Gregory, Eva

8 Mistakes to Avoid Making with Your Vacation Rental Business

Common Vacation Rental Owner Mistakes

As a vacation rental business owner, you have a lot on your plate maintaining and managing your properties. It can be easy to overlook key components that benefit your business. From greeting guests to scheduling property check-ups, each element can make your short-term rental business stand apart from the rest. 

These tips can help you avoid making common vacation rental business mistakes.

1. List on Several Popular Websites

When you list your short-term rental on multiple websites, you have the ability to reach more customers, increase your revenue, and book more guests. You may not be maximizing your potential revenue if you list your property on just one platform.

Stick with popular, trusted sites and make sure you have a calendar that integrates and references all platform bookings. Overbooking can easily occur when you list your property on several websites, so organization is key. Find a calendar that works for you and is easy to keep up. There are also several websites that can help manage your bookings.

2. Invest in Home Automation and Smart Technology

When your guests arrive at the property, they’re excited for their trip in paradise to begin yet worn out from a day of travel. To help ease the transition from traveling to relaxation, offer your guests the option of a contactless check-in. Especially with COVID-19, this is a great way to keep you and your guests safe. With listing platforms recognizing the need for contactless check-in, they have made it much easier for the parties to access the information they need upon check-in without the small-talk. Many popular listing platforms have a designated area on their site or app where you can put your check-in instructions for guests. Self-check-in is also a filter people can search on well-known booking sites, so if you offer this, definitely add it to your listing as an amenity.

Smart technology, like keyless locks and smart doorbells, make it much easier to feel at peace when your guests arrive. In addition, your guests will love that they don’t have to go hunting for a key or worry about losing it. Just make sure to change the code on your smart lock or keyless entry each time a guest checks out.

Other smart technology, such as leak detectors, smart smoke alarms and innovative lighting are all simple ways to save you time, money and perhaps disaster.

3. Remember to Schedule Property Check-Ups

Being a short-term property owner comes with a significant amount of work. You have to tend to the management side of renting a property, take care of cleaning, and most importantly handle the risks that come with being a vacation rental property owner. It can be easy to forget the simple things, such as scanning your property for potential risks.

Safety inspections can help hosts address risks before they balloon into bigger issues. Prior to listing your property, complete a thorough home inspection and address all of the safety hazards you identify. As each season changes, take a moment to check on the exterior of your property and write down a list of things that need to be updated, cleaned or repaired.

Built up dirt can accumulate on the surfaces of your home and taking time to power wash your property along with the driveway can provide a new sense of clean to the house. Don’t forget to check out the condition of your roof. Thoroughly inspect it for loose shingles, holes, or any other signs of damage. If you have not replaced your roof in the past 20 years, it may be time for an upgrade.

4. Design a Welcome Book for Guests

An important role in providing a seamless stay for your guests is to have a welcome book. Gather all instructions and helpful property information in one book for your guests. Include everything from kitchen rules, contact information, coffee maker instructions, and laundry directions. 

You may be able to avoid panicked phone calls or emails from your guests by writing down where everything is and how to use certain appliances. Even though creating a good welcome book will take some time, it’s an essential tool. Try looking on sites like Etsy or Pinterest for a downloadable template to help get you started. 

Don’t forget to provide them with an emergency point of contact during their stay as well. This contact could be you, a property manager, a neighbor or reliable friend.

5. The Importance of Quality Photos

Optimize your listing by uploading high quality images. Most well-known booking sites like Airbnb and VRBO allow at least 20 images of your property to add to your listing. Investing in quality images is a simple way to invite guests’ eyes to explore your property before they even step foot in the door. Consider your short-term rental property’s photos a visual tourism pamphlet, highlighting its best features. 

Quality images can also help in case of filing an insurance claim. Often times, insurance companies will request photos of the damage or lost items as proof to support your claim. Capturing a few images or even videos of your vacation rental property is visual proof to illustrate the scope of your property’s condition before damage occurs. Labeling each photo with the date and updating your photo inventory when renovations or an expensive purchase are made will give you a record of your property’s condition and valuables.

6. Hospitality Makes a Difference

Don’t be a host that is a ghost to your guests! Follow up with them at the beginning and end of their stay. Remember comfort and cleanliness are important to your guests. Provide nice bedding, basic toiletries, and quality towels for them. Often, the smallest details are the ones most noticed.

As always, deeply clean your property after each stay. Never forget that your guests expect the same standard of cleaning or better than what they would receive in a hotel. Check out our cleaning checklist to help streamline your routine.

7. Keep Current with the Industry

Just like any other business, it’s important to keep up with the trends and connect with others in the industry. Join several short-term rental Facebook groups and follow surrounding rentals in your area on Instagram or Twitter. Social media is one of the best ways to keep up with other businesses in your industry.

Learning from industry experts will also help improve and enhance your vacation rental property business. To help navigate which online courses, websites, and podcasts are most beneficial to your business’s particular needs, we compiled a list of 12 resources you can explore to expand your knowledge. It’s never a bad idea to sharpen your skills and perfect your expertise. 

8. Have Vacation Rental Insurance

When you are renting out your home on a short-term basis, it is considered a business. You will need commercial insurance to make sure you are protected from the risks you’ve opened up for yourself. Platform policies and homeowner’s insurance are wonderful to have for small issues, but it is not a complete solution to vacation rental insurance.

Take the time to review your insurance policy to see if you have adequate coverage in place. 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.