What is the best way to make money from a vacation rental property?

We’ve seen personally how much money you can make when your second property genuinely works for you.

Every year, we welcome almost two million visitors to our 30,000-holiday homes. Whether you’ve rented out your second home for decades or are just getting started in the fast-growing vacation rental market, we’re providing insights from our revenue and analytics team on how to make money on vacation rental property.

1. Purchase the ideal holiday home.

If you haven’t bought your vacation home yet, look at our purchase vacation home resources. To cut a long story short, we’ve observed new vacation rental owners do best when they think about:

• The location. The most apparent choice for an investment property is a home with quick access to a neighboring attraction (ski slopes, beach, water, theme park, city center).

• It has a seasonal appeal. If you choose a site that is accessible and desired all year, you will notice higher financial outcomes.

• Dimensions. The more bedrooms and baths you have, the more each night you can charge.

• Rules and regulations. Check local city, county, and HOA (homeowner association) rules regarding holiday rentals, or ask your neighbors for advice. Some policies can make renting your second property short-term more difficult by limiting the number of guests allowed, enforcing tight parking restrictions, or outright prohibiting rental activities. 

2. Decorate and furnish the room

A straightforward way on how to make money on vacation rental property is to create a pleasant atmosphere for guests. This not only improves the visitor experience, but it’s also essential for marketing—if your guests are uploading photos of themselves in your home on Instagram, you’re doing something right.

There are a few basic ways to improve the curb appeal of your home:

• Make the bed more comfortable by fluffing it up. We usually recommend hotel-quality sheets and at least four pillows for each bed. Your guests will sleep better, and your chambers will look better in photos!

• Renovate the kitchen. The private kitchen is a massive lure for holiday homes, so make sure yours is fully stocked with measuring cups, mixing bowls, baking sheets, and pans, as well as some good table linens. 

• Make the windows seem nice. You’d be shocked how much curtains can improve the look of a room. 

• Employ the services of pros. Our Interior Design program, which is available to our homeowners, provides design consulting specifically for short-term rentals. 

3. Make your listing more appealing.

With the help of your home’s internet presence, you can attract potential guests to your Instagram-worthy hideaway.

• Invest in high-quality photos. Your images will determine whether or not your home gets listed. For each residence, we take excellent HDR images with careful staging: open the drapes, close the toilet lids, hide the garbage cans, and fluff the cushions.

• Take your visitor on tour. Virtual tours of a home can help guests envision their trip and encourage them to book. Because our data shows that properties with virtual 3D tours have a 14 percent higher occupancy rate, we invest in them for every home.

• Create a succinct and accurate description. A description can assist guests in understanding what to expect and highlight features that are difficult to capture in a snapshot. 

4. Upgrade your facilities.

Guests looking for a few critical facilities above everything else, thus supplying these top three bonuses will increase your home’s visibility:

• Dogs are welcome. According to our findings, homeowners who permitted dogs made 10–15 percent more money than those who did not.

 • Include a hot tub. This is especially true in homes with spectacular vistas or in areas where the weather is colder. According to our research, adding a hot tub can result in a 15–20% increase in revenue—and we make it simple with our hot tub installation program.

• Make WiFi available. Today’s guests expect internet connection, and if you don’t give it, you’ll lose out on bookings. (If your property is too remote to have WiFi, be open and state that it’s a beautiful spot to unplug in the description.)

5. Calculate your fees.

You can’t rely on the previous “set it and forget it” paradigm, which had fixed nightly rates for weeknights or weekends, peak season, or low season. Rates have become more dynamic as technology has advanced, and they are now one of the most challenging aspects of how to make money on vacation rental property. 

6. Organize your schedule.

 Your calendar might have a significant impact on the profitability of your property. Our revenue team suggests the following calendar management tips:

• Staying in a minimum-stay hotel is not recommended. Applying stringent minimum stay criteria may appear to be a shortcut to a premium booking, but it’s more likely to drive potential guests away in favor of something more straightforward. For example, asking a guest to plan a five- or seven-night stay around the Fourth of July (when demand is just for three nights) may encourage guests to avoid your resort. What could have been three nights’ worth of earnings is now worthless.

• Stay away from minimum nightly charges. Similarly, minimum nightly prices can give the appearance of higher revenue, but as seasonally shifts, they might lead to fewer reservations. A $400 minimum fee may be sufficient during peak season, but it is unlikely to generate bookings during the off-season when demand is significantly lower. 

7. Sell Your House

 Finding the ideal listing site (or sites) is crucial if you’re selling your vacation home on your own.

Do you own a home in a popular holiday destination with a lot of holiday rentals? Vrbo is an excellent option. Do you own a city apartment? Your best bet is probably Airbnb.

Working with the pros can enhance your revenue stream by placing your property in front of as many potential visitors as possible, just like working with the pros can improve your prices. This is accomplished by our digital marketing team using the following methods:

 • Search engine optimization (search engine optimization). Ensure your home is adequately represented on search engines by using the correct keywords and signals.

 • Pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements. These sponsored adverts display at the top of search results and are specifically targeted to appear when your visitors look for specific keywords.

 • Ads that appear on the screen. You’ve probably seen those annoying banner adverts that follow you across the internet. Those are also something we do.

 • Ads on Facebook. We put a gorgeous photo of your house in their newsfeed when we know a guest is shopping for homes in your area.

 • Organic social interaction. Hundreds of thousands of interested travelers can see the most beautiful or distinctive residences on our social media sites.

8. The positive feedback is fantastic.

You rely on reviews to help you decide where to shop on Amazon, where to eat on Yelp, and where to apply for employment on Glassdoor. Good reviews in the vacation rental sector mean:

• An increase in bookings. Guests value thoughts highly and are more inclined to book a property with a high number of favorable evaluations

• Increased visibility. Listing sites frequently prioritize homes with positive evaluations above those with negative or few ratings in their search results.

• Guests who return. Guests who left you an excellent review in the first place are more likely to return and tell others about their pleasant experiences.

9. Take notes from poor reviews.

 Negative feedback is frequently a blessing in disguise. Negative feedback gives you a chance to:

 • Make enhancements. Some of our most prosperous homeowners are those that listen to their neighbors and make tiny changes regularly. 

• Establish a foundation of trust. You display care and consideration for your guests and their experience if you take the time to fix the problem. You might even be able to reclaim them.

10. Engage the services of a vacation rental management firm.

We may be biassed, but having a comprehensive management company on your side makes making money on your vacation rental property so much easier. A skilled manager will handle all of the details, allowing you to spend more time enjoying the additional income.

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