A common question I get from people is, ‘how do you do this?’ They are interested in getting into vacation rentals and have no idea where to start. So here is a little review of “What self-management entails.”
Hundreds of thousands of owners manage their own rentals, and most use just one platform, such as Airbnb, to market their bookings.
While a lot is still involved in dealing with guest inquiries, much of the booking process is automated. You get notified when a guest books; the communication occurs within the platform; the guest stays, and payment is transferred to your account less their small commission. Sometimes even the lodging taxes are taken care of and remitted to the appropriate authority on your behalf.
For those owners wanting to put all their eggs in one basket, that’s a great solution, but it gets a little more complex when you want to advertise on other platforms or accept direct bookings via your website.
At this stage, self-management becomes more challenging as you’ll need to be on the ball with the different processes on each listing site.
To self-manage effectively, you need to have the time to do all of the following, at a minimum:
- Coordinate all the different listings and ensure they’re all kept current and consistent.
- Update your website and manage reservations, calendars, and payment processing.
- Create a social media strategy to get your message out regularly.
- Work with suppliers such as cleaners, maintenance providers, and any third parties who will manage in your absence.
- Remarket to guests who have booked via third parties so they come to you directly the next time.
- Manage the required lodging tax requirements.
- Professional Real Estate Photography
Fortunately, there is a range of apps to help with many of these processes, from channel management resources that make listing on multiple sites simple and convenient, to complete reservation systems designed for independent owners. Then there are services that can look after the collection and remittance of lodging taxes.
However, once you’ve weighed the options, you may well decide you’d like a third party to manage all or part of your rental business for you. That opens up a new set of choices.
From full-service management companies that will take care of every aspect of the process, to rental agencies that will do the marketing only while you look after the changeovers, there are many options for management.
The growth of Airbnb has fueled a new breed of companies called host managers who describe themselves as third-party companies that assist with hosting responsibilities like key exchanges, cleanings, and listing management. Unlike conventional property managers, these organizations offer a laundry list of services from which you can pick and choose.
With so much choice, it’s important to step back and think hard about what you really want to let go, and how much you want to budget for third-party management. My next post will explore the most important aspect of this decision-making process.