By: Tim Blackwell
Despite COVID-19, plenty of U.S. property owners still need help running their rentals, an open invitation for property management companies to explore new opportunities.
Explosive growth in the vacation rental industry in recent years has brought more players to the table. From 2016-2019, the industry’s value was estimated to grow nearly $68 billion, according to the latest data from the Vacation Rental Management Association.
And, despite the global pandemic, the industry is expected to continue to grow over the next two years. Nearly 80% of property managers polled in Buildium’s “2021 State of the Property Management Industry” survey in June anticipate growth over the next 24 months.
Vacation rental owners seeking property managers
In a VRMA webcast in November of 2020, All Property Management’s Taylor Benjamin said an increase of new owners entering the market favors property managers who play their cards right.
In the last 12 months, more than 1,000 vacation rental owners have sought management services across the U.S. through All Property Management (APM), which connects owners with qualified local property managers.
Benjamin, who hosted and spoke about growing portfolios to VRMA members, attributes a surge in vacation rental properties to mortgage rates, which are at all-time lows. Many owners are seizing opportunities to capture some of the billions of dollars that annually flow through the vacation rental and short-term stay rental industry. And they want somebody else to manage their properties.
However, only a third of owners who enlisted APM’s services found suitable partners, mostly due to a shortage of rental property management companies making themselves visible enough to these owners.
“There is a large influx of property owners requesting assistance and not enough vacation or short-term rental managers to cover all those areas of interest,” said Benjamin, who is a strategic account consultant. “There is a lot of opportunity out there for local property managers from owners who are asking for help.”
Finding new vacation rental owners
COVID-19 hasn’t been all bad for the vacation rental industry. APM experienced a 38% increase in owners and association boards searching for property managers since April 2020. Finding clients has been easier than before the pandemic, according to 62% of property managers who employ APM’s services.
“Many people are deciding to jump back into the market, and they are looking for the appropriate property manager to help them out,” Benjamin says.
He adds that vacation rental companies can leverage technology to actively look for qualified leads. Those with an eye on the future can grow their portfolios by thinking like an investor who wants to enlist a third-party manager.
Matching your services to demand
Benjamin recommends a three-prong approach for vacation rental managers to become more visible to owners seeking assistance. Using technology to target specific geographies, filtering by specific property types and exploring potential in-core and expansion markets are keys to adding new business.
“Being able to explore makes a large difference in your ability to create more lead volume,” he said.
Also, property managers should build their strategies around matching their services to the needs of vacation rental owners.
Marketing skills and services in demand – like reliable maintenance and cleaning and safety protocols – create more visibility. As owners diversify their portfolios in other markets, companies that use technology to manage remotely and have online-enabled guest relations are a step ahead.
“If there is anything that sets you apart, that’s definitely something that you want to market,” Benjamin said.
Vacation rental property management companies can link with owners through All Property Management. To learn more, visit allpropertymanagement.com.