Regardless of if you’re a seasoned professional or a total newbie, everyone in the vacation rental world needs help sometimes. Oftentimes we’re so consumed by managing our vacation rental that we lose sight of what direction to take our businesses or how to improve operations. With that said, it’s not only useful but imperative that you get an external opinion on how to run your vacation rental business.
It could be that your staffing list is already exhaustive: from the cleaning team to design staging professionals, it could feel like your business is already crowded enough, but adding a vacation rental consultant to your business could completely transform the way you operate and for the better! Whether you’re adding a consultant into the mix after years of managing your vacation rental or before you even purchase the property, you’ll be grateful for the extra guidance.
How is vacation rental consulting different from general consulting?
Everyone in the business realm is familiar with consulting. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dental practice or taxi cab business; it seems like everyone has hired a consultant at least once! However, your vacation rental business shouldn’t receive the same guidance as any ordinary company. There are nuisances and singularities that accompany a short-term rental which is why you should hire a specialized consultant.
General consultants are just that: generalists. They focus their expertise on business practices and operations for all sorts of industries. Will you still receive sound advice from a general consultancy? Yes. Would it be better, more accurate guidance from that of a vacation rental specialist? Yes.
Any specialist will come at a higher cost, but this investment will far exceed the initial cost. Consider all the operations that you carry out in your business that are unique to vacation rentals: booking management, guest turnover, check-in processes, etc. These processes are what defines a vacation rental business, so wouldn’t you want a consultant capable of advising on those matters?
Many vacation rental consultancy groups consist of members who are veterans in the industry. They could be property owners themselves or have previous OTA experience, but most have earned their right to consult on these specific matters. It’s always better to go with someone who knows your field.
What does a vacation rental consultant do?
When answering the question of why you need a vacation rental consultant, you’ll also be asking what they even do in the first place. Consultancy seems like one of those vague trades where many work, but few outsiders actually know what it is that they do.
Much like you, the owner, vacation rental consultants wear many different hats. They can help you to bolster areas of weakness in your property management. Whether you’re looking to scale your business, create a marketing strategy, or implement new technologies, these experts can help you. Whatever needs your vacation rental faces, these specialized consultants can provide you with sound advice.
Niches of vacation rental consulting
Most owners turn to vacation rental consultants to help with their overarching operations and property management, but if you’re struggling with a specific issue or are looking to improve a niche part of your business, there are consultants dedicated to certain challenges within the vacation rental industry.
Luxury vacation rental consultant
The needs and expectations of running a luxury vacation rental vary greatly from its general short-term rental counterparts. The luxury travel industry at large has a number of special kirks that set it apart from the hospitality field. Luxury rental consulting is a vast business that not only includes owners but oftentimes, the travelers themselves. These consultants can help you tap into the audience you’re seeking because they know the clientele well and frequently work alongside them.
All OTAs are created differently and if the majority of your traffic comes through Airbnb, you might want to consider hiring a professional who specializes in this particular platform. Try your hand at Airbnb copywriting, but let a consultant do the rest. Maintaining a good Airbnb listing is an art form, so why not pass it off to a professional who knows how to maximize your listing on Airbnb?
Airbnb marketing consultant
Believe it or not, there’s a big difference between an Airbnb consultant and an Airbnb marketing consultant. An Airbnb consultant covers all things Airbnb: preparing your listing, improving your hosting skills, and overseeing your reservations. Airbnb marketing consultants, on the other hand, focus only on the marketing side of your business. They work to increase your property’s visibility, optimize your Airbnb listing, and improve your overall marketing efforts.
Steps to finding the right short-term rental consultant
If you’re ready to add some expertise to your team, you’ll have to start the search for a vacation rental consultant. Getting professional services isn’t always cheap, so it’s important that you find the right consultant for you and come prepared. Making the most out of your vacation rental consultancy will save you time and money in the long run.
Define your needs
This is by far the most important step. You know you need help, but where? It’s better to define a couple of areas of weakness so your consultant can work deeper on the challenge points rather than slightly improving every area of your business. It might help to break down your business operations into categories: marketing, staff management, check-in and check-out, accounting, and supplies management. Look at how you run the processes within each of these categories and determine what your areas of weakness are.
Come with a business plan
It’s okay to start from scratch, but you should have some idea of where you want to take your vacation rental and what goals you have in mind. Having a vacation rental business plan already prepped and ready to implement will help them to help you. A business plan is going to be the backbone of your vacation rental, so it’s important that you invest in the work beforehand. The plan linked above outlines some of the most crucial parts of your business such as the operations, marketing, and distribution plans.
Having these key points structured beforehand helps to use the time paid for with a consultant wisely. It also makes sure you are the one driving your business and directing the operations without a consultant making all the decisions for your vacation rental.
Know your budget
Professionals aren’t cheap and nor should they be. Their expertise is an investment in your business’s success. With that said, you still need to work within your budget. Most of the time, consultancy is not a one-and-done process. Be prepared for a multitude of expenses associated with hiring a consultant. You’re paying for their services, but also the suggestions they make, like marketing campaigns or professional vacation rental photography, can add up.
Just like your business plan, your expenses should be clearly calculated before so you can guarantee that there’s room in your budget to hire a vacation rental consultant. If you’re hazy on how much your expenditures are, check out our free short-term rental expense spreadsheet to crunch your vacation rental numbers.
Keep your vacation rental consultant on retainer
You’re going to have questions; that’s a given. Instead of having to always go through the formalities of rehiring your vacation rental consultant, it’s best to maintain a working relationship with the person you choose. All business operations are complex, especially when it comes to investment properties. Making sure you’re in constant communication with your vacation rental consultant will keep the process running smoothly and will transform your business quickly.
The most successful vacation rental owners are the resourceful ones. It’s perfectly okay not to have all the answers for your business, which is why jobs such as vacation rental consultants exist in the first place. These experts will guide you through any of the business challenges you have, be it marketing or check-out procedures.
Once your vacation rental consultant has sent you on your way, you’ll need proper vacation rental software to keep maintaining the ins and outs of your business. When it comes to channel management, guest communication, and running your own website, Lodgify is there to help. Give it a try today with our free 7-day trial.
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