give fellow owners advice. This is a way to gain a better understanding of the location, make connections with other short term rental owners and with locals and start your vacation rental business on the right foot.
Automate the home and add a home security system
Vacation rental property owners, how can you manage your property remotely? Automate the vacation rental home with as many smart tech products as you can, it will be easier to monitor your home from a long distance this way.
The first thing you want to do is set yourself up with the technology necessary to run your business efficiently. All you have to do is download the apps and you can control many things mentioned below from your phone.
Research all the home automation systems out there. All the technology we have today is incredible especially for remote vacation rental homeowners. Invest in smart locks or deadbolt smart locks, smart thermostats and products like noiseaware. Noiseaware is a smart noise monitoring system that alerts you immediately if there is a problem at your rental property and your guests receive an automated message to quickly resolve the problem.
All these smart devices today are perfect for those who decide to invest in a long distance short-term rental property. Check out our resource page to find our top picks!
Don’t forget about a home security system! This is important especially when you are not anywhere near your vacation rental property. Add security cameras outside of your property to make it safe and secure. It is important to let your guests know you do have security cameras outside the home.
Automate the check-in/check-out process for your guests
Have you thought about the check-in and check-out process for your guests? This is an important step because if it’s not done correctly, your guests may become frustrated. It’s simple, automate this process by having a self check-in and check-out with smart locks or lockboxes.
Some of our top picks are: Schlage Encode Deadbolt Smart Lock, Schlage Light Commercial Keypad Lock and Master Lock 5400D Lock Box. All of these are sold on Amazon.
Setup a stable and fast Wifi network
Wifi is extremely important in today’s modern world. According to Digital Information World, “over 8 in 10 Americans claim they’d be less likely to book short-term rentals if they have poor internet reviews.” They also conducted a survey where 84% of people said they would be more likely to book a short-term rental if the listing included internet speed test results.
Therefore, add the fastest and most reliable wifi to your home. This will help you while you’re miles away because you need your automated home tech to work properly.
Your guests will thank you, especially those who work remotely. If you noticed a lot of vacation rentals have included a screenshot of the property’s wifi speed test in their online listings. This makes it easy for those guests who need wifi or are on a workation to make a decision if the property will suit their needs or not.
Invest in a vacation rental management software
Yes, that is correct! This is one of the best things you can do. If you own one property or 100+ investing in a vacation rental software means you’re investing in your business. While operating a vacation rental from a long distance a vacation rental software can help you stay organized while you monitor and manage your property or properties.
The best part about this type of software is that you can automate your guest communication with custom templates, automate door lock codes, create your own website, accept direct bookings, easily change listing descriptions and photos and monitor; your rentals, data, finances, occupancy, etc. Notifications can be sent directly to your phone for inquiries and reservations, so you can answer your guests immediately.
It’s a one-stop-shop for your vacation rental property!
Market your property
This of course is very important! Market your property, always! Add your property to as many listing sites you can or those which you think fit your vacation rental business best, such as Airbnb, Vrbo, Expedia, TripAdvisor, etc.
Don’t forget about social media! The free way to market your vacation rental. There are billions of users on social media today, don’t miss out on the opportunity to freely advertise your rental. Have you ever seen those vacation rentals who have thousands and thousands of followers? Have you ever tried to book a stay there? Guess what, they are always booked out and sometimes for years!
If you want to go the extra step you can also use Paid Ads to make your vacation rental more visible in the world of social media.
Every day in the vacation rental industry something new pops up, stay informed and make sure you’re on top of your marketing.
Search for a property management company
Running a vacation rental home can be rewarding as well as stressful. You need to manage the property, but you also have to ensure that it is staffed and that there are no property damages. To do this from a distance you have to have some good management procedures in place.
Use a vacation rental property management service to help you run your vacation rental business from afar. They will be there to greet your guests, help with any issues they may have during their stay, help with maintenance, have a cleaning company that will provide the cleanings, check on your rental frequently and assist with marketing and receiving bookings for your property.
If you chose to go down a different path where you choose to not use a property management service you can look for a reliable handyman/maintenance crew and a cleaning crew.
Always do your research before hiring a property management company or a handyman and cleaning crew. It would be best to interview a few people before you make your final decision and see who and which company fits your vacation rental best.
Build a reliable list of contractors and service providers
As a property owner having a contractor list will come in handy. Build a contractor list of those you can trust and you know will be there promptly when an issue arises. For those who invest in properties outside the country this is especially important as it is not your local language or home and you want to make sure you are hiring the right people at the right price. You always want to make sure they are reliable and will do the job right, the first time. Ask around, you will get answers!
Don’t forget, if you need your pool serviced or landscaping taken care of to create a list of service providers. A list of these types of service providers will help you keep your property in order and beautifully maintained especially when you are not there to take care of it yourself.
Communicate with your guests
This is very important! Will you, your property management team or both be communicating with your guests? Communication is key for vacation rentals and communicating as quickly as possible is essential. Decide who will be doing the communicating and remember you can automate guest messages, which takes the workload away from you and allows guests to receive immediate responses. Some messages you may have to answer, but mostly all of it will be automated. Thanks to the world of tech!
Let’s also quickly touch on personal messages. You could also send a small personal welcoming message to your guests and let them know you are hosting from afar and that your property management team is there to assist them during their stay. You can even go as far as sending them a personal video message. Give your guests that special touch and provide them with an awesome guest experience!
Create a welcome book
A guest book or guidebook is a simple yet powerful thing to include for your guests. There are different ways you can create a welcome book by creating a PDF or going digital. If you create a PDF you can include this in your automated guest messages, print a copy and have it in the vacation rental or both.
The other thing you can do is go digital, we recommend TouchStay or Hostfully. TouchStay and Hostfully both offer digital guidebooks. Your guests are provided with a link to a digital guidebook. If you ever needed to update your guidebook all you do is sign in, make adjustments and click update. It can’t get easier than that!
Create your own website
Creating your own website allows you to differentiate your vacation rental property and obtain direct bookings from past clients or new clients. It’s an easy way to steer away from listing site fees and give you a little more room to offer discounted rates to returning guests.
Another great feature of having a website is having a blog page. Posting blogs to your website about activities, things to do in the area, upcoming events or discounted rates may give you an extra opportunity to be visible in a google search if someone is using google for information about the area.
Check in with your team, whether it’s daily or weekly
If you’re using a property management team, make sure you communicate with them. It’s a great way to see where improvements can be made in your vacation rental business or what updates are needed for your property. They are your team and being in communication with them will help your vacation rental business grow and succeed.
Note: Check on your financials and always double check the property management company is paying all your expenses.
Always make sure you check on your property
Don’t leave your property behind! Make sure you go visit your property at least once a year. Check to see if you need to make any updates to the rental or if there is any maintenance required. Sure, it may be on some nice island and you need to hop on a plane, but use the excuse of checking on your property to give yourself a mini vacation.