You work tirelessly to manage your properties. You do all the things that the so‐called “experts” tell you to do, but it just doesn’t seem to be paying off in the ways that you really want.
We’ve figured out some of the biggest industry mistakes that are stopping your vacation rental business from reaching the next level.
1. Underestimating the power of research
Do not underestimate the importance of research. In addition to just listing your properties, the information you pull from sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway can be invaluable.
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Information such as: Who are your competitors? What are some overarching trends? What are the price ranges of comparable properties in your area? How should your seasonal rates be set up?
2. Having a love affair with just one booking site
It might be easier to work with only one reservation site, but getting all of your vacation properties listed on all of the booking sites out there is absolutely crucial. Think of it as a marketing strategy, not just another listing.
Once you’ve listed them, be sure to document all of the channels your properties are listed on and keep an updated list on the status of each property in order to best manage the postings and avoid double bookings.
3. Your headline is boring
Making your properties stand out from the crowd begins with a tantalizing headline. Travelers often search for rentals by choice luxury keyword after they’ve established the location, so be sure to highlight the most exciting qualities of your property.
Example: boring headline: “Historic Home.”
Enticing headline: “Classic Historic Charleston Home Located on the Peninsula!”
4. Your listings aren't visually exciting
Beware: An eye‐catching headline will fall short unless it’s been paired with plenty of gorgeous, dynamic and appealing photographs!
We exist in an information‐overloaded, image‐oriented world. Take the time to stage your property as if you were preparing to welcome a guest. Make sure to capture a variety of landscape photos formatted to a size of at least 1024px x 683px (ideally, 24 pictures total).
5. Not telling the full story
As you write the descriptions for each of your properties, try to place yourself in the mindset of a guest. What do you look for when you go on vacation? What features would be important for you to know about? What amenities would get you excited to stay there?
Example of things to highlight: fireplaces, hardwood floors, spacious, comfortable, seating, unique features, privacy, “middle of action,” etc.
6. Underselling your location
The fact is people don’t think you have a real business unless you have a website.
Kevin High - VroomRes
Location is always the first criteria guests search for while planning their next vacation. Whether it’s experiencing the most exciting nightlife, discovering where the locals hang out or being on the water, it’s your job to figure out why your property’s location is unique and desirable.
After you’ve described how great your specific property is, talk up the city’s best features (hot spots + must‐sees) in your site postings. And back it up by showing it on a map.
7. Slow response time
It’s a digital age where customers expect immediate, if not instant, gratification, so if a potential guest doesn’t get a response from you it’s likely they will book with someone who did.
8. A difficult check-in process
Your guest’s first impression will come from the check‐in process. This portion of your guest’s stay will set the tone for their entire stay, so you need to be sure it’s as seamless as possible. One way to make things super easy for guests (and you) is to have keyless entry locks.
9. Forgetting the little things
The extra everyday features are often the things that will distinguish your rental as a step up from the rest. Here are a few ideas that will make them feel like your only guest:
- Ground coffee for the coffee maker
- Steaming services
- Board games
- City maps
10. Ignoring the power of positive reviews
Ninety-two percent of consumers read online reviews in order to determine whether the business they’re interested in is good or not. Most people view online reviews to be as valuable as a personal recommendation, so having a way to collect and ask for guest reviews will make a big difference for your bookings. Consider putting together an email that you can quickly copy and paste asking guests for a review.
11. Being afraid of marketing
After you’ve set up your website with a great landing page and you’ve started to grow your email list, start to think about what the goals of your marketing efforts are. Why are you trying to drive traffic back to your website through social media or email and what do you want your guest to do? Which platforms should you utilize and how do you want to communicate to the online world?
Test one strategy at a time and monitor the response you get. Once you find a strategy that works, double down and keep doing it.
12. Not having your own website
The fact is people don’t think you have a real business unless you have a website. And with platforms like Wix and Squarespace, you can easily create the website you want. A clean and easy-to-navigate website not only gives you immediate credibility in the eyes of potential guests, but it also gives you more chances to be found by them!
13. Trying to be the jack of all trades, but a master of none
There is no reason why you should have to manage everything all on your own. Make sure you are using a property management software that makes your life easier, doesn’t create more work and doesn’t break the bank!