What does it take to be successful in the vacation rental industry? An amazing property in a desired location goes a long way, but there are also many qualities that you, as a vacation rental owner, must have for your business to thrive and prosper. Learn more about the top 12 qualities that successful vacation rental owners have below.
- 1 1. Proactive
- 2 2. Good Communicator
- 3 3. Warm, Welcoming, and Friendly
- 4 4. Social Media-Savvy
- 5 5. Excited to Keep Learning
- 6 6. Knowledgeable About the Local Area
- 7 7. Business-Minded
- 8 8. Goal-Setter (and Goal-Achiever)
- 9 9. Considerate to Staff
- 10 10. Dedicated to Continuous Improvement
- 11 11. Willing to Delegate
- 12 12. Flexible
- 13 Main Takeaways
A successful vacation rental owner is proactive. They’re never sitting and doing nothing; they’re always striving to get the next booking. They’re constantly looking for ways to improve the guest experience through various amenities, event recommendations, interior design upgrades, and amazing customer service. Being proactive also means keeping your listing current and accurate. Regularly updating your calendar, setting your prices in advance, and ensuring all photos accurately represent the current state of your vacation rental are all ways to remain proactive.
2. Good Communicator
Being a good communicator involves both networking and guest communications. If you’re just starting out as a vacation rental owner, then you might not realize just how important it is to network with other owners and vacation rental managers. Communicating with others in the industry enables you to share your discoveries, learn from others’ experiences, and get advice from people who have found success.
Meanwhile, good communication with your guests is also key. Being responsive and providing personalized answers to guests’ questions is a great way to create a positive perception of both yourself and your vacation rental. Answering questions, even when you don’t particularly feel like it, is key. Being a good communicator also means being available if guests have any type of issue during their stay. It also means listening to their feedback and responding to it in a positive and constructive way, even if that feedback is negative.
3. Warm, Welcoming, and Friendly
Guests always feel more at ease when the vacation rental owner seems happy to talk to them and answer their questions. If they’re deciding between two comparable properties, and the owner of the first is warm and welcoming while the other is cold and somewhat short with their answers, where do you think the guest will end up staying? Your demeanor can affect your business in a major way! Plus, being friendly and warm opens you up to truly connecting with your guests and even forming friendships.
Social media marketing can take your vacation rental business to a new level, and it’s a great way to achieve more bookings and more profit. Knowing how to curate your social media presence to appeal to your target demographic is essential, and being familiar with the ins and outs of each platform can really make a difference. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are all valuable platforms where you can attract new guests. Luckily, it’s not too difficult to learn more about social media if you don’t have much background knowledge on it. Implementing a few tried-and-true strategies, like posting consistently and encouraging interaction with your followers, can be very helpful for your business.
5. Excited to Keep Learning
Running a vacation rental property is a huge learning process! You can read and research vacation rentals for hours, but the real-life experience of running a vacation rental property is often what you need for everything to fall into place. There are many resources out there for vacation rental owners; the RentalTrader Blog, for instance, and countless others. There are even YouTube channels and podcasts focused on running vacation rentals. Keeping up with current events and travel news, plus participating in forums, is also extremely valuable. All the information you need to succeed is out there, but to be successful, you have to be excited to continue learning and growing.
6. Knowledgeable About the Local Area
To be a successful vacation rental owner, you need to know a lot about the area where your rental is located. Your guests don’t necessarily want to search the internet for recommendations and hope that the articles they find are accurate. They’d rather get their recommendations from a trusted source: You. That’s why it’s essential to get to know the area and what kinds of events, activities, and attractions your guests can enjoy there. Many vacation rental owners create a guide to the area that they then post on their vacation rental website and include in their welcome letter.
Generally, the more information you can provide, the better your guests’ experience will be. With suggestions on where they can enjoy a delicious meal, catch a show, and sightsee, plus how long it takes to walk or drive to each location, your guests will be all set for the trip of their dreams. Being knowledgeable also makes you and your business more trustworthy and credible.
If you want your vacation rental business to succeed, you have to view it as just that–a business, not a hobby. A business requires a marketing strategy and a clear understanding of your target demographic. It also requires a level of commitment and dedication that hobbies generally don’t need to be considered a success. Unlike a hobby, you can’t set a business down and come back to it when you have more time; you have to look at your vacation rental business as a full-time effort, even if it isn’t your full-time job.
8. Goal-Setter (and Goal-Achiever)
To move forward with your vacation rental business, you’ll need to know how to set goals and how to follow through and achieve them. The key to setting goals that you can actually achieve is to use SMART goals. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. An example of a non-SMART goal might look like this: “I want to have a successful vacation rental business.” The same goal written as a SMART goal could be: “My goal is to increase my occupancy rate by 20% over the next two months.” In general, you want to make your goals very clear so that you can easily tell if you’ve achieved them or not. You also want to make them realistic and attainable, rather than chasing perfection or an impossible feat. SMART goals set you up for success.
9. Considerate to Staff
If you have staff, such as a cleaning company, landscaping service, or property manager, it’s essential to treat them well if you want to be successful! Your staff is integral to your business, and their support and commitment (or lack thereof) can make a huge difference in the guest experience and how smoothly your business runs. Being kind and considerate to your staff and treating them with the same respect you do your guests can help you become a more successful vacation rental property owner.
10. Dedicated to Continuous Improvement
It’s simply not enough to start out great and just remain there. A successful vacation rental owner strives for continuous improvement. They’re always searching for ways to upgrade their property and the guest experience. They look for methods of improving their website, blog, and listings from week to week. They want to build their social media presence and watch it continue to grow. Successful vacation owners are always looking for the next way to stand out from the crowd and their competition.
Being dedicated to continuous improvement often means reading through your competitors’ reviews to identify areas where you can improve your own vacation rental property. What did guests like about your competitors? What didn’t they like? You can easily take that information and use it to adjust your own vacation rental. It’s about figuring out what the best vacation rentals in your area do, and then doing it even better.
11. Willing to Delegate
Often, new vacation rental owners will attempt to do everything on their own. They want to personally write every listing, email, and social media post; they want to ensure the property is being properly cleaned in between guests; they want to greet each guest when they check in. However, as your business grows, this quickly becomes impossible, and so it’s necessary for vacation rental owners to delegate tasks to others if they want to find continued success. This means enabling self check-in for your guests, hiring a cleaning company, and using Property Management System software to automate various processes.
Finally, vacation rental owners must be flexible in order to find success. This often means accepting lower rates during the slow season, rather than sticking to your peak season price all year. It means accommodating your guests in any way you can. And it means adjusting your business strategy when things don’t go according to plan. Being flexible and responsive to change is essential to be a successful vacation rental property owner.
Want to be a successful vacation rental owner? Here are the most important qualities and traits to have:
- Proactive and always looking for the next booking
- Good communicator to guests and fellow vacation rental owners
- Warm, welcoming, and friendly in all guest communications
- Social media-savvy so you can cultivate a valuable online presence
- Excited to keep learning about the vacation rental industry and how you can improve
- Knowledgeable about the local area so you can share recommendations
- Business-minded, rather than viewing your vacation rental as a hobby
- Goal-setter (and goal-achiever) so that you always continue to move forward
- Considerate to staff, since they are an integral part of your business
- Dedicated to continuous improvement and recognizing where you can get better
- Willing to delegate to other people or to property management software
- Flexible and willing to change plans if they’re not working