10 Tips For Vacation Rental Owners To Grow Your Business

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Updated: October 5, 2021

Author: Benjamin Harty

Hi, I'm Benjamin, Digital Media Strategist for Skyline STR. I have been involved in content creation for over a decade and love helping people develop strategies to grow their business. My wife and I are AirBnB photographers that are experienced in rental arbitrage and hosting on the platform.

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SkylineSTR.com is a participant in several affiliate programs and may be compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies at no additional cost to you.

When it comes to work, many people enjoy the stability and security that a 9-to-5 job offers. But for those who want more freedom in their lives, there are other options available. One of these is owning your own vacation rental property.

It’s no secret that the vacation rental market is booming right now. After being cooped up in their homes for over a year, people are looking to get out and explore. This is a great opportunity for those who own vacation rental properties to grow their business. However, there are a plenty of mistakes you can make if you don’t know what you are doing.

Here are 10 tips for vacation rental owners to grow your business:

  1. Get professional photos
  2. Make your listing description skimmable
  3. Write your guests a review
  4. Market on social media
  5. Use dynamic pricing to optimize revenue
  6. Enhance guest experiences
  7. Get your taxes in order
  8. Identify your ideal guest
  9. Get vacation renters insurance
  10. Research local laws

Do you already have a vacation rental property, or are looking to invest in one? Keep reading for ten great tips on how to grow your vacation rental business. 

1. Get Professional Photos

First and foremost, to run a successful vacation rental, you’ll need quality photography of your listing. Nothing ruins your chances of a potential booking quicker than blurry photos with poor lighting, bad angles, or outdated features. 

We strongly advise that you hire professional photographers for this, particularly interior design/architecture photographers. Not only do they usually work with vacation rentals, but they know the shots needed to get attention to a home, or in your case, your vacation rental property. 

Even Airbnb mentions on their website that listings on their website that have quality photos are more likely to get more bookings, so get those pictures updated as soon as possible! 

If you would like tips on how to take your own photos of your rental property, check out our blog post here.

2. Make Your Listing Description Skimmable

The second thing you need to look at is your current listing description and copy. Let’s face it, no one reading your descriptions is going to read every word on the page. In fact, most people are just going to look at your pictures before they book your property, which is why your photos are your #1 priority.

So, what can you do? Make it skimmable! Use headings and bold text throughout your description copy so that people’s eye naturally goes to key areas of information or features they might be interested in. Try to tell a story with your words and explain why someone should choose your vacation rental.

One of the first things I notice with vacation rentals is how they describe their property. If you’re not much of a writer, that’s okay too! At the very least, try to list out clearly specific features of your listing. 

Alternatively, you could always hire an airbnb copywriter to whip up some copy for you. This is a great option if you’re concerned with SEO or higher conversion rates. Typically, writers will keep these key features in mind when writing your descriptions for you. 

3. Write Your Guests a Review

Another great way to enhance your business is by writing a review for each of your guests after they stay. This not only helps you build credibility as an owner, but it also shows transparency and accountability on the part of yourself or other managers at your vacation rental property.

If you leave your guests a review, it prompts them to leave you one in return as well. More reviews on your listing means you’re more likely to get more bookings, as long as those reviews are good! 

Regardless of if you’re on Airbnb, VRBO, or HipCamp, there’s a review system in place to establish transparency and trust between hosts and potential guests. Not only are they great to help your audience trust your listing, but they can help you succeed as a host and gain valuable feedback. 

Just make sure that you respond to any reviews that guests may leave! This helps create a dialogue and further show the value of your vacation rental property. 

4. Market on Social Media

Marketing on social media is a great way to get your vacation rental noticed! However, this is one of the tips on our list that might make rental owners nervous. 

Social media is certainly a necessity for any vacation rental business. Online reviews on social media and word of mouth are huge when it comes to getting bookings, which will help make your listing show up in search engines like Google or Bing.

Social media can be overwhelming if you’re not familiar with its fast paced, constantly changing interfaces. However, marketing on social media is one of the best ways to increase your potential customer base and get your vacation rental in front of as many people as possible.

There are a few different ways you could market on social media. Maintaining an active social media profile, such as Instagram or Facebook, is important. You can also venture into paid ad campaigns or boosted posts once you’re more familiar with the platforms. 

Check out our article for tips on how to market your vacation rental business.

5. Use Dynamic Pricing To Optimize Revenue

Dynamic pricing is when rental owners use software to set price adjustments for their vacation rentals based on current market trends, inventory levels, or time of year.

By using dynamic pricing strategies with your vacation rental property you can increase revenue by maximizing the number of bookings that occur throughout your calendar.

Using programs like Wheelhouse for your vacation rental’s pricing can ensure that you’re staying competitive in your market! If you are overcharging your guests, choosing a different host to stay with might be an obvious choice for them. 

If you want to do this manually, take into consideration local festivals or events and offer discounts for its patrons. Try to stay competitive, but don’t undercut your operation costs just to get a booking. There’s a delicate balance of value and luxury that needs to be met in almost every aspect of a vacation rental, including its pricing. 

6. Enhance Your Guest Experience

Creating a memorable guest experience is an important investment for any vacation rental business. A successful business owner knows that the best way to get your guests coming back year after year, or recommending you to their friends and family, is by catering to each of its visitors’ needs on every level possible.

Your vacation rental needs to stand out. In order to get a booking in the first place, you have to have some perks or incentives. A great guest experience depends on the type of guests your vacation rentals might attract. 

For example, a cozy cottage in Oregon might have a record player with some vinyl records, some board games, and books for their guests to enjoy. A beach bungalow in California might have boogie boards, beach adventuring gear, and more. 

Leaving locally sourced treats or providing a breakfast for your patrons can be small, but powerful touches that compels your guests into leaving those five-star reviews.

7. Get Your Taxes in Order

Think you can get away with running your vacation rental business without paying the tax man? You might want to think again!

Call your bookkeepers, it’s time to get your taxes in order! Rather than scrambling at the last minute, try to keep your needed tax documents in order early.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro at owning and operating a vacation rental, or this is your first time starting up one of these types of properties, it’s important for every business owner to understand the ins and outs of what they should be doing with their taxes. 

Most vacation rental sites, such as Airbnb or VRBO, offer comprehensive, downloadable tax documents. Forward those to your accountant weekly, or monthly, to ensure tax season goes smoothly and nothing gets overlooked.

Missing tax documents can lead to revocation of your vacation rental status, so this is a very important tip! 

8. Identify Your Ideal Guest

Getting booked by your ideal guest might seem unbelievable, but it’s very possible. The concept of an ideal customer comes from the sales and corporate world, but we can use it very effectively in the vacation rental industry, as well. 

Before you open up your vacation rentals to the public, it’s important to identify who might be interested in staying at your property. By looking into what types of guests typically stay at short term rentals like yours, you can get ahead of the game by promoting on social media or through word-of-mouth marketing that appeals directly to them

Think about your vacation rental home. What types of people will it attract? If we rewind back to Tip #6, we can use our example of that cottage in Oregon. That cottage in Oregon might get city-folks who want to get away from the hustle and bustle. But is that your target audience?

Think about these things and find ways to integrate your “ideal guest” into your marketing, descriptions, and other endeavors. Your manifestations will come true! 

9. Get Vacation Renters Insurance 

This might be the most important tip on the list, everyone. You’ll want to get vacation renters insurance to protect your investment! This is a no-brainer. 

If something happens to your guests, or your property, while you’re renting your listing out…you’ll want to have coverage. In fact, it’s illegal in most locations to operate a vacation rental without the proper insurance coverage. 

There are many affordable options available to you, a quick search will find you dozens of providers who can help you. Certain vacation rental platforms even provide insurance directly through their platform!

Check out our article on short term rental insurance here.

10. Research Local Laws

You need to make sure you can even operate a vacation rental in the first place! There are some locations in the United States, and internationally, where rental laws can complicate the process of getting your rental off the ground. 

Your vacation rental platform should be able to provide you with resources on which area you can and cannot operate, however, it’s always best to do your due diligence and check with both city and state guidelines. 

Either way, you’ll want to make sure activities on your property also comply with local and state laws. Be cautious of people bringing in substances that might be illegal in your area.

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