You don’t need a hotel or a cottage to earn that extra income – make a few extra bucks by turning your property into a vacation rental.
According to a report by Statista, in 2019, vacation rentals clocked up total revenue of $83,984 million.
With so much on the table and year-on-year increase in the number of people booking vacation rentals, it makes sense to leverage the lucrative business’s benefits. The massive growth of this market is primarily driven by a vacationer base drenched in the digital landscape.
Today, vacationers have a much higher expectation in terms of security, technological sophistication, and convenience.
Imagine a vacationer who can brew espresso or get alerts from the refrigerator when it’s low on bread. Such a vacationer is likely to speak volumes about your property. With a few swipes of the Smartphone, the vacationer can perform everything. Such a person is never going to forget the experience at your rental, and the odds of them sticking a shiny five-star review on your listing are high.
Your professionalism and the ability to understand the current market trends can be the difference between flipping the vacation rental lights off or on. Here are some actionable ways to turn your property into a profitable vacation rental.
1. Website is the first victim
Your website has roughly eight seconds to leave a lasting impression on the online visitor.
If you offer mediocre design, cluttered interface, non-mobile responsive design, and grainy photos, your vacation rental business is doomed even before the first guest arrives.
The expectations of the vacationers have seen a paradigm shift, and they require websites that go beyond the conventional approach of website building. The trouble here is how to build a vacation rental website that strikes the right chord with the vacationer. Building a website from scratch is an ardent, time consuming, and downright confusing task. But with an appropriate vacation rental website builder, you can reach and attract the right customer base.
Rental website builders like Lodgify ensure your customers get to function, facts, and feelings all bundled in one website. The website builder makes sure your website has the principal role on the back-end, effects on the website pages, and conveys vacation feelings through photos and videos.
2. Hop on the Advanced Automation train
If you’re wasting time sending the same message to all your guests or continuously updating the booking and vacancy status – you need to run the automation train. Repetition of tasks is one of the single most reasons which can affect your vacation rental profitability. From automating Airbnb rentals to sending automatic alerts to the housekeeping after checkout, using technical advancements, you can ensure a seamless journey both for the managers and the vacationers. You no longer have to spend time scheduling different activities or keeping track of guests. Instead, you can utilize the time on campaigns to win a potential vacationer.
Interestingly, with automation, you can even automate the Airbnb review, which can become a turning point for your rental. Customers, especially Millennials, prefer to read online reviews before booking a property. Using automation tools, you can send the vacationers a message telling them that you have given them a 5-star rating and request them to leave a review. You can even program the automation tool to send reminders and follow-up messages if the vacationer ignores the first message.
If you want customers to book your rental property, it’s time you embrace the digital age; otherwise, you will be left far behind.
3. ‘Key’ is the key
Handing a mechanical key to the vacationers is a big no because even the hotel uses digital keys. In the digital environment, your customers love the concept of keyless smart home technology as it gives them peace of mind, and they know the lock code is unique and are safe in the vacation rental.
With 61% customers likely to rent an apartment with keyless entry doors, smart technology investment is imperative. The technology eliminates the headache of lost keys falling into wrongful hands.
Even for the operational managers, it’s a win-win situation because managing mechanical keys is an operational headache.
When using the keyless technology, vacationers receive a key code on arrival or check-in, and it remains activated for their duration of stay. After the checkout, the code stops working, thereby saving you from the hassle of compromised keys.
4. Try Eco-mmodation
With the flight shame movement and a dozen other outrages to protect nature, it makes sense to adapt the concept of the eco-friendly vacation rental. Eco-friendly rental spaces are not ugly. They are beautiful, stunning, and personify nature.
According to a report, 73% of the global traveler wants to stay at least once in eco-friendly accommodations – going green will be profitable.
From installing faucet aerators to collecting rainwater and from adding solar panels on the roof to an organic garden, going eco-friendly is the new normal as it reduces the carbon footprints and you contribute to protecting the environment. These small steps in the right direction will help your rental become sustainable and significantly reduce the long-term energy costs while adding personality and uniqueness to the property.
With vacationers wanting an eco-friendly environment, it’s probably the right time to jump on the green bandwagon and see the rental business flourish.
5. Become smart
Smart technology is making life much more comfortable and more straightforward, especially for short-term rentals that usually have high turnover due to many footfall vacationers. From smart assistants to smart thermostats and from smart plugs to smart lighting, being SMART is the next big thing in the vacation rental world.
Finding lights and plugs at a new place is always challenging, and it’s still frustrating to try every electric button in the room to find the fan’s switch. With smart lighting, you allow the vacationer to control the lighting from an Apple or Android app.
Most of the smart lighting available features an away from home mode, enabling you to monitor the lights in case the vacationer left the lights on. The vacationers can even control the lighting from smart devices like Alexa or Google Home.
Though, there is a substantial initial investment, the benefits you get at the later stages outweighs the money spent.
6. Be compliant and be responsible
Just like hotels, you will have to register and pay occupancy taxes. With the federal government increasingly scrutinizing the business, it becomes necessary to collect, pay, and remit the lodging taxes. The vacationers will pay you the rental tax, but it’s your responsibility to pay it to the correct county, state, or city agency. You will also have to pay tax to a local governing authority.
Paying taxes doesn’t mean cutting down the profits; it merely implies compliance with the prescribed laws. Underpayment or late payment of taxes results in hefty penalties with interest to vacation rental owners like you.
Also, don’t sell the personal information like address, SSN card, or credit card information of the traveler to third-party vendors such as insurance or tour organizing companies without the traveler’s consent. Such activities can be punishable under the law and attract penalties based on the severity of the issue.
7. Go the extra mile with marketing
With search results becoming saturated due to overload of properties, marketing your vacation rental is not about hanging an ‘available for rent’ board. Apart from building a website to drive engagement, you can focus on marketing channels like Facebook, Twitter, or Yelp to drive more bookings.
Seek customer reviews because they are social proof that many people seek before hitting the booking button. Furthermore, most of the vacationers are hesitant to book a rental property that either doesn’t have a review or isn’t well advertised.
You can take more ownership of your online presence by creating a blog with your website. Even though your property is listed on Airbnb and others, it cannot guarantee placement in search rankings. But, your blog will give you more online presence, and improve the SEO of your website. There is so much you can write about your city, which will ultimately result in booking the vacation rental.
Today, vacation rentals offer a unique experience and add a sense of home away from home, making it the first choice for travelers across the globe. While turning your property into a vacation rental is no rocket science, it requires meticulous planning and dedication from your end.
Building value by updating the vacation rental may not always be the affordable choice, but it’s the need of the hour. With more people preferring rentals over hotel bookings due to comfort and features, investing in making your property technology-laden is the need of the hour. With a little planning and lots of creativity you can tap into this vast business opportunity without breaking the bank
Furthermore, booking your rental property will come easier and more often, when you provide value, which outweighs the price. While this doesn’t mean renting it for a loss, it means giving features and comfort a vacationer requires
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