Archives For Management

"Question mark" on flickr by the Italian voice (CC BY 2.0)When it comes to guest surveys, the old “K.I.S.S.” motto works best—”Keep It Simple” and you just might get a few insightful comments in response. Make it complicated and, like this 20 question survey deconstructed by Rafat Ali of Skift, you’ll risk irritating anybody who stops to consider responding.

Sandy Bayes, owner of Sandy’s Cabin in Flagstaff, AZ, opened her vacation rental last March and has been surveying her guests since Day One.

“Especially as a new owner, I’ve tried to think of the places I’ve stayed and consider what would have been nicer,” she explained. “But you can’t think of everything, and everybody is different. It’s been a real learning experience for me.” Continue Reading…

Skift || HomeAway Sues Airbnb Over Use of Birdhouse Mark

Having long argued that Airbnb isn’t a competitor and operates in a different market, HomeAway is suing Airbnb over their use of a birdhouse in their latest national marketing campaign—something HomeAway says infringes on their trademark.  The battle between the two companies has seemed inevitable to many, and has certainly just increased a notch (or 10) with the news of the lawsuit.

Skift || Why Hotel Brands Should Care About Airbnb’s Disruption

"hotel" by Daniel Zedda on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Airbnb has made a significant dent in the hotel market, building on strengths that every vacation rental has—whether they use the rental site or not.

Vikram Singh of Skift says brand loyalty has lost its power; people care most about location, value and good reviews.

He also notes that transparency helps build trust and community: “The host is the brand, and you have access to him at every stage of your travel experience.” Continue Reading…

What are vacation rental owners talking about, and is there any news that might impact your vacation rental? Here’s a look some recent highlights.

Vacation Rental Marketing Blog || Go Big Or Go Home

"Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia ROOM" by Hotel Kursaal & Ausonia on flickr (CC BY 2.0)If you missed this great discussion on the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog last month, it’s worth reviewing.

Referencing a thread on the HomeAway Community Forum, Matt Landau said:

“You either run a business and treat every guest like the most spectacular VIP in the world. Or you participate in a hobby and worry not about your income or revenue.”

The “hotelization” of vacation rentals is something Tyler Gillespie blogged about in a series of posts for MyVR last month, looking at our need to balance the best of vacation rental travel against increased competition from hotels.

The comments on Landau’s post provide an interesting look at the lack of consensus among owners—and food for thought when it comes to how you want to manage your own rental. Continue Reading…

Review Part 1, Part 2  || Guest post by Tyler Gillespie

In a recent post on his blog, Tyler Gillespie of VacationRentalBusiness.net challenged vacation rental owners to “hotelize” their businesses. In this three-part series for MyVR,  he explains why it matters, how to do it, and what you can do to bring your  guest services to the next level.  This is part three of three.Before you can truly focus on service, you need to make sure the business side of things is streamlined and running smoothly.

Once you’ve nailed your basic business processes, however, it’s time to step up your service game. This is where hotels really take the lead, and by following these steps, you can, too.

Concierge Services and Experience:

Your guests’ experience really starts before they even email or call to learn more about your property. In fact, it starts with your brand and how your listings are written.

What vibes is your property giving off? Continue Reading…

Review Part 1 || Guest post by Tyler Gillespie

In a recent post on his blog, Tyler Gillespie of VacationRentalBusiness.net challenged vacation rental owners to “hotelize” their businesses. In this three-part series for MyVR, he explains why it matters, how to do it, and what you can do to bring your guest services to the next level. This is part two of three.Families have started to make the switch from hotels to vacation rentals, and why not? Vacation rentals have a lot going for them!

Unfortunately, we also have one big self-defeating problem: Inconsistency. That’s why I believe that a key part of your focus – this year and in future – should be on streamlining operations to become more professional. Much like a hotel.

Whether you manage your rental business on a part or full-time basis, here is my advice to kickstart the “hotelization” of your vacation rental property by zeroing in on the things that will keep your business running smoothly. Continue Reading…

Guest post by Tyler Gillespie

In a recent post on his blog, Tyler Gillespie of VacationRentalBusiness.net challenged vacation rental owners to “hotelize” their businesses. In this three-part series for MyVR, he explains why it matters, how to do it, and what you can do to bring your guest services to the next level. This is part one of three.I have worked directly with many hotels over the years and, as a result, I have a unique perspective on the different items and services that are offered to clients in the exclusive, high-end marketplace that is Aspen, Colorado.

In my opinion, in order to have a truly successful vacation rental business now and in the future, vacation rental owners should focus primarily on two things:

  1. The Customer Experience and
  2. Treating Your Property Like a Business

Pay close attention! These are two areas hotels excel in, and you always want to make sure your property stays competitive. Continue Reading…

"Caution Tape" on flickr, by Picture Perfect Pose (CC BY 2.0)Not every vacation rental owner has a tale to share about The Nightmare Guest – but plenty do. While most guests come and go with few if any issues, owners occasionally find themselves facing some level of destruction or disruption.

Bad situations don’t need to be monumental, either. Finding out someone was puffing away in your non-smoking house, or that Fluffy made a mess on the carpet that nobody mentioned, can just as easily raise your expenses and blood pressure.

Even if you’ve never had a problem, building more hands-on customer service into your management process can help stave off problems in future and create a more positive experience for great guests who are excited to visit.

Continue Reading…

"Summer time (Algarve)" by Tiago Fernandes (CC BY 2.0)If you enjoyed a brisk business this summer, you’re not alone; a recent report from HomeAway shows a vast majority of owners (86 percent) enjoyed vacation rental bookings that were the same or better than last summer.

Highlighted in HomeAway Vacation Rental Report: Owner Edition, these numbers reflect the niche that vacation rental properties are carving in the travel industry.

Among owners who see summer as peak season, occupancy rates averaged 77 percent – higher than the 70 percent average occupancy rate reported by U.S. hotels (a slight increase over last year). Continue Reading…

"Start Here" by Robert Kilman on flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)You’ve decided that turning your second home into a vacation rental is the right move for you.

Now what?

Getting your first reservation on the calendar is an exciting time, but — as you probably figured out while you were deciding to rent your property — there are things you need to do before you can throw your doors open.

Continue Reading…

"Slow Time in Wrist Watch on Dry Leaf" by epSos.de on flickr (CC BY 2.0)When renters are constantly coming and going, it’s easy to push non-urgent administrative tasks to the side for “later”.

If your vacation rental slows down between Labor Day and ski season, “later” is here! The shoulder season is the perfect time to catch up and start laying groundwork for next quarter.

Continue Reading…