8 Tips for Managing a Short-Term Rental
Owning a short-term rental can be profitable, but it’s not as easy as just filling the house with furniture and housewares and putting it online or with a property manager.
Making money takes work, you get what you give! Whether you self-manage or hire a property manager, both require work. Hiring a property manager is an option if you do not have the time to manage a short-term rental. BUT you need to monitor your property, even with a property manager. Monitor your occupancy rate and expenses. If the property manager indicates the property is vacant during the busy season, drive down, assess the situation, and find out why your property is not renting. Maybe you need more amenities, décor, but make the necessary adjustments to be successful.
Managing short-term rentals yourself takes time, money, and knowledge. Here are 8 Tips to Help You Manage your STR.
- Who are Your Customers?
Select a property that has a lifestyle you enjoy or have that you have the knowledge to articulate the property’s benefits and can furnish, decorate, and provide amenities that will make your guest smile. If you own a STR on the river. Add a few extra fishing poles, a net, a list of hot fishing spots, firewood for the evening campfire, anything that you would enjoy, provide it to your guest to enhance their stay, and enjoy those 5-Star reviews.
Research what is popular in the area. Families, seniors, active, relaxation. Do your research, establish your property, and be prepared to market to your customers. Help your guest live like a local and enjoy their stay by providing amenities and information to ensure satisfaction.
- How does Your Guest Find You?
There are so many websites and web pages…how are your guest going to find you? Some options for self-managers are VRBO, AIRBNB, Bookings.com, Google Maps, and Social Media. Remember to post your property on community websites and encourage guests to join the local rental Facebook page where you post your property. If they enjoyed their stay, seeing your social media post will encourage them to book another stay with you. Promote, Promote, Promote!
- What Are Your Rates?
Prior to purchasing the property, you would have studied the STR market, assessed your breakeven point, reviewed rental sites, and known the rental potential. Now you need to develop your income streams.
First, find comparable properties, with similar amenities on multiple STR websites and find the range people are willing to pay. Your occupancy rate will increase over time with positive reviews and marketing. As you receive numerous 5-star reviews you may have an opportunity to raise your rates. Most areas have High Season Rates to Low Season Rates. If there are limited customers in the Off-Season, you may consider lowering the rates, some money is better than no money. As a bonus it keeps your cleaning crew working. Don’t be afraid to adjust those rates up or down, based on activity. This is when you take advantage of self-management, you can react quickly, and you have market knowledge. Property managers may not frequently adjust rates, they are managing numerous properties.
Cleaning fees, pet fees, and linen fees, are necessary and could be additional revenue streams. Set your cleaning fees to cover cost + additional wear and tear. Also pet fees!!! Marley and Lil Dawg go with me when I travel, you want to charge me a $100 pet fee, that is ok, it’s cheaper than boarding my fur-babies. If you are hosting pets, fence an area and provide a pooper scooper, your guest, cleaning crew, and neighbors will thank you.
- Combine Calendars
Trust me, it is difficult to manage all the calendars on numerous websites! Combine those calendars, you can link/integrate calendars. You do not want to double book or have an unnecessary vacancy. Upset guests are not the goal and website providers (Airbnb, VRBO, Bookings.com), may charge you additional fees or even take your listing down if you double book.
Frequently double-check the calendars, make sure all links are working. Maybe set up a master calendar that your housekeepers can view.
I have witnessed property owners double-book guests, due to the lack of combined calendars.
- Your Support Team
Finding dependable cleaners and repair people is a challenge. Interview, Interview, and Motivate. Your support team knows what is going on with the property and is there for you. Pay your team fairly, provide bonuses for 5-star reviews, and be respectful and appreciative.
What’s your backup plan if someone quits or has personal issues. Always have a backup plan.
- Technology is Important
Motion lights on the exterior walkways, to keep your guest safe. Smart smoke alarms and door locks keep you informed and your guest safe. Exterior cameras also help you monitor your property and the safety of your guest.
If your short-term rental is in a remote location or a location with power outages and high winds such as the beach. Wi-Fi locks and equipment corrode quickly and can cause frustration for all parties. Batteries do not do well with the salt air.
NEST Thermostats. I have spoken with HVAC professionals, and they said the NEST thermostat causes unnecessary service calls and they can rarely get them to function properly on the gulf coast. I do not have experience with NEST, this is only feedback from local HVAC professionals. If you must have a smart thermostat, HVAC professionals suggest homeowners try Honeywell Smart Thermostats.
- Know the Regulations and Share with Your Guest.
Sharing the local rules and regulations with guests is the property manager’s responsibility. For example, guests bring golf carts to the beach, do they know where and when they can ride? Are bonfires allowed on the beach? Surfside, Treasure Island, and the West End are resort communities, but also have permanent working residents. Be courteous of your neighbors and consider informing your guest quiet time is at 10:00pm. Or your guest may have a visit from local law enforcement.
- Wishing you Success
I wish you much success. You will make the necessary adjustments, if you find you do not have time or are not an effective property manager, consider hiring a professional.
I hope these tips will enhance your success. As always give me a call if I can be of assistance.
Call Me 979-341-9293.