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Homeowner Perspective: Avoiding Vacation Rental Property Burnout

Vacation Rental Backyard
Homeowner Photo

RENÉE PATTON

I was raised as a do-it-yourself landlord, and not someone who would hire a vacation rental property manager. Over the years I have owned and managed a number of multi-unit rentals near my home in the Bay Area of California. Having my primary residence so close to my rentals allowed me to collect rent, fix things on the fly, conduct routine maintenance, and show the units when we had vacancies. That all changed when we bought our second home in Hawaii, 2,500 miles and a five-and-a-half hour flight away.

There was simply no way we could handle coordinating guest reservations, managing day-to-day maintenance, and keeping up with the never ending list of property to-dos that comes with owning a vacation rental. Our biggest headache was managing guest relations. This was an around the clock endeavor. We were constantly fielding calls to help guests open the lockbox, find an extra set of utensils, or to adjust the air conditioning. My husband and I both have second jobs, so this quickly became an unwelcome distraction.

As such, we had to hire a vacation rental property manager. At first, we didn’t have any resources to help us find the right property company and so we sifted through several mediocre managers. After some trial-and-error, we finally found one that met our standards. Here’s how they helped us:

1. They Manage Guest Relations

We weren’t located near the property so having someone who could field calls from guests saved us a ton of time and headaches. This reason alone to hire a vacation rental property manager.

2. They Optimize For Revenue Generation

Our manager gave us the tools to correctly price our unit for maximum revenue generation. After working with the manager, we realized we were leaving serious money on the table by not optimizing our pricing strategies. They helped us to understand when we should lower our rate to lock-in occupancy and when we should raise our rate to take advantage of peak demand.

3. They Deliver the Guests

They took the guesswork out of finding guests. Our manager staged and photographed our unit to show it off in the best light. They also marketed it across all the major platforms. Our manager significantly increased direct bookings because they ran targeted direct mail and social media outreach. They also conducted comprehensive retargeting campaigns to incentivize guests who had previously stayed at other properties that they managed.

4. They Keep Your Property Clean

A clean unit is essential to guest satisfaction and our manager made this a top priority. After each cleaning, our manager immediately inspected the unit to ensure it met our high cleaning standards. This gave us a peace of mind that we did not have when we self-managed.

5. They Check Your Blindspots

Our property manager surfaced things that we would have never identified ourselves. For example, they conducted quarterly air conditioning maintenance tests. This is critical to do in the tropics, but not something that we would have thought to complete coming from California. This small procedure alone saved us $9,000… what a relief!  

6. They Coordinate with the Taxman

Short-term rental taxes are mind-numbingly complicated. We did not have the energy to deal with managing this complicated aspect of our rental. Luckily, our property manager collected all of the nightly fees and managed all of the day-to-day expenses.They also filed quarterly transient accommodations, prepared a  monthly occupancy report, and completed our property taxes 

I hope you find this list helpful when you look into whether you will hire a vacation rental property manager!

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