Self-Manage Your Vacation Rental Like a Pro

Modern Vacation Rental

If you’ve opted to self-manage your vacation rental, you will need an array of service providers to ignite your business. Fear not. In this post, we’ll examine the types of businesses you will need to partner with to self-manage your vacation rental like a pro. We’ll arm you with a list of resources and name drop individual companies to get you started.

1. Home Inspector

If you manage your listing remotely, a third party home inspector must be on call to turn the unit between stays. They also handle emergency situations that might arise when you’re unavailable. Inspectors ensure that a short-term rental listing always delivers on its promises. An inspector will triple confirm that the property has been adequately scrubbed after the cleaners depart. They make sure that any kitchen, laundry or bathroom appliances function properly. Home inspectors tend to smaller tasks that homeowners might overlook, like replacing light bulbs and swapping batteries in various devices. They test carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. They configure WIFIs, replace empty grill tanks, and monitor chlorine levels swimming pools. Finally, they complete inventory checks to ensure that no items were broken or stolen after guests checkout.

2. Cleaners

Every traveler appreciates a clean accommodation. Do your research to verify credentials before partnering with a local cleaner. Not all of them are alike! Consider asking for a trial-period to ensure consistency and quality. If your property is zoned for a vacation rental, many cleaners are required to wash linens in commercial grade laundry facilities, so make sure you triple confirm that your cleaner has access! There are many apps that can connect you with cleaners. These include Turnoverbnb, Properly, MaidThis, and DoInn. Many of these providers promise to vet vacation rental cleaners to make sure that they follow local rules, including any COVID-related protocols. They also sync maintenance schedules across multiple channels, track onsite representatives, and conduct remote inspections to help you self-manage your vacation rental.

3. Lawn Care Providers

You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but your guests will most definitely judge your home by its curb appeal. Lawn care companies are crucial to sustaining your property value. Don’t cheap out here! Make sure they come regularly and have been screened for competence. Finally, depending on your location and property type, you might also require pest control, pool care, or snow plow services.

4. Maintenance

You will need a maintenance provider wherever you self-manage your vacation rental. At some point, every homeowner has to call upon the requisite plumber, handyman, or electrician. Platforms like Angie’s List or NextDoor are excellent resources to kick off your search. You can also find quality maintenance companies through word-of-mouth referrals. Who else but that ornery neighbor can put you in touch with “a guy” to remove the wayward tree that fell directly in front of your vacation home?! 

5. Security

Security is the most critical component of your business. You must install a reliable system to protect yourself, your guests, and your assets. Most homeowners utilize a keyless entry device for guest stays. Make sure the codes for these systems are only accessible to your guests. Never share codes with unauthorized parties, or hide your keys in an overly obvious place. The vacation rental business is an unusual enterprise. Strangers will enter your home at any given hour on any given day. Neighbors will become accustomed to this behavior and, as a result, are often less inclined to call-out suspicious activity. Topkey strongly recommends you install a full-fledged camera system. There are many options available, including smart doorbells from companies like Ring. There are also sound sensor platforms available from companies like NoiseAware which can monitor decibel levels to discourage large gatherings and prevent property damage.

6. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

No one will book your vacation rental if they don’t know it exists. While Airbnb and VRBO are household names, there are a host of other providers that you should not ignore. Don’t neglect to put your listing on Tripping, TripAdvisor, and Booking. Most local markets also feature their own OTAs, such as Emeraldcoastbyowner for the Florida Panhandle. These providers act as OTA co-ops, and allow you to list your property at a lower commission level than that from the larger players. Finally, many homeowners find marketing success listing their property on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Yup, Mark Zuckerburg is getting into the travel game!

7. Marketing Platforms

Marketing management companies like Evolve handle the distribution portion of your business  and often charge lower commissions than standard property managers. They consolidate distribution across OTAs to boost your digital marketing footprint. They conduct reservation inquiries and provide technology tools like website builders and account monitoring. These providers serve as tools to help you self-manage your vacation rental with a commercial perspective in mind.

8. Marketing Intel and Dynamic Pricing Software

Marketing intel services offer strategies to optimize revenue and drive maximum property returns. AirDNA, Smoobu, Syncbnb, Wheelhouse, and Pricelabs are just some of the players in this space. Companies like AirDNA focus solely on data and market analysis to help home buyers and homeowners make more informed investment decisions. Others like Smoobu and Syncbnb synchronize booking portals, manage rates, and generate market reports. These services can be invaluable, especially for homeowners who manage multiple listings. 


We hope you now have a much better sense of just what it takes to self-manage your vacation rental. Many start-ups have cropped up to streamline complex processes in convenient, easy-to-use digital platforms. Take advantage of the wealth of resources available to  self-manage your vacation rental with confidence. 


If after reading this article you have second thoughts about self-managing your vacation home, check out the below read on why it might make more sense for you to hire a property manager.


Up Next: Why You Should Consider a Vacation Rental Property Manager

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