6 Tips To Develop an Effective Short-Term Rental Strategy

January 3, 2023

If you are new to the short-term rental industry, it's essential to develop a strategy for your rental business to succeed. So, let's talk about a few of the challenges that come with short-term rentals, as well as actionable steps that you can take to get those rentals filled so your business can thrive.

The Challenges Behind Creating a Successful Short-Term Rental Strategy

Some challenges faced by those managing short-term rentals revolve around a need for more organization. A few of the most common include:

  • Not adequately keeping track of monthly income and expenses
  • Not having a plan in place for emergencies or unexpected repairs
  • Not marketing sufficiently, so the rentals spend more time empty than they should
  • Not having a streamlined system to manage bookings and cleanings

With keeping up with bookings, cleanings, amenities, repairs, and cash flow, you may quickly get overwhelmed if you don't have systems in place. Short-term rentals have a lot more moving parts than traditional long-term rentals. You want to make sure you have a plan for when something goes wrong, know precisely how much money is going in and out, and have a marketing plan to keep the guests coming.

6 Actionable Tips To Optimize Your Short-Term Rentals

Fortunately, some steps can be taken to give your listings, and therefore your rental business, the highest chance of success. By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to having a steady flow of income and a streamlined short-term rental company.

Tip #1: Conduct Research on Short-Term Rental Properties To Target Potential Markets

Research the real estate market in your location and rental needs in your area so that you know who to market your space to. For instance, some spaces are more suited for couples and a romantic getaway, while others are more family-friendly. Some spaces make a perfect home base for outdoor adventurists, while others appeal to those traveling on business trips. Once you know your target guests, it will be much easier to create a marketing plan to find them.

Tip #2: Map Operating Costs and Income Potential To Evaluate Monthly Cash Flow

Like any business, with short-term rentals, it is essential to know how much money will come in versus how much will go out and what your return on investment will be. You will have to develop a short-term rental pricing strategy. You will have a nightly rate and weekly rates, but your rental unit will probably not always be full, especially in the beginning. You may also charge different amounts based on the occupancy rate. For example, your rate may be higher if there is one guest versus four.

You should ask yourself a few questions to understand your operating costs.

  • How much do you need to charge to make enough to cover cleaning fees, commission fees, taxes, labor, maintenance, amenities, and other expenses?
  • What is your potential cash flow if your rental is booked every single night of the month?
  • How many days can it sit empty while still turning a profit?

Having straightforward answers to these questions and knowing how much flexibility you have while still staying financially viable will help you decide as you move forward with your short-term rental business.

Tip #3: Take High-Quality Photos To Showcase Your Property

Photos are crucial when it comes to the short-term rental market. Potential visitors want to envision themselves in the space, and it needs to feel inviting, safe, and clean. High-quality photos can make all the difference in whether someone keeps looking at your listings or moves on.

Before taking photos, ensure that the area to be photographed is clean and free of clutter. If you are taking the photos yourself, turn on all the lights, and let some natural sunlight in. Take pictures from multiple angles so that you have some to choose from when you are reviewing them. Remember to include photos of inside spaces, outside spaces, and unique amenities that potential guests can get excited about. Consider hiring a professional photographer who has experience staging and photographing vacation rentals.

Tip #4: Utilize Social Media Platforms To Promote Your Property

Social media platforms are a great way to promote your property. There are a few easy and actionable steps that you can take today to start creating your social media strategy for your short-term rental business.

  • Create a business page on Facebook with all the information about your short-term rentals and easy links for booking.
  • Create a page for your rental on Instagram. With its photo-centric, visually pleasing interface, Instagram has become popular for short-term rentals. It allows you to highlight images and visitors to share their own photos when they stay at one of your places.
  • Create a YouTube tour of your property, highlighting amenities.
  • Make sure that your social media handles and desired hashtags are listed somewhere for your guests to see, such as on the refrigerator or in a welcome packet. This will make it easy for guests to follow you and share images of their trip using your hashtags on their social media accounts!

Tip #5: Leverage Unique Services, Amenities, and Software for Automation

There are a lot of services out there for short-term rentals that can make your job of managing this type of business much more straightforward. These include amenity services, automated booking services, software for managing cleanings and maintenance, guest communication and payment services, and more.

Property management software increasingly combines several of these services into one by providing a tool that can be used to manage multiple aspects of your short-term rental business. A few property management software systems that are worth checking out are Guesty, Hostaway, and Lodgify.

Tip #6: Alongside Airbnb and VRBO, Host Your Own Site for Direct Bookings

Even if you already have your listing on all the most popular short-term rental sites, such as Airbnb and VRBO, having your own site for direct bookings is a good idea to maximize your rental income, especially if you manage multiple vacation rentals. Booking apps can be integrated into your own website, giving your potential guests the ability to book their rental right on your site.

Short-Term Rental Management Made Easy

If you're ready to take some of the weight off your shoulders and automate your short-term rental strategy, then TIDY is here to help. TIDY allows you to automatically book favorite cleaning professionals, add to-do lists specific to each rental, manage maintenance requests, and more. With solutions like TIDY that sync to existing property management tools, knowing that the space your guest is arriving to is clean, welcoming, and well-maintained is a breeze.

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