A long-distance rental property means that the home is located a few hours drive away, in another state or even in another country.
Many vacation rental owners opt to buy and manage a property remotely. This option is suitable for all hosts: those who wish to invest in an area where there is a high demand for tourism, want to list their property to international travelers, or own a holiday home abroad and rent it out when they are not using it.
Long-distance rental management isn’t just limited to location, as hosts living near their rental may not be able to dedicate to the business full time or frequently travel themselves.
How to Manage a Vacation Rental Remotely?
With the rapid rate that the vacation rental industry is growing, new technologies and online platforms have emerged that help homeowners take full control of their business. These tools allow hosts to run their vacation rental efficiently without actually been physically present. On many occasions, it can even reduce the workload. Let’s take a look at 8 ways to oversee vacation rentals remotely:
1. Automated check-in and check-out
Automated check-in and check-out in vacation rentals is a concept that has been around for a while and is a process that many hosts have already adapted, even if they live close to their property. The simplicity that comes with it is that you don’t have to greet your guests upon arrival and departure. This works as a great advantage, especially if guests are arriving late or have a delay.
There are several secure ways to allow your guests to check-in themselves: WIFI door locks, lockbox, electronic locks, smart locks. If you prefer to stick to the traditional way, you can carry out a safe key drop in which you provide a safe place close to the property for key storage. Likewise, you can entrust your neighbors or friends with the key to your rental home.
2. Home Automation Systems
Today’s market offers vacation rentals owners endless possibilities to manage their business without having to be present. Similar to automated check-ins, you can install home automation systems where you’ll be able to monitor and control the AC, heating, lighting, temperature, etc.
As for noise control in your property, applications such as NoiseAware or Party Squasher will inform you if your guests are having a party. In the event of excessive noise, you’ll receive an alert on your mobile phone and you can take action immediately, avoiding any problems with the neighbors.
Your new guests will receive a pleasant welcome in an invitingly lit house that is already heated or air-conditioned. In addition, you can also reassure yourself that everything is switched off after the guests leave and avoid paying excessive electricity and heating bills.
Whether you want to save energy or want to create a pleasant atmosphere to welcome your guests, these home automation tools are extremely helpful.
3. Have a Property Manager
One of the most common practices in having a long-distance rental is having a property manager. This tends to be the most popular and convenient option. Each company offers a different type of service. Some property managers take care of cleaning and replacing amenities, or act as the emergency contact for guests during their stay. A property manager can also be present for check-in and check-out turnover. Some companies even offer a concierge service.
Depending on the manager or company, they can account for 10 – 20% per booking, sometimes higher. Whilst you still can take care of the marketing and reservations, a property manager will look after everything guest-related and take care of the property itself.
4. Market your Property
The good news about having a long-distance rental is that you don’t have to change anything when it comes to marketing your property. There are many ways to advertise your rental: having your own website, SEO, listing on OTAs, writing a blog, email campaigns, social media, etc. Whilst there are several options, it’s important to dedicate time to each one to ensure that your rental gets high exposure.
If you decided to invest in a rental in a popular tourist destination, constantly marketing your rental is an absolute must to secure a high occupancy rate all year round.
5. Maintenance Contacts
Do some research in the area in which your rental is located and make contacts with local maintenance: a plumber, electrician or a handyman. Explain to them your situation, that you have a rental but do not live nearby, and ask them if they can be your point of contact if something were to happen when your guests are in the property. This way, they will be hands-on and able to fix something in case of an emergency (a leak, flood, power outage, etc.
6. Provide a Welcome Book
As you won’t be present at check-in, you can still give your guests a personal welcome by providing a welcome book. You can really make a good impression on your guests by putting some effort and creativity.
Here are just some ideas you can include:
- Activities in the area (beautiful hiking trails, special beaches, viewpoints, cycle pathss, points of interest, etc.)
- Recommendations for restaurants and cafés
- Useful information in the neighborhood (car parks, ATMs, supermarkets, pharmacies)
- Public transportation information
Providing the right services to your guests from the first moment they enter your vacation rental can really make a difference and could improve your repeat guest rate.
7. Communicate with your Guests
Communicate with your guests before, during and after their stay. Let your guests know that even though you’re not living in the area, they can get in touch with you if they experience any problems or aren’t satisfied.
Also, don’t forget them to provide them with an emergency contact during their stay, whether it is a friend or a property manager. If you are the emergency point of contact, inform them they can get in touch with you via email, phone or text.
8. Home Security
Your rental’s security is extremely important, especially when you are managing the property long-distance. Your rental may be empty between stays, therefore security measures must be in place during this absence.
Some key security systems are surveillance cameras, motion sensors, and burglar alarms. Many of these systems can be connected to your mobile phone or computer. If an alarm is triggered, you will immediately receive a notification on your smartphone and can check the live cameras.
However, some guests may not be fond of a surveillance camera and have concerns over privacy and data protection. Be sure to inform your guests in advance of the systems in place.
Since you are not on-site to meet your guests personally, you can always screen guests during the booking process. Get to know your guests before you accept the booking and only give them the exact address once the booking has been completed and payment has been received. After all, you want to avoid troublesome guests, especially when you’re not in the area.
What to Take Away:
Managing a vacation rental long-distance may seem like a challenge at first glance, but once you’ve examined all the points it’s not as daunting as it seems. Think of all the people in the world who have holiday homes abroad and rent out it when they are not using it themselves.
When the exact location of your holiday rental is not a determining factor, you can research which areas would be the most beneficial for you to invest in, or which are the most popular among travelers and will bring you the most profit.
As you can see, it’s not mandatory to be there yourself to offer guests a positive experience in your vacation rental. Substitutes such as automated check-in and the evolving technology can minimize the workload and at the same time enable you to manage your vacation rental remotely.
As you have already seen, managing a holiday rental property from a distance is a walk in the park really! With the latest tools and different ways of managing, owners no longer have to be present to run their business. What’s more, having these tools upgrades will make your property more attractive, safer and perhaps even more profitable in the long run.