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Posted By Gianna Nies
How to Run a Successful Vacation Rental

Being a successful homeowner has become increasingly challenging. At a time when travellers long for unique experiences rather than ordinary hotel stays, the number of competitors in the vacation rental industry is overwhelming. With an ever-expanding supply all over the world, homeowners need their properties to stand out in order to be successful.

In this blog post we reveal 5 fundamental tips that can support you on your way to a thriving vacation rental business.

1. Optimize Your Online Presentation with Professional Photos

People looking for a holiday home on booking portals need to be interested in your property as soon as they see it. This means that thoroughly preparing the holiday home for a photo shoot as well as the quality of those photos are essential. 

Appealing photos have been statistically proven to at least double, and sometimes even triple, the number of bookings – the more beautiful a property looks, the more guests want to book it.

Clean the apartment and check if the furniture is still in good condition.
– Pay attention to details and take time to decorate your vacation rental.
– Think about a unifying design concept. There should be a common theme in the rental’s aesthetic and in the pictures.
– Make sure you get as much natural light as possible during photo shoots and turn on all the lights.
– Take professional photos. If you’re an amateur photographer, hire a real estate photographer.

2. Use a Channel Manager for Global Reach

If you want to run a successful business and generate bookings, you need to increase the visibility of your property. 

The most important step towards this goal is listing your property on relevant and trusted distribution channels. If your accommodation is displayed on different portals, you are also addressing different customer segments, which you would not have reached otherwise. Business travellers, family vacationers or backpackers – all of them could be potential guests who now are becoming aware of your property.

What is a Channel Manager?

A channel manager (CM) is a system that allows homeowners to efficiently list their properties on vacation rental websites.

Channel managers keep important details like booking information, availability, as well as check-in and check-out information, up-to-date and synchronized across multiple distribution channels.

If your property is listed on different distribution channels, which is highly recommended, a channel manager highly reduces the stress that comes with the risk of unsynchronized calendars. Goodbye overbookings and unnecessary cancellations – hello availability and booking boost. A win-win!

If you are well-versed in social media, you should also consider promoting your holiday home through Instagram. Many guests use the platform as a useful tool to plan their next holiday. The more pictures you can share and spread on Instagram, the greater the visibility and benefits for your business.

3. Maximize Booking Revenue with PMS

Say goodbye to paper chaos. Every homeowner needs one central system containing all important data in regards to properties, guests, bookings and money transfers.

What is a Property Management System?

The property management system (PMS) is a variation of a centralized booking or reservation system and often contains an integrated accounting system. Such systems are mainly used in businesses like hotels, vacation rentals, restaurants or cinemas. 

With regard to the vacation rental industry, a PMS is a software application that allows you to manage your vacation rental property or properties. With the help of this tool, you can configure your property’s amenities, set nightly rates and discounts, manage guests’ check-ins and check-outs, keep track of all past and upcoming payments, and view all your invoices in one place.

Today, like Bookiply, most property management systems for vacation rentals are connected to a channel manager, which means they combine all the functionalities of a PMS with those of a channel manager. The data that you configure in the PMS (availability, nightly rates, minimum stay, amenities etc.) will be forwarded directly to the distribution channels via the integrated CM.

4.  Improve Guest Communication to Get Better Reviews

The guest experience you provide is critical to the success of your vacation rental. Your guests are now used to high standards, so you need to adapt to these expectations to get good ratings and boost bookings.

One essential pillar of the guest experience is thoughtful and consistent communication, which must take place before, during and after the stay.

– Before: Get in touch with your guests immediately after receiving the booking, introduce yourself and send an email in which you provide them with all the important logistical information and house rules.

– During: Make sure to always be an attentive contact person, check-up with your guests and always listen carefully – respond to the needs of the guests and be flexible.

– After: If your guests are happy with your accommodation and your communication skills, you can even encourage them to write a good review after the check-out – a true catalyst for new bookings!

Read this article to learn more about guest communication.

5.  Enhance Guest Experience Using Service Providers

There’s another way you can impress your guests: try to offer more than your direct competition does. Seemingly small features tip the scale in the vacation rental industry and could give you an competitive edge.

Why not offer your guests access to a community which has specialized in providing the best possible service for travellers? Service providers like Cohosting have a well-founded network in the entertainment and travel communities and have established connections to all kinds of professional services that go above and beyond the usual stay in an accommodation.

Whether your guests are in need of a rental car, a transfer, a babysitter, a guided tour or insider tips like local events – service providers offer the best selection of services for your guests, so you don’t have to worry about it. On the contrary: you can even earn a share of it, so it’s an additional revenue source!

Mention this special service in your property’s description text and let the guests know that they are in good hands with you!