Incredible properties with major potential are losing bookings to competitors and receiving bad reviews because of a failure to invest the time and money needed to be successful.
If you’re investing in a property to use as a rental, you might be more focused on the initial costs than thinking about the expenses that will come down the road.
And while Airbnb and Vrbo seem like great ways to make money fast, running a lucrative vacation rental investment requires ongoing work, time, and money.
To educate you on some of those necessary money and time investments, we’ve compiled a list of how to spend your funds and focus responsibly.
Where you’ll need to invest your money
The kitchen is the heart of the home and it’s also one of the main reasons travelers choose rentals over hotels. Cooking saves travelers money, but it also gives them the freedom to stay in and enjoy everything a property has to offer, which is a huge part of the rental experience.
Faulty and unreliable kitchen appliances are cause for late-night phone calls from guests, bad reviews, and even refunds. A broken fridge can ruin a vacation and an unsound oven can ruin an entire holiday.
Avoid frantic guest phone calls and spoiled stays by guaranteeing your appliances are updated and working between every booking.
Our performance reports show that one of the most consistently popular amenities in North America is an updated kitchen.
If you’re unsure whether or not it’s time to replace an appliance, here are some general guidelines for when a replacement or update might be in order:
- Dishwasher: 10-13 years
- Gas Range Oven: 15 years
- Microwave: 9-10 years
- Refrigerator: 10-13 years
- Washer: 10-13 years
- Dryer: 10-13 years
Many vacation rental owners are tempted to furnish their rental with inexpensive couches, beds, tables, and chairs. They’ll order a heavily-discounted furniture set without considering the negative effects it could have on the guest experience.
Don’t make a poor investment that can lessen the value of your property. Invest in furniture that guests will love. Low-quality furniture is not only easily recognizable by guests but it often lacks the durability needed to withstand the wear and tear of constant use.
Save yourself the headache of purchasing new furniture on a yearly basis and invest your money in strong, stable, and sturdy pieces that will stand the test of time.
A traveler is deciding between you and your neighbor. Your neighbor has 24, well-lit, properly-staged, and crystal clear photos of their property. You have 13 photos of your home that you took with your smart device.
Who do you think the traveler will choose?
Good listing photography may get the initial attention of travelers, but professional photography actually leads to bookings. In fact, properties with professional photography are more than twice as likely to get booked as those without.
Investing in professional photography gives your prospective guests a clear look into your home and shows browsing travelers that you run a professional rental.
And while the pictures you take yourself may be free, the inexpensive cost of professional photography will quickly pay off in bookings and glowing reviews.
If you want to learn more about professional photography click here, and be redirected to a guest post we wrote for Lodgify.
Vacation Rental Listing Sites
“Which listing site is best?”
This is a question that vacation rental homeowners and specialists widely debate.
Every single one of them is best – for different travelers. At the end of the day, the more listing sites you can afford to distribute your property on, the better. Half the battle with vacation rental is being sure that your property is seen by as many of the right travelers as possible. By posting your rental on every site you can, you’re much more likely to guarantee that.
As a homeowner, you need to invest in listing sites and marketing strategies if you want to get the most out of your property purchase. If you can’t afford to distribute on every site and need some help deciding on one or two, click here for a side-by-side comparison guide so you can find a site that best suits your needs.
Where you’ll need to invest your time
Your Listing Description
Successful homeowners take time to craft their listing and only include what is relevant to travelers.
Poorly written listings with grammar errors and long-winded descriptions can keep even the most luxurious properties from getting bookings.
You can view our full guide on writing a listing description but here’s a quick listing cheat sheet:
- Write a headline that captures attention and describes the property
- Put the most important information and amenities first
- Triple check for grammar errors
- Adjust your listing to reflect seasonality and upcoming events
Highly rated and well reviewed properties not only rank better on listing sites but are more likely to get more bookings and more money, leading to a much more lucrative investment.
According to our Owner Insight Report, in which we surveyed over 1,300 homeowners across North America, owners with more than 50 reviews far outperformed those with few to none.
So how do you get more reviews?
You can view our full review guide here, but below is a summary of the top tips and tricks:
- Offer incentives
- Review your travelers
- Follow up with an email
- Send a handwritten note
- Follow up with a phone-call
As more and more travelers switch from staying at hotels to vacationing in rentals, professionalism has become one of the most important parts of running a profitable rental.
Guests expect to have their questions promptly answered and their bookings quickly confirmed. They’ll be reluctant to book your property if you can’t offer these types of hotel-like experiences.
To professionalize your online interactions, consider:
- Answering traveler inquiries within the hour
- Creating an Instagram or Facebook account for your property
- Keeping an updated calendar
- Responding to all reviews, negative and positive
The professionalism doesn’t stop after the rental is booked. Give your guests a true hotel experience by providing small extras, or even going above and beyond what a hotel provides:
- Be there to welcome guests to your rental or hire a guest contact
- Download our free, editable welcome book guide
- Be available throughout their stay in case of an emergency
- Gift your guests with local, inexpensive treats
Owning and operating a vacation rental is not an easy task in fact, for some it becomes a full-time job.
If you want to own a profitable investment, you have to put in the time and money necessary to go above and beyond for guests before, during, and after their stay.
At Evolve, we help homeowners accomplish just that.
For just 10% per booking, we distribute properties across Airbnb, TripAdvisor, HomeAway, Vrbo, and more. We take professional photography of their rentals, write expertly-crafted listing descriptions, create personalized rating strategies, and have homeowner, guest, and traveler support available seven days a week. Click here to learn more.