Avoid Common Vacation Rental Mistakes

As a vacation rental owner it’s often easy to focus on what you should do, but it’s important to steer clear of potential pitfalls as well. After all, Knowing what to avoid half the battle. Here’s our list of list of top 6 things NOT to do as an owner.

1. Invest in the wrong upgrades

When buying a house, people may look for items like new flooring, beautiful fixtures, or glass tile back splashes. When renting a house for a few days, the list of must-haves is much different. So what are the factors that make a property stand out? Essentially it comes down to the little amenities, especially the ones that will save guests money or make the stay less stressful and more enjoyable. Some of the most requested items are a Pack N Play, hot tub, comfortable mattresses, coffee maker, extra seating, and game tables (like foosball or ping pong). So, for more return on investment, skip the items that don’t matter as much and invest in the amenities that really pay off.

2. Ignore your property’s drawbacks

We all like to think that our property is perfect and that everyone will think it’s fantastic, but take a moment to consider what you may be glossing over. Perhaps it’s the bumpy, neglected street in front of your house, the noise of traffic, an occasional train whistle, or the tendency to attract bugs. Take care of the problems that you can take care of, but for the things that you can’t control, it’s best to let guests in on the issues. Then make sure to highlight all of the really awesome things about your property. Guests will appreciate the honesty

3. Have a low guest count

Having a low guest count can have a major impact on your property’s success, and it’s one of the most common mistakes that owners make. A change of max guest count by just two people can increase or decrease occupancy by as much as 20-40%, translating into thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars in increased or decreased revenue. Can you fit an extra guest or two on a pull out couch or air mattress? If so, you’ll most likely see your bookings increase. Read more about guest count here.

4. Fill your property with low quality furniture

It’s perfectly fine to want to save money, but if you’re going to attract guests and have those guests leave positive reviews, ultra budget furniture and decor is not the way to go. Not only does cheap furniture often wear out and break quickly, but it often doesn’t look appealing in photos or in person. Buying used furniture is perfectly fine, but make sure that you’re buying quality pieces that will last longer, like those from Chairish. Even stores like Ikea that are known for bargain furniture have some great-looking, sturdy options.

5. Be Unprepared for Emergencies

A broken fixture, a refrigerator that doesn’t cool, a clogged shower drain, or a TV that stops working; things like this happen all the time, and when they do, it’s absolutely necessary that you have someone you trust to step in and deal with it. It’s also necessary that you have someone you trust to take care of preventative measures like pest control, regular inspections, and seasonal maintenance. See our recommended property care standards here.

6. Price too high or too low

There’s a sweet spot for pricing, but it takes a lot of comparison and investigative work to find it. There’s a temptation to compare your property directly to similar sized homes in the area, but there are many other factors that come into play like amenities, views, decor and more. There are times when you would benefit by lowering your prices, like when you first list your property so that you can earn great reviews quickly and jump start your bookings. Of course it’s important to study your area’s high seasons and low seasons and price accordingly. Gone are the days when a property’s price only needed adjusting every few months. In the competitive world of vacation rentals, prices should be adjusted monthly and sometimes even weekly to correlate with nearby festivals, concerts, and other area attractions. Check out our post of when to discount and when not to discount here.

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