With the rise of sites like Airbnb, professional vacation rental managers have gone from managing almost all such rentals 10-20 years ago to managing around 40% today. As a manager, those statistics may seem daunting. However, it is still possible to grow your rental property portfolio by winning over the Rental By Owner contingency by showing the valuable, time-saving, risk-free solution that professional property managers can offer.
Play Up Your Strengths
Keep in mind that the key to good rental acquisition is playing up your strengths to obtain properties with potential. Don’t get caught racing to the bottom of the rental market and taking whatever you can get by offering a low commission and a more limited service. And remember that people may associate low fees with low quality, which could lead to high attrition rates down the road.
Present Yourself as an Asset Manager
Instead, present yourself as an asset manager who can provide the best value for money. Remember, many of these second homeowners have the disposable income to purchase a second property that they did not necessarily need. Given this, the owners are likely to have large personal portfolios and understand the importance of return on investment – the investment in this case being you and the return being a well-cared for home and time saved for the homeowner. Such owners are not likely seeking cheap service but instead they want the asset manager who provides the best value for money. And, they surely want to avoid the 8.4 hours a week that HomeAway reports vacation rental owners spend marketing and managing their properties in preparation for rental.
Demonstrate Strong Performance
How can you demonstrate your strong performance as a professional manager? Consider culling and sharing testimonials from past customers to show your ability to deliver seamlessly and reliably. You can also put potential clients in touch with former clients with whom you have had a good working relationship, as referrals are always the easiest way to win business.
Guarantee – YES, Guarantee – Income
On the financial side, you can also incorporate floors on performance, a mechanic to help ensure you make money on the transaction through your strong performance. Another proven way to attract a homeowner is to commit to an income target for their property if they rent with you, otherwise known as a guaranteed contract as we do at VacationFutures.com, an online marketplace that matches homeowners and property managers. If you can guarantee the income for the weeks they choose to rent with you, you would be supplying them with perfect information about how much money to expect from renting, which is likely sought after information as they look to manage their personal cash flow for the year.
The above thoughts and tips are sure to strengthen your ability to recruit top-end vacation homeowners to your rental programs. If you are interested in learning more, I will be speaking at the VRMA Eastern Seminar on April 27-28 on a panel “Adapt or Die: Strategies to Thrive in 21st Century Vacation Rental Management” and I hope to answer your questions in person.