Some people rent out their vacation home on a full-time basis because it is their business and they derive a good income from it. Other people rent out their home only occasionally and view it as a hobby more than anything else.
Regardless of whether you just rent out your property once in a while or on a full-time basis, you must look upon it as a business and treat it accordingly.
If you start treating this as a business rather than a hobby, then you’ll be up-to-speed on the tax laws that affect your income and the local laws that allow you to rent out your home to whomever you please. (You may even have to attend home owners’ association meetings or local government zoning meetings to ensure that your livelihood is not put at risk by attempts to forbid private people from renting out their homes in your neighborhood or city.)
What you’ve also got to do in order to ensure that you continue to have this income stream and that you do indeed increase your income is to stay abreast of the latest marketing ideas — basically, ways to make your vacation rental home stand out from the crowd.
Download Your FREE Rental Application Form!
It may seem like a small thing, but having a solid rental application is the first step in finding great tenants. Since BiggerPockets is all about helping you succeed in real estate investing, we’ve put together a complimentary Rental Application for you to use. Download it today and go find some great tenants!
Finding Vacation Rental Home Marketplace Websites
There are several vacation rental home marketplace websites, and more seem to be popping up every month.
One way to ensure that your listing gets some attention is of course to place it on as many marketplace websites as you possibly can. However, you really want to be in the high profile sites that everyone knows, and you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to take the time to list it on a new website.
Investigate any new marketplace website thoroughly to see what new features they might have that the more established sites do not. If they don’t charge as much money as the established sites, you might want to use them — as long as they have the same or better features.
There are lots of resources on the internet for people who want to start renting out their homes or who are successfully renting out their homes but know that they need to keep on the cutting edge to ensure that their business remains steady.
An excellent resource is the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog.
The author of this blog is Matt Landau, and not only does he publish weekly, informative blog articles, but he also includes case studies and learning exercises. Reading the blog is free, but there’s also a pay section of the site, and for $30 a month, it connects you to mentors and a community of homeowners like yourself, and it even provides training.
Vacation Rental Home Marketplace Blogs
Other good resources are the blogs written by the vacation rental home marketplaces themselves.
Most of these sites do have blogs. Flipkey.com has a blog, for example, but it is devoted to travel tips, rather than to helping people rent out their homes.
Airbnb’s blog is more useful.
Some of their blog entries are self-publicizing — Airbnb, for example, talks about initiatives it has taken to help young people go to college , but other posts have lots of information, for example, updates to the Airbnb site, as well as marketing ideas.
As far as information on the new features that Airbnb offers, there was recently a “New Developments” post in which Airbnb introduced its new Standards and Expectations Guidelines, as well as a new feature called “Additional Hosts.” According to their website: “This feature allows hosts to add a spouse, trusted friend or family member to help manage their listing and help out with things like messaging, check-in, and overseeing a guest’s stay.”
Homeaway.com has a blog they call Travel Ideas, and there’s no real help for vacation rental home owners there. They do have a section for Press Releases, which you would do well to check on a regular basis, as that’s where they reveal their new features to keep their site on the cutting edge.
VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) is part of Homeaway, and they’ve got a newsletter that vacation rental owners may find of interest. In fact, Homeaway has a few partner websites located in different countries, like Bookabach for New Zealand and FeWo-Direkt for Germany. Those sites aren’t going to have information that is going to help you directly, of course, but it shows Homeaway.com’s commitment to the industry.
The Evolve Vacation Rental Network has a very helpful blog as well.
The last ten posts there were:
- Vacation Rental News Round-Up (With Several Brief News Notes Including Homeaway Scraps Subscription Tiers)
- How Vacation Rentals Can Steal Guests From Hotels & Homeshares
- Owners: When Did You Last Stay in a Vacation Rental?
- 5 Vacation Rental Upgrades That Convince Travelers to Book
- Case Study: Cape Coral Owner Earns $36,849 in 9 Months
- 4 Ways Cities (and States) Are Regulating Short-Term Rentals
- Open Letter: Primary Residency Is Not the Key to Short-Term Rental Regulation
- What’s Your Vacation Rental Property Manager Doing to Earn Their Cut?
- Case Study: Lake Tahoe Owner Earns $58,130 in First 9 Months
- How to Double Your Bookings with a Stellar Vacation Rental Listing
As you can see, there are some pretty interesting and extremely informative posts there. If you’re serious about your vacation home rental business, that’s a blog you really need to check out on a regular basis.
Vacation homeowners: How do you stay apprised of industry marketing techniques? Which blogs do you follow?
Let me know with a comment!