Monday, May 18, 2009
Renting a vacation home is easier than you might think. You can simplify your vacation rental business and prevent potential problems if you follow some basic guidelines.
Here are some tips to help establish high standards within the industry and give confidence to new and old renters alike.
1. Respond quickly to inquiries. When renters inquire, they are typically ready to make decisions. Don't leave prospective renters waiting around for answers, especially after they've devoted time to searching the Internet for a vacation property. Besides, the first to respond is often the first to get the reservation. It is also important to respond even if your property is booked, just out of common courtesy. Consider using an auto-responder if you know there are times that it might take you a while to get to your computer.
2. Simplify your booking process. One of the top vacation renting tips is to accept credit cards from your guests. This speeds up your transactions and eliminates confusion if two renters have inquired about your property. You don't want to make people have a race to see who gets their check to you faster. Always handle your vacation rental business in a professional and courteous fashion.
3. Keep an up-to-date calendar and rates. Owning a vacation home rental is a business. It is important to stay organized to reduce stress for yourself and to make the reservation process easier for renters. Keeping up-to-date calendar and rates not only helps your placement in the search results, but it also adds credibility to our industry. Renters will continually ask about dates and rates (even if yours are up to date) as long as there are owners out there that don't keep theirs updated!
4. Post accurate and updated photos. Photos are probably the number one factor when a renter selects a property to book. The purpose of including photos in your vacation rental listing is to give renters all the information they need to decide whether your property is a good fit for their vacation. Make sure not to use a zoom when taking photos of the view from your home. It is easier to show people what they will actually see rather than dealing with a disappointed renter. As a rule, it is ok to improve the lighting and color of your photos, but it's not okay to edit photos to make your property appear better.
5. Prevent double bookings. One of the best vacation rental tips is to stay organized. Track all bookings in one place and keep thorough records to avoid the dreaded double booking situation. This will alleviate stress on both the part of the owner and the renter.
6. Cancelling a booking. If you need to cancel a reservation, the best way to handle the situation is to help the renter find another property to book. Chances are renting a vacation home has put you in touch with a lot of other owners. Tap into those resources to get help.
7. Create a rental contract. It is important to create a set of rules to establish clear expectations for you and your renters and include penalties for cancellations, damage, etc. Establishing vacation rental guidelines is a proactive way to keep you and your guests happy.
8. Prevent cleanliness complaints. By establishing a clear check-in policy, you are following one of the top vacation rental tips! Give guests a chance to voice any complaints from the start so you can address them quickly. A check-in policy gives you the opportunity to clearly state that there will be no refunds for issues that are not addressed at the beginning of their stay. This also reduces your chances for a negative review.
9. Charging for damages. Renting a vacation home does not mean you should be in the business to make money off of renters' security deposits. If there are no damages after check-out, the renter should be entitled to a full refund of their security deposit. If you do incur damages, you can only charge the renter for what it costs to repair or replace the damaged item(s).
10. Use reviews to your advantage. Most owners out there will receive a negative review at some point or another; it is just part of how to rent a vacation home. Instead of getting defensive, simply respond to the review and address the problem. This shows prospective renters that you have dealt with the issue and gives them confidence in renting a vacation home managed by owners.