One concern that has been echoed by my clients new to the vacation rental business is that of time (or lack there of) and how it may impact cash flow.
They are working professionals hoping to increase their income (and possibly replace it), but don’t necessarily have the capacity to take on another full-time gig at onset.
Home Away states that the average VR owner spends approximately 8.6 hours per week marketing and managing their business, which is feasible. However, when first setting up your business, the time needed may be considerably more.
Owners can’t rush the details when starting starting their vacation rental or when interacting with guests. It will hinder the experience you need to create to stand out.
This is why clients hire me.
My clients either don’t have the time to research how to do everything, don’t have the time to DIY, or they want to DIY but they need a help ensuring perfection.
For those feeling overwhelmed with on-going tasks, it’s time to consider outsourcing work! Outsourcing will not only save you time, but can increase your cash flow in the long-term (think guest loyalty and business growth).
Regardless if you have 1 or 100 rentals, a time will come when you meet dreadful, redundant tasks or those that are overwhelming (due to the job size or needed expertise).
When you feel this resistance creeping up, it’s time to identify what task is causing you duress and hire someone else to do it. Your time is more valuable enhancing the experience and marketing of your home- or spending it with your family and friends!
Besides, it’s obvious when a job is completed with excitement and passion, not resentment.
I personally am a very hands-on owner. So, when it came time to landscape my Park City cottage recently, I jumped in eagerly. After re-stacking the rock wall and attempting to plant bushes, I quickly became miserable…and thought of this post.
Park City soil is terrible (clay, hard and has a LOT of rocks… I mean boulders). I needed to hire out the rest of the job. Had I stuck it out, the end result would have been mediocre, at best. Not the first appearance I want guests to have of my home.
Above and beyond the time needed to manage your home and inquiries, offering exceptional guest services (or acting as a concierge) can really elevate your guests overall stay.
But this takes time, a fleeting resource. Depending on the guest (some like more interaction than others), guest services can be consuming.
By providing a lot of information on your website and in your house manual (thorough FAQ section and ‘insider’s travel’ information), you can reduce time spent answering questions.
This shouldn’t completely replace personal interaction, however, as this is why we own and manage our vacation homes!
Independent concierge providers can help, should you need it. Most, that I have come across thus far, are regionally based as they have an intimate knowledge of a specific location and can really benefit owners with limited time.
Cooper’s Cabin, for example, offers guest services such as transportation, discounted tickets and equipment rentals, events knowledge and food delivery. If you are traveling yourself, they can even act as the full-time point of contact for guests and inquiries.
They are professional, helpful and really engage your guests with your community.
From full-service to a la carte options, concierge services can play as big of a role as you need them to. And they can save vacation rental owners, who are considering hiring a property manager, a lot of money.
Lack The Know-How
Every vacation rental blog nowadays will tell you how important it is to have an independent site with a blog. The blog refreshes your content (SEO!) and provides on-going information to potential guests.
It’s a great marketing tool.
Realistically, many of my clients cringe at the thought of writing a regular blog (even writing 200 words, once per month). They understand the importance, but writing for some just isn’t fun. Actually, it can be downright painful because they don’t know how, or even want to be, a blogger.
Hire this stuff out.
If you are not trying to be an industry thought leader, you just want to provide fun and helpful tidbits in your area, it’s perfectly okay to get help with tasks that you don’t know how to do well, but will enhance your experience.
Today pretty much every aspect of your vacation rental business can be hired out if you are pressed for time, or just don’t want to do it.
Recent projects I have completed for clients (or have helped them find someone to do it) include:
- Social Media management
- Location guides
- Activities and events
- Competitor analysis
- Vacation Rental Branding
- Ad writing
- Website design and management (Webchalet, MyVR, WordPress)
- Cleaning providers
- Property maintenance
- Concierge services (how-to-DIY and/or hiring the right partner)
Research the company/person you plan to hire and screen them as you would an employee. Ask for references and start with small projects (unless they come with outstanding referrals from people you know).
A quick Google search will also yield outsourcing sites like Elance and Virtual Staff Finder. I have used them all, but prefer to ‘buy local’ or from personal referral when I can!
This post was written by Kris Getzie