Turning Your Vacation Home into a Rental Success: Tips and Tricks - Article Banner

Florida is an outstanding market for vacation rentals. There’s a lot of demand, and that demand shows up all year long. If you’re thinking about renting your vacation home out to short-term tourists and visitors, you’ll have to be prepared for an ever-shifting market and diligence around marketing and customer service. 

With the rise of vacation rental platforms and a growing interest in enjoying the space and privacy a rental home can provide, we can help you turn your vacation home into a rental success. Here are some of our best tips and tricks as professional property managers in Southwest Florida. 

Know Your Vacation Rental Market 

Knowing your potential tenant pool is foundational to a successful and profitable experience renting out a vacation home. 

This is Florida, so your renters are coming into town for a few days, a few weeks, and in some cases a few months. We have seasonal visitors from colder climates who enjoy spending entire winters here. So, you need to be prepared for every potential demographic, from spring breakers to retirees to families who want to enjoy their summer vacations. 

You’ll have guests who are looking for a romantic getaway, family gatherings, adventure base camps, and even solo travelers and remote workers who are in town for a pleasant change of scenery. 

Understanding the preferences and needs of your target guest population helps you tailor your property and your marketing efforts to attract the right visitors.

Get a Grip on Pricing

Your profitability and your ease in attracting guests will depend on accurate pricing. The right price will depend on a number of factors, including: 

  • Length of stay. Your nightly rate will be different depending on competition, the market, and whether your guests are in town for two nights or two weeks.
  • Season. In Florida, we stay pretty busy all year long when it comes to vacation rental homes, but obviously there will be especially high-demand seasons. 
  • Your property’s location. If you’re close to the beach or in a walkable neighborhood packed with restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, you get to charge a bit more.
  • Your property’s amenities. Do you provide a pool or a hot tub? 
  • Your property’s condition. Is everything well-maintained? Are there upgrades? These will lead you to higher rental rates.
  • Strength of the market and competition

You don’t want to price your property too low. When you do that, you can expect to keep it occupied, but you’ll also be leaving a lot of cash on the table. If you price your property too high, however, you’ll find that visitors and guests choose other rental homes over yours. You may have more vacant days and nights than you’d like. A higher than average price needs to be justified by unique amenities or special services. 

To effectively price your rental property for short term guests, you’ll need to understand the local market, the guests who are likely to book, and how your property compares to all the others that are available. 

Don’t be afraid to offer incentives around your pricing. For example, you could offer a discount for a last-minute booking. If you know you have three weeks coming up where you don’t have any guests booked, offer a half-price stay for two of those weeks. You’ll get some attention. You can also offer free passes for local events or discount cards and tickets to local shops, coffeehouses, and bars. This will make your price point look more valuable to potential guests. We also like the idea of a discount for repeat renters. Always let your guests know that you’ll not only welcome them back, you’ll also welcome them back for less. You can offer a referral discount, too. If they recommend your property to a friend who books, you can give that initial guest a generous discount.

There are several different strategies you can employ when you’re pricing your property for short term vacation renters, but you’ll have to consistently monitor the market, which changes almost daily. Make sure your price is clear in all of your marketing materials and on your listing platforms. 

Think About Comfort and Durability with Furnishings and Features 

Vacationers choose to stay with you because you offer an experience that’s more personal than a hotel. 

They’ll still expect all of the comforts and luxuries that they would find at a nice hotel. And, remember that a lot of guests will be coming through your property, using your furniture and making your place their own. You need durability so you aren’t replacing tables and mattresses every year. 

  • Maximize your Furnishings

-Put a sleeper sofa in the living room and common areas.

-Consider bunk beds or two twin beds  in one of the bedrooms to accommodate families and sleep more people.

– Buy ottomans and deep coffee tables with extra storage. 

-Put a king bed in the primary suite, one of our most requested comforts!

-If you don’t have a lot of closet space, invest in an armoire and good dressers.

Cover all the basics such as beds with high-quality mattresses, night stands, end tables, sofas, and a dining set to accommodate at least six people. Provide extra kitchen chairs or bar stools. Expand the seating options in the living area with things like floor cushions.

Limit the risk of damaged furniture by investing in high quality, durable furniture. 

  • Kitchens and Cookery are Essential

When you’re renting out a vacation property for several months, you’ll need some serious kitchen equipment. Guests will expect to be able to cook meals in the kitchen when they don’t want to go out. 

Make sure you set your property up with all the essentials, including:

  • Pots and pans.
  • Plates in different sizes.
  • Silverware and serving items like big spoons and salad tongs.
  • Coffee and tea mugs as well as coffee makers and kettles.
  • Bowls in various sizes.
  • Glasses, including water glasses and wine glasses. 

Keep some kid-friendly pieces available such as plastic cups with lids. You’ll need a good toaster, microwave, and other small appliances like a blender and a kettle. 

  • Don’t Forget the Outdoor Space

When your vacation rental includes a yard or even a balcony, don’t forget to furnish that part of the property. Outdoor seating will always be appreciated, and if you can provide a grill, a table for al fresco dining, and maybe an umbrella to protect your guests from the sun, you’ll be creating an enviable Florida experience for your renters.

Make Maintenance a Priority

Maintaining your vacation property will be time and labor intensive. Unlike a long-term rental, you’ll have frequent turnover and a lot of different people using your appliances, furniture, and systems. Make sure you’re ready to maintain and clean your property after every guest checks out and before a new guest checks in.

If you get a report from a guest that something is broken, make sure you take care of the problem quickly. They don’t want to be left without the use of something. And, you don’t want new renters moving in with something not working. Put together a team of high-quality vendors, contractors, and service providers who can be trusted to give your property the attention it needs as quickly and affordably as possible. You’ll want a cleaning crew ready to get into the property between guests. You’ll want good landscapers and a solid pest control company. 

Maintaining your vacation property is essential in maximizing what you earn on it. You need to offer vacationers a safe, attractive, and modern place to stay. Protect its condition and its value by conducting frequent inspections and responding immediately to anything that might be needed.

Ask for Guest Reviews and Keep in Touch

Repeat GuestsRepeat guests are perhaps one of your most valuable assets when you’re renting out a vacation home in Southwest Florida. Always ask your guests to review your property. This will help you with marketing, and it will also provide you with a way to keep in touch with the people who have stayed at your vacation home. You can keep in touch via email newsletters, social media posts, and offers in case they want to return. 

Successful vacation rental hosts understand the value of excellent customer service. Responsive communication, a straightforward booking process, and a personal touch like a welcome note or a local guidebook can enhance your guests’ experience and encourage positive reviews. Leverage those reviews and make sure your guests understand how much you appreciate them. This will lead to repeat business and recommendations. 

Managing your vacation rental home can quickly become too time-intensive, especially if you’re successful and you have a steady stream of renters coming and going. We always recommend that investment property owners consider hiring a property management company in Southwest Florida. You’ll find you can leverage our technology, our experience, and our deep understanding of the local market and the people who visit. Professional managers can handle everything from marketing to maintenance, allowing you to enjoy the benefits without the daily hassles.

Let’s talk about how you can have a successful and profitable experience renting out a vacation home. Contact our team at Realty Group of Southwest Florida.