Ever since Airbnb hit the web in late 2008, vacation rentals have been rapidly growing in popularity among travelers. In fact, in one survey of individuals who stay in both hotels and vacation rental properties, 60 percent said that they prefer Airbnb. Airbnbs often offer guests more space, the comforts of home, and in some cases a more unique overall experience. But if you’re a property owner or developer who has invested in building or growing your vacation rental portfolio in recent years, you know that Airbnb management comes with some unique challenges.
Unlike hotels and resorts, which usually have on-site staff, a front office, and maintenance and janitorial services on hand, vacation rental properties lack these features. Contact-free check-in is a popular feature of any kind of vacation property, which means that often, guests have no contact with a property’s staff during their stay, and vice versa. This can make mitigating issues more challenging. In addition, recent controversies surrounding poorly managed and maintained Airbnb properties could make filling your properties more difficult in the future as the app faces backlash.
At Vibrant Management, we understand what your Airbnb or other vacation rental property is up against. That’s why we’ve provided a few insider tips for better Airbnb management. Keep reading to learn how to put these tips to work for your own vacation rental property.
Don’t Rely on Booking Sites Alone
OTAs, or Other Booking Sites, are websites that travelers use to browse and book vacation rental properties, hotels, resorts, vacation packages, and more. Booking.com is the most popular OTA, though sites like Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, and Hotels.com also fall under this category.
For hotels and resorts, OTAs often get a bad reputation, because they take a portion of every booking made. These properties usually prefer that guests book directly because it means being able to keep more of their profits.
However, when it comes to vacation rental properties, many owners and managers depend on these sites to get bookings. After all, even if you own several vacation rentals on a single property, it can still be tough to help your small property stand out among larger hotels and resorts in the area. But while this can be daunting, it’s important to create a website and work to increase your direct bookings.
Not only do OTAs take a percentage of every booking, but they also create more competition for your guests. Even return guests might find themselves browsing other available properties on Airbnb when they return to book another stay with you. Having your own website allows you to better market your property and its unique features. You can also use it to advertise specials, highlight local travel tips, and more, all of which your guests, and particularly your return guests, will find useful.
Have a Plan for Every Kind of Emergency
Another important tip for Airbnb and VRBO management is to make sure that you and your staff are prepared for every kind of emergency. Who will reach out to guests if bad weather causes damage to the property? What is a water main break in the area mean that your vacation rental won’t have access to water for the next few hours? How would you react if prior guests cause damage to your property, and you have to let the next guests know?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing only on the routine, everyday aspects of managing a vacation rental property, like increasing bookings or adding new amenities. But as a property manager, and especially an off-site manager, it’s essential to have a plan in place for every scenario and to make sure that any staff or agencies that you work with are aware of these plans and ready to put them into action.
Don’t Neglect Marketing
Similar to property owners who rely solely on Airbnb and other OTAs for bookings, many vacation rental owners and managers neglect to market their properties. They assume that these OTAs will drive enough bookings to keep their property full. But this often isn’t the case.
Just as you would market a small resort or hotel, it’s important to invest in marketing for your vacation rental property. This doesn’t have to mean pricey marketing on high-tier websites. Social media marketing, for instance, can be a low-cost, but effective way to grow your brand and increase bookings.
Investing in Professional Airbnb Management
The best thing that you can do for you and your Airbnb is to invest in professional vacation rental management. With the help of an experienced team, you’ll not only be better equipped to manage your property, but you’ll also get help with marketing, building a website, and increasing direct bookings.
Vacation Rental Management from Vibrant Management
Airbnb management comes with plenty of unique challenges. But with the right strategies and resources, you can grow and expand your property, boost bookings, and increase your bottom line.
At Vibrant Management, we offer a variety of vacation rental management services. From full operation to consulting to social media marketing, we can help your vacation rental property shine. Ready to learn more? Book your free consultation today!