A strong and profitable rental program helps homeowners earn money from their investment and increases market value of the community of properties. As the vacation rental industry grows, things are changing. Online reservations now account for more than 50% of bookings, and standard, flat rates could be leaving money on the table. Is your program positioned to thrive in the new marketplace?
Vacasa’s new COO Bob Milne knows a thing or two about developing effective vacation rental management programs. As the former President of Wyndham Vacation Rentals North America, he oversaw operations for more than 9,000 vacation rental units and has worked with hundreds of homeowners associations (HOAs) across the country.
Here are the top questions Bob says HOAs should ask when evaluating their community’s rental program.
- Are homeowners happy? Bring up the rental program at the next board meeting, or consider sending a survey to homeowners asking if they’re happy — and, if not, why?
- Is the program growing? What are your year-over-year revenues? Are more nights being booked? Have more homeowners joined?
- Are rates optimized? Dynamic pricing helps bring in more bookings and drive higher returns, but keeping rates up-to-date requires regular monitoring. It can be hard to know whether any night is being booked at a “fair” price. How often are rates adjusted? Does pricing look more like an airline or a garage sale?
- Are marketing efforts effective? Are your units being advertised where travelers are searching? Maintaining listings across multiple channels and avoiding duplicate bookings is complicated. Be sure you’re working with an expert.
- Is financial support provided? Are owner statements straightforward? Does the partner help with the 1099s? Do they ensure all regulations are being met?
- Do you trust them? There’s nothing more important than trust in choosing a partner. Do you have confidence in your management company? You should be able to count on them to handle day-to-day rental operations so you don’t have to worry about it.
It’s helpful to evaluate your rental program every once in a while to make sure it’s working for you, the HOA board, and your homeowners.