6 Tips: What to do and not to do as vacation rental manager

 

6 Tips: what to do and not to do as vacation rental manager

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Set your prices

Carry out market research to establish a competitive price within your area, from similar properties.

Set a price per night based on what you think is fair or based just on what you want to earn monthly.

Photographs

Hire a professional photographer to highlight the qualities of your property and make your listing much more attractive, with at least 25 pictures.

Take 10 photos with your mobile, without paying attention to the light and the staging of the photograph, and neglecting the details.

Calendar update

Keep your availability calendar up to date entering each reservation and blocking the desired dates in real time. If possible you should use iCal to automatically synchronsize your calendar.

Cancel new reservations because another guest already booked those dates.

Listing’s title

Write descriptive titles that include the main characteristics of your property, capacity and location.

Use generic titles which don’t stand out against other properties. Fill the description up with meaningless adjectives.

Reviews

Request reviews of your property after each stay: together with the photos, reviews are the best way to attract guests when booking a vacation property.

Do not worry about what your guests think, believing that there will always be more waiting to book your property.

Distribution

List property on as many vacation rental websites as possible to maximise your distribution and increase exposure.

List your property on B.com or on Airbnb only.

VRMA Official Sponsors in Paris

We are very proud to announce that Your Rentals will be sponsoring the 2018 VRMA Europe Conference, and we want to invite you all to join us in Paris from 4 to 6 of March.

We are heading to Paris for the 2018 VRMA European Conference, 4-6 March 2018 at Le Méridien Etoile. Register online and get ready to discover the latest business strategies and trends impacting the European holiday rental market.

Highlights of this year’s conference include:

  • High-level networking opportunities to build connections and share your expertise with fellow holiday rental professionals.
  • In-depth education sessions tailored for you. Whether you are new to the industry or a seasoned executive, benefit from key takeaways, and best practices, and lessons learned.
  • Dedicated time with suppliers to explore the latest innovations in technology and the resources you need to grow your business.

While in Paris, visit our display table to learn more about Your.Rentals.

VRMA 2018 European Conference
4-6 March l Le Méridien Etoile l Paris, France
Learn More

The European Conference delivers premier business and educational tools to support holiday rental professionals and deliver superior guest and homeowner experiences. Attendees will participate in high-level networking sessions, in-depth educational sessions, and dedicated time with leading industry suppliers to learn how to take their business to the next level.

Configuring the “Free Wifi” correctly on your listing

Many guests search for properties with free wifi and we see stronger booking conversions for listings with free wifi. To make sure your listing has Free Wifi set correctly in the listing editor:

1. On the Facilities page: Under “Internet”, choose “Wireless internet WiFi(fig. 1)

2. On the Extras page: Under “Optional extras and services” add an extra “Internet” provide for “Free”. (fig. 2 and fig. 3)

fig. 1

fig. 2

fig. 3

Other Recommendations

  • Check your monthly data allowance before you open up your WiFi. You can quickly exceed your monthly allowance once other people start using it.
  • Opening up your WiFi to guests may impact on your own internet use. If you have a reliable connection with 5MBps or more, sharing to a couple of units at 1MBps per unit should still allow you to watch iPlayer and surf the web.
  • And remember as property owner you have a responsibility for the internet supply and its proper use. There are disclaimers available which you should ask your guests to sign, in exchange for free use of the WiFi, specially if you run a small-medium business and don’t have (or can’t access) a Hotspot Controller.

The Booking League: the true story of successful holiday rental managers

Your.Rentals has created the Booking League to acknowledge the great performance of our community members.

Booking League members receive a welcome pack as well marketing exposure and first access to new features and channels. One lucky member will receive a special invitation to the VRMA European conference in Paris in 2018. Find out more about Booking League benefits.

Membership of the Booking League is by invitation only – find out what you need to do to get invited.

Newly added to the Booking League

These are the profiles of our most recent additions to the Booking League.

Read below for an introduction to their businesses, and their tips for using Your.Rentals to obtain remarkable results.

Giovanna Bonomo from Gestioni Immobiliari.

Gestioni Immobiliari was founded in 1984 and is a real estate agency offering tourist accommodation in Cefalù, Italy and the surrounding area. They offer clients the ability to choose from sunny holidays in one of many apartments in the Old Town to stays in residential towers only minutes from the beach.

Which Your.Rentals feature is the most important to you?

“I have been working with Your.Rentals for almost a year now and the most important feature to me is the possibility to use the channel manager, letting me have huge visibility in most of the important channels. I have saved a lot of time by just listing my property on one platform.”

What is the biggest benefit of using Your.Rentals in your daily work?

“Previously, I setup my listings directly in each sales channel, but setting up the first listing in Your.Rentals was faster, and I had to do it only in one place for all channels. It took just a few weeks to start receiving bookings and since then I’m seeing an increase in bookings week after week.”

How do you manage your calendars across channels?

“I use the Your.Rentals calendar as the main calendar for my property management daily, and synchronize through iCal sync with my other calendars”

How do you set your rates to reach your booking conversion goals?

“To set a successful rate strategy I check the rates of similar accommodations in my area and I set my rates to be, as much as possible, competitive. I always try to set an all-inclusive rate.”

How do you feel about working with the Your.Rentals team?

“I am very happy with Your.Rentals support, replying and helping me at every step, it is definitely a great service for us”

Toke Terkelsen from Bakuri Group

Toke is a property manager in Thailand managing properties all over the country and has been using Your.Rentals for almost a year now.

How did you find out about Your.Rentals?

“I heard about Your.Rentals from a friend and decided to give it a try. Today we list 29 properties and I am happy I made that decision to use Your.Rentals.”

Which Your.Rentals feature is the most important to you?

“The most important feature to me is the simple commission structure: Having only one commission to cover all channels is an amazing asset to me and my company.”

What is the biggest benefit of using Your.Rentals in your daily work?

“We use beds24 software to manage our properties in several channels, but since we signed up with Your.Rentals, and after a few weeks, we noticed an important increase in the traffic in our listings in comparison. To set up one listing in Your.Rentals was incredibly fast, and took me less than 10 minutes to do so.”

Do you use other software or directly manage your listings in different sites?

“We import our beds24 Calendars through iCal and Your.Rentals takes care we don’t get double bookings, this way we can multiply the visibility of our properties online and use different systems and channels at the same time.”

How do you feel about working with the Your.Rentals team?

“Your.Rentals support is great and I am very satisfied with Your.Rentals solution, it was a great discovery for us!”

Joop Soonius, private owner

Joop manages one property (targeting golfing holidays) in Faro, Portugal and has been using Your.Rentals for the past 3 months.

Why did you choose to try Your.Rentals?

“It’s free of monthly fees and I didn’t have to pay anything extra to use the channel manager option with all the available channels.  I like the simple commission structure (only have to pay one commission to cover all channels)”.

You have used other property management systems in the past, how does Your.Rentals compare?

“I found Your.Rentals more intuitive and easy to use. It only took me half an hour to create my listing and publish it. After a few weeks, I started to see the results and it hasn’t stopped.”

How has Your.Rentals helped to improve your business?

“I gained in both quantity of bookings and organization to optimize my time.”

How do you manage your calendars across channels?

“I use Your.Rentals as my main calendar, and I update the calendar manually for offline bookings every day to avoid cancellations or unwanted bookings.”

How do you feel about working with the Your.Rentals team?

“There is a very good team supporting a very good product”

4 Security Tips for Vacation Rental Owners

4 Security Tips for Vacation Rental Owners

Whether you are new to the vacation rental industry or have been renting your home for years, you’re sure to have heard some Airbnb horror stories and terrible experiences from other hosts.

If you want to avoid these kinds of nightmares, the first thing you need to do is write up a good contract in which both parties have to agree to certain responsibilities. After this is done, the next step is protecting your vacation rental from those who might want to take advantage of it.

We’ve put together these four essential pieces of advice which will help rental property owners keep their homes (and guests) safe and sound.

1. Make your property look lived in

An empty vacation rental or second home can sometimes be a prime target for thieves and opportunists – so you always want to give the impression that somebody is home.

If you live local to your property, this is something you can easily do yourself. Otherwise, you can hire a professional to take care of your rental, especially if it’s looking a bit worn and clearly vacant.

So, how do you make it look like your property has guests?

You can start with the obvious: by taking regular care of the garden and other outdoor spaces. Keep any outside areas looking neat and manicured at all times, and never let them get to the point of looking unkempt or abandoned.

Another great idea is to switch lights on and off – as this will create more of an illusion of life at your home. But don’t worry, you won’t need to visit the house every day to do this! You can buy timers quite inexpensively, which you can easily install and set up to turn on and off again for a few hours each evening. Additionally, you could install outdoor motion sensor lights which will let you (or neighbors) know if anybody is lurking after hours.

It’s important to avoid putting up posters on your property’s exterior which announce it’s “For Rent” or “Vacant”, as this can also warrant unnecessary attention. The best and safest way to promote your vacation rental is with your own website, and via listings on reputable online travel agencies.

2. Install the latest security systems

Security is one area where you shouldn’t scrimp for your rental – both for your own and your guests’ peace of mind.

We’re not saying you need to have 50 CCTV cameras in and around your home! But at the very least, your property needs to have a good lock and alarm system in place. This will help your guests to relax knowing they’re safe, and will also save you from any intruders during vacancies.

Also, make sure that guests close windows and lock doors whenever they leave your place, and avoid leaving keys out in visible places such as under the doormat or in a plantpot. A simple and practical solution for vacation rental owners is a key lockbox, or even a smart lock.

As well as this, it’s not a bad idea to have an extra pair of eyes keeping watch every now and then. You could ask a trustworthy neighbor to send you a message should they see anything suspicious at your home or in its surroundings.

3. Be careful when promoting your property and accepting bookings

When you are creating listings that are going to help promote your vacation rental, avoid giving out too much location information. Get to know your guests before accepting their reservation by asking them some questions about who they are and the purpose of their visit. You should neither give out your exact property address until the booking is confirmed and payment has gone through nor upload any photos which show the precise property location.

What’s more, it’s essential you take reservations and accept payments through a secure system to avoid being hacked or receiving false details. Our advice is that you accept online payments via credit cards through your own website, which is supported by a good vacation rental software that prioritizes the safety and security of both monetary and sensitive data transfers.

4. Ensure your guests feel safe

Help your guests to make your vacation rental a safe place by giving them the tools they need in case of emergency.

For starters, you can provide them with a safety manual, in which you encourage them to follow some of the practices previously covered in this article. It is also helpful to use this space to explain where emergency equipment (such as fire extinguishers and a first aid kit) can be found.

You can even install a safe at your home so that guests can securely store any valuables such as money, jewelry, passports and electronic devices while they are asleep or out of the house.

Finally, ensure guests have an emergency contact number so they can get in touch with you if needed, as well as a list of other key local emergency numbers (such as police, fire department, ambulances, etc.).

 

About the Author
Lodgify is an all-in-one vacation rental software which empowers owners and managers to easily create their own website, accept online bookings and credit card payments, and manage all reservations from one place.

 

Answering your feedback about Your.Rentals

Answering your feedback about Your.Rentals

– a post from Your.Rentals CEO, Andrew Martyn

I’d like to share some great news with you. Since we launched Your.Rentals in November 2016, we’ve exceeded our own expectations and yesterday passed 10,000 registered property managers!  I’d like to personally thank each property manager for the time you have invested in getting started with Your.Rentals, and look forward to building a bright future together.

You may wonder why this is important to you. I believe it is important because the more traction Your.Rentals has in the market, the easier our progress is in connecting new channels and growing faster. As an early user of Your.Rentals, you’ve taken a leap of faith and now it’s time for the payback.

Over the past 2 weeks, we invited some of our property managers to give us feedback via a short survey (thanks to the more than 500 property managers who responded!), and I’d like to share and respond to some of the key findings.

You’ve asked for some things from us, and we also have some tips to help each of you become more successful in using our platform.

It’s important to remember that Your.Rentals is a “performance-based” vacation rental management and distribution platform. Your.Rentals is different because we do not charge monthly subscription fees like most of our competitors. We get paid when you get paid. We see this as the perfect balance to a business relationship and it drives our company philosophy.

Your feedback and our response

Feedback 1: Some of you are unsure about setting prices, fees and payout calculations

Some property managers have said they are confused about how to set prices and how our fees are applied to calculate your payouts.

This is a top priority issue for us – as we want to ensure you never need to turn down a booking due to incorrect rates or unexpected payout amounts.

We’ve made a new page on our website to explain this more clearly, and also to help you understand why we charge the fees that we do. I would encourage every property manager to take a few moments to read this to ensure that your prices are set to achieve the payouts you expect.

We also introduced some features earlier in 2017 to show you both the guest and payout amounts where you set your rates, and show your nightly rates in your calendar. Last month we released our Listing Preview feature where you can select dates and we’ll show you the pricing and payout calculations so it’s easy to double-check.  Use these tools and we are sure that you’ll be able to set your rates correctly. If you do need any help, please get in touch with our support team.

 

Feedback 2: You want to be able to see your listing live in sales channels

We agree that seeing your listings live in channels will give you confidence that Your.Rentals is working the way you expect, and allow you to double check for any errors in your content, rates or availability.

You can now find a View listing button in our Channel manager so that you can to click to see your listing in that channel. Not all sales channels provide us with the direct links to your property (for example HotelBeds, HomeToGo etc), however where possible we are providing you with a link.

 

Feedback 3: You want more sales channels

We aim to perfect the performance of each sales channel before introducing new ones – so that we’re able to deliver correct bookings to you. Over the first half of the year, we’ve focused on ensuring that key channels are working well.

Now we’ve turned our attention to releasing new sales channels, and I’m happy to announce our distribution is live to Agoda, HotelBeds and Only-Apartments – with a significant number of new channels planned to be connected before the end of the year.

Due to some of our property managers having too high cancellation rates (read more about that here), some of the new channels such as Agoda will be invitation only to begin with. We’ll be letting you know by email when a new channel is connected, and what you need to do to ensure your listing is connected.

 

Feedback 4: You want more bookings!

As Your.Rentals is a performance-based platform (we earn money when you get bookings) our goals are completely aligned with you on this.

We acknowledge that not all property managers have received their first booking via Your.Rentals. With our new channels and some new features coming in the next few months, each week you have a greater potential to receive bookings.

There are a few things that you can do to increase your success:

  1. Ensure that your calendars and rates are up to date – that will ensure your listings remain online, and that each booking is correct. It will also mean that you will be automatically included in our invitation-only channels. You can use the Listing Preview feature to check how the guest sees your availability and rates, and double check the payout you’d receive for bookings on different dates.
  2. Where possible activate Instant Booking – this will expand the number of channels available to you. You should be able to activate Instant Booking if you control your calendar and ensure that it is up to date. For Property Managers who share a calendar with the owner, you can agree to update from a shared calendar so that both of you have the correct availability.
  3. Take note of your Listing Quality Score, and seek to bring it above 90/100. You can find the most important tips for improving your Listing Quality Score on the Dashboard page.

 

We fully understand that for some property managers, these issues have caused Your.Rentals to slip down your “priority list” and you haven’t invested the time to update your availability and rates. I hope that you can see that we are working hard to generate bookings for every property manager to ensure we are at the top of your priority list.

To finish off, I want to thank you for trusting Your.Rentals with your business and encourage you to act upon some of the points in this post. We rely on you to create a successful platform.

If you have any comments, feedback or ideas, please use the comment feature below to which I will personally respond. If you’d like some help getting your account perfected – reach out to our fantastic support team either by email or LiveChat on our website.

 

Best wishes
Andrew Martyn
CEO – Your.Rentals