A lot of property owners think about renting their properties out as vacation rentals, but when the rubber hits the road, few actually go through with it. It’s a difficult job and not everyone wants to spend the energy on managing a vacation rental. For those who still want to rent their property short term but don’t want to do the work, just like traditional property management companies there are vacation rental management companies. Each vacation rental management company is different and approaches their managed properties in a different way, so how do you choose the best vacation rental manager for your property? Making the decision doesn’t have to be hard, just consider these things:
Is your property in a unique location where having a property manager familiar with the ins and outs of that area will be a big benefit for guests? Many guests want recommendations about where to eat and how to get around from where they’re staying so having that domain knowledge can be helpful and that means finding a property manager who has other properties in your area or can demonstrate they understand the neighborhood.
Properties under management
There are vacation rental managers who only look after a handful of properties and then there are those that look after hundreds. I’m not saying one is better than the other, they both have their pros and cons. If you want to have a close relationship with the owner of your vacation rental management company and would like to be hands on with the property then a smaller shop might be better, while a larger shop may not be as hands on with property owners but will likely be more efficient in how they run.
Take a look at the vacation rental manager you’ve evaluating and see what kind of properties they manage. If you have a studio and all of their other properties are 12 bedroom mansions then they may not be a good fit for your property. Likewise if they have all beach rentals and your property is a downtown loft, it may also not be a good fit.
Some vacation rental managers provide a premium service with more of a luxury feel but not everyone is in the mood to pay a premium for their vacation rental. Likewise, some properties are high end and need a manager who can complete the experience for guests ensuring you maximize your nightly rate. To figure out what level of service they offer ask about the quality of their sheets and towels and how often they are replaced; or to see their bathroom amenities for guests.
This one seems simple but just check the reviews of your prospective manager to see what people say about their level of service and overall experience. Are the properties always clean? Is the manager prompt and communicative? Many of these questions will be answered in reviews.
Some managers favor one platform over another, for instance, most of my rentals go through AirBnb but I know plenty of vacation rental managers who do most of their rentals through VRBO. Some people feel that different platforms have different crowds but more importantly, the different platforms operate in different ways and have different features. For instance, the security deposit for VRBO works differently than AirBnb. AirBnb pushes hosts to allow InstantBook going as far as to favor those listings with it turned on. You may want certain features that one platform features or want to avoid features that another platform has.
Any decent vacation rental manager should send property owners monthly statements, but some, especially the larger ones, give their property owners access to a portal with means to track property income and block out dates for personal use.
There are a lot of great vacation rental managers and management companies out there and only a few not-so-great ones. Just remember, the key is finding the one that’s right for you and your property.