Chapter 1

The Ins & Outs of Short-Term Rental Property Management: An Introduction

Anyone interested in working with short-term rentals will be happy to hear that the industry is incredibly strong: The global short-term rental industry was valued at over $109 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.2% through 2030.

Clearly, it’s a good time to work in the industry. And if you’re looking to break into it, short-term rental property management just might be for you.

Property management is at the heart of the vacation rental industry, involving everything from maintaining the properties themselves to improving the guest experience. It’s a rewarding career with a low barrier to entry and (as we hinted above) an excellent outlook.

Caught your interest? You happen to be in the right place to learn more.

In the following chapters, we’ll review everything you need to know about short-term rental property management, including:

But first, let’s review the basics with an introduction to vacation rental property management.

Don’t see the form to download the Property Management Agreement? Click here.

Who is this guide for?

Wondering whether this guide will be helpful for you? We’ve designed it with both aspiring and experienced property managers in mind.

If you are considering—or in the process of becoming—a vacation rental property manager, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need. But it can also be helpful for those who already work in the industry. In the following chapters, you may find new ideas surrounding how to grow your vacation rental property management business with new services, rates, or tools.

So, what is property management?

Property management encompasses everything required to oversee and run residential, commercial, and industrial real estate. Typically, property owners contract a third party to handle this day-to-day oversight.

This third party is known as a property manager.

Property managers are responsible for a wide variety of tasks depending on the type of property they’re assigned to. Whatever the property type, though, property managers’ goal is typically to preserve the property and generate income for owners and investors.

What about short-term rental property management?

As we explained above, property management looks different depending on the types of properties being managed. Managing industrial properties clearly isn’t the same as managing rental properties.

The Ins & Outs of Short-Term Rental Property Management

When it comes to rental property management, there’s yet another differentiation: that of short- and long-term rentals.

Short-term rental property management focuses on the management of accommodations that are rented out for a number of days or weeks. These rentals are often referred to as “vacation rentals” and include accommodations such as Airbnbs and Vrbos.

Long-term rental management, on the other hand, focuses on traditional rentals. These are accommodations people rent to live in and typically have contracts of a month to a year.

The primary differences between these two types of rental property management come down to the work involved and the income potential.

Since guest turnover is much higher with short-term rentals, a lot more promotion, communications and upkeep are necessary. However, short-term rental management also provides a much higher income potential because of the ability to set fluctuating rates.

What does short-term rental property management involve?

Property management is one of those things that seems pretty straightforward, yet is difficult to actually pin down.

After all, it’s clear that short-term rental property managers manage short-term rentals. But what does that actually look like?

In a nutshell, vacation rental property managers are responsible for managing all the operations of the short-term rentals assigned to them. Specific responsibilities often include:

  • Listing properties on online travel agencies (OTAs) and marketing them
  • Developing a competitive pricing strategy
  • Screening guests and keeping properties safe
  • Managing guest reservations, communications, and turnover
  • Maintaining a clean and functional property
  • Complying with local rules and regulations

And that’s just the basics. It’s fair to assume that property managers will have to handle whatever comes up concerning their vacation rentals.

What’s required to become a property manager for short-term rentals?

Many people are attracted to short-term rental property management as a career because of its relatively low barrier to entry. For example, a specific degree typically isn’t required. In fact, some states have no specific requirements at all.

The Ins & Outs of Short-Term Rental Property Management

The caveat: this varies widely based on location. Some states require a real estate license for short-term rental property managers, and specific certifications may be required in some places as well.

The key is to check the requirements in your location to be sure.

Still, one thing is consistent: gaining a thorough understanding of the short-term rental industry is essential for anyone considering the career.


The most important thing to know if you’re considering short-term rental property management—or even trying to get better at it—is that education is key. You can’t do the job well if you don’t know the industry and the responsibilities in and out.

Luckily, you now have the basics covered! Next, explore the following chapters to learn more:

Don’t see the form to download the Property Management Agreement? Click here.