Rental Insurance Uncovered – Are you Protected?

Protecting your property against major perils such as fire, flood, storms etc., is something we all do to ensure that our property is covered for the risk of a disaster happening.  However, once you start offering your property for rent to the traveling public you open yourself and the property to the risk of many other issues and potential claims.  Do you know what would happen if a guest fell down your stairs and then claimed they were unsafe, or if a theft occurred because your property was left unsecured during a guest visit?  These are just a few things you need to consider before you start to rent….or check over if the place is already open for bookings. [...]

Are Your Bathrooms Zen-like?

I’ve been viewing a number of properties recently the owners are considering offering for rental.  It’s interesting that while I’m getting my guided tour of each property, the one room that get’s glossed over is the one that many guests find most important, and that is the bathroom.  [...]

Quality Basics for the Kitchen

When I bought my first property for rental in 1998, I became a regular WalMart shopper.  If it was cheap and cheerful, I was going to buy it.  After all, it was just a ‘rental’ and boy, did I learn quickly.  Cheap toasters, coffee makers, microwaves and blenders don’t last long.  Dollar store glassware and plates chip badly, non-stick cookware gets damaged easily and the biggest mistake was the brand new stove that didn’t self-clean (because I saved $150).   [...]

Before You Buy – Tips for Making a Profitable Vacation Rental Purchase

Who doesn’t go on vacation and dream of buying a property in that location?  Walk along any street in a tourist destination and there are huddles on people looking at the pictures in the realtors office windows.  And if those people are renting a vacation home they will be calculating potential rental figures based on what they have just paid.  The savvy ones – those who are already VR home owners - will factor in the known costs of property management, maintenance, operational costs and marketing as it relates to their own property and come to a bottom line figure that may convince them one way or another, but many make knee-jerk decisions they come to regret. [...]

Outsourcing Made Easy

My mom had a great expression that has stuck with me forever.  When she had no interest in doing something herself, or better yet, felt she was not skilled enough at a task, she operated what she called, the GAMI principle.  With a military husband who was deployed so much he was away more than he was home, this was her solution to every situation that would require do-it-yourself skills, from toilets blocking up to the removal of ground bees nests.  Although she was a strong-minded, fully independent woman, she felt these were jobs more suited to professionals than to her well-intentioned but ultimately ineffective attempts. So, she would “Get A Man In” to take care of that sort of stuff. [...]

Follow-up emails – the smartest marketing you can do

In this fast-moving technology-driven culture it’s easy to forget about the importance of following up with your customers.  In the buying process we research a product, make a selection and then a purchase.  If it works as it should and delivers satisfactory service then all well and good, but we may forget about where we purchased it from or the experience of doing so.  However, if the company follows up on the purchase and reminds you about that experience, there is a good likelihood you’ll buy from them again.  Sears does this when they send a personalized thank you card after you buy an appliance.  It’s a simple gesture that really works. [...]

Property Management Blueprint

Getting the right person to handle changeovers and routine maintenance may seem easy.  After all, isn’t is just about hiring the first person who comes with great references from their other clients, is competitively priced and is knowledgeable about what you want them to do?  On face value this seems to be a good benchmark to work from and is the way most owners go about employing a property management team or individual.  This can bring you a trustworthy and competent person who will probably do a great job but you also want someone who understands the nature of the hospitality industry and how essential it is to respect and value the guests who come and go.  Doing a good clean may not be sufficient in the overall picture – having an appreciation of the business of vacation rentals is equally important. [...]

Presentation Tips for Information Documents

When your guests have booked and paid their deposit, what do you send them?  Is it just a rental agreement and statement of account, or do you then deliver a comprehensive pre-arrival document so they can plan their stay?  I would go for the latter because for many people the anticipation of and the planning for a journey can be the most important and enjoyable part of the vacation. [...]

The Importance of Sleep Quality

One of the most common things you would probably hear your guests say to each other is “how did you sleep?”.  It’s hardly surprising since getting a good night’s sleep is a major goal for most people on vacation.  We live in such a sleep-deprived world that getting away from the stresses of work and everyday life and enjoying relaxation and the potential of deep and tranquil sleep is a major driver toward a vacation.  A 2010 Ipsos poll showed that 80% of Americans cited being tired, cranky or restless as the sign they need a holiday, so the attention we pay to the quality of sleep and relaxation of our guests can deliver a lot of satisfaction [...]

10 Essential Items for your Vacation Rental

It’s not until you stay in a vacation rental that you realize what is essential for you, and there are many items that travelers would not think of leaving home without.  However, the things on this following list are a few of those that should be included in any vacation home to ease and assist guests to have a great stay. [...]

5 Insider Tips From Successful Vacation Rental Owners

It's clear from talking to owners of vacation rental homes that those who have real success with their rentals have more returning guests and fewer issues with problem renters.
What do they do that sets them apart from the competition? Why is it that some properties rent earlier and achieve higher occupancy rates over a longer period of time? [...]

Why Attention to Detail Matters

We need to accept that guests are becoming more demanding as they continue to move from booking hotels to choosing our particular brand of accommodation for their vacation.  They want to find a professionally produced listing with outstanding photographs, businesslike correspondence that creates confidence, and when they arrive, they expect a meticulously presented property.  Paying attention to detail at every stage of the process will help you meet those expectations. [...]

Kitchen Comfort

I recall going to a vacation rental property for the first time and being really disappointed by the reality of what had been described in the listing as a ‘fully equipped kitchen’. I expected far more than what was delivered as my point of reference was my personally equipped kitchen at home. So, at the very least, a decent can opener and a sharp knife should have been readily available. Over the years, and as I have readied six of my own rental properties, I’ve learned both from my own experience and from my guests' reviews what is most important to help guests feel comfortable in their kitchen away from home. [...]

3 Steps to a Bed Bug Plan

The last phone call any owner wants to receive is the one that lets you know there are bed bugs in the property.  Unfortunately these are all too common as the media regularly raises the issue with all the accompanying scaremongering.  Guests become instant experts on bed-bug recognition and even the most unassuming mild-mannered bug can be identified as the celebrity insect along with the drama and commotion that celebrity spotting produces. [...]

7 Ways to Connection Karma

Your guests want to be connected and will get frustrated if they can’t set up their laptops, iPads etc. as soon as they get settled in your vacation home.  Providing a good internet connection can also encourage low season rentals, when working people may be able to get away providing they have the means to stay in touch with the office.  And of course, having an internet service where several people can connect at the same time, is a great boon for families who arrive with numerous devices. [...]

How to Greet Your Guests

Renting a vacation home is a personal experience from the perspective of both owners and guests.  As an owner you want your visitors to appreciate your property and respect the features, facilities and amenities.  After all, it’s not an impersonal, bland hotel room and you’ve put a lot of effort in making it a welcoming space. [...]

Keeping on the Good Side of your Neighbors

There is a growing movement in many areas to cut down on the growth in short term vacation rentals, by banning them altogether in some cases, and by introducing draconian licensing regulations in others. Before you get serious about renting your property check the local by-laws to see how they may impact on your plans. It would be a tough call to find out you are not able to rent after spending money setting the property up for rental. [...]

Facilities and Features

The more facilities & features you can offer your guests, the more attractive the listing will be. This is most important in areas where there are multiple rental properties – you want to stand out from your competition - and offering added value in additional facilities can often make the difference in the choices a potential rental guest will make. [...]

Setting Rates

Setting a competitive rate for your vacation rental home requires some research, a lot of objectivity and a good dose of realism…and although it’s a serious exercise, it can be fun too! Overpricing and unrealistic expectations can result in disappointment both for an owner who may then struggle to create occupancy, and for renters who feel they have not been given value for money so getting right from the start is important. [...]

Added Value Services

If you live close to your property or have a caretaker who is willing to be more involved with your guests, then you have a real opportunity to create a menu of added-value services. These are the type of services that can create some additional income as it is quite acceptable to add a small fee onto the net cost of some of the items. Advertising the services on your listing can help you stand out from the competition. These are some of the added value services you could offer: [...]

10 Tips on Making Your Guests Feel Welcome

Your first impression counts for a lot. From providing accurate directions to making access to your property easy, and offering a tangible welcome, each component of the initial impression your guests receive will contribute to positive testimonials. Here’s 10 key things you can do to make your guests feel welcome [...]

Transaction Documents

You will need a set of documents to note every part of the transaction. In case of any dispute you will then have a complete and dated record of everything that was agreed upon, payments made and any specific policies that apply to your rental. [...]

Vacation Rental Costing 101

Getting set up for rental can be costly unless you get a handle on what your fixed and variable expenses are likely to be.  Apart from financing the property, there’s a range of overheads to take into account and if you fail to manage these, they can get out of hand quickly.  Rental related outlay can be separated into three main categories – strategic, operational and marketing – the good management of each can result in a strong bottom line and a greater potential for a profitable rental business. [...]

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