3 Challenges of Short-Term Rental Property Management

Running a short-term rental is an exciting venture that can help you generate a large profit. However, the STR industry isn’t without its challenges. For the property owner, the work is never done. From maintaining and cleaning a rental to communicating with guests, optimizing listings, and avoiding double booking mistakes, managing a short-term rental can quickly become overwhelming.

In the U.S., vacation rentals are increasing in popularity. However, new vacation rental hosts often focus more on the rental income they'll enjoy and don't consider the common problems every vacation rental owner must deal with, whether it's handling guests that have caused damage to their property, brought unregistered guests, or a last-minute maintenance issue that could result in negative reviews if not attended to promptly. The key to managing a short-term rental is knowing how to handle guests professionally and prevent a small issue from turning into a major problem. 

Owning an investment property and renting it as a vacation home is an excellent way to earn additional income. However, if this is your first time hosting a rental, you must do your research to learn about the common challenges that come with STR management and what you can do to avoid them. While it may seem straightforward, there are many mistakes new owners often make. By learning how to handle these common issues, you can avoid pitfalls and become a successful rental host.

Trouble with Difficult Guests

One inevitable part of any short-term rental management experience is dealing with difficult guests. However, there are some steps you can take to minimize your chances of renting to problematic guests, thereby avoiding common issues such as bad reviews, property damage, security issues, unregistered guests, fraud, and noise level complaints.

The best way to prevent renting to difficult guests is by:

  • Turning off instant booking
  • Screening guest profiles
  • Providing a list of house rules
  • Keeping your listing up to date
  • Addressing any flaws in your rental property
  • Managing your reviews
  • Recording communications
  • Implementing noise monitoring
  • Maintaining ongoing communication with your guests
  • Maintaining vacation rental insurance
  • Providing solutions to guest complaints

As you manage your short-term rental, you can’t afford to spend several hours a day screening guests or replying to messages. With a full-time job, a family, and a home of your own, you may find it challenging to stay on top of this aspect of STR management, especially if you have multiple properties. In cases such as these, hiring a STR property management company can be invaluable.

Guest Management

Handling guests can be problematic at times, especially if you're dealing with noise complaints, maintenance issues, or other problems that can arise at the last minute. The goal is to be an attentive and responsive host, providing excellent communication and a great guest experience that will result in positive reviews, repeat business, and new bookings.

Availability is an issue most STR property managers run into. Being available to address the needs of guests or handle any issues that may arise during a guest’s stay is crucial. You must ensure you’re prepared and fully available to handle any situations that may arise. Being available to your guests allows you to solve any problems quickly. During a guest’s stay, it’s important to maintain fluid communication. Make sure you inform your guests that they can contact you at any time if any issues arise, either by email, text or by phone.

Seasonality 

Seasonality refers to the fluctuations in bookings that occur during certain times of the year. Seasonality is king in the world of short-term rentals. However new property owners may not be prepared for this major drop in their rental income. 

In the short-term rental industry, a vacation rental manager often knows when to expect a drop in bookings. For example, while a beachfront property will experience a major surge in the summer months, during the fall and winter months, property owners are sure to see a significant drop in bookings. However, weather isn’t the only factor that can impact bookings. Holidays and special events can make certain months or weeks especially lucrative. Do your research and pay attention to patterns, which will allow you to minimize the impact of slower periods while capitalizing on the peak season. 

Addressing Low Demand

Having a major drop in bookings for some time can turn into an opportunity for short-term rental owners. It can be a great chance for a short-term property manager to handle rental upgrades and add amenities that will improve the property’s appeal. Use downtime to handle minor renovations and maintenance that will make your property more in line with current trends and more appealing to potential guests. These changes designed to enhance the guest's experience will allow you to increase nightly rates, which can mean a higher profit margin.

Setting the Right Night Rates

Just because you love your rental property doesn't mean every guest will, which is why the rates you set shouldn’t be based on your assessment. Instead of guessing what rates to set, do your research. Look at similar properties, view real estate listings, and look online to get a clearer picture of the rental market in your neighborhood. Monitor your competitor’s listings in terms of services, amenities, and price. This will allow you to undercut the competition and adjust your rates accordingly. 

Dynamic Pricing

One of the biggest game-changers in the vacation rental industry is dynamic pricing, used with the help of advanced pricing tools. 

Dynamic pricing in the vacation rental industry can be a game-changer. Pricing tools help rental hosts adjust and set the prices of their properties intelligently and dynamically. These tools rely on data to adjust nightly rates based on demand. Sites such as Airbnb, have smart pricing tools that will automatically adjust pricing, allowing you to optimize the pricing of your rental without constantly monitoring the market. Using one of these dynamic pricing tools can help your property stand out and sell out, quickly and consistently.

Growing Your Business Past These Problems

Managing a short-term rental costs money, which can make earning a profit a real challenge. For many, hiring a short-term rental property management company can be the perfect solution. If you want to be hands-off with your rental property, and you don’t have the time it takes to manage every aspect of your vacation rental business, a short-term rental property management company may be the answer. An STR property management company will handle every aspect of your rental property, from the day-to-day to dealing with difficult guests, coordinating bookings, and keeping your rental rates ahead of the game.

Contact Us Today!

Hiring an AirBnb property management company for your short-term rental can be an effective and simple way to run your property and enjoy passive income. At Vello, we can handle many of the challenges vacation rental property owners are faced with, allowing you to be completely hands-off in managing your rental property. To learn more about how we can help, contact the team at Vello today.

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