If you are renting out your vacation home to earn extra income, it is imperative that you not look upon this task as a hobby. It is a lot of work to ensure that your renters have an excellent experience in your home. You want them to come again and again — or at the very least leave you positive reviews so that other people traveling to your city will choose to stay at your vacation property.
You may have no experience in staying in someone else’s vacation rental property since you have your own vacation home. But you’ve probably stayed at a hotel or motel once in your life. If so, you know just how important it is for everything in the location to be clean, for all appliances to work, and so on. Even the slightest glitch could ruin the experience.
Because every single guest at your vacation home is an important one — their word-of-mouth review may send their friends your way or prevent them from coming — it is important to be as professional as possible from the very beginning.
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6 Practices to Give Your Rental Guests a Top-Notch Experience
1. Review the listings of your competitors.
By checking out the listings of your competitors, you’ll be able to see what they offer and decide whether or not you should implement anything they do. Alternatively, you’ll be able to learn from their mistakes.
When you are preparing your listing, make sure there are no typos and that you have plenty of professional-quality photos uploaded to the page. Depending on the vacation rental property website platform, you’ll also be able to upload videos of the property. If that is the case, you’ll want them to be as professional as possible.
2. Prepare all materials in advance.
Once you place your vacation rental property listing on the various platforms, you will wait eagerly for your first clients. While you’re waiting, do not be idle. Don’t wait until you actually have a client before you prepare your property for their stay!
In addition to ensuring that you have all the clean linen necessary, and that all appliances are working properly, a welcome packet should be prepared.
Related: 4 Tips to Balance Out the Highly Seasonal Nature of Vacation Rentals
The welcome packet should contain all information about the property and should be designed so that any information needed is easy to find — everything from where circuit breakers are located to where the manuals for the coffee machine are kept.
None of the appliances should have “quirks.” For example, if the toilet handle needs to be “jiggled” to ensure that the flapper seats itself properly, that’s OK if you’re staying in the property yourself. But your guests should not have to “jiggle” the handle in order to prevent the toilet from running all night long.
However, if the property does have a few “quirks,” be sure to list them in your welcome packet under the heading of “Maintenance/Help” or “What to Do in Case of a Problem.”
3. Hire a caretaker if need be.
If your vacation home property is across the country from where you live, obviously you can’t go there every week to clean up after your guests, do the laundry, restock the groceries, and so on.
For these tasks, you will need a trusted and reliable person on the spot.
While you will not entrust this individual with any financial responsibilities, it’s important that you screen him or her properly to ensure that they will do the job. This means that whatever work that needs to be done around the property, they will do — from checking it thoroughly after renters have left to ensure that there is no damage and nothing is missing to bringing linens to a laundry, picking them up, and placing them back in the property.
If your caretaker is also knowledgeable about plumbing and HVAC systems, so much the better. But don’t take their word for it — ask for references from people who have used them to fix their plumbing or HVAC.
4. Line up repair people.
With proper maintenance, most appliances in a home should last for 20 years. But if something does go wrong, it’s imperative that your guests be able to call someone immediately to come out and fix the problem — from a leaky toilet to an HVAC system that won’t turn on or off.
Find these repair companies in advance, and arrange with them to answer any calls to your property and send the bill to you.
In your welcome packet, be sure to provide a list of phone numbers to everyone you use, from the caretaker to a handyman to a plumber to an HVAC specialist.
5. Always correspond in a professional manner.
There’s a saying that “the customer is always right.” In a sense, that’s true. If you exchange messages with your potential renter, always be polite and answer every one of their questions thoroughly. Don’t attempt to make jokes — a sense of humor is always subjective, and what you may think of as funny will offend your potential guest.
Related: 5 Ways to Boost Repeat Visits to Your Vacation Rental
If there is a problem with the rental and your guest emails you quite rudely, do not respond in time. Maintain a professional demeanor at all times. This is not to say that you should let yourself be bullied, but simply that responding with sarcasm never solves a problem; it only exacerbates it.
6. Obtain book keeping software.
Whether you use a program like Quickbooks or set up a simple spreadsheet in Excel, it’s imperative that you always keep up with your financials, as you will want to know at a mere glance how you stand.
Keep all receipts for everything you purchase for the property, in an expandable cardboard folder divided into months, so that you can access everything at the end of the tax year.
By following these steps, your vacation home rental business will go much more smoothly!
What tips would you add to this list? What little practices do YOU appreciate when you rent a vacation home?
Let me know with a comment!