Your Vacation Rental Competition Is About to Heat Up

Lauren KayeLeave a Comment

Things are about to get crowded for vacation rental owners. The National Association of Realtors shared statistics that 30% of people who own vacation homes and 32% of those who own investment properties plan to start using their properties as short-term rentals in 2018.

That’s significant growth over 2017, when just 25% of vacation homeowners and 24% of investment property owners said they were going to use their properties as short-term rentals.

As a vacation rental homeowner, it’s likely that you got into the industry to offset costs or make extra money on the side. But as the industry has grown in popularity with travelers, it has become an even more lucrative business – catching the eye of an increasing number of owners and investors who are looking for a big payoff, too. Case in point: Seven out of ten owners think it’s a good time to buy.

Where are they buying?

  • 33% of vacation buyers purchased a property in a beach areas
  • 21% bought a property in a lake area
  • 15% bought a property in the country

It makes sense that so many people are fired up about short-term rentals. The number of travelers booking vacation homes over hotels is growing, and there’s mounting data on the amount of income owners can collect by opening their properties up to guests.

This speaks volumes for the future of the industry at large. But if you’re already running a successful vacation rental, you might be looking at those numbers and seeing the stakes rise.

So what can you do to establish your vacation rental as the clear choice in your area?

With newcomers entering the market, competition is bound to expand. The good news is that you have an edge as an experienced vacation rental owner. You can leverage that head-start to maintain your position as a leader in your area.

Invest in the right amenities

If you have a property in a beach area, provide towels and supplies guests can take when they go swimming. Offer boat access or recommend a reliable place to rent if you have a vacation home on or near a lake. These amenities make it easy for travelers to enjoy a great time off the bat. And their reviews of your excellent hospitality will guarantee you’re a top pick in the area.

Add homey touches

Guests book vacation rentals over hotels so they can have a home away from home. New vacation rentals often lack the special touches that make a house feel like a comfortable retreat. To stand out from the competition, stock spare towels in the linen closet, scissors in the kitchen drawer, throw blankets on the sofa, and games on the bookshelves.

Provide welcome gifts to impress your guests

A nice note or unexpected gift goes a long way toward making travelers feel welcome. One owner in Louisville, Colorado, fills gift baskets with bags of Boulder potato chips, Avery Brewing beer, and other treats to give guests a taste of the local flavor. You can really impress your guests by leaving out a sampling of snacks and beverages typical to your area.

Build an archive of amazing reviews

Time and experience are two clear advantages established vacation rental owners have over newbies. You’ve had time to prove you’re a great host by getting a number of bookings under your belt and building a roster of stellar reviews. This puts you head and shoulders above owners who are just getting started because new listings often lack the social proof guests want to see.

Be smart about personal use

The survey also revealed that half of all the people who bought vacation homes plan to use their properties as retreats for their own families. While this is one of the biggest perks of buying a vacation home, it can cut into your rental income if you’re not careful.

Reserving your lake home for your family during the two weeks surrounding 4th of July means losing out on prime bookings during that period. That may not be a problem, but you will miss opportunities to attract loyal guests.

Veterans in the vacation rental industry know how valuable peak weekends are and plan their vacations accordingly. They know how to balance personal use with guest bookings to maximize profits without giving up precious vacation time.

What’s your next move?

The numbers speak for themselves: more and more people are entering the vacation rental market.

What you need to decide is what you’re going to do about it.

Are you going to keep doing things the way you always have, and hope these newcomers won’t succeed?

Or are you going to position yourself head and shoulders above the new competition by trying a more evolved strategy? You can prove that you’re the professional in the market by providing immediate replies to guest inquiries, round-the-clock responsiveness, data-driven pricing structures, and five-star customer service.

If that sounds like the right solution, but more work than you’re willing to take on at this point in your vacation rental career, that’s understandable. A lot of long-time vacation homeowners are exploring vacation rental management services to help them with the tasks they can’t fit into their busy schedules.

For a low 10% booking fee, Evolve provides you with a full team to support you as you grow your business and establish your property as the best vacation rental on the block.

How can you maintain your success as the vacation rental industry continues to change? We’ve kept our owners’ booking rates high so they can enjoy great revenue from their vacation rental properties. See how Evolve can cut your workload without sacrificing results.