How Software Can Turn Your Vacation Rental Into A Winner

By: on March 29, 2017

Listing services such as Airbnb and HomeAway have made it easier than ever to rent out your house, apartment or other property to short-term visitors. As a result, vacation rental has become a booming business.

chevy chase vacation gif
 

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!

 
However, a boom in the industry also means an increase in competition, which could affect your bottom line. To make yourself stand out, you need to do more than just maintain your property. You must also monitor reviews, compare pricing and communicate effectively with your renters.

We surveyed vacationers who had rented a property (not a hotel room) in the last 18 months to find out what they thought were the biggest hassles with their vacation rentals.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the results and examine what they tell us about what renters want in a short-term rental. Then, we’ll explore the ways you can use software to address those concerns.

Here are the best ways to make your property stand out:


Review Your Reviews
Know Your Competition
Communicate Clearly and Promptly

Review Your Reviews

Online reviews are a staple in today’s economy, and the data from our survey showed this to be especially true of vacation rental properties:

  • An overwhelming majority of our respondents consulted online reviews before renting.
    • Of those respondents that consulted reviews, all indicated they were influenced by those reviews, with half of respondents saying that they were greatly influenced.
    Did you consult online reviews of the property before renting?
    How much did those reviews influence your decision to rent?

    Clearly, online reviews are extremely important for vacationers looking to rent a property. The takeaway here is twofold:

    1. You cannot afford to have negative reviews.
    2. You need to collect as many positive reviews as possible.

    The best way to do this, of course, is to provide a great experience and impeccable service. However, you must also remember to encourage your happy customers to leave positive reviews, to entice future renters.

    How software can help: Vacation rental software helps you stay in touch with your renters before, during and after their stay. Set automatic reminders to check in during the stay to ask about any issues you can address.

    This way, you mitigate complaints instead of leaving renters on their own to post angry reviews. You can also leverage software to automatically send a follow-up email after each stay, asking renters to leave a positive review.

    Know Your Competition

    The market for vacation rentals is exploding thanks to the sharing economy, which means you’re likely facing stiff competition. Your potential renters know this, and they’re not just checking out your location and prices; they’re also exploring your competitors.

    • All of our respondents say that they compared prices to other properties in the same area.
    • The majority of our respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the price of the property they rented compared to similar options in both the same geographic area as well as in other areas.
    How satisfied were you with the price compared to properties in the same area?
    How satisfied were you with the price compared to properties in a different area?

    It’s clear from the data that your renters are going to shop around, and you need to make sure they’re satisfied with your price, or else they’ll simply rent elsewhere.

    You obviously want to make a profit, but you must consider what the market will bear and strike a balance between over- and under-charging, so both you and your renters are happy with the final price.

    How software can help: Robust vacation rental software systems automate the process of monitoring the market and suggest price changes accordingly, so you don’t have to manually check every vacation rental listing site.

    This feature helps you stay competitive—instead of having to calculate your optimum price, the software does it for you. This type of software tends to be pricier, though; it’s geared more toward managers with multiple properties.

    Communicate Clearly and Promptly

    Communication is key. This is as true in property rental as it is in all other facets of life. Your renters want you to be in touch with them about their rental, and they want your communication to be clear and concise.

    According to our respondents, most property managers seem to be doing this right.

    However, respondents who were unhappy with their interactions tended to focus on the lack of communication.

    How satisfied were you with your dealings with the property manager?
    How much communication did you receive from the property manager?
    How did the property manager primarily contact you?

    When asked for comments in the survey, respondents said they wished managers had “returned calls in a timely manner,” provided a “faster response” and offered “more communication in general.”

    They also indicated a preference for email as a form of communication over phone calls. One respondent “would have preferred emails over playing phone tag,” while another said, “Just use email or texts; this is the 21st century.”

    How software can help: Vacation rental software lets you set reminders and send automatic emails, so you can keep in contact with your renters before, during and after their stay.

    You can also have the system alert you to their responses, so you can get back to them as soon as possible and keep track of their preferred method of contact.

    Conclusions and Next Steps

    You need to make your vacation rental property stand out from the crowd, and software can help give you that competitive edge through a variety of features:

    Vacation Rental Software Features

    Booking Track who is renting from you on what dates, so you never overbook.
    Billing and invoicing Create invoices and other key documents. Easily collect payment from renters.
    Website creation Create a standout website that draws in customers.
    Monitor competition Monitor the competition for your market and get suggestions for appropriate price changes.
    Automate communication Set reminders and automatic emails so you have just the right amount of timely communication with your customers.

     

    Now that you know just how helpful software can be for you, here are some next steps to consider:

    • Email me at andrewfriedenthal@softwareadvice.com for more information. I’m happy to help you figure out what your own vacation rental software needs might be and to connect you to one of our expert software advisors for a free, no-obligation consultation!

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