Scale Your Property Management Business Without Forgetting Your Roots

Listen to enough vacation rental manager origin stories, as we have at Properly, and you’ll start to notice a pattern. One that’s true of managers with a handful of properties and those with over 100. That pattern is this: it all started with one, shining-star success.

Then, from that singular, successful vacation rental, an entire business was born.

The secret sauce of many shining-star debut vacation rentals? Detailed and thoughtful hospitality.

Cut flowers by the bedside. Restaurant and activity recommendations tailored to individual guests. Welcome baskets of goodies and personalized notes. These touches clearly made for appreciative guests, great reviews and repeat bookings.

But, of course, there’s a catch. As a vacation rental company grows (good thing!), these thoughtful touches and hospitality extras become more difficult to pull off (not so good!).

So, how do you manage a growing portfolio of rentals to the same, consistently high standard that brought you success in the first place? How do you keep standing out without burning out?

Here are our ideas for growing smartly and maintaining impeccable hospitality when your one flawless rental becomes a portfolio of 50.

1. Use social media

You know it’s great for marketing. But did you know social media is also perfect for scaling a hospitality business?

As soon as a guest books with you, invite them to follow you on social (we like Facebook and Instagram). In the meantime, fill your feed with restaurant and activity recommendations, hidden gems in your area, local events and, of course, great images of your properties.

It’s an immediate, low-effort invitation to your rentals’ community, as well as a preview of the awesome experience that awaits your guests.

Tip: Resist the urge to post glowing reviews from other guests – or other blatant marketing tactics – on your social feed. The goal is to have a feed that’s fun, inspirational, and info-packed.

It’s much more effective to post an image of your ocean view at dusk, or a fire crackling in the gas fireplace. You can even ask your guests to tag you with their favorite photos from the trip. Their smiling faces will pack a punch that a written review never will.  

We love this example from Alanna Schroeder, of The Distinguished Guest. This is her vacation rental on the magical island of Kauai. One look at that photo and you want to repeat her dreamy beach day. (And the adorable kiddo certainly adds extra sweetness!)

2. Crowd-source your guest guide

Scaling your business means scaling your team… and your homeowner base! Use this to your advantage to create a crowd-sourced guest guide.

You may love yoga and have loads of yoga recommendations for fellow yogis, but have no idea what rock climbing spots to suggest. Cue the hivemind! The more people involved in your guest guide, the more personalized it will be for your guests.

TipDownload Properly’s list of Top 10 Guides and send it out to your homeowners and team for their contributions.

One way to structure your guide is to create profiles for your employees/homeowners, with some brief details about their lives, as well as favorite brunch locations, hiking trails, sunset spots, etc.  

Examples:

  • Susan, owner of Bluebird Cottage, is a trapeze artist who is active in the arts scene. Here’s a list of her favorite Arts & Culture experiences in the city.
  • When Jack, our maintenance guy, isn’t busy making sure your rental is perfect, he’s a coffee connoisseur. Read on for his Top 10 Coffee Shops in the area.

Bonus: your guests will get the sense that they are being hosted not just by you, but by your entire community of employees and clients.

4. Lean on your team

Your team will likely be the last people to perfect the space before guests check in. If you build a solid team that is as dedicated to the care of your guests as you are, you’re already winning.

Make sure to communicate – from day one – why your management business is so important to you and why hospitality and attention to detail are so critical to your (shared) success.

Susanne in Kelowna, for example, has team-building down to a science. So much so that, when there was a water shortage warning in her city, her service provider went out to get bottled water for all of the guests – without Susanne even needing to ask them to do so.

5. Convey your vision clearly

Remember all those thoughtful hospitality touches you were able to deliver back in the day when you had just one listing? You don’t have to compromise! You simply need to communicate them to your service providers.

Call us biased, but we think the best way to do that is with a visual checklist, like the one we offer at Properly.

With a visual checklist you can nail down the details that matter to you – from restocking coffee beans and paper products, to ensuring the key is in place, to gorgeous extras like cut flowers by the bedside, mood lighting, and curated music for guests’ arrival.

When details are conveyed via images – rather than easily forgotten verbal instruction – no piece of your vision is left to chance.

One thing is for sure: our hats go off to those with the drive to grow your business and the dedication to maintain your standards without compromise. It’s no easy feat, but businesses like yours are what make the vacation rental industry so special.


About the Author

Properly is the vacation rental owner’s all-in-one solution to cleaning and turnovers! Use Properly to schedule all of your cleanings from bookings, create and send customized cleaning checklists with photos and get damage reports. Hosts and property managers can also use Properly to find and hire great cleaners used by others in your area.

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