Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ten Tips For Successful Vacation Rental Owners


If you own a second home that's bound for the vacation rental market, you may wish to take note of some tips from some of the most successful vacation rental owners.

One...what's in a name? Everything! Come up with a unique, memorable name for your property. The Grizz, Bare Bear or the Texas Treehouse are far more descriptive and romantic names for a rental property than the Smith House. They'll stand out in people's minds and actually contribute to their level of enjoyment during their stay. And don't forget about the impact in the internet search engines. A unique, descriptive name featuring some of your area's most popular search terms (cabin, condo, bungalow, cottage, etc.) will be much easier to find in an online experience.

Two...decide on how aggressively you wish to pursue rentals. For some, it's a business and every single booked night counts. Others may wish to rent it just enough to cover their monthly expenses, with occasional owner stays. Still another segment of vacation rental owners may not be concerned about the number of rental nights at all preferring to rent only occasionally. Be aware of which group you fall into, as each one requires a different marketing approach.

Three...price it right. Right pretty much depends on which group you fall into under tip two. If you're in the vacation home business, you'll want to be particularly aggressive in pricing to keep the calendar filled. If you're just covering expenses, the area norm for a similar property or a few dollars more will probably work best. And if you're fortunate enough to be unencumbered by the frequency of rentals, you may seek a premium price.

Four...how many is too many? Selecting the appropriate occupancy for your rental unit is important. There are three bedroom rentals that accommodate six people and there are three bedroom properties that accommodate fifteen. If you wish to stimulate rentals you may wish to add beds and go with a higher number of occupants. Others may chose to establish a lower maximum number of guests to appeal to a different renter profile. Remember, all things being equal ten people will be much harder in wear and tear on things than a group of five.

Five...no place like home! Make your vacation rental warm and inviting. Don't skimp on the decor with plenty of art, plants and knick knacks to give that unmistakable air of...home. And don't forget a guest book for all to sign. Some owners even leave a small profile of themselves encouraging the guests to email or call them with feedback on their stay.

Six...advertise wisely. Some vacation rentals owners have success with ads in small, local print publications. Others may experience results with paid ads on popular local websites. But many of the best ways to promote your venture may be available to you absolutely free! There are literally hundreds of internet directories and sites that will post a listing about your vacation rental at no charge. Most likely your state department of tourism maintains an extensive website that is ready and willing to help you promote your second home. Usually, as a member of the local chamber of commerce you're entitled to appear on their website. Additionally, there are many specialty websites that will list you at no charge. For instance, if western is the theme of your rental you may choose to list it on www.cowboy.com . If you have a golf course condo, you might seek out golf oriented sites. Just invest in some web surfing time and you'll find more than enough opportunities to promote your rental unit.

Seven...talk it up! Let everyone know what you have available. Tell folks at work or church and perhaps offer them a special discount. You may wish to donate it to a local church or civic group to use as a retreat. If these folks have an enjoyable stay they're bound to tell others. This is the best form of advertising that you can generate...word of mouth!

Eight...a picture is worth a thousand words. Whatever way you choose to advertise your vacation rental, pictures will most likely be involved. Do not underestimate the need for high quality photographs to make people want to visit your home. Instead of the run of the mill, blurry, underexposed shots invest in good quality photographs. For $150.00 - $200.00 (probably the cost of just one night's stay) you can hire a competent local photographer to produce a series shots that will create real impact with potential guests.

Nine...niche markets. You may wish to specialize in a pet friendly property or a unit with handicap access. If your property is right on a river or lake, you may wish to decorate in the atmosphere of a fishing shanty. If you're on a golf course you may include golf memorabilia as part of your decor. Identify people with special needs or requirements that may be otherwise ignored in your area and make them your target.

Ten...seek professional help. If you don't have the time, temperament or inclination to do everything yourself, secure the services of a property management company to maximize the ROI that you expect. They are involved in all of the above on a daily basis and can help you achieve the type of results you seek from your vacation rental.

3 comments:

Darth F said...

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Andrew said...

I want to know more about this...


Thank you very much...

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