Indio, CA Vacation Rentals: Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway Experience?

14 Replies

Hi BP,

I just started managing a friend's home in Indio, CA remotely. He hired a property management company and is under contract with them, but they have failed to bring him any bookings thus far. He doesn't have the time to manage the inquiries/listings, so I have offered to help to get some experience on my own for when I plan to buy.

I work for HomeSuite, and have the property listed there, but we don't really have much demand in this area yet. I am also listed on Airbnb.

My questions are:

- Does anyone have experience managing vacation rentals in Indio or the Palm Springs area? 

- What are some tips for managing listings remotely? (I already have a cleaning team hired and keyless entry set up)

- Do you prefer to list on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, (any others?)

Thanks in advance!

BE CAREFUL.  In Calif you need to be a licensed broker or to work for one to manage property for anyone other than your own.

Hi Ariel,

Ah, what a great area to have a vacation home! We work with a lot of people who have homes in Palm Springs, and it is definitely a competitive market.

If you'll be managing remotely, I'd recommend automating as much as possible. You can do everything from keyless entry to noise monitoring to energy usage monitoring to remote thermostats... 

I'd also try to automate the check-in process with scheduled instructional emails, a guest book, etc. 

Even with that in place, you'll need to have a reliable team on the ground. Is your cleaning team also willing to maintain the property? 

In regard to which site to use... I'd recommend listing your home on as many as possible & using a channel manager to sync bookings across channels. If you are to pick one channel, however, I'd say HomeAway would be most relevant—assuming you're renting out an entire, luxury home & are targeting older guests. 

Hope this helps, and good luck!

I use Homeaway and have a housekeeper. Easy to self manage.

I also have a AirBNB account but Homeaway does the vast majority of my bookings.

Maybe because I rent my whole house instead of just a room and AirBNB still has that reputation.

I use a lockbox for keys and have wifi enabled thermostats.

Installing a outside security system soon that will email me pictures of motion and the system records motion to hard drive.

I could have someone else mow grass and it would be 100% self sufficient.

If you have the cleaning team hired and the keyless entry setup, you're most of the way there. I would also recommend a good handyman, your cleaning crew can often help to locate a good one. Also, be very clear with the cleaning crew about your expectations. Have a checklist that you want them to follow to make sure they are consistent. Also, ask them to communicate with you promptly any issues that they find after a stay, so that you may deduct this from the security deposit (vrbo) or file a claim (airbnb).

I use both VRBO and AirBNB. VRBO mainly, with AirBNB to fill gaps last minute. I find that this is all that's needed to keep my STR full.

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What a helpful community. I am struggling with the same issues. I have used Air bnb and it has been effective, but obviously need more resources to drive demand the property. I am going to look into Homeaway as well. 



@Jeff B. good to know! I will make profiles on VRBO and HomeAway as well. Seems like these cater more to guests in the area.

I use a Honeywell 9000 series wifi thermostat.

I did a lot of rearch before deciding on this model.

I bought one first and loved it. I then added another one for my second heat pump.

They have app that I use on my phone to control and monitor the temp and humidity.

@John Underwood @Monika Haebich thank you! I will research your suggestions.

@Steven Picker the property is licensed as the property management company took care of that before they would take it on. I guess they were good for something!

Great news Hello Coachella Fest ,hello stagecoach hello film festival hello tennis matches ,etc etc

@Ariel Vincent

      I have a large vacation rental in Indio (I'll do ~$300k in rents in 2017), and friends in the area own a dozen or so medium sized properties here as well (that will average $150k per year or so).  We have no probably renting larger / high occupancy properties year round.  Some of the smaller less exciting houses only rent during the larger festivals.  Feel free to drop me a line.  You will want to list on airbnb and vrbo/homeaway, at minimum.  Who is your existing property management company?

Hi @John D. thanks for the insight - I'd love to connect. I'll send you a PM!

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