Many vacation rental owners choose to purchase and manage their properties from afar. This option is appropriate for all hosts: those who want to invest in a tourism-rich location, offer their property to foreign tourists or own a vacation house abroad that they rent out when not using it.
Telecommuting may have seemed like a pipe dream ten years ago. However, it has now become an accepted element of the workplace. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, statistics show that 7 million Americans (3.4 percent of the population) worked remotely. Furthermore, the number of persons working remotely has climbed by 44% in the previous five years.
However, working from home creates unique obstacles for vacation rental owners and property managers. Keep reading to discover more about managing a rental property remotely, whether you’re an urban or vacation homeowner and/or manager.
But first, let’s define what a long-distance rental property is.
A long-distance rental property is situated many hours away, in a different state, or even in a different nation.
Long-distance rental management isn’t restricted to geography since hosts who live close to their rental may not devote full-time to the company or travel regularly.
How can I run a vacation rental from afar?
With the vacation rental industry’s tremendous growth, new technology and internet platforms have evolved to assist homeowners in taking full management of their businesses. These solutions enable hosts to handle their vacation rental effectively without being there physically. In many cases, it may even help to minimize workload. Regardless of where you are in the world, you must ensure that you meet all of your visitors’ demands and provide a 5-star experience.
Let’s look at 12 different methods to manage vacation rentals from afar:
1. Check-in and check-out systems that are fully automated
The notion of automated check-in and check-out in vacation rentals has been around for a while, and many hosts have already adopted it, even if they live near their property. Because of the simplicity, you won’t have to welcome your visitors upon their entrance or departure. This is particularly useful if visitors are running late or are experiencing a delay.
WIFI door locks, lockboxes, electronic locks, and smart locks are all safe options for allowing your visitors to check in on their own. If you want to do things the old-fashioned way, you may set up a safe key drop, where you offer a secure location near the property for key storage. You may also give the key to your rental house to your neighbors or pals.
2. Make a lockdown strategy.
Although this may seem too dramatic, you can never be too prepared. You’ll be able to react swiftly and effectively to varying degrees of severity and alter your activities appropriately if you have a lockdown or pandemic strategy. Make a list of your priorities and a short overview of what you want to accomplish. During a crisis, some priorities can include:
- reducing the spread of illness among your personnel and visitors
- minimizing the consequences on your company
- maintaining business operations,
- maintaining a calm and controlled approach.
- Open lines of contact with employees and visitors
You may also establish clear expectations by agreeing on the structure of your remote team and the decision-makers. This stage is critical because it will assist you in determining how and when to activate your strategy and the steps to take.
When you’re compelled to operate remotely, the more paperwork you have, the simpler it will be to implement your strategy.
3. Purchase software for vacation rental management.
Managing a remote property management company may be a difficult task. However, you can rest certain that your company is in good hands even if you’re away from your properties due to automation.
You can monitor and manage your operations while still collecting reservations using vacation rental software like Lodgable.
4. Safety at Home
The security of your rental is crucial, particularly if you are managing the property from afar. Because your property may be vacant between stays, security measures must be in place at that time.
Surveillance cameras, motion sensors, and burglar alarms are all important security devices, and many of them can be linked to your phone or computer. If an alarm is activated, you will get an alert on your smartphone and will be able to see the live cams.
On the other hand, some visitors may dislike the presence of a surveillance camera and be concerned about privacy and data security. Make sure your visitors know the processes in place ahead of time.
You may always check visitors throughout the booking process if you are not on-site to meet them directly. Before accepting a booking, get to know your visitors and only offer them the actual address once the booking has been finalized and money has been received. After all, you don’t want to be bothered by unwanted visitors, particularly while you’re not in the neighborhood.
5. Automation Systems for the Home
Today’s market provides vacation rental owners with many options for managing their company without needing to be physically there. Like automatic check-ins, home automation solutions allow you to monitor and operate your air conditioning, smart thermostats, smart lights, and other devices.
When it comes to noise management in your home, apps like NoiseAware and Party Squasher will notify you if your visitors are throwing a party. You’ll get an alert on your phone if there’s too much noise, and you’ll be able to take action right away, preventing any difficulties with your neighbors.
Your new visitors will be greeted with a warm welcome in a well-lit home that is already heated or cooled. You may also be certain that everything is turned off once the visitors have left, saving you money on power and heating expenses.
These home automation gadgets are highly useful to conserve energy or create a nice ambiance to welcome your visitors.
6. Hire a dependable maid or cleaning service.
In addition to contractors, it’s essential to engage a professional cleaning agency to handle basic duties like disinfection and cleaning and visitor turnover.
One of the finest investments you can make in your vacation rental company is to invest in excellent cleaning. Nothing is more vital than presenting your properties in the best possible light, which begins with keeping your property tidy. Negative reviews due to a poorly kept and unclean home are very difficult to overcome; moreover, a cleaning service would guarantee that commonly ignored and difficult-to-reach areas are cleaned to ensure that your vacation rental is pristine. You may even provide them with a customized vacation rental cleaning checklist to verify that they follow your cleaning procedures.
7. Maintain a list of reputable contractors.
Make connections with local maintenance, such as a plumber, electrician, or handyman, by doing some research in the region where your rental is situated.
One of the most important things is ensuring that your guests are comfortable living in your vacation rental. This might not work in case of things such as failures with your heating systems. With a list of reputable contractors, you will get heating maintenance by professionals and not only maximize the comfort of your guests but also increase the lifespan of the heating systems.
Explain your position to them, stating that you have a rental but do not reside in the area, and ask if they can be your point of contact if anything goes wrong while your visitors are on the premises. They will be more hands-on and capable of repairing things in an emergency (a leak, flood, power outage, etc.)
8. Promote your home
The good news is that you won’t have to make any changes to your marketing strategy if you have a long-distance rental. There are several strategies to promote your rental, including having your website, SEO, OTA listings, publishing a blog, email marketing, social media, and so on. While there are various alternatives, it is important to devote time to each one to guarantee that your rental receives the most exposure possible.
If you’ve opted to invest in a rental in a major tourist location, you’ll need to advertise it regularly all year to ensure a high occupancy rate.
9. Hire a Property Manager if Needed
Having a property manager is one of the most popular procedures for a long-distance rental. This is usually the most popular and practical choice. Each business provides a distinct service. Some property managers take care of cleaning and replacing amenities, while others serve as a point of contact for visitors in an emergency. For check-in and check-out changeover, a property manager may also be present. Some businesses even provide concierge services.
Depending on the management or firm, they may account for 10 – 20% of each booking, and occasionally even more. While you may still handle marketing and bookings, a property manager will handle all guest-related matters as well as the property itself.
10. Make sure your website and listings are current.
It’s critical to keep your website and listings up to date, in addition to maintaining your internet presence and promoting your rental. Make sure your website and listing photographs are up to date and that you respond to all of your guests’ letters and reviews. Without using all-in-one vacation rental software, these processes may take a long time. Use Lodgable to simplify this process saving you time and money.
11. Keep in touch with your visitors
Before, during, and after their stay, communicate with your visitors. Even if you don’t live in the region, let your visitors know that they may contact you if they have any issues or aren’t happy.
Also, remember to provide them with an emergency contact person throughout their stay, whether it’s a friend or a property manager. If you’re the emergency contact, let them know that they can reach you through email, phone, or text.
12. Have a Welcome Book available.
You may still offer your visitors a personal welcome even if you won’t be there at check-in by giving a welcome book. By putting in some effort and creativity, you may leave a lasting impact on your visitors.
Here are a few examples of what you might do:
- Local activities (great hiking routes, unique beaches, vistas, cycling lanes, areas of interest, etc.)
- Restaurant and café recommendations
- Neighborhood information (car parks, ATMs, supermarkets, pharmacies)
- Information on public transit
Providing the correct services to your guests from the time they walk into your vacation rental may make a big impact and increase the number of repeat visitors.
What to Remember
At first, sight, managing your vacation rental from afar may be overwhelming, but after you’ve considered all of the factors, it’s not as difficult as it appears. Consider the number of individuals who own vacation houses in other countries and rent them out when not using them.
When the actual location of your vacation rental isn’t an issue, you may look into which regions would be the most profitable for you to invest in or which are the most popular with tourists and would bring you the most profit.
As you can see, being present is not required to provide a pleasant vacation rental experience to your visitors. Alternatives such as automatic check-in and emerging technology may save your burden while also allowing you to manage your vacation rental from afar.