Want to save money, save time, be more organized and look more professional when it comes to managing your vacation rental property? The MyVR team has been busy building great new features — it’s like spring cleaning for your property management to do list.
Archives For Rates
Whether it’s ease of use, a sense of security, or the attraction of points and other incentives, travelers think “card is king” when it comes to booking their accommodations online.
A recent survey by PhoCusWright found that among lodging suppliers – a group that includes vacation rentals – 68 percent of website bookings are made and pre-paid by credit card. With a predicted 98.3 million people in the U.S. booking travel plans online this year, that preference for plastic isn’t anything to sniff at.
And yet, a lot of vacation rental owners do – although not without reason. The same PhoCusWright survey found that vacation rental owners aren’t alone in their concerns about
- Credit card fraud (accounted for 1.1 percent of bookings via company websites),
- High processing fees (averaging 2.5 percent for credit card transactions), and
- The actual process involved.
As a result, a lot of owners turn away credit cards in favor of checks or money orders – neither method less likely to expose them to fraud, but perhaps easier to manage with low or non-existent fees.
But what does that choice cost their business? Continue Reading…
Review Part 1 || Guest post by Tyler Gillespie
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…
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.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my vacation rental rates and the amount of bookings I get. While I rent out my home year-round, I typically have a ski lease during the winter months, which leaves the spring, summer and fall open to short-term renters. My long-term rental runs from early January after the Christmas and New Year’s vacation through April. That leaves me with May through December for short-term rentals.
I wanted to go through and compare my rates to my competitors. A couple of questions I’m hoping to answer through this process are:
- Are my rates competitive with the market?
- Am I typically over, under, or at par with what my competitors charge?
- Should I change my rates this year?
The first thing I did was search HomeAway, FlipKey, VRBO, Craigslist and a few property management companies for similar properties. My home is a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath, 2 story with game room and hot tub. While it’s not ultra-luxury, it does have decently high-end furnishings and modern appliances. I found 10 properties – some near my property in Truckee, but some further south in Tahoe Keys and near Heavenly.
HotSpot Tax Services caters to the vacation rental industry and has a great list of reasons why vacation rental tax compliance is important. Among the best is that it creates an important revenue stream for state and local governments that can in turn protect our industry.
Tax is a scary little word – no one enjoys paying or collecting them – but you shouldn’t second guess your own willingness to comply. You are doing the right thing. What’s the best way to present them to guests? Continue Reading…
Getting the optimum rate at peak times requires that you really understand your market and competition. You know what to charge, when to charge it, and how to market your vacation rental in ways that other owners are overlooking. It requires some data analysis and a lot of organization. Let’s see how your rental stacks up for the 5 busiest weeks of the year and what you can do to stay ahead of the game.
The Five Busiest Weeks of the Year
FlipKey recently blogged that, according to past data, the busiest weeks for vacation rentals are:
- Christmas week
- 4th of July week
- Week before Christmas
- Midsummer (end of July – beginning of August)
- Midsummer (second to last week of July)
To see if you’re ahead of the game or about to play catch up, go to HomeAway, VRBO and FlipKey to see how far in advance similar rentals are booked up for these periods. Are you happy with what you see?
5 Marketing Steps That Put Inquiries In Your Inbox
If you still have availability during the peak season, or feel you’re not earning top dollar for your rental during those periods, make sure you’re following these steps to drive inquiries and bookings. Continue Reading…
The average traveler will visit between 3-5 vacation rental websites, and inquire about 7 different properties, according to data from FlipKey. To make the shortlist, you need to do one critical thing: Get their attention!
That doesn’t mean SCREAM AND SHOUT at travelers with all caps, use lots of exclamation marks!! or even post photos of cute little kitties to make them swoon. It means putting together a great listing that speaks directly to your target traveler.
The real competition starts with the search results. If you’re updating an existing listing, take a minute to search for yours and see what kind of “first” impression it makes. If you’re feeling too biased, show a friend and see what they think.
Just yesterday I was asked to look at a great vacation rental in Maui. Their listing title said “true beachfront property” which was compelling to me as a traveler. One time I stayed at a hotel that said “beachfront” only to find a busy, 2-lane street intersecting my room and the beach. But, with their title in place, the first shot that appeared in the search results was a photo of the bedroom. Not exactly the beachfront I was envisioning.
All of the items that typically appear in the search results are pulled from your listing (you can’t customize them separately), so be sure to keep these in mind when creating your listing.
- A small photo of the property (approx 1.5” wide x 1” tall)
- The headline
- Basic details (i.e. number of rooms, max occupancy, rates)
- The number of reviews received, maybe including star rating
- A very brief summary (i.e. the first sentence of your description)
For the second day of MyVR Marketing Tips, it’s time to review your rates.
Changing your rates isn’t something you need do today — for example, you don’t want to unexpectedly increase rates for people who’ve been planning to book with you but haven’t yet done so.
However, if you haven’t increased your rates in a while, it’s worth considering. Today, look at the information you have available to help decide whether adjusting your rates is the right move for you.
- Research nearby vacation rentals. Can you tell whether they’ve had a rate increase lately, or is there anything to indicate they’re planning an adjustment?
- Review your income, expenses, and occupancy rates. Are you charging people enough when they stay with you? Is it possible that high rates are keeping your numbers low?
- Consider expenses over the past year, and any changes forecasted for 2013. Are any of your service providers increasing their rates? What about utilities or insurance rates?
You don’t need to increase your vacation rental rates every year, but it’s important to be aware of what’s going on in your local market and to consider external factors that may impact your bottom line.
photo credit: Steve
Are your rates the right fit for your vacation rental? As noted in our earlier post about setting your rates, pricing your property is subjective — more of a best educated guess than an absolute calculation. It’s possible for you to miss the mark and price too high or low. If your rates are off, how can you adjust?