Hayden Ward

Getting Started with a Vacation Rental Property

How to Start a Vacation Rental Business

When starting a vacation rental business, there are many things you have to consider. Though it’s an exciting and profitable business, it constantly needs care and must operate like a traditional business. To help reduce the chance of headaches you may have when starting out, we’ve compiled our best tips for getting started on the right foot.

Seven Tips to Starting Your Vacation Rental Business

1. Safety Comes First

Certain properties can be subject to inspection. The inspection of your vacation property’s interior and exterior is designed to evaluate how safe your property is and identify potential areas of concern. You may be required to address certain safety risks immediately. Get a head start with these safety enhancements.

Short-term rental property owners who install and maintain walkways, porch railings, handrails, working smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety features have demonstrated their commitment to reducing risks to their guests.

2. Have Your Property Tell a Story

Is your property a beach paradise? Is it a cozy mountain view lodge? Define your niche and play into the idea of what your travelers expect when staying in your vacation rental.

Make sure guests feel at home the instant they walk through the door of your vacation rental property. Taking time to anticipate their needs and having small extra touches will go a long way. Offering amenities such as Wi-Fi, coffee maker, television, and a washer and dryer are huge pluses. Guests will feel cared for and relaxed thanks to your thoughtfulness, making them more likely to leave a positive review and return in the future.

3. Good Security Is Worth the Investment

Security should be a top priority when operating a vacation rental. Not only is it important for your guests to feel safe, it’s a vital factor when it comes to protecting your business. Smart technology makes it easier to have strong security on the property at all times. Many vacation rental homeowners purchase video doorbells for their properties. These doorbells automatically notify your phone through an app when someone is in range of the camera. If there are noise complaints or unaccounted for additional guests at the house, this is a great way to deter that behavior and provide video proof.

Smart lighting gives you the benefit of being able to check and turn off lights that were left on when your guests vacate. They also allow you to give the appearance someone is home when you do not have a home full of guests. This can help reduce the risk of someone burglarizing your property.

4. Create Your Rates

Setting your rates is one of the most difficult and crucial pieces of your business plan. Spend plenty of time researching to ensure your property is priced correctly for the location, amenities, and services you include. Your rates should be competitive amongst the other listings, and they should cover your expenses.

5. Make Your Listing Stand Out From the Crowd

Your short-term rental property listing images should be compelling, inviting, and supportive of your well-crafted description. Most booking sites, such as Airbnb and VRBO allow at least 20 images to be included in your listing. This in turn invites your guests’ eyes to explore your property before they even set foot in the door. Consider your short-term rental property’s photos a visual tourism pamphlet highlighting its best features. 

Practice full-disclosure marketing when constructing your property listing; be straightforward and transparent. Every traveler respects a truthful listing, including calling out drawbacks such as nearby construction. Keep in mind if you are not straightforward in your listing, your guests will comment on it. Having an up-to-date description can also help protect you in the event a claim is made. 

6. Paperwork Is Needed

When you are operating a vacation rental, it has to be run like a business. Contracts, booking forms, waivers, payment procedure documents, and detailed notes are all needed to keep your business moving in the right direction. You’ll also need to address these important issues before you can get started:

  • Who will manage the home … you or a property management team?
  • How will you handle repairs and updates at the property?
  • Will you hire a cleaning crew or will you do it yourself?
  • What is your financial plan and contingency plan?
  • How will guests contact you while staying at your rental?

Don’t forget that the reservation process must be seamless and easy so guests feel confident about your business. Consider creating a welcome book covering everything from emergency information to restaurant recommendations to the Wi-Fi password. Your guests will appreciate you going the extra mile to explain where things are as well as how to use different devices during their stay.

7. Be Protected with the Correct Coverage to Mitigate Potential Risks

With any major investment in life, it’s important to understand the risks involved. Once you list your property on a platform, you become a business owner.

Having the correct coverage can help resolve many worries that accompany owning a vacation rental property. To learn more about protecting your vacation rental business through CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance, request a free quote.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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About Us

CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services,Inc., is the largest insurer of short-term vacation rental properties in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we are the first broker to develop specific policy coverage to meet the needs for vacation rental properties and the amenities offered by these businesses. We have insured vacation rental properties since 2002.

The CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to short-term vacation rentals.We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" ~ our representatives are well versed in explaining your coverage in plain English. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication and a 24/7 claims team that is ready to respond to your call any time of the day. As specialist in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your business are adequately protected.