Dan C., who lists this New York vacation home and a Miami condo with VacationHomeRentals.com, helps us launch our Take it From an Owner feature, where we’ll gather tips on how to gather exposure for your own property during all seasons. In just 18 months, he has reaped the rewards of keeping up on his listings with gorgeous photos, detailed content and renter testimonials.
Does he think vacation home owners be rattled by the economy? Naah. Not if they’re marketing their properties right. Without further a due, his advice …
Q: Why did you list with VacationHomeRentals.com and what success have you found with it? What other forms of advertising have you tried?
A: Easy-to-use interface, ability to load lots of pictures and information, three levels at which I can feature my property (I use the highest to get top billing), the availability calendar, ability to post helpful links to local attractions, very easy for prospective renters to contact me.
Also use Craigslist with my VacationHomeRentals link in the ad. Considered using VRBO but haven’t bothered since Craigs and VHR fill me up.
Q: What has been your busiest season and why?
A: Summer. Traditional vacation and “summer home” season in the Northeast.
Q: It’s a tough economy. What advice do you offer to other property owners for attracting renters during the off-season? Has the recession prompted you to throw out any extra incentives to get more business?
A: Don’t lower prices. Instead add value. In winter, provide free firewood, the latest DVD’s, large screen TV, pay channels on the TV, free wireless internet, jazz and classical CDs, down comforters and pillows and other items that make (in the case of the Northeast) an off-season stay cozier.
Q: What tips can you provide to first-time property owners wanting to list on VacationHomeRentals.com?
A: Spend the money and feature your property. Top-billing gets you more hits. Take lots of BEAUTIFUL pictures, change them often, be flexible with arrival and departure dates (Don’t restrict people to Saturday-to-Saturday, for example), give out your phone number, provide something that distinguishes you from the competition. (Don’t forget to LOOK at the competition and position your own property in relation to them.)
Q: How far in advance should renters book?
For summer: in March. For fall: in August. In general: two months.
A: Any other general tips for renters/property owners?
Get a handyman who can show up at the property for leaky faucets, faulty door hinges and other annoyances. Label everything in your house so people know where to put things back. Hire a housekeeper. The less “do-it-yourself,” the better. Build these costs into your rental price and add amenities that make the price worth it.
Valerie Moloney is your resident blogger and the Expansion Markets Editor for Citysearch.com, who oddly enough, feels panicked when asked, "What's the best place to eat in Chicago?" or her favorite, "It's my birthday. Where should we go with a party of six?" No stranger to travel--and traveling with kids--she is a young mom who ODs on the Internet when it comes to planning family trips or buying clothes. Here's hoping she finds you the vacation you deserve.