Plan de negocio apartamentos turisticos

Vacation Rental Business Plan: 15 Steps for Success (Free Template)

Investing in vacation rental property isn’t a decision that’s made overnight. There are many factors to take into account which will help influence your final decision on whether to start a business in this growing industry.

What can YOU do?

Arguably the most valuable contributions come from doing the groundwork involved in creating a strategic vacation rental business and management plan – long before you even hand over the deposit or receive the keys. Creating a viable business plan will help you identify risks before you even invest, which will, in turn, help you determine the chances your business has at achieving success.

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In this free guide, we take a look at what a business plan is, give you a few samples and templates to use, plus the top 15 things your vacation rental business plan needs to include if you want your private accommodation company to succeed.

What is a vacation rental business plan?

To put it simply, your business plan is an overarching set of rules, goals and frameworks that will help you to make decisions for your new business and its future. How?

Not only will the business plan help you define the strategy you will run your business with, but it will also be a useful tool to refer back to time and time again to make sure you going in the right direction.

Why do you need a business plan for your vacation rental property?

Many eager vacation rental owners are ready to hit the ground running when they first buy their properties – who wouldn’t? Any vacancy or downtime on the property means more money that’s coming out of your pocket. Before jumping into the deep end, though, keep in mind that the vacation rental business plan is what’s going to ensure you maximize your profit. What you lose with some initial vacancy will be earned tenfold with a good vacation rental plan.

Beyond making money, having a business plan for your vacation rental is what’s going to make sure you’re on the right track, reaching goals, and accurately measuring success. For example, how can you know that your ad spend isn’t too high or that your average daily rate isn’t too low unless you set a business plan in place? This plan will help you lay of the land of your business while also making sure you’re setting measurable goals to gauge success and profitability.

Vacation Rental Business Plan

What’s the secret to a good short-term rental business plan?

It’s really all about the timing. It is advisable to write a business plan before you buy the rental home, so you can truly judge if it is a worthwhile investment and business venture. Remember that a vacation rental is no small project, so before being strapped with $200,000+ of debt, make sure the ends justify the means by guaranteeing a secure investment through a well-thought-out business plan.

But if you want to succeed with your business, we also recommend asking the experts; those who already have a triumphant and proven business in the rental market, and those who work every day with rental owners all around the world.

That’s exactly what we did to write this article. We got in contact with Antonio Bortolotti, Cynthia Chan and Karen Spencer – all professionals in the field who are ready to get you through your very own business plan.

We asked them a few questions, to help YOU craft your business plan. Let’s get started!

What should my vacation rental business plan include?

For those venturing into business for the first time, knowing what to include in your strategic plan can be confusing.

We want to make things easier for budding vacation rental entrepreneurs, so below you’ll find a list of the top 12 things to include which will help you succeed.

You can follow this template with sample questions and example answers, to make it easier for you to understand how to create your own holiday rental management and business plan.

Step 1. Executive summary

For people outside Fortune 500 companies, the idea of writing an ‘executive summary’ can be a bit scary. However, it’s a lot simpler than you may think!

When you go to a bookstore searching for a new fiction novel, or a well-known classic, you usually pick up the book and read the blurb at the back to get a short, comprehensive idea of what the book is about, right? That’s exactly what an executive summary is.

It is just a few short sentences that really sum up your holiday rental business, and include all of the most important information you want to get across to your guests and others. This is so that anyone can read the first page of your plan and know, at a glance, what your business entails.

To begin, it might be easier to start by asking yourself the famous five W’s: Who? What? Where? When? Why? This will help you get in the key information, without panicking that you’re missing something.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Where is my vacation house located?

  • Is it by the seaside?
  • Is it in the middle of the city, a short ten-minute walk from local tourist attractions?
  • Is it in the countryside?

What is it?

  • Is it a family holiday home?
  • Is it a bachelor pad with one bedroom, suited to business travelers?
  • Is it a large, beach cottage?

Who is it for?

  • Families?
  • Couples?
  • Large groups of friends?

When is it best to stay at my rental?

  • Is it a summer rental?
  • Is it suitable all year round?
  • Is it perfect for businessmen traveling mid-week for meetings in the city?

Why do you have this property?

  • Is this a spare room you’re renting out just for some extra cash?
  • Is this to top up your pension, if you’re retired?
  • Is this your main form of income?

Of course, you do not need to follow this structure, but this will help you outline what information you would like to include in your executive summary, which you can then rewrite to make sure it sounds professional and eye-catching to the reader.

Note: If you are still not sure about the details of your Executive Summary, feel free to do it at the end of your business plan – it’s definitely a case of saving the best until last!

Step 2. Business goals

Your executive summary is going to give you a broad overview of where your business is going, but the goals section will help to further solidify this vision. Goals are what helps you to set markers for what success in your business looks like. Are you satisfied with a couple of bookings a month or are you expecting a full reservation calendar by the end of the year? You’ll need to set goals to help pin this down.

Business plan for short term rentals

It might sound elementary, but setting S.M.A.R.T. goals will help your business to achieve success. Is your business goal smart? Is it measurable? Attainable? Relevant? Time-based? Setting good goals is the basis for any successful vacation rental business plan.

Step 3. Value proposition

As with any business, you’ll need to state why customers are going to choose your business. It’s difficult to take yourself out of the equation when evaluating your business. After all, you’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into this project so why wouldn’t guests choose you?

No amount of effort is enough if it’s not adding any value to your vacation rental or guests. Consider how your vacation rental will provide a guest experience that the other properties in your area simply can’t provide.

Step 4. Company analysis

In this section, you should aim to explain the Unique Selling Points (USP) of your new vacation rental business, outlining the unique characteristics and offerings it will bring to the existing market.

Ok, but how?

Performing a short analysis of your company and finding your USP is much easier than you think. All it takes is asking yourself a few simple questions to figure out how it is you’re different (and better) than other rental properties out there. After all, once you are confident in your strengths, your guests will be, too!

Here are a few examples:

Is it better than others because of its location?

  • Is it close to the beach?
  • Main public transport lines?
  • Is it in the middle of nowhere and really offers the chance for guests to switch off completely?

Is the price of your accommodation better?

  • Are you the cheapest accommodation around?
  • Are you the best value?
  • Do you offer discounts at certain times of the year?

Are the interiors of your property different or better than the rest?

  • Have you decorated your vacation rental in a beautiful, rustic style?
  • Do you offer a huge, log fireplace that a family can sit around at night and play board games?
  • Is the design minimalistic, offering a business traveler a sleek, stress-free stay?

Step 5. Industry analysis

If you want to be successful in the rental business industry, you’ll need to be strategic and competitive in your company management plan. So, this section is where you set the scene for the landscape of the industry you are entering by stating some key facts about current trends and expectations.

One of the ways to do this is by carrying out an industry analysis – this is basically looking at other businesses in the industry and evaluating them.

This will help you come up with a successful business strategy, and make sure you’re the owner that comes out on top. After all, knowledge is power!

Here are some sample questions that will help get your industry analysis started:

What do vacation rentals near me charge per night?

  • Would you class it as affordable or good value?
  • Is it less than $50 per night? Or Is it more than $300?
  • Think about the figures you come up with in relative terms, weighing up the value of what the business is offering against the price they charge – this will help you start to price competitively.

Who is their target audience and clientele?

  • Are they families?
  • Couples looking for a romantic, quiet break?
  • Do they target students and school groups who need large, but basic accommodation?

Are they luxury units or more basic rentals?

  • Are they professionally decorated, upmarket rentals in the most expensive parts of your area?
  • Or are they simple, modest holiday home rentals that even students could afford?
  • Do the rentals tend to fall in one end of the price range, leaving a gap in the market?

Are they self-catered or Bed & Breakfast?

  • Are they all simple holiday rentals?
  • Do they offer a small, continental breakfast?
  • Or do they offer the full works, a breakfast that’s better than a lot of the restaurants nearby?

What websites/agencies do they use for bookings and advertisements?

  • Are all of your competitors advertising on Airbnb, TripAdvisor, etc.?
  • Do they collaborate with local tourism agencies?
  • Are they all missing out on a popular, fast-growing booking website which only you know about?

“I recommend owners to focus on profit per booking not occupancy rates. We’re in it to make money not fill as many nights as possible (that comes next). We could all be 100% full if we undervalued what we were offering. That doesn’t make good business sense. Be prepared to spend more when you first start out, to bring a quality product to the market – you’ll soon reap the rewards mid-term this investment in your future business will bring.” – Karen Spencer

Step 6. Customer analysis

Your customers – or rather, your guests – are how you are going to make your money. That’s why it’s so important to understand them and target them properly. In your plan, be sure to create different buyer personas based on the types of guests you want to attract.

This is like a profile of your ideal customer, from their age to their income. You should try to make it as detailed as possible because this will help your business grow later on.

These buyer personas will be used time and time and again in all aspects of your business to help you achieve more bookings.

Vacation rental property business plan

People say that the customer is always right – but if you truly get to know your customers and what they want, you can make sure that you and your business are always right too.

A customer analysis is basically just getting to know your customers, what they want and what they need from a rental property and a vacation.

Here are some short, key questions you should be asking yourself about your ideal guest:

What’s their name?

  • John? Derrick? Claire?
  • This may seem a little silly to give a name to a fictional person, but it will bring your customer analysis to life and really help you properly flesh out the buyer persona.

What do they work as?

  • Is he/she a high-flying banker?
  • Is he/she a medical professional?
  • Is he/she involved with a local school?

What age are they?

  • 18-25
  • 25-40
  • 40+

Do they have a family?

  • No, they are single.
  • Yes, only one child.
  • Yes, several children.

Keep going with questions like this, until you’ve built an entire profile of the person, which will then help you understand their personal beliefs, values and spending habits.

Sometimes old cliches can be true – if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail! Through this, you’ll be able to understand things like common complaints you will face, likes and dislikes they have in a property rental, and amenities the travelers will expect to find within the property.

Step 7. Competitive analysis

As well as focusing on your own holiday rental business, one element of your business plan is carrying out some competitor research.

Take a look at the market to find your direct competitors and analyze them to see how your business can thrive.

Competitive analysis is a similar idea to industry analysis, but this time you’re going to really focus on your immediate competitors rather than the industry as a whole.

For example, if your holiday home rental is a beautiful, tranquil cottage on a tourist island, your direct competitors would be other accommodation providers on the island.

With competitive analysis, you want to look at all of the people who may win a booking over you and use what you find to put yourself on top.

How much are my competitors charging per night?

  • Competitor 1 – $100
  • Competitor 2 – $150
  • Competitor 3 – $200
  • Using this information, you may decide to drop your prices below $100 to become the cheapest option amongst your competitors and increase your booking rates.

What standard of accommodation do they offer?

  • Are they all standard, basic camping hostels?
  • Or are they high-end, luxurious units?
  • Are they somewhere in between, suitable for most travelers?

Do they offer airport transfers/pick-up service?

  • No.
  • Yes, but for a very high price.
  • Yes, and for a reasonable price.

Do they offer a wide range of amenities in the house?

  • No, most don’t even offer WiFi.
  • Yes, some offer basic things like a washing machine and television.
  • Yes, all offer basic amenities and some even include luxury amenities (like a swimming pool or gym).

Step 8. Operations plan

The operations plan is quite simply, an insight into how you are going to run your new business on a day-to-day basis.

It will take into consideration things like whether you will be hiring any staff, what standards you will set, how you will keep track of inventory and other administrative duties.

This is going to be one of the most straightforward parts of your business plan, as chances are, you already have all of this planned in your head.

Here are just a few helpful prompts and examples in case you get stuck:

Am I going to hire any staff?

  • No, I’m only renting out one room in my home, which I can do myself.
  • Yes, I’m renting out several large apartments and I have a separate, full-time job.
  • No, my partner and I will do the work together.

Who is going to clean the rentals between guests?

  • A cleaning agency?
  • Yourself?
  • A neighbor?

Do I need to hire an accountant to help me handle the finances of my business?

  • No, I’m comfortable dealing with all of those things.
  • Yes! I don’t know the first place to start when dealing with taxes or business records.

Who will deal with bookings and customer complaints?

  • Myself, with only one room it will be very manageable.
  • I will hire an assistant to help with all of this administration stuff, I won’t have time!
  • My daughter/son, it will be a good part-time job for them to give them an allowance.
  • To keep things simple, you can also use software such as our own Lodgify vacation rental booking system and channel manager tool.

Step 9. Marketing plan

Explain which strategies you have decided will be best to use when targeting your key markets to achieve bookings.

Think about both online and offline marketing, as well as any campaigns or promotions you plan to run externally.

Your marketing plan is basically just how you’ll advertise your business to customers and how you’ll generate bookings. This is when your buyer persona (that you created earlier) will really come in handy.

Sample business plan for vacation rental property

If you know the people you’re trying to target, you’ll know what websites they use and what type of marketing will be suitable for them.

Your marketing strategy can be really diverse and varied – for example, you could use several online marketing strategies like Google Ads and listing your property on different rental websites (or your own!), but you can also use offline strategies like leaving flyers or business cards at local tourist attractions.

For example, here are some questions that can help you sketch out your marketing plan:

What methods of online marketing should I use?

  • I will just list my bookings on one travel website because that is enough for me.
  • I will have my own, personal vacation rental website. My site, my rules!
  • I have several properties to rent, so I will list them on several websites to increase traffic and booking numbers.
  • I will pay for Google Ads in my local area.

What methods of offline marketing should I use?

  • None, online marketing will be enough for me.
  • I will print flyers and leave them in local tourist offices.
  • I will give each guest business cards and ask them to recommend me to friends and colleagues.

Do I have a website?

  • No, I don’t want/need to create one.
  • No, but I want one! I need to hire someone to create one for me or try a professional website builder.
  • Yes, I have one, and I’m going to hire a Search Engine Optimization specialist to help me increase the number of visits to it.

Have I got business cards?

  • No, I don’t need any.
  • Yes, I have some but I won’t use them.
  • Yes, I have some and I’m going to use them as part of my marketing strategy.

“As all good things, being successful and keeping up with everything takes time, elbow grease, long nights and hard work. But if you have the passion, the clarity and the determination to succeed, you’ll find the formula to make your rental business successful.

While I’m not sure there is a one-formula-fits-all, there are a few things that helped me: a great website, awesome warm-hearted, personal communication skills, finely tweaked standards, procedures and operations, an open mind and willingness to widen your horizon by questioning what you’ve achieved and learning what’s next. Because we are in an ever-changing and challenging world and only those willing to adapt to the changes will survive.” – Antonio Bortolotti

Step 10. Task delegation and employee management plan

It pays off to dream big, but make sure you have the capacity to do so. If you’re planning to rent out your property every night, how will you manage guest turnover? Better yet, who will manage guest turnover? Your goals, depending on the scale, are going to take some serious work to get there – make sure you’ve factored in how you will manage it alone or how you plan to delegate tasks.

If you know that you’ll need to hire some staff, be it a property manager, cleaning service, or maintenance guy, you’ll have to plan for how you’re going to distribute and delegate the work. Using task management tools and including them in your business plan outline will help you to make the most of your teams’ efforts.

Step 11. Distribution plan

Websites like Expedia or TripAdvisor are referred to as OTAs (Online Travel Agency), which in the industry, is a fancy term for the middleman between you and your guest.

For all new hosts, presence on OTAs and listing sites to get bookings is quite essential.

Your distribution plan should consider which channels you’ll be advertising on, how much they’ll cost you, and how you’ll manage them (hint: you might need a channel manager).

A distribution plan will help you understand how you’re going to advertise your business to generate bookings and it will help you identify what websites you want to be on to help your visitors find out about and book a stay with you.

Here are some helpful example questions that should get you started writing a distribution plan:

Which OTAs do I want to list my property on?

  • Just one?
  • Every OTA that is available? I need lots of bookings!

How much will this cost me?

  • Is it free?
  • Do you have to pay monthly to list on these websites?
  • Do they take a commission off bookings you receive from that website?

Are there any tools available to help me manage all of this?

  • Yes! A channel manager.
  • A channel manager is basically a tool that you can use to make sure all of your bookings, dates and arrangements remain in one place, so you don’t get overwhelmed managing calendars from several different OTAs you’re using.

When I do get a booking, how will I receive the payment?

  • PayPal account.
  • Bank transfer.
  • Cash/card payments directly from guests upon arrival.

“If a host’s goal is to maximize their revenue and bookings, it definitely makes sense to list on several platforms. Based on research from one of our partners, Tokeet, they found that some of their hosts had reported a 20% increase in bookings once they used a channel manager to list across several home-sharing sites. I would recommend that if a host is listing across several platforms, they should utilize a channel management program to make it easier to manage their listings and their calendars so they don’t double book.” – Cynthia Chan

Step 12. Revenue management plan

So, this is the numbers part. But don’t worry – revenue management is not as scary as it sounds!

In this section, you’ll have to include information about the rates you plan to charge for your vacation rental, alongside any details about pricing or yield management tools you will use.

When running a holiday rental business, you need to keep on top of your incomings, outgoings and general overall finances.

Vacation rental finance plan

For people who feel overwhelmed by this, there are a lot of tools and software out there to help. To start with, we’ve written some quick questions to cover the basics of your revenue management plan to make sure your accounts and business stay well in the green.

How much will I charge per night?

  • Fixed price: $100 per night
  • I’ll use smart pricing, increasing the amount during busy periods.
  • I’m still undecided.

What level of taxes will I have to pay to the government?

  • 12%?
  • 20%?
  • I’m not sure – I need to research this before writing my revenue management plan.

What will my utility bills be?

  • Water is $20 a month.
  • Trash collection is $30 a month.
  • Electricity will vary depending on how many guests I’ll have.

What will my staff costs be?

  • Zero, I’m doing all of the work myself.
  • Low, I’m paying my teenage children an allowance to help me with some household chores.
  • High, I’m going to hire a cleaning agency, a marketing specialist, a website developer, etc.

What’s my target monthly income?

  • $500?
  • $10,000?
  • Anything above $0 at the beginning?

“Set stretching yet realistic prices. Quality holiday homes can charge more (because they are worth more) than an average place. When it comes to setting your prices, you need to know what it costs you to welcome each set of guests and work up from there, ensuring a healthy profit per booking every time. The more you charge per week, the more revenue per booking, yet your changeover costs, your marketing costs, your time spent, will be the same.” – Karen Spencer

Step 13. Financial plan example

Think about how you are going to finance your new business. Of course, you’ve asked yourself this question many times, ‘How am I going to afford this rental business?’ Will it be self-financed or are you planning on taking out a loan? Do you have no plan to spend any money because you’re simply renting out a spare bedroom?

These questions form your financial plan. It is basically just writing out, ‘Well, how am I going to pay for all of this?’ As we all know, money doesn’t grow on trees. Note down your estimates of expenditure and projected income for the first five years.

As with anything in life, proper budgeting and planning your finances will prevent any stress in the future, and it will mean that your business is ready to thrive.

So, what kind of information makes up a financial plan?

Will I need to take out a loan?

  • No, I’m just renting out an existing property with everything ready to go.
  • Yes, I will need a small loan to renovate this property.
  • Yes, I will need a substantial loan to purchase the property/land where I’m going to build my rental.

What will the interest rates be?

  • 2.5%?
  • 15%?
  • Variable?

Do I have savings I’m ready to invest into it?

  • I don’t want to put my savings into it.
  • Yes, I have a small amount that I’ll use for redecoration.
  • Yes, I have lots of savings that I’ve been keeping for a project like this!

What level of monthly loan payments can I manage?

  • None, my business has small incomings, so I don’t want to take a loan.
  • $100 for a small loan?
  • $750+ for substantial mortgage repayments?

“Sometimes not factoring in the cost of educating yourself is a luxury you can’t afford. The reason I’m part of online communities, I go to industry conferences like VRMA and I put together the Vacation Rental World Summit is because I’m the first one to not know everything and I’m aware that if I want my business to thrive and I want to keep being on the shoulder of the giants, while this industry changes and crashes so many owners who can’t keep up with the requirements needed to thrive, I need to stay informed on what’s changing, adjust my strategies accordingly, become aware of what’s coming. So I put together some of the best minds in our industry once a year – this year (2018) on Lake Como, Italy in October – to enlighten us all on what should we be doing to ensure we have a sustainable and exciting business we keep loving for many years to come. – Antonio Bortolotti

Step 14. Key milestones and business future

Write down explicitly what your plans and goals are for your business, plus what key milestones will help you achieve these targets.

When you start any project, whether it is going back to university, losing weight or starting a business, it is really important to track your project and also to track your progress. This section will be useful to refer back to and to ensure you’re on the right track.

After all, if you don’t set any goals, it might be easy to remain where you are.

For your rental business, here are some good milestones to use:

How much do I want to make a month?

  • $500? $750? $3.000?
  • This answer will be linked to your financial plan, so this is a good time to go back and have a look at wrote you wrote down in Point 10.

How many guests do I want in the first quarter?

  • 10?
  • 100?
  • As many as possible – I know I’m still in the beginning.

What rate of growth do I want in my bookings year-on-year?

  • 1%?
  • 100%?
  • I’ll figure this out in the second year, I’m just getting started at the moment.

How many returning clients do I want each year?

  • At least 10?
  • More than 50, I’m confident in the level of service I provide.
  • As many as possible!

“The biggest hurdle that Airbnb hosts have to get through in their first few years of business is to get enough reviews on their listing so that guests are comfortable staying at your listing. The more reviews you have, the higher your listing appears in the search results as well, so the biggest focus for hosts should be to get as many good reviews as possible.” – Cynthia Chan

Step 15. Vacation Rental Business Plan: Appendix

To keep your vacation rental business plan as neat and tidy as possible, include any supporting documents by way of an appendix.

That will ensure just the most vital information is detailed throughout your plan.

The appendix in your management and business plan can kind of be described like that one drawer you have in your house where you put all your miscellaneous documents – you know you’ll need them someday!

So, in your appendix you should put all of the relevant documents and folders you have for your business, containing the vital information you need to keep things running.

For example:

What’s the number for a plumber, just in case I have problems with the pipes?

  • Good point, I don’t have one!
  • Yes, I have one, it is 123 456 7890.

Where are my tax registration details?

  • I’m not sure, I’ll need to look for these and then add them to the appendix.
  • I have them, ready to put in the folder.

Have I kept receipts of all of the things purchased for my business recently?

  • Yes, and I’m ready to add them to my tax records.
  • No, I will buy a wallet to keep them in, for future reference.

Have I backed up my online bookings and calendar somewhere?

  • Yes, on Dropbox and on an external hard drive.
  • Yes, but offline, in my calendar in the kitchen.

What should you prioritize in your business plan for vacation rentals?

We know that with so many things to keep in mind for your business plan, it could be hard to focus on the most important ones. There are fifteen steps yet every piece seems to be so crucial, what to do?

Business plan for short term rentals

So we decided to turn to the experts: Antonio, Cynthia, and Karen for their suggestions!

“Looking at the way the industry evolves and its sheer competition, building a clear, easy-to-remember and appealing brand together with setting the infrastructure right is absolute key. The main backbone of the brand is obviously your own, fantastic and inspiring website: your personal Airbnb, your eBay, your Amazon, where you dictate the rules and no one decides whether you live or die. But it must be productive and efficient. This, of course, relies on among many things: carefully laying down a perfectly functioning operational structure, where you put in place automation, standardizations, procedures to ensure your business runs smoothly even without you being at the desk 24/7. Actually, owners do and should operate their business with little to no worries. In such a demanding and dynamic industry as ours finding the right combination of software that aligns with your individual business needs is key to accomplishing all this. And it’s not easy. This is to keep firm in mind how the ultimate goal is to rely less on third parties for supply of bookings and more on their ability to excel as a way of driving guests and business home.” – Antonio Bortolotti

Brand consistency is vital for a business and should be established from the very beginning. Having a good branding outline set out in your business plan will keep your vacation rental looking professional.

Rather than emphasizing a particular point, Spencer points out the importance of quality throughout the entire business plan: 

“Quality – in everything you do. From the product, you bring to the market to the excellent customer service you offer your guests.” – Karen Spencer

It’s going to show if your vacation rental business plan falls short halfway through. You need to maintain high quality and dedication throughout the business plan, so it can reflect into your vacation rental and consequently result in happy customers and solid bookings. 

Common mistakes found in short-term rental business plans

For many hosts, owning a vacation rental is their first business venture ever. With that in mind, many mistakes can be made along the way. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered for what to avoid when creating your own business plan. Here are some of the most common mistakes that vacation rental owners make with their business plans:

Targeting everyone

Of course, you want to welcome as many guest types as possible, but your vacation rental won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – and that’s okay! If you try to go too broad in targeting guest types, you’ll end up attracting none of them.

Some hosts don’t narrow down their target and, as a result, their business suffers. Having too generic of a vacation rental is going to take away from the value you could be adding. Refer back to your value proposition: what extra perk do you want to provide customers? Once you have that,  you can define exactly who those customers will be.

Ignoring the competition

You might think your vacation rental is the best on the block, but keep in mind that your competition feels the same way. Sometimes even the most luxe vacation rentals are blown out of the water by their competition. 

Rivals can outdo you in price, value, style, availability, everything! Try to evaluate your competitive edge from every perspective, how can you outdo the other vacation rentals in your area?

Unrealistic finance plan

We all want to make a million dollars in our first year of business, but that’s just not going to happen. One of the most common mistakes you can make is overestimating your revenue while underestimating your budget.

It’s great to think positively about your business and even be encouraged to dream big, but when it comes to money: make sure you’re being realistic.

Scaling your business with a vacation rental property business plan

So, are vacation rental business plans only reserved for the newcomers? Of course not! If you’re wanting to restructure your business or scale it, having a new business plan is a great first step. Most of the time a growing business needs a fresh slate as the old business plan won’t cut it. With a larger scale of business, you’re going to need more staff, budget, time, and more. 

Instead of building off your old vacation rental business plan, you might find that creating a new vacation rental business plan will be the best option as you’ll be approaching it with a fresh perspective and more ambitious goals.

Vacation rental business plan: tips & tricks

So, you’ve got a business plan full of really detailed information – great, you’re ready to go! Well, not quite. There are still a couple more things to consider before you put pen to paper and start with your own business plan.

With the industry growing more and more competitive every day, with more websites opening up and listing your competitors’ rentals, you may be looking for that extra edge.

Here are four of our secret, top tips and tricks to make sure you remain number one!

Enjoy yourself:

  • Ever heard someone say that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life? This is completely true with vacation rentals.
  • If you enjoy it, and you don’t let the stress get to you and affect your customer service skills, this will shine through to the guests, and you’ll notice they’ll keep coming back year after year.

You get back what you give out:

  • With vacation rentals, or with any business or skill, you will get out what you put in.
  • If you invest time, money and effort into your business, you will reap the rewards financially and personally.
  • So many businesses out there today in the tourism industry, simply put in the bare minimum to keep things running.
  • For you to be number one, you need to invest more effort and more time than your competitors, and you’ll notice very quickly that this investment has really high returns.

Quality over quantity:

  • When you’re buying a pair of shoes, and one pair is $30, poorly made and likely to fall apart within a week, and the other is $50 but made well and durable. Which one will you pick?
  • Obviously, like everyone else, you’ll pick the quality and the value of the item over the price.
  • This also applies to your vacation rental. Remember earlier we talked about looking at your competitors and how much they charge? Don’t forget that most people will choose value over price, so do not compromise one for the other.

Get yourself out there:

  • Advertise, advertise, advertise! Really, the more places you advertise your business (your own site, OTAs, Facebook, etc), the more bookings you’re going to get.
  • It is just a numbers game – the more people who look at your listing, the guests you’ll have. Simple!


Your vacation rental deserves a proper vacation rental business plan. When you lead with a plan, you’re setting your new business venture up for success. It’s vital to detail every piece of information you can so there are no surprises when it comes to competition, operations, budget, and everything in between.

Even though your guests won’t see your business plan, implementing one makes sure your business runs smoothly and professionally which helps contribute to the overall guest experience. We’ve even done the hard part by creating a vacation rental business plan template so all you have to do is plug in your details and your done!

Download our free vacation rental business plan template

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry! All you have to do is download our free vacation rental business plan template below and fill in your own information. Our handy guide includes all of the questions you need to ask yourself before starting your new venture.

Don’t see the form to download our Business Plan? Click here.

Contributing authors

We’ve consulted with the experts to make the best outline possible for your business to help you reach your goals. You can learn more about who Antonio, Cynthia and Karen are, when they started working in the holiday rental market and what they usually do to help rental owners like you to develop their business.

Antonio Bortolotti:

“I’m a property owner with a multi-property in Sardinia and I ventured into holiday rentals as a way of building myself an alternative to my previous life working for Alitalia.

My wife Cristina and I stumbled upon the ruins of an old house in Sardinia and it was love at first sight. We purchased part of it and renovated it; we rented it out to pay the mortgage and hopefully make some money. Fast forward 3 years later and we now own the entire villa with 3 units and I quit my job to focus full time on vacation rentals. 

Meanwhile, I was invited to speak on stage at industry events to share how I turned rubbles to such great success – our units were outperforming all other rentals in the area by 4 times in terms of occupancy and duration of the season. I began sharing my know-how with my peers and that led into hosting what’s become the Vacation Rental World Summit; an event that’s helped over 16,000 property owners and property managers in 50 countries since its first edition.

As a matter of fact, I want to thank you for asking me to respond to your questions by sharing with your readers the recording of Lodgify’s session on the principles of good web design that your very own Dennis Klett shared with us at the Vacation Rental World Summit edition held in Barcelona two years ago. While time goes by, certain things and principles never age.

Cynthia Chan:

“I’m Cynthia and I’m one of the co-founders of Airhosts Forum. We’re the largest Airbnb host forum online, and we also have the largest Facebook page for Airbnb hosts.

We decided to start a forum so that we could get more information on how to be better hosts and also to help others who were in the same boat as us. Because there is such a need for a community where hosts can come together to share ideas, get tips and advice, and even just vent about their experiences, we quickly grew the community to the #1 Airbnb forum for hosts to come and discuss anything they wanted with other hosts.

We post reviews, useful tips for communicating with guests, information on Airbnb policies, insurance questions and much more, all with the aim of ensuring our members are kept up to date with all they need to know about Airbnb and hosting.”

Karen Spencer:

“I’m Karen Spencer, founder of The Business of Holiday Rental and I help holiday homeowners to create a quality holiday home, to run it as a business, to maximise their income and to love what they do.

I’m a holiday cottage owner myself.  I’ve worked for a holiday letting agency and have 10 year’s experience in the self-catering industry, I’m a home stager and a formal departmental coach.

Combine all that industry knowledge, holiday home business know-how, corporate experience and training and you get The Business of Holiday Rental. I can help you in group programs, working one to one, or in my off-the-shelf classes.”

What do you think about this article?

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Show Comments (6)
  1. Hi,
    Amazing article to learn from basics to advanced in vacation rental business. Thanks for sharing this wonderful article with us.

  2. Fantastic article Jess as always. Even though we’re on our 2nd property and they both are doing well we are going to go back and go through the steps in the business plan. I bet it will help us refine our ideas for moving forward.
    Thanks again!

    1. Hi Dorothy,

      I suggest you check out our article about the different types of vacation rental insurance available. You’ll find it here.


      Riley & The Lodgify Team

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