Here are some key questions you can ask a vacation rental or short-term rental manager before letting them manage your vacation rental home, Airbnb or property.
Partnering with the right property management company for your dynamic pricing, management, guest care and more can be a huge benefit to your bottom line when done correctly.
However, not all property managers are made equal. Some get stellar results for their homeowners (better than they can do on their own) and provide 5-star full-service experiences for guests and homeowners. Others provide real estate services on top of long-term property management and short-term rental management too. A bad property manager may take the same exact “fee” as an excellent property manager but perform far worse: the “fee” should never be the only point of consideration for managing your property.
A vacation rental management company can be right for one owner and not right for another, depending on their core skills and competency as well as costs. Some vacation rental property management companies focus on more asset care, not maximizing bookings in favor of keeping every guest as “stress free” as possible, while others cater more to folks buying investment property and attempt to maximize bookings by any means necessary. A real estate investment-only property is often treated quite differently than a pure second home vacation rental property.
Most full-service property management companies will take a personal tour of all properties and view any listing photos from a recent sale if relevant.
Consider Asking The Following Questions
About The Company
- How long have you been in business? Have you always focused only on short-term rentals or do you manage other types of rentals too?
- How long have you been with this company?
- How many employees are in your office? What functions do they serve?
- Are you only in the this local market or do you manage in other areas?
- How many properties does your company manage in the area?
- How many properties are you directly responsible for? What types of properties do you manage similar to mine?
- What do you do that makes you stand out from your competition?
- What is the worst scenario you have seen in this industry and how did you and your team handle it?
Marketing & Promotion
- How will you market my home and get bookings?
- What channels do you list my property on (ex: Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com)?
- Do you get direct bookings as well? If so, what percent of your bookings are direct with you vs on a channel/OTA?
- What direct bookings channels do you leverage (social media, Google Ads, email marketing)?
- Do you have someone in house to write our property description? Is it professionally written? Can we provide you with one?
- Will you hire a professional photographer for photos and is that included or an extra cost?
- Can I market and/or list my property as well and work together on bookings?
- Do you leave any welcome notes or gift baskets for guests? Anything special for return guests?
Operations, Cleaning, Upkeep & Property Care
- Do you allow online booking for owner blocks?
- Do you discuss maintenance issues with us first before proceeding to make any decisions?
- What do your average guest reviews say? What is your average star rating (happy guests)?
- How do you improve the guest experience compared to an owner?
- How do you screen incoming guests?
- How do you handle check in at the property?
- Do you have technology in place to prevent/catch parties or large events/gatherings before they happen?
- Who cleans my property?
- Who inspects after each clean? Do they perform a walkthrough?
- Who will be providing the landscaping? Pool maintenance? Jacuzzi maintenance?
- In the case there are no bookings, how often do you physically go to the property to check on it and make sure everything is okay and in working order?
- Do the cleaners have on-site laundry options or do you use an external service?
- Who does maintenance? Who does routine “wellness” checks of the property? How do you judge my property’s condition?
- How do you handle maintenance emergencies when they occur?
- What happens if a guest gets locked out of the house?
- How do you handle guest emergencies when they occur?
- Are the toiletries, toilet paper (the basics) included in the property management fee?
- Do you have a management contract? (get a copy of this to review it)
Financials, Fees & Costs
- What do I need to improve at my property?
- What should I budget for property improvements?
- What is the nightly rate expected at my property by season? (High season, shoulder + low season)
- What is the annual occupancy for a similar property you manage?
- What is the annual rental income for a similar property you manage?
- Do you submit occupancy taxes on behalf of owners?
- Is there a fee to to submit occupancy taxes?
- Will you add me as an additional insured on your insurance?
- What are the property management fees? Is the fee based on gross or net?
- What additional fees can I expect if we move forward (full example of the fee structure)?
- Who pays for credit card fees on guest bookings?
- Can you provide a list of other property owners you work with I can reach out to?
- How long is the contract for and what are the terms to leave the partnership if we choose to?
- Is there a penalty or fee for ending a management contract early?
- Are there any extra fees for running errands, maintenance calls, utility bill payment, etc?
- Will you send me receipts for bill payment and/or any maintenance issues?
- How often is our payout and will you provide us with monthly statements?