Hilton Head Vacation Rental Company

Crucial Benefits of Hiring a Property Manager

If you’re reading this, it probably means you took heed of the popular financial advice to invest in real estate. Great move! Real estate can be a lucrative investment as long as you handle it the right way.

Many homeowners get in the income property game by renting out their vacation home when they aren’t using it. If that home is in a hot area like South Florida, you could be raking in the cash before you know it.

There’s one problem renting a vacation home is much more hands-on than most folks realize. You have to respond to inquiries, manage a schedule, process payments, and that’s just the booking procedure. Don’t forget about preparing the home for each renter and cleaning up after they leave.

The fantastic news is that hiring a property manager can take these tasks off your plate. Here’s how:

The Benefits of Hiring a Property Manager for Your Rental Vacation Home
Hiring a property manager can free your time up while also adding to your profits. Check out these benefits they can offer:

No Longer Chasing Renters for Payment

Cash flow is vital once you have a mortgage and maintenance costs to pay. Sometimes collecting payment is harder than it sounds. This is even more of a hassle if you let renters pay their fees in a few installments.

Property managers are prepared for the hassle of payment collection. They also have systems in place to deal with it in a more efficient way. Chances are that it will take them less time than it might take you.

Understanding of the Local Market

A rental property is like any other business: you have to understand the local market to do well. Market research informs your pricing, your amenities, and much more.

When you hire a property manager near your vacation home, they already have this understanding. They can advise you about your price points and the amenities that will make you competitive in the area.

Marketing Insight

In that same vein, property managers understand how to market your property based on the area. They know where vacationers look when they want to rent in South Florida, and they know how to present your listing visibility.

Part of the problem with marketing a vacation home is that it is time-consuming. There are so many websites where you want to list your property, and they each require individual attention. A property manager can take the task off your hands.

Screening for Long-Term Tenants

If you’re thinking about a rental for long-term tenants, you want to screen them first. The screening procedure for tenants is a time-consuming one if you want to make certain that you’re getting good renters.

A property manager knows what to look for and can manage the vetting procedure for you. They already know how to pull credit reports, assess court and criminal records, interview references, and much more. They also understand the red flags that signal a bad tenant.

Attentive Financial Tracking

Keeping strict financial records is vital for an income property. It can help you track your profits, identify unneeded expenses, and follow tax laws.

Proper financial tracking can be a challenge if you are tight on time. There’s also a fear that you’ll miss valuable information which can have serious consequences. A property manager already knows how the handle these finances. A reputable one will also have financial software and tools to do the job.

Legal Knowledge

There are legal requirements for any sort of business agreement, and there are strict laws about tenants and landlords. This also applies to short-term rentals such as vacation homes.

Keeping up with these laws in your practices and your documents can be a challenge.

If you rent a property manager, however, they already have this information and know how to keep you in the clear. Keep in mind that these laws are different in each state, so hire a property manager who is near your vacation home.


If you’re like many people, you live hours away from your vacation home. So what do you do if a renter calls you with an emergency?

If you have a property manager nearby, you don’t have this concern. They’re available when you need them so they can handle emergencies. They can also deal with non-emergent convenience issues, like bringing guests extra towels or toiletries.

Assistance with Repairs and Renovations

Like any construction, your vacation home will require repairs and maintenance from time to time. If you’re hours away, it’s hard to find reputable contractors and keep an eye on their work.

A property manager, on the other hand, offers a distinct advantage. As a local professional in the industry, they know the which contractors will do the job for a fair price. They’re also available to drop by and make sure the work is proceeding as promised.

Property managers also tend to develop professional relationships with local contractors. They may be able to get you a better deal, or the contractor may be motivated toward an on-time completion.

Prompt Turnover and Inspection

When it comes to your bottom line, this is the most beneficial advantage of a property manager. Let’s say you live hours away from your vacation home. When a renter leaves, you need enough time to get into the property, inspect it, clean it, and prepare it before the next renter arrives.

If you have a full-time job, chances are that you can only handle this task on weekends. That means if a renter leaves on a Monday, you have to wait a week before re-renting it.

A property manager, on the other hand, can facilitate a fast turnaround. If a renter leaves in the morning, they can turn the property around for an afternoon rental on the same day. This could double your income from the property in some cases.

Hilton Head Property Management Company

Tips On Choosing a Short-Term Rental Property Manager

With travel traffic kicking back into gear, now is a great time to make a game plan for the future of your short-term rental business. As the industry starts to recover, a great way to grow your business and increase bookings is to hire a professional property manager.

As they market your property and handle guest relations, that leaves you with the pleasure of designing your own home as a serene vacation escape for your visitors.

We understand choosing the right company to partner with can often be a gamble. Here are a few tips for finding that perfect professional.

Property Manager Referrals & Ratings

Some things never change. When it comes to choosing a new dentist, a college for your kids, or just a reliable pair of hiking boots, you typically ask for advice.

The example carries over to your business — the best way for you to confidently choose a property management company is by referral, whether from a friend, colleague, or from a resource you trust. We suggest you do your research; talk to your real estate agent and your friends with investment properties in the area.

One of the best referral sources are often companies in the short-term rental industry whom you already work with.

Ratings also go a long way, so visit the property management websites to see the response and ratings they have from other hosts. Speedy response rate? Seamless communication? Are repairs done in a timely manner? Keep an eye out for bad reviews to discuss if you interview the company.

Property Manager Advertising

Another important aspect to consider is how your property will be advertised. You can easily review each managers’ website and see the degree of care put into presenting the properties.

Consider these things:

  • Is it easy for visitors to find the list of available rentals?
  • Are the rentals presented in a professional manner with photos and
  • detailed descriptions?
  • What demographic do their rentals primarily serve?

You don’t want prospective guests to pass by to poor presentation. Think about the quality of the photos used to present your property; paying a professional photographer can be a necessary increase for attention. Furthermore, focus on describing the amenities offered to your guests:

Essential items such as towels, bedding, and basic kitchenware, or added benefits such as fast Wifi, washer/dryer, or a hot tub.

In addition, try to focus on a particular group and discuss with your property manager how to present your property as the best choice in town.

Property Manager Professionalism
Once you have a list of alternatives, reach out directly and get an idea of the level of care and professionalism the company provides to their owners and guests.

Try and ask important questions:

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What is their experience working with short-term rental hosts?
  • How do they handle cancellations?
  • What are the details of the contract?

Make sure there are clear expectations for both you and the management company before signing a contract. If you find yourself with limited local possibilities, there are a variety of great national property management companies.

These companies generally take great care of their owners and guests and would definitely pass the test to become your personal professional property manager.

Hilton Head Vacation Rental Company

Great Reasons To Use A Vacation Rental Property Manager

Managing a vacation rental can be a lot of work, especially if hosts are dealing with guest bookings, choosing the right pricing, and juggling vacation rental platforms and listings.

A property management system can give hosts a critical advantage in better managing their time, guest bookings, and listings. Here are the top reasons why a vacation rental hosts should use a property management system to help manage their listings.

Automate Replies for Better Communication

Communication is vital when it comes to hosting an Airbnb, and property management systems provide hosts a suite of tools to communicate more efficiently with their guests and ensure that any messages or requests are quickly taken care of.

These systems allow for easy automation of messages, allowing hosts easily stay on top of communications at any time of day or night. From sending check in and check out messages to automatically sending house rules once guests have confirmed their bookings, automated messages save hosts from the time and hassle of writing out the same messages over and over.

Some property management services even include built-in guidebook creation services, making it easy for hosts to create a welcome guidebook for their home which already answers a lot of the first questions guests may have after they’ve checked in.

Easily Manage Multiple Vacation Rental Platforms and Listings

For vacation rental hosts looking to maximise their bookings, listing their home on multiple platforms such as Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com is a must, but managing bookings across more than 1 platform can bring about a lot of busywork.

Just about every property management system comes equipped with a master calendar, allowing hosts to easily observe the various bookings of their vacation rental across any websites they’ve listed their home on. This helps avoid schedule conflicts, ensuring hosts don’t double book their home for the same days and allowing them to easily stay on top of the house prep in between bookings.

For vacation rental hosts managing several properties the master calendar feature is much more helpful, giving them the ability to find the bookings on all platforms for all of the properties they’re managing. This enables property managers to suggest alternative vacation rentals if a potential guest property is unavailable, since they’ll be able to find all of their properties and bookings at a glance.

Advanced Pricing Tools and Features

Pricing is essential for vacation rental management, as it can be the difference between profitability and non-profitability. If a listing is priced too low, hosts are leaving revenue on the table, and if it is overpriced they’ll struggle to secure enough bookings so as to stay profitable.

Having fluid pricing that fluctuates based on historical data about popular seasons, local events near your listing, and hotel room availability and demand for vacation rentals in an area can give a huge advantage over those who use an unchanging pricing arrangement.

Property management systems leverage both historical information and real-time data about the area around a listing to ensure it’s always priced competitively.

Certain property management systems even enable hosts to offer perks and features like mid-stay cleaning and other additional amenities to make sure every guest request that is possible is taken care of. Hosts can even automate discounts based on different parameters or provide special one-time discounts for loyal returning guests, giving hosts control on their vacation rental’s pricing and booking opportunities.

Easily Manage Team Members and Payments

For property managers and vacation rental hosts that have a team that can help prepare and manage listings, a property management system can help automate team management and payment tasks.

A central master calendar allows every team member to see all listings and bookings so everyone is up to date with what properties will need to be cleaned or prepared for guest arrivals. Managers can easily see who is assigned to which tasks, allowing them to quickly assign and schedule team members into the next task that needs doing.

While dealing with payments can often cause headaches, a property management system makes it easy to ask and record payments, accept direct bookings, and set up security deposits or specific rules for taxes. For vacation rental hosts who are managing properties for a homeowner, property management systems also simplify distributing payments to owners, taking the hassle of managing payment transfers and information.

Listing Analytics and Performance Reports

A massive part of property management is adjusting pricing or listings based on past performance to make sure a listing is always performing to its potential.

A property management service creates and continuously updates financial and performance reports so vacation rental managers always have an overview of how things are going and what has to be adjusted. Hosts will be able to see occupancy rates for their various properties, active and assigned leads, and the conversion rates of your team’s various members.

For hosts managing a homeowner’s property, these reports are easy to export and send to owners so they can know how business is progressing. Having access to transaction histories for all vacation rental properties, a property management system can easily create financial reports so property managers don’t have to make and update spreadsheets, and can spend their time ensuring guests have the best possible experience.

Hilton Head Vacation Rental Company

Do I Need A Vacation Rental Property Manager For My Vacation Rental?

When deciding to rent out your vacation home your first question may be, “Do I need a property manager for my vacation rental?” If you are looking to generate substantial income and not searching for a job that is second, the simple answer is yes.

In order to run a successful vacation home rental operation, you need to put your business hat on and start thinking about your home as a revenue stream. Getting the appropriate support staff in place will be crucial to your rental success and will also help you protect your home as the vacation getaway you always intended it to be.

Property maintenance is a constant for homeowners and maintaining a second home an airplane trip away can be both time consuming and challenging. Hiring a local property manager to handle the maintenance and upkeep of your vacation home will give you the peace of mind you would like while also ensuring that your home is in tip-top shape for renters.

It is critical that your home be maintained to ensure the best possible guest experience. Experiences lead to favorable reviews, your best form of internet marketing.

We recommend hiring a property manager who is well networked with service providers in the area as this person can help hire and manage your housecleaner, the lawn and pool service companies, window washers, etc.. For repairs, they will tap into their network and get several bids and check references to ensure the best people are hired for the job.

Your property manager should be put in charge of all household materials. They can help you create a home inventory and take care of shopping when it comes time to replenish or replace.

During a guest’s stay, your property manager should be on call to handle any repairs or issues that arise. After every stay, they should do a review of your home to check for any damages and make sure everything is in working order and well-stocked for the next visit.

To ensure there are no surprises, your property manager should help you set a budget for the home and be placed in charge of a house bank account. They can use this account for receipt of rental revenue and for payment of all recurring invoices. These funds can be accessed for replenishing household supplies and for covering miscellaneous repairs.

We cannot stress how important a top-notch local property manager is to your vacation rental business. However, they’re not the only partner needed; a house cleaner, concierge and vacation rental agent must also be part of your rental team.

Some property managers’ capabilities may include house cleaning and concierge duties, however most property managers lack the expertise required to navigate the highly competitive and complex world of internet marketing. For this role you want an experienced sales and marketing professional who can drive qualified leads and secure bookings.

Panama City Beach Vacation Rental Company

Essential Benefits Of Hiring A Vacation Rental Property Manager

A top-level short-term rental enterprise requires a specific degree of commitment. As a host, you have to ask yourself if you’re up to the task and what resources are available to you. An option you can consider is hiring a property manager to oversee your vacation rental.

Property managers can save you lots of time, stress and energy. Perhaps you prefer to have full control over your Airbnb, but you may soon find out that quality property managers can effectively take care of your vacation rental and even enhance it.

What exactly does a property manager do? Here are some of the tasks a Great property manager can run on your behalf:

  • Create an Airbnb profile and listings
  • Respond to guest inquiries and handle communication issues
  • Coordinate maintenance and cleaning
  • Replenish consumables (toilet paper, soaps, garbage bags, etc.)
  • Monitor your calendar and rates
  • Create a check-in experience and a digital guidebook for the guest
  • Key management
  • Monitor guest reviews

You may be thinking you have already created a neat system for those tasks. So here’s a closer look at the benefits of hiring a property manager for your Airbnb.

Professional Knowledge, Expertise and Resources

Professional property managers have a better grasp of the market. They understand rates and trends and understand the more technical procedures of managing short-term accommodations.

They have access to high tech management tools and are attached to the top tradespeople in the area. They’ve seen all types of guests and have instincts on how to give each one experience.

Optimize your income

A successful property manager knows best how to maximise your income ratio. Their understanding of pricing trends and market conditions allows property managers to deliver more bookings.

Proactive communication

This is the key to managing an superb vacation rental enterprise. Whether it’s communicating with maintenance or guests, your property management can handle communication on your behalf. They’ll also be able to keep you updated on your Airbnb, whether it’s”great” news or”bad” news.

Paperwork and legislation

An effective property manager will run and provide inspection reports. They’re also aware of the key legislative matters and updates, ensuring your vacation rental is meeting the right and best standards. And, should any issues arise, they’d be able to advise you, represent you at the tribunal and mediate for you.

Now if all those benefits sound great to you, the next question you might have is,”How much does a property manager cost?”

An Airbnb or vacation rental property manager typically charges on average 15 percent of your nightly rate to manage a Airbnb that is listed full time.

Charges may nevertheless vary and your property manager could charge as low as 10% or as high as 20%, depending on the services offered as well as the size, location and age of the property. Charges will also depend on the range of services you are personally searching for.

If you’re ready to hire a property manager, you will want to find a person who has your best interests in mind and understands your goals. Here are several important questions to ask when interviewing property managers.

  • How many vacation rentals are you managing?
  • How do you market vacation rentals?
  • What documented systems are in place for property management?
  • What is your procedure for dealing with repairs and maintenance?
  • How frequently will you inspect my property?
  • Can I have online access to my information?
  • What references do you have from satisfied clients?
  • Do you provide an experience guarantee/promise?
  • Do you have documented expertise standards?
  • What back-up staff are there in the event my property manager is sick or on holidays?
  • How frequently are you going to communicate with me, and what form will it take?
  • Can you only call me if there is a problem?
Hilton Head Vacation Rental Company

Tips for First Time Airbnb Hosts

After researching and evaluating the possibility of leaping into the short-term rental industry, you feel great about becoming a host on Airbnb. After all, you have prepared the proper instructions for the guest’s arrival, set up a lockbox for keyless entry, and spent time enhancing your listing.

Now you just have to publish your listing and the bookings will begin pouring in?


Achieving success as a host on Airbnb depends on many factors, and building a strong listing is just one. Standing out from your competition is another, especially because there are 660,000 Airbnb listings in the usa. Have you ever thought about how to stand out from the crowd?

One of the best ways to succeed on Airbnb is go above and beyond the bare minimum and provide a superior guest experience.

Guest reviews are an essential part of listing on Airbnb. If you go above and beyond a guest’s expectations, they’ll be inspired to share their expertise and recommend your property with a glowing review.

As you probably are aware, reviews will get your listing rated higher in searches and may also be the deciding factor for other travelers.

Below are some practical Airbnb host tips about how to create an exceptional guest experience that will help you stand out from the competition, and keep your guests coming back year-after-year.

Guest-centered details

To provide a great guest experience, you’ll want to make it memorable. Think about your most memorable hospitality experience. Was it if an Airbnb host fulfilled the minimal prerequisites, like reacting quickly? Or accepting your reservation? Or maybe it was because they did not cancel?

Or was it memorable because the host provided a personalized welcome note along with a locally sourced bottle of wine waiting for you when you walked in? Or maybe it was the plush dog bed and food bowls they supplied because you mentioned you were traveling with your best (furry) friend?

The most memorable experiences are similar to the last two examples. The host clearly went out of their way to provide something thoughtful to make their guests feel genuinely welcomed in their home.

This can begin before your first booking with a Welcome Book. You will want to make sure it’s a useful tool your guests can reference every time they have questions about your home.

This can include information about how to work the A/C and heat, which remote operates which apparatus, the wifi log-in, etc..

Travelers like to”live like a local” when renting a vacation home, so go the extra mile and give the best recommendations in your Welcome Book. For example, highlight a few of your favorite dinner spots, advise your visitors on overcrowded places to avoid, and mention some places to find the best music.

If you’re not able to greet your guests when they arrive, we suggest you leave a welcome gift in the foyer or the kitchen. Some of our owners say”the welcome gift is a very straightforward and inexpensive thing we do that has attracted great returns…[and] overwhelmingly positive feedback.”

For bonus points, give something your guests can use throughout their stay, like a bag of local freshly ground coffee, to freshly-baked goods from the new bakery down the street (and maybe a coupon to use later).

Adding small seasonal touches to your decor is another thoughtful way to welcome guests into your home. Buy fresh flowers from the local farmer’s market, or pick some wildflowers from your yard or garden to impress them.

Decorating for the holidays is also a nice touch, especially if your home is purposefully booked over the holidays. Tasteful autumn decor around Thanksgiving, and winter decorations during the colder months are always a amazing touch that can make your property feel like their home away from home.

Limiting clutter and family pictures around the house will make sure your guests don’t feel like they are intruding on your space. If you do have clutter, make sure it serves a purpose, such as magazines and/or books about the area, or a DVD collection guests can use. In addition, try to keep family pictures to a minimum since they make it difiicult for guests to forget they’re staying in a stranger’s house.

The last small guest-centered touch we recommend is currently going above and beyond the basic amenity. Guests rely on you to provide the essentials (soap, toilet paper, towels, etc.), but they appreciate the little extras that make their stay more comfortable.

Providing hotel-sized toiletry items like shampoo, conditioner, cream, Q-tips, etc. is a thoughtful touch. Try buying those items in bulk since they are so regularly used and can be refilled when running low.

The same applies to kitchen necessities such as dishwasher detergent, dish soap, sponges, surface wipes, etc. that can be purchased in bulk too. Don’t forget to maintain a fully stocked kitchen that allows your guests to easily make a home cooked meal.

Ask for help if needed.

You might have began renting your home planning to do everything yourself. However, after a few months you are getting more bookings than expected, and providing an exceptional guest experience, cleaning, and maintaining your property is starting to feel really overwhelming.

Try not to let those feelings get the best of you — especially since having a full calendar means that you’re doing very well. Remember, you don’t have to do this alone, so make sure to ask for help when you need it. There are a great deal of resources available that can help manage your home.

The most useful may be a professional vacation rental clean team who will make sure that your place is spotless before any check-ins.

Cleanliness is the primary cause of guest complaints, so make sure you consider the ones that have experience cleaning short-term rentals, because it is slightly different than your typical house cleaning.

They’ll need to supply a higher level of service to make sure your home is guest-ready, and accommodate any scheduled quick turns (ie. When a guest checks-out at 10 am, and another 1 checks-in at 3 pm).

In addition to keeping your home clean, it also needs to be fully functional prior to guest arriving. The last thing you want to experience is a broken A/C unit or a bathtub that doesn’t drain right before a check-in.

Another fantastic resource to have at your disposal is a local handyman or someone who can help maintain your home. Staying proactive with home maintenance is essential since fixing something may take a few days and you don’t want to bother your guests. This contact can save you a lot of time, energy, and anxiety by performing routine maintenance every six months.

Cleaning and maintaining your vacation rental is a seamless way to cut down on management costs and increase your income. But it just makes sense if you live locally and can afford to treat hosting on Airbnb as your full-time occupation. Can you guarantee you will have sufficient time to conduct your rental and get impressive reviews?

Guest reviews are a crucial part of Airbnb and each other online listing site. The best tip we can give to first time Airbnb hosts is to go above and beyond the minimum requirements of any listing website, and focus on providing the best guest experience you can. Aiming to create a memorable experience is an amazing way to bring in 5-star reviews.

Panama City Beach Vacation Rental Company

Great Questions Vacation Rental Owners Ask about Occupancy Taxes

Similar to resorts, vacation rentals are expected to collect and remit sales and occupancy taxes.

Understanding what these taxes are, the way to collect them, and how to pay them is an important part of operating a short-term rental. If you don’t understand how vacation rental taxes work, you can run into serious problems.

As vacation rentals become more popular in the United States, government agencies are getting more proactive about enforcing short-term rental tax codes. To help you make sure that you’re complying with your tax obligations, we asked our friends at MyLodgeTax to answer the top five questions vacation rental owners ask about sales and occupancy taxes.

Do I really have to collect and pay sales and occupancy taxes?

Usually, the answer is yes. This will depend on your location, but the vast majority of states tax vacation rentals. In fact, vacation rentals often pay the same taxes as a hotel.

Sales and occupancy tax obligations are triggered when you earn revenue from a short-term rental. These local taxes are known by many names: sales tax, occupancy tax, lodging tax, room tax, accommodations tax, bed tax, hotel tax, etc..

They are different from income tax, which is filed once a year to the federal government and paid out of your pocket. Local sales and lodging taxes are usually collected from guests and paid to city, county, and/or state tax agencies, generally monthly or quarterly.

How do these taxes work and how do I comply?

Sales and occupancy taxes on short-term rentals are determined by the city, county, and/or state where your rental is located, so there may be multiple levels of rules. It is important to understand and assess the requirements with each level of tax agency. Cities, counties, and states sometimes combine their tax collection efforts, but it’s possible that you may want to deal with tax agencies at the same time.

Many vacation rentals are required to register or obtain tax permits with many agencies (i.e., city and state). If you are outside city limits in your area, you will not have to worry about city taxes, but county taxes may apply.

The basic steps for tax compliance are as follows:

  • Register/apply for any necessary tax permits and/or accounts.
  • Determine the total tax rate that you need to charge guests. This may be made up of a number of different taxes.
  • Collect the tax from your guest on each booking.
  • File and pay the tax to appropriate agency each month or quarter. Some jurisdictions may allow annual filing, depending upon your revenue level.
  • Renew your permits when required.
  • Keep records of your activity and track any tax rate changes.

What happens if I don’t collect and pay these taxes?

For the most part, the guest pays lodging taxes, but the owner is liable to collect and report to the taxing authorities. If you did not collect the tax from your guest, you are still responsible for the taxes.

A tax collector can pursue current and back taxes from an owner that hasn’t been collecting and remitting required taxes on a vacation rental. The average vacation rental owes several thousand dollars of taxes each year, so the unpaid liabilities can accumulate and become a substantial price in just a few years.

In addition to the unpaid tax due, tax agencies may also impose penalties and interest, which can be serious. Penalties can be 25% to 50% of the tax due. Failing to collect and pay these taxes can result in significant tax liabilities owed to state and local tax agencies. This can easily be avoided by complying with the rules.

What charges and fees are taxable?

Mandatory fees charged to the renter are often considered part of the amount paid for occupancy and are therefore taxable. Some examples include cleaning fees, nightly rates, extra person charges, credit card fees, pet fees, etc.. However, taxability can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Make certain you consult your tax authority to find out what charges are taxable for your visitors.

Are there any deductions or exemptions for these taxes?

Sales and occupancy taxes are charged as a percentage of the total amount paid by the guest. There are no expense deductions for sales and occupancy tax. This is another example of how these taxes differ from income tax, which allows deductions for many operating expenses.

Certain nonprofit groups organizations, government officials, and universities are common groups that may be exempt from these taxes, but not always. Exemptions may vary by town, county, or state, and most tax authorities require the exempt organization to have an exemption certificate and pay with organization funds.

It’s essential to be aware that long-term rentals are exempt from sales and occupancy taxes. In many states, long-term rentals are defined as those that are continuous for 30 days or longer. However, these rules also vary from state to state. In Florida and Hawaii, for example, the rental has to last more than six months to be considered exempt

Panama City Beach Homes For Sale

Great Ways to Market Your Vacation Rental and Help Keep It Booked

There’s good money to be had in vacation rentals. But the key to really optimizing those profits? That lies in reducing vacancies and maintaining the place booked.

Of course, that’s easier said than done — especially as the competition grows in most cities across the nation.

Fortunately, the right marketing strategies can help. Want to maintain your rental booked and bringing in the bacon? Here are seven tactics to get you there:

List on Multiple Sites

If you want more visibility, then don’t just stick to one platform. List on at least a few, with Airbnb and VRBO at the top of your list. Other great choices include HomeAway and these Airbnb alternatives.

Advertise on Social Media

Facebook and Instagram can be great advertising platforms for your short-term rental. For one, they let you drill down deep when targeting your ads. You can market to people who recently booked vacations, users interested in travel, people from certain geographic areas, and more. Ads on these platforms are also fairly affordable, too — at least compared to other advertising choices.

Create a Property Website

A designated property site can be a smart marketing tool — especially if you leverage the power of search engine optimization (SEO). Add localized content such as neighborhood guides, restaurant recommendations, and more, and make sure you market that content on social media, too. You might also consider adding a booking calendar to the website.

Cultivate More Reviews

Why spend money on marketing when you can let satisfied customers do the work for you? Make sure renters are taken care of and happy during their stays, and then follow up and ask for a review or rating.

Typically, higher-rated properties will get more views on listing platforms, and they might even qualify you for a program such as Airbnb’s Superhost.

Leverage Local Events and Happenings

It’s important that you’re in tune with what’s happening in your market. Are there festivals or events happening? Is a holiday coming up? Update your listing and find ways to offer perks that coincide with current happenings.

The more relevant you are able to make your rental, the more bookings you will see (and you can probably charge more, too).

Try To Invest In Quality Photos

A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? That’s certainly true in real estate. After all, photos take up the bulk of any listing page. They’re how consumers evaluate a property, and they play a huge role in whether someone will go on to read your reviews or even your own description.

The moral here? Don’t scrimp on photographs. Consider them a necessary marketing price, and invest in a pro photographer’s services from the very start.

Panama City Beach Vacation Rentals

Pivotal Measures to Take When Listing Your Vacation Home

Owning a vacation home isn’t only your personal escape hatch from the real world. Thanks to the explosion of short-term rental sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway, having your vacation home on such sites can also net you some serious cash!

After all, the tide has turned: Short-term rentals are becoming ever-more-popular alternatives to hotels. In 2018, Airbnb made up about 20 percent of the total lodging spending among U.S. customers, and HomeAway, owned by Expedia, made up 11%, according to data from Second Measure.

But here’s the thing: Renting out your vacation home isn’t quite as easy as posting a few photos and waiting for visitors to arrive.

Hosts often feel that by listing the home on a particular channel that they can kick back and allow the reservations come in. BIG listing sites such as Airbnb and VRBO have millions of properties, and it’s important to take the proper measures to become what they consider a fantastic host.”

Get some protections

Not only are guests using Airbnb and similar websites to make travel arrangements, but the websites also offer protections for homeowners renting out their homes.

Since guests are expected to pay when they book on platforms such as Airbnb, homeowners don’t have to worry about getting stiffed. Airbnb does charge a host fee of 3% on the booking subtotal for most listings, but most consider that money well-spent.

Describe the vacation home accurately

Homeowners need to be accurate in every aspect of the listing: the property description, photos, and calendar. An unhappy guest could leave a negative review, which could affect a host’s ability to attract future bookings.

If you list your home as a’luxury beachfront property,’ just to have guests arrive to find the home is more of a’quaint bungalow many blocks away from the beach,’ they are bound to be disappointed and leave a bad review, even if they ended up enjoying their stay,” he says.

Include all details about the property (good and bad), amenities, location, and rules for the home. Also, list things the home is stocked with, like a hair dryer or dishwasher.

One of the most important things about getting your listing right is making sure you clear what you are offering and what you’re not offering.

Showcase the home with professional photos

Professional photographs highlighting all aspects of the home are a must. The photographs should accurately show off the interior and exterior of the home, along with amenities such as a pool or hot tub and elements, to portray the home accurately.

Hiring a photographer may be an extra expense, but it’s vital to maximizing profits on your vacation rental. Chances are you’re going to have a lot of competition, and if you don’t have great photos of a beautiful space, then you may as well not exist.

Keep your calendar up to date

A common mistake new Airbnb hosts make is not keeping their property’s calendar showing its availability up to date.

If the home is cross-listed on multiple sites, this could mean someone might book the home on Airbnb for the same days it’s just been reserved on, say, HomeAway. As such, you would have to cancel one of the bookings.

Not only does this send a bad message to guests, but sites may penalize hosts (and potentially shut down their accounts) who reduce bookings on nights listed as available.

Panama City Beach Vacation Rental Company

How To Properly Prepare Your Vacation Rentals For More Bookings

Making the home welcoming and livable to your guests is one thing you need to do to prepare your house for rent. Make sure it is decluttered, refresh the paint and flooring, check that all appliances are in working order, and spray for insects.

Additionally, there are a few behind-the-scenes things you need to do. Verify the mortgage is current, have a healthy book in savings (at least three months worth of expenses), and line up a property management company if you choose to use one. Of course, have a solid lease agreement ready.

How to Invest and Make Money

Since you got into this business to make money, you want to do everything within your power to make that happen.

Losing money is not an option for many property owners, so investing wisely (at the right place and at the right time) and using a good system for setting short-term rental pricing should be at the top of your list of priorities.

Vacation Rental Investment Guide for Beginners

Knowing if a particular rental property is a good or bad investment (and knowing how to invest in rental property in the first place) can be a very involved subject with many nuances that can take effort to master. But just knowing the basics is a good place to start.

A rental investment:

  • Provides appreciation over time due to property value increases, the mortgage being paid down, and improvements made.
  • Can provide an ongoing cash-flow return when the calculation of estimates (rates, expenses, etc.) is positive.
  • Carries risk of loss and no guarantee of return.

How Much Money You Need to Invest in Property

Financing a rental property through a bank is different than financing for a primary home. Depending upon your credit, you have to put at least 20 percent down. So, if you want to purchase a $200,000 property, you’ll need $40,000 in cash up front.

If you don’t have that cash on hand, (carefully) consider taking out a home equity line of credit. Or, another possible option is to use”Seller Financing.” This means the seller of the property acts as the bank/mortgage company, negotiates a smaller down payment, and receives the monthly mortgage payments.

When and Where You Need To Invest in Property

When you need to invest has to do with your personal and financial situation. However, as with any sort of long-term investment, the sooner you start, the better. That’s because property values will always rise in the long term.

As far as where you should invest in property, it is smart to look at tried-and-true places (like Hawaii or Orlando) as well as up-and-coming locations (such as Texas or near The Great Smoky Mountains). Here are a few things to consider:

  • Warm weather locations (like Palm Springs) usually do better than colder locations.
  • Multiple high seasons (such as Lake Tahoe) mean more bookings.
  • Some cities (like Boston) highly tax vacation rentals.
  • Urban population centers (like New York City) have very expensive real estate and fierce rivalry.
  • Smaller to midsize towns with high occupancy rates (such as Las Vegas) are a good bet.

How to Make Money on a Vacation Rental Property

Knowing how to make money on a vacation rental property is a key bit of information to know before venturing into this business. Making the correct calculations and being a master at marketing (which we will talk about later) are important, but another thing that really makes a huge difference in how much money you’ll make is the way you rent your property.

If you rent out your home sporadically or without a real motive behind it, then you can expect sporadic, marginal returns.

On the other hand, if you treat your vacation rental property as a fully-formed business where your customers’ presence and comfort are prized, then you can do very well for yourself.

How to Establish Short-Term Rental Pricing

Setting smart short-term rental pricing on your property is a task that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Putting in some effort and research will make all the difference in your profit margin.

There are many things to take into account when pricing:

  • Your expenses
  • Your rental history
  • Your property
  • Similar properties
  • Your reviews
  • Your high and low seasons
  • Your goals

Market Your Business

There are a lot of reasons to go big when it comes to vacation rental marketing. Here are five of those reasons:

  • You will rank higher in search results.
  • There will be a significant uptick in bookings.
  • It shows your commitment as a professional vacation rental host.
  • It instills a feeling of trust and reliability with your potential guests.
  • Your viewers will appreciate the information, as it helps them make a decision.

How to Do Vacation Rental Marketing

When thinking about how to market your short-term rental, there are literally dozens of ways. How can you optimize the options so that you don’t waste money, but gain it instead? Listing your home on a vacation rental site is the first, most obvious, and best way to get noticed by guests seeking short-term lodging.

When you list your property, you get a lot more than just a tiny blip on the results page. For example, listing with Grand Welcome gives you full access to:

  • A state-of-the-art website
  • Full online booking facility
  • A mobile-responsive website design
  • Personalized email marketing campaigns
  • Both Google and Bing organic and paid marketing campaigns
  • Social media campaigns

Property Description: For Rent Sample

Property description for rent sample absolutely must include the following four elements:

An engaging, inviting, informative vacation rental description. This should describe the property’s amenities and facilities, information about the location and surrounding area, and the experience guests can expect.

High-end pictures and movies. Give your visitors a great first impression and a great grasp on the space. Aim for more than 20 photos and a couple of videos. This will go a long way in establishing trust on your expertise as well as generating excitement over the vacation itself.

Clear pricing. Use a calendar view to show available dates and nightly prices. Break down any extra fees like cleaning, additional guests, taxes, etc.. If you are offering a deal or promotion, highlight it and make it easy to redeem.

Easy-to-understand policies. Do you require a deposit? What is the refund policy? Are pets allowed? How about parties? You’d better put it all in writing.

Putting Your House on Airbnb or Grand Welcome

Since Airbnb has a huge presence in the vacation rental market, most short-term rental platforms follow the same basic steps as it does for listing homes.

You’ll want to fill in some basic information, such as city, home type, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, and number of guests that will fit in your property. You will then add your property description, upload pictures and videos, fill out the availability calendar, place your policies and pricing, and then publish. That’s it!

As mentioned before, the same general procedure for putting your house on Airbnb will apply for other listing sites, Grand Welcome included.

Vacation Rental Management Software Options

Vacation rental software can support your business management:

  • Facility maintenance
  • Bookings
  • Customers
  • Data and reports

Using vacation rental management software can simplify your experience as a host and increase the satisfaction of your guests. That’s because it integrates with online booking websites and is designed to track daily activities such as promotions, guest traffic, cleaning staff, customer satisfaction, and more.

When comparing vacation rental software pricing, be sure to compare apples to apples. What does each program include and which one will help you realize your specific financial and business goals?