If you’ve been a vacation rental owner for a while, you may sooner or later feel overwhelmed by the endless tasks involved in renting out your property and consider appointing a vacation rental company to help you manage your business.
You are not alone. Many homeowners decide they need help managing their vacation rental and appoint a professional company or property manager to help them stay on top of their business. Exactly how much you want the company to do and how to find the best vacation rental company for your needs, depends on your situation and your budget.
Also, choosing the right one is not always easy as there are so many different vacation property management companies out there, all claiming to be better than each other in various different ways.
Let’s try to make this decision easier by looking at what a vacation rental property manager does and how you should go about choosing the best option for your vacation rental business.
Of course, once you’ve decided on the right company, you will need a property management agreement to define the scope of work and to protect the rights of both the owner and the company.
What does vacation rental management involve?
So, is it better to hire a manager or manage the property yourself? How do you know if you need vacation rental management services and what exactly does this type of service involve? It all depends on the budget and the time you can devote to the business (daily, monthly or annually).
Many first-time vacation rental owners underestimate the time they need to invest to ensure that everything runs smoothly. From guest communications to cleaning, the list of responsibilities quickly add up to become a full-time job.
Here are some of the typical tasks that vacation rental owners often farm out to vacation home rental management companies:
- Property maintenance
- Cleaning, changing bed sheets, towels, and replacing amenities
- Taxes, invoices, insurance
- Legal advice regarding issues related to vacation rental management
- Monitoring reservations, booking requests, guest queries, tenant payments, and admin tasks
- Promoting and marketing your property on listing sites and social media
- Check-in and check-out,
- Being a point of contact in case of an emergency, responding to the guest’s needs before, during and after the stay.
There are always additional tasks, such as preparing a welcome pack and giving recommendations to improve guests’ experience overall, as well as responding to guest reviews.
With the huge workload, it can make sense to allocate a portion of your profits to a holiday rental management company that helps you with this long list of tasks.
Pros and cons of hiring a vacation rental management company
With the rapid increase of properties in the vacation rental industry, many vacation home rental management companies have surfaced too. The growth in the industry in recent years has also led to a specialization in property management companies, with many offering different types of services, including a concierge service.
Some property management companies also include marketing services and will recommend the best vacation rental software to manage your business.
Through property management companies, there are numerous benefits to using their services for the owner of the properties.
Improved guest communications
Being a point of contact for all guests’ concerns, questions, complaints, etc.
Reduces the time, effort and headache that goes into managing multiple properties at once when someone is able to provide the vacation management services for you.
Property management outsourced
Taking care of property maintenance issues with a service team.
Higher occupancy rates
They help to get more guests to boost occupancy rates
Although appointing a vacation rental manager is a great option, it is not right for every vacation rental owner. Especially if you have just started to rent out a property with the goal of earning an extra income, the cost of hiring a vacation home manager may simply be too at a stage when you may not be seeing much profit.
Less personal contact
Another potential drawback, is that holidaymakers seeking an authentic experience involving personal contact with the host, may be deterred by the idea of having to deal with a more impersonal holiday rental management company.
When do you need vacation rental management services?
As we said before, this all depends on how much time you can or want to devote to your business and your budget. Calculate how many hours a week you have and decide whether or not you can fit all your tasks within this time period.
If you want to handle everything yourself, but need help in advertising the property, you can hire agencies who specialize in the hospitality market to promote your rental. If you’re struggling to receive reservations in the low-season, they can fill your property throughout the whole year so it’s never vacant.
Likewise, if you only need help with cleaning or check-in and check-out, then a vacation rental management can provide that service. But there are many other options available for automated check-in and check-out if you physically cannot be present, such as WIFI door locks.
Of course, if your property is situated far away from where you live, you need to hire someone to manage it. But if you have a close friend or family living in the area where your rental is located, then they may be willing to take care of your property for a small fee. If you manage multiple properties, you will struggle to do everything yourself so a vacation home rental agency becomes fundamental for the successful management of your business.
How to find the best vacation home rental management company?
If you decide to hire a vacation rental management company, how can you choose the right company for you? Here are some things to consider:
First, identify exactly which holiday services you really need
Knowing what you need first, should always be the first step. How much time do you have, what do you enjoy doing and what would you rather not do on a regular basis? Which tasks take you the longest and which tasks will be the most cost-effective to farm out? If you are an expert at marketing your vacation rental, but you don’t enjoy dealing with guests, focus on getting guests t through the door and let a vacation rental company reply to guest inquiries and deal with the check-in and check-out procedures. Or maybe you’re looking for a vacation rental management company to take everything off your hands.
Find out what services the property management companies in your area offer exactly, for example, are they specialized in Airbnb or other OTAs? Remember that these companies sometimes differ depending on the state that they’re in, so we recommend finding one in your area!
Find the solution that works for you.
Research your options
Researching online is the best way to start. Examine each companies’ experience level, whether they are big or small, and also read reviews on Yelp and other review sites. Ask for references from previous employers.
Research vacation rental manager fees in your area
Decide the price you want to spend, or what budget you have set aside. Vacation rental property management fees may vary in different states and areas, so be sure you do your research and identify the fee structure most relevant to the services you need.
A vacation rental company’s could typically be anything between 10 and 50% of your rental income, but will depend on different factors, for example, the location of your property the size of the company, the number of rentals you want them to manage, the services they deliver and the fee structure.
Vacation rental company fee structures differ and they could, for example, charge fixed rate, guaranteed income or commission-based structures. Make sure you understand exactly which services are covered by each structure and identify additional charges early on. Then, compare apples with apples and make an informed choice.
Which are the best vacation home rental management companies in the U.S.
Remember, that what’s best for your company, may not be best for someone else. The best choice for your company, will depend on your own needs and the services available near you.
However, the following are some of the best-rated U.S vacation rental management companies.
Vacasa manages over 25,000 properties across the US and offers full-service vacation rental management, including 24-7 support, premium cleaning and dedicated local teams.
This top vacation rental company, has recently been acquired by Vacasa.
Evolve Vacation Rental management
Headquartered in Denver, offers to market your property and book up your calendar with a low property management fee.
With a combined 50 years of property management experience, the SkyRun team provides a stress-free renting process for the owners of over 950 vacation rental properties in the US, Mexico and Canada.
Casago is a full-service management company specialized in short term property and rental management with offices in 17 cities throughout the US and Mexico.
Questions to ask a holiday rental management company
The next step in the decision-making process, is knowing the right questions to ask a vacation rental property manager to find out whether they’ll be a good fit. For example:
1. How experienced are they in the area?
Vacation rentals in different cities often come with a unique range of issues to the area. Let’s use Barcelona as an example.
Not only is Barcelona one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, it’s also becoming known as a city with a rising hatred among locals for tourists. So, as far as property management goes, it comes with many different issues than, for example, managing a vacation rental in a quiet village along the coast would.
Years of experience in managing vacation properties in a particular area is an invaluable attribute for a property management company to boast. They will have handled lots of different situations typical to the area before. For instance, what to do if conflicts arise between the tourist and a neighbor in the apartment block. This means that they have already learned what are the best ways to deal with these issues and also they will know details of all the various laws in the area.
2. What are the costs and contract details?
It is important to know all of the costs, details and “small print” involved in hiring a vacation property manager before deciding to hand over your money and sign on the dotted line.
A good property manager will be open and upfront about the costs and make you aware of the exact breakdown. A property manager that tries to hide information like this, or make the information hard to get hold of, is likely far less trustworthy than others who have a more transparent relationship with the property owner.
Obviously a vacation rental property manager is going to focus on all of the services they can offer you and their good reviews rather than focus on the costs and contract details, but if it becomes apparent that something seems wrong with the costs or contract details, or they’re hard to get hold of, don’t ignore your gut feeling.
3. What services are included in the price?
It is always a good idea to assess which kind of services you will need from your property manager and what the costs of them would be if you took them on yourself. This way, you’ll be much better qualified to match up the suitable candidates to your needs. Additionally, you’ll also have a much better idea of whether what they’re quoting you to take care of maintenance, housekeeping etc. is a good deal or not!
Remember to factor in the stress of organizing these services yourself. Even if it is cheaper to take care of some of the services they are offering yourself, it could be worth the extra money so you remain stress-free and have your property manager worry about every single detail instead!
4. Who takes care of the marketing?
It is no good having the perfect property that’s ready to welcome traveling guests if nobody knows about it!
As a property owner, you should assess how well you would be able to market the property yourself, then decide whether it’s worth hiring a vacation rental property manager whose services include marketing the property. This question links back to all of the others asked so far – because if the property manager has experience in successfully marketing other rentals in the area, they will surely be able to do the same for your home.
However, it is also useful to look at the costs that the property manager is charging for this service if it is not already included in the price. There are plenty of free vacation rental resources and guides available to help you market your property if you prefer!
Entering into a legal property management agreement with your vacation rental manager
Once you’ve find the right fit for your company, you will need a property management agreement to define the scope of work and to protect the rights of both the owner and the company. This is not a nice-to-have, but is crucial, so arm yourself with the right information and a good template for a property management agreement to cover all the legal bases.