Getting Started: Turning a Vacation Home Into a Business
The basics of becoming a Vacation Rental Manager.
Often, the first step in a big project is the most difficult. So if you’ve decided to take the plunge and get involved in vacation rentals, congratulations! There are some things you should know before you will be ready for your first guest though. As we’ve been through this before (and made all the mistakes) We’ve compiled a small guide to help you avoid any ‘trial and error’.
Laws, regulations and tax.
Each city or state will have its own law regarding short and long term vacation rentals. Before starting always make sure to check your local government’s website or office. Violations can result in hefty fines so find out any restrictions first.
The same applies to housing regulations; every area has different standards of code that your property must meet. Find out what these are and make any changes you may need to before listing your property. Fixing any issues as early as possible will always be less expensive and troublesome than dealing with complaints from the local council.
Finally, find out the tax rate for your vacation rental. The rates vary massively depending on your location and how often people rent your property. Although costly, consulting an expert is advisable. Remember that you pay this tax as part of your annual return so you will need to budget for this from Day One. This forward planning will help you to avoid a nasty surprise when it comes time to file your return.
Identify what is available for renters in your area, see what they do and think about what it is that you can offer. A unique selling point is sure to not only get people noticing your page, but will help in securing bookings too.
Is there anything you can do to improve your property? It needn’t be drastic steps. A fresh coat of paint or some new furniture can help make your vacation rental stand out. An easy way to give your image an instant feel of professionalism.
Listing, Descriptions and Photos
Keep your listing short and to the point. Remember to highlight the best features of your property early. Include plenty of high-quality pictures. Most people searching for rental properties head straight to the images after the homepage so make them stand out.
Plan Your Price
Check other listings in your area and compare your property to others in the market. Think about the amenities you offer, the space you have and the current market rate. Once you know this you will be ready to pitch your price in the sweet spot between good value for the customer and profitable for you.
List Your Property
Once everything is ready and you have checked and re-checked your listing, it’s time to post it. First will be the major sites, which is a great place to start, but don’t forget smaller sites. Check to see if there is a rental site specific to your area or a local attraction that could feature your property.
Keep an active track of all outgoings associated with your property and keep monthly totals. Bills, tax and unexpected expenses can be difficult to track so the clearer you are from the start, the better. Planning ahead will be invaluable when it comes to setting prices and budgeting for quieter parts of the year.
Maintain and Improve
As you start to receive bookings and have satisfied guests, ask yourself ‘What more can I be doing?’. Push for reviews, promote your business on social media. Why not send an email thanking your guests for their stay? Anything you do that demonstrates your professionalism will only serve to improve your reputation and standing.
Think of Ways to Expand
Now that you have your property up and running, what’s next? Could you benefit from your own website? Is it time to consider adding another property to your portfolio? Knowing and applying these basics and staying in touch with what’s new in the industry will save you so much time as you develop and expand.
As your business starts to grow and you have more and more guests to accomodate you will see the benefits of using a vacation rental software. This will help you keep on top of all your bookings and never missing an opportunity to increase your revenue. Try a demo to see how Kigo currently helps over 1000 vacation rental managers take their businesses to the next stage.
Is there anything we’ve missed? Let us know below.