Contrary to what the name might suggest, starting a vacation rental business is no vacation. In short, you will have to buy (or lease), maintain, and rent out properties to travelers on a short-term basis. As it will only be on a short-term basis, you will have to prepare your rental a couple of times a week to welcome new guests.
Moreover, to attract enough guests, you will have to spend a significant amount of time marketing your vacation rental property. Therefore, before starting a vacation rental business, take the time to educate yourself about the process.
1. Find out about local rules and regulations
Researching the rules and regulations about vacation rentals in your area should be your very first step.
When starting a vacation rental business, you first need to find out if there are any specific rules about short-term rentals in your area. Short-term rental rules can differ significantly from one area to the next, thus, it is key that you find out about zoning regulations and possible business licensing first.
2. Choose a vacation rental property format
When starting a vacation rental business, you can either invest in your own properties, manage other people’s properties, or sublet (referred to as rental arbitrage). If you opt for the latter, double-check any lease agreements to make sure that subleasing is allowed.
If you opt for buying vacation rental properties, keep in mind that your location will be an ultimate deal-breaker. Ideally, your real estate investment should be close to popular landmarks.
3. Get the property ready for the guests
Once you have ensured that you meet the regulations and have decided which format you will use, starting a vacation rental business becomes more fun. Now you can shift your attention to amenities, furniture, design, and access. Ultimately, you want to find a way to design your property in such a manner that guests will be able to check themselves in.
You will also need to write clear house rules and create a welcome book. All these will help you create an exceptional first impression that will wow your guests.
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4. Prepare a business plan
If you want to take your vacation rental business to the next level, it pays to take the time to write a detailed business plan. It will help you to identify your strategy and secure funding that you might need for buying more vacation rental properties to grow your business.
To write your business plan, you will need to research your location (specifically the supply and demand), operational costs, and seasonality (to help you set the right rental rate). You will also need to write an operations plan for how you will deal with rental cleaning and maintenance.
5. Advertise your vacation rental
Without high-quality photography, your potential guests will not be able to see all the extra effort that you put into the finer details. In addition to photos, a well-written description and engaging title will also help to attract attention.
However, all your hard work will be futile if you do not pay attention to marketing your vacation rental properly. The best course of action is to list your vacation rental on multiple platforms, such as Airbnb, Vrbo, HomeAway, etc., in addition to a well-thought-out social media marketing strategy.
6. Manage your inquiries and bookings
Starting a vacation rental business calls for hard work, and even after you have everything in place, it will still take up a lot of your time. Fortunately, you will soon realize that there are actually a couple of repetitive tasks that you can automate with the help of vacation rental software.
You can use such software to synchronize your calendars if you advertise your rental on multiple listing sites, keep track and handle all guest communication and reviews, etc. All in all, using digital tools created specifically for the vacation rental industry is a smart move as not only will it help you to save time, but it will also help minimize human errors. By implementing these 6 simple steps, you will be able to set up your vacation rental business for success from the very start. None of these steps call for prior experience working as a property manager but take the time to learn the basics about vacation rental management to help you deliver first-class customer service.