How Can You Stand Out In The Competitive Vacation Rental Industry?
It’s no secret that vacation rentals have entered the mainstream as a go-to option for vacations and working vacations. According to iPropertyManagement.com, the rate at which travelers booked vacation rentals increased by 240% between 2011 and 2019. The number of bookings for vacation rentals each year has only increased since then.
With that increased demand for vacation rentals also came an increase in the supply of vacation rental businesses to book with. In 2022, there are an estimated 25,000 vacation rental companies in the United States as well as over 140,650 companies worldwide. In a market that large and competitive, you as a homeowner need to go above and beyond to maximize your rental bookings.
Fortunately, there are several simple and easy solutions you can implement to stand out amongst the crowd. Here are 5 best practices for maximizing your vacation rental bookings as a homeowner.
1) Hire A Professional Property Manager
The quickest and most efficient way to start increasing your rental bookings is to hire a professional property manager. As a vacation rental homeowner, you’re probably quite familiar with all the complexities of properly marketing and maintaining your rental(s). By hiring a property manager, you can pass off nearly all those complex responsibilities into their expert hands.
Property managers keep up with all the industry’s best practices and current trends to keep your rentals looking spick and span in the eyes of prospective guests. From marketing and concierge to security and accounting, property managers handle all the steps of managing your homes so you can just sit back, relax, and earn!
To learn more about all that property managers can do for your rentals, check out our GoodNight Premium Stays Property Management page. We serve homeowners across several markets in Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, and Florida, and we have a proven track record for increased success with our clients.
2) Showcase Your Properties With Professional Photos
These days, it’s essential to have professional photography for your vacation rental properties. Although smartphones can take good shots, professional photographers are exceptional at capturing your properties in the most alluring light. With today’s heightened competition in the short-term rental industry, this is a best practice you need to be implementing to maximize bookings. It’ll cost a little extra to have these photos taken, but you’ll be able to rely on them for years and years to come.
The easiest way to get professional photos of your properties is to have your property manager source a real estate photographer on your behalf. If you choose to find one on your own, the best option is to contact your local board of realtors and search through their vetted list of photographers. If all else fails, a quick Google search of “professional real estate photographers near me” should yield some good results.
To see how much of a step-up in quality professional photos can do, check out some of our vacation rental listings as examples.
3) Write Appealing And Accurate Descriptions
Great property photos are what will entice prospective guests to consider your rentals, but appealing and accurate descriptions are what make them book. As such, it’s important to make sure your property descriptions are exceptionally detailed and well-written.
When writing your descriptions, start by asking yourself why guests should choose your vacation rental. Determine the highlights of what makes your property stand out by considering the following questions:
- Who is this property ideal for?
- How spacious is the property?
- How close is the property to local attractions, or how private and secluded is it?
- What desirable amenities or features are included?
Although it’s important to showcase the best aspects of your rentals, it’s equally important to ensure you don’t over-embellish with misleading descriptions. Dishonesty with your guests is one of the quickest ways to obtain a lot bad reviews; a potential death-sentence for vacation rental companies.
4) Respond To Guest Reviews And Feature Great Ones
Speaking of reviews, the next best step in maximizing your bookings is responding to your reviews. Your reviews serve as evidence of how professional, reliable and communicative you are as a homeowner. Responding to reviews, even with simple “thank you” notes, proves that you listen your guests and take action based on their feedback.
Perhaps the most important reviews to respond to are the more negative reviews. If a guest has a poor experience and leaves a bad review, approach it as an opportunity to learn and improve future guest services. Apologize for whatever issues they had, offer explanations for why things went wrong, assure them that what happened is an exception to the norm, and offer some form of compensation based on the severity of the issue. Calm, well-written responses to public reviews demonstrate your desire to constantly improve your services.
Hopefully you won’t have too many bad reviews to answer for, and you can focus on promoting great reviews. After sending a response of gratitude, feature any 5-star reviews you earn on your website or directly within your property descriptions. Doing this will help assure potential guests that they’ll have a great time too booking with you!
The last note we have on reviews is to make sure you’re encouraging guests to write them. Left to their own devices, guests typically won’t leave a review unless they’ve had an extraordinary time. By utilizing the power of suggestion and politely inquiring, your guests are much more likely to leave positive reviews.
5) Focus On Crafting A Great Guest Experience
The single most important thing you can do to increase vacation rental bookings as a homeowner over time is to consistently craft a great guest experience. You can have all the bells and whistles of a great website, quality photos, and compelling property descriptions, but the guest experience is the heart and soul of a successful vacation rental business. Fortunately, crafting a great experience doesn’t take much from you as a vacation rental owner.
The easiest place to start is to acquire the same amenities commonly found in hotels to include in your rental. Things like clean towels and linens, soap, toilet paper, and paper towels should all be standard inclusions. From there, add on other desirable amenities and features such as pet-friendly stays, gear rentals, and car services. Just adding and highlighting those rental features will go a long way in cultivating a good guest experience.
After adding on amenities and features, the next step towards exceptional experiences is to be an effective communicator with your guests. Send welcoming emails before and immediately after their check-in, provide helpful area guides and local recommendations during their stay, quickly respond to any concerns or questions, and finally send a thankful goodbye after they check out. Simple and effective communication goes a long way in making your guests remember you as a great host during their vacation.
And that’s it for our 5 best practices on maximizing your vacation rental bookings as a homeowner. Keep in mind that, for tips two through five, a property manager can take care of or at least assist in implementing all those best practices. Because of that as well as their other areas of invaluable expertise, we highly recommend that you start your journey towards success by hiring a great property manager.
If you’re a vacation rental homeowner located in any of our markets, be sure to head over to our Property Management page to learn how GoodNight Premium Stays will help you maximize your bookings!