These days, there are a dizzying number of companies prepared to manage specific components of your vacation rental—from basic booking and listing, to housekeeping, to security services.
But if you’re looking for someone to cover all of these services at once, you should be looking at full-service vacation rental management companies with one comprehensive fee (like Vacasa!). We aren’t alone in our corner of the industry, but we were the first to take care of everything for owners. As such, we’re well versed in the basic elements that make up a good property management company—and the warning signs of a bad one.
Regardless of who you choose to manage your property, if they claim to be a comprehensive vacation rental manager, make sure their base fee covers the following four things at an absolute minimum.
Any vacation rental management company worth their salt should have a plan to advertise your home on all the top performing sites, such as VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, FlipKey, TripAdvisor, VacationRentals.com, etc. They should relieve you of all the hassle of marketing your home, from taking their own professional photos of the property to writing the copy on all the listings. And a keen eye for SEO never hurts—they should have the expertise to ensure your home always ranks near the top of search results and inquiries.
Fees, Fees, Fees
From listing and ad fees to credit card processing fees to fees for house visits and upkeep, there are all kinds of things vacation rental managers can nickel-and-dime you for if you’re not careful. Make sure to read their terms carefully—though their commission may seem low, they could be hiding the fact that they’ll charge you for each separate service they perform. A truly standout management company will not only be clear about how these fees are charged, but cover them in their base fee.
Housekeeping & Basic Upkeep
This one is crucial, as it can often be the most expensive part of maintaining a successful vacation rental. Great housekeeping is the backbone of good management, and often the deciding factor in whether or not a guest has a positive experience. Make sure this service is not only covered, but coming from a reliable source.
Does the company employ their own local staff, or do they rely on contractors? Do they enforce consistent standards of quality for every clean? Do they restock basic guest supplies like soap and toilet paper? These are all important things to consider, and taken together can be an indicator of a quality management company—or a subpar one.
One of the biggest benefits of handing management of your home to a professional organization is not having to be at the beck and call of your guests 24/7. When you’re comparing management companies, make sure the one you settle on has a strategy and the necessary support staff to handle guest needs.
This can come in the form of phone support or a local team for hand-on assistance, but a combination is ideal. Once you know which service(s) they offer, try to get a feel for the specifics: are they ready to help guests 24/7? How much can they actually do for a guest in distress? Do they have enough staff to deal with high call volume, particularly around the holidays?
Many of these things don’t show up on paper, and executed poorly, they could lead to unnecessary headaches—and lost revenue—for you. Try calling in to their guest support line with a basic inquiry, or booking a short stay in one of their homes, and see what kind of experience you have.