When you are just starting out, or looking to do a refresh, you will do a google search and find many different tips. Trust me. I've been there and done that. Guess what? They won't all fit you or your style or situation. Starting a vacation rental isn't easy, but it is worth it!
That being said, there are "must haves" for you to be successful in your Vacation Rental business. Here are my top 5:
Cleanliness. Yep. Kill them with cleanliness. Especially in today's world, nothing makes a great review better than seeing that people said the place was sparkling clean. And nothing kills booking rates faster than seeing that people had previous issues with cleanliness. Whether you do it yourself or hire a cleaning crew or you are taking a complete hands-off approach and handing the space off to a property manager....make sure you follow up often on the cleanliness factor.
Listing Title. Whether its a catchy name that describes the space (my suggestion) or you change it up when you are running a special -- make it memorable and make it stand out! Don't just be the same old boring listing. Give it a name and make it stand out!
Pictures. Hire a professional photographer to take great pictures of the space. Yes, it will cost a bit of money, but it will be worth it. Remember this is a hospitality business you are running and you get out of it what you put in. Also, if you decorate for holidays, hire them to come in and take photos of that as well. Show your guests what they can expect. Remember, when potential guests are scrolling through the hundreds of other options out there, you have just a few seconds to grab their attention.
Hospitality Business. Vacation Rental business is NOT a real estate business. You're not leasing or renting out four walls (and roof) and fixing urgent repairs. Nope. Its a hospitality business. Plain and simple. One of the things I prided myself on when running my business was being available 24/7. Think -- small boutique hotel. When someone sends a booking inquiry or books the property -- respond ASAP. Make your guest feel important. They are your GUESTS, not customers. GUESTS in your home. Which also means, if you had friends or family staying in your home, what would you want to make sure they had? Coffee? Water? Snacks? Laundry detergent? Trash bags?
Welcoming Wow. Yep. I said it. Give your guests the "welcoming wow" experience. What do they see when they drive up (or walk up) to the property or space? Is the yard freshly mowed? Is the landscaping in good shape? Are the lights left on to welcome the guests? What do they see when they open the door? Take a critical look. What would you like to see when you open the door to a vacation space? Does it welcome them and pull them in further? Does it make them happy THEY CHOSE YOUR PLACE??
Remember, they are your guests and you want them happy and you want them to return (most of the time)!