10 Keys To Vacation Rental Success


Vacation home owners are facing challenges if they need to sell.

Many are turning to rental as an alternative to having a property on the listings for many months.

There are a large number of owners choosing this route because they have either tried selling, or are not prepared to lower their asking price and want to ride out the economic decline by renting for a few years but the road to vacation rental success is a long one.

This creates an interesting situation as there will be a lot of new properties coming into, what is already a competitive market, and owners considering this option need to work hard to compete effectively and achieve vacation rental success.

Despite the current economic conditions, a well presented and effectively marketed property should have no challenge in renting in the traditional high season periods but to be successful, owners must also attract the elusive out-of-season renters and convert enquiries to bookings.

Renters have high expectations of a vacation home. Just having good waterfront is not sufficient – hi speed internet; a dishwasher; laundry facilities and satellite TV are high on criteria lists.

Fully equipped kitchens, top quality mattresses and a selection of non-motorised watercraft are expected as standard.

These keys to success are the basics to getting set up and achieving good occupancy. [Read more…]

VRS096 – Regaining Control of Your Vacation Rental Business with Vince Perez

I met Vince Perez in San Diego at the 2014 VRMA conference and was immediately taken with his passion and enthusiasm for the vacation rental industry and particularly some of his ideas for bringing control back to owners and managers.

Since he is also a speaker at this years Vacation Rental World Summit, it was a great opportunity to ask him what he’s been doing in the year since we met, and how the changes we are seeing in the business have impacted the development of those ideas. [Read more…]

VRS076 – Managing Down Under with Nick Marshall of Cairns Holiday Homes

I’ve been hearing a lot from owners of smaller agencies about the challenges they are facing with growing their companies, so I thought it would be great to talk to some of these owners about their most pressing issues.

Eleven years ago I went into partnership with the owner of a listing site here in Ontario. Craig had been running CottageLINK since 1995 and it was going well but he was regularly turning away property owners who wanted a management option. I was managing four of my own places and had been approached by a few other owners who liked what we were doing and wanted to jump on our bandwagon.

So, we started with seven cottages, and with a few referrals from CottageLINK grew to 30 over the first two years. Now at around 180 properties in our rental programme I can look back and see all the things we could have done differently.

So, I wanted to find agency owners from around the world who are in the early stages of growth, find out what works for them and what doesn’t and see what’s common amongst them. [Read more…]

VRS072 – Destination Payoff with Scott McGillivray of Income Property

It’s been a long winter of waiting for Cottage Blogger’s own Mike Bayer, and his wife Andrea. It was back in the fall of 2014 that the popular home renovation show, Income Property, and its dynamic presenter Scott McGillivray worked their magic on their Lake Ontario property, Sea Breeze.

The wait is over and the show featuring Mike, Andrea and their idyllic lakefront cottage will finally be revealed on Thursday April 16th at 9pm on HGTV Canada.

Unfortunately, for those of you in the US will have to wait a few more weeks to see the episode on HGTV, but I am sure that as soon as the air date is scheduled Mike will let you know. Just look out for Season 10 Episode 13. But in the mean time I managed to get a few minutes to talk with Scott McGillivray himself. [Read more…]

VRS071 – Airbnb Management Services with Guesty co-founder Amiad Soto

It only seems a short while ago that Airbnb was seen as a platform for home owners who wanted to make a few dollars renting out a room in their place to a short-term tenant.

In fact when I listen to the episodes of VRS with Jasper Ribbers of Get Paid for Your Pad and Glenn Cooley, moderator of the New Host forum on Airbnb, my questions show I was seriously ignorant of the reach of this juggernaut that is the Airbnb experience.

Earlier this month at the Cottage Life Show in Toronto, I lost count of the number of people who stopped by our agency booth and mentioned they had ‘airbnb’ed’ over the winter. From city breaks across Europe to more traditional US snowbirding locations, whole-home rentals via the listing service are becoming part of the vacation planning strategy for more and more travelers.

With this spectacular growth has come a barrage of add-ons and peripheral services to help hosts manage their listings. [Read more…]

Meeting Vacation Rental Guest Expectations

em_picHas anyone noticed that guests seem to have much higher expectations?

I remember when the most asked question was, ‘Does your property have running water and electricity’, and feeling amused and slightly smug saying that not only did my vacation rental have the luxury of an indoor toilet, but it also had a TV.

Now, some of the most frequently asked questions are, ‘What size is the TV and does it get the sports channel?’, and ‘Is there hi-speed internet with wi-fi?’

Going the extra mile to not only meet but exceed your guests expectations will reap you rewards in bookings and return guests for a long time to come.

Just a few weeks ago, I heard a complaint from a guest who had completed their vacation at a cottage on a lake close to us. The cottage has grass to the shoreline then shallow water with a hard sand bottom with a few rocks. I would say water shoes are advisable but then I’d recommend that anyway. The listing for the cottage said:

Sandy, shallow walkout to the water, deepening gradually toward the end of the dock”.

The guest complained that the ‘beach’ that was advertised was not there and her daughter was unable to play in the sand. Apparently, using the word ‘sandy’ in the listing gave the impression that there was a portion of Bondi Beach on the shoreline, dunes stretching in every direction, and an expectation her children of the family spending happy hours building Buckingham Palace type sandcastles. [Read more…]

How Outsourcing Can Save You Time and Money

outsourcingDo you have enough hours in your day?  Are you spending more time working IN your vacation rental business rather than ON it?  Are you overwhelmed with the amount of small tasks you have lined up to do?

If so, it might be time to outsource some work. [Read more…]

How to Please Guests When the Sun Doesn’t Shine in Paradise

rainy_day_on_vacationMany years ago we planned a vacation in the Cahors region of France – in a rental villa. It was a small place just for the two of us, but it was in a beautiful region and we were excited about exploring; eating out on terraces in old villages; relaxing by the pool at the property, and being outside the bulk of the time.
It rained incessantly for 2 weeks and only cleared up on the morning we left.

It’s over 20 years ago and I still remember how depressing it was to be stuck inside this tiny, almost windowless cottage, watching the rain lash down outside. As each day went past and the remaining vacation time we’d worked so hard for, drifted away, it was difficult to get rid of the heavy feeling of loss that none of our expectations would be met. And this from an eternal optimist. [Read more…]

VRS010 – Plain Sailing to Success with Google+ Featuring Alan Egan

VRS010_postcard [Read more…]

You don’t have to be on-site to be a great host – It’s all a matter of management

vacation_rental_property_managementWhen you are a far-away owner, and by that I mean an airplane ride away – not a couple of hours by car – managing a property becomes a whole lot more of a challenge.  I spoke about this with Lisa Presley Sedore in episode 2 of the Vacation Rental Success Podcast (VRS002).  She ‘manages’ her villa in Orlando from Ontario, Canada and is as hands-on as she can possibly be from a distance. Owner of the Thevine House on Great Exuma in the Bahamas,  Montreal-based Nathalie Olivier takes an active approach to the care of her guests, and I should know since I’m her guest at the moment.  It’s a tough life, but vacationing in rental homes gives me a great opportunity to explore how owners can have an impact on the guest experience even when they are thousands of miles away. [Read more…]