Gig and sharing economies have left the property market booming in recent times. You probably already know that. Which is why you have been thinking of turning your property into a vacation rental home.
You want your property to churn out enough monthly income to settle your mortgage.
You want a side business that pulls in a great deal of money every month, enough to make you quit your day job.
Your property is just sitting there, empty, and you want to bring it to life again and make some cool cash while at it.
There are so many reasons homeowners venture into the vacation rental market. You have thought about it, but haven’t quite gotten around to doing it. Chances are that you are wondering where and how to start.
Well, I won’t lie to you. Short-term renting is daunting and time-consuming. But then that’s true for any other business endeavour. Success is all about having the right information and tools, knowing the right people, and putting the two to good use.
For starters, let’s get our facts right.
There’s a reason the phrase “first things first” exists. It’s the same reason babies crawl before they walk. In other words, you need to setup your property for short-term renting before anything else. Otherwise, you would be setting yourself up for bad guest reviews, low rental income, and ultimately, failure.
Setup, in this case, means three things:
- Ensuring your place is comfortable and conducive enough for hosting guests.
- Making sure you protect yourself and your property.
- Optimising both your property and listings to maximise your earnings.
Below, I’m going to outline a checklist of things you need to do to setup your property properly. Each of the points will be treated individually as a post under our blog section.
Is the Property Yours?
If it’s not, make sure your landlord is okay with you putting up his property for short-term renting.
Check Your Rental Arbitrage
Your revenue potential has to be significantly higher than your cost of acquisition. Otherwise, don’t bother renting.
You Need a Proper Insurance Coverage
Granted, some property listing channels have insurance coverages that protect property owners listing with them–example, Airbnb’s $1M cover. Please don’t relax yet. If you have risk factors or special items not covered under the above-mentioned policy, then you might want to secure an addition insurance cover.
Don’t Forget Your Neighbors
The type of neighbours you have should be factored in when determining what goes into your house rules. For instance, whether parties are allowed or what the quiet hours are.
Know Your Competition
Find out what similar properties in your area are charging guests as well as what they are doing right or wrong. Then use that information to your advantage.
Beef Up Facilities and Essentials
Ensure your place has all the necessary facilities and hosting essentials. Think comfy furniture, cooling & heating, toiletries, bed linens, TV, and so on. For a comprehensive vacation rental home inventory, click here.
Rental Agreement & House Rules
These should be ready before you start renting. Some booking channels like HomeAway even require that you upload an agreement. Print and past your agreement & house rules somewhere on the property where guests wouldn’t miss them.
Prepare a House Manual
Guests can get fussy when they can’t seem to figure out how to operate stuff like TV, refrigerator, thermostat, etc on your property. This is why need to have a manual from the onset. Some host print and paste a manual to each complex amenity on their property just in case.
Write a Great Bio
This goes on your profile on each booking channel. Also add a great photo of yourself. Nobody wants to stay with a stranger.
Verify Your Profile
Alway go through every profile, account, or property verification process specified by each booking channel. This helps make you and your property credible.
Get Your Property Photos Ready
The photos can be taken by anyone. But they need to look great and also accentuate the best features of the property. Going with a professional photographer has its perks.
Write a Powerfully Persuasive Listing Description
If possible, use a professional copywriter in the vacation rental niche for this. Also optimise the listing description to make your property easier to find.
Set Up Pricing.
Research similar properties to see what they are charging. If you checked your rental arbitrage earlier, then this shouldn’t be hard. Of course, be sure to factor in expenses and then come up with a pricing that puts money in your pocket without scaring potential guests away.
Set Up Your Listings on Booking Channels
Now that you have more or less everything you need, it’s time to set up your property on booking channels like Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com, and TripAdvisor. These are where the magic happens. Setting up on multiple channels means increased visibility and occupancy rate.
Multiple Unit Setup
Do you have multiple apartments or en suite bedrooms on your property? To maximise your income, don’t just stop at listing the whole house. You might want to also list the rooms and apartments individually. Then set up dependencies that that when the whole house is booked, the individual units become unavailable and vice versa.
Channel Management & Calendar Syncing
If you want to list your property on multiple booking channels or list the whole house as well as the multiple units within it, then you need a channel management & calendar syncing software. A great example of such a software is Beds24.
Create a Dedicated Property Website
The site will make it easy for guests to get info about your property and nearby places. Plus, guests can even book on the site, thus sometimes saving you the commission you would have paid to booking channels like Airbnb and Booking.com
Upload Your Rental Agreement
By now, you must have written your rental agreement and house rules. Upload a pdf version to your property website so guests can easily view them there also.
Set Up a Google My Business Page for Your Property
This is highly recommended. The more visible your property is on Google, the more attention it gets.
Create a Guest Book
This basically tells guests about landmarks, restaurants, attractions, and other spectacular places near your place. You can put it on your property website.
Potential guests usually read reviews on each property listing before booking. Booking jump-start simply means paying some people to book your place and then leave reviews to motivate prospective guests to book.