In today’s rental market, vacation rentals are becoming more and more common. Websites like Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com have made vacation homes a viable option when looking for housing for a vacation, weekend getaway, or even for a business trip and have created a fast-growing vacation rental market.
As a result, many people are either turning their second homes into vacation rentals or buying new properties with the goal of self-managing and making a quick profit on the side. But while managing a vacation rental property may seem like a straightforward income generating undertaking, any small misstep can cause a loss of bookings and ultimately revenue.
This is where we play a key role. With more than 7 years of experience in the property management field, we are well-equipped to handle every aspect of the vacation rental management process. From updating and remodeling to listing and managing the property, we take a start-to-finish approach to ensure that our clients are getting the most return possible on their second homes with little to no involvement on their part.
Curious how we do this? Let’s take a look at our process.
Preparing the home for listing
Our process starts far before the first guests book your home. We always start with an exploratory meeting where we discuss your goals, wants, and needs as they relate to operating and managing a vacation rental.
Are you only interested in maximizing your return on investment? Do you want to use the home yourself, and if so, how frequently? Are there certain times throughout the year that you’d like to have it to yourself?
These are all questions that will help us better serve you and come up with the correct plan of action.
From there, we take a look at the house itself. Updating the property with new paint, appliances, furnishing, and decorations can significantly increase your revenue generation. We are equipped to handle every aspect of this process, but ultimately defer to you on how much you are willing to change the property. We will do as much or as little work as you’d like, and we are ready to advise you on the most cost-effective upgrades that will affect your revenue.
Once the house is set up for guests we determine the optimal nightly rate, bedroom layout, and guest amenities. We use a dynamic pricing model that is regularly adjusted in order to keep the property competitive within the market while maximizing revenue. This includes running software that advises our pricing model as well as staying updated on local events to optimize bookings and generate the highest possible revenue.
Properties are listed on multiple direct booking sites and third-party channels such as Airbnb, VRBO, Booking.com and MerGo’s own direct booking site. We also use our proprietary Superhost profile which is awarded to hosts that receive consistently good reviews and feedback from guests (only 17% of Airbnb hosts have this credential). This alone can dramatically increase the price and frequency of rentals.
Managing the property
Once the property is listed, we take over all aspects of the day-to-day management of your vacation rental. That means managing booking and rental requests, communicating with guests, managing any onsite services (cleaning, maintenance, trash collection, landscaping, pool/spa cleaning, snow removal, etc.), collecting rent/fees, managing all guest turnover, and financial reporting.
To put it simply, we provide a turnkey solution so that owners can sit back while their property generates revenue for them. We communicate with guests before, during, and after their stay to ensure their satisfaction. That means sending check-in instructions, directions to the home, checking in on them during their stay, and following up to gather reviews and feedback.
These are the types of things that make a huge difference in revenue generation for vacation rentals. If you’re not putting effort into every single booking that comes your way and doing everything you can to ensure your guests’ satisfaction, it can and will hurt you in the long run. There’s no way around it—quality and customer experience are absolutely vital to the success of any vacation rental property, and that takes time and effort.
We also handle any issues that may arise with guests. From complaints to insurance claims, if anything goes wrong we stay on top of it while keeping you informed.
Owning a revenue generating home
The rest of the process is quite simple. We collect all booking revenues, as well as any charges or other amounts received. We then remit payments to you on a monthly basis, once fees and additional expenses have been deducted.
We also include a monthly account statement for all of our owners that outlines all revenues and expenses incurred over the month. This paints a clear picture of how much profit you’re generating from your vacation rental property.
And that’s it! As of the time of writing this post, all of our vacation rentals have turned a profit within the first year of managing, which includes covering the cost of all upgrades and furnishings.
We are currently managing vacation rentals in the Berkshires and on Cape Cod, with more areas to come in the future. The Berkshires in particular have been shown to be exceptionally profitable, with low upfront investment and high returns in both the winter (ski season) and summer.
If you’re interested in learning more about how MerGo can help monetize your second home or get into the vacation rental market, just click here to request a free proposal. There is no better time to start monetizing your second home or purchase a home to use as a vacation rental!