Homeowner Tips

A Guide to Managing Your Vacation Rental Remotely

January 28, 2021

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely was trending upward. 


Prior to the pandemic, roughly seven million people in the U.S. worked remotely. That number spiked 44% in five years, and now that remote work is more a necessity than it is a luxury, it's reasonable to expect those data points to skyrocket in the months and years ahead.

For short-term vacation rental owners, working remotely isn’t exactly a novel concept. There are many homeowners who already manage rental properties remotely, and a large subset of those folks manage vacation rentals out of state—or even outside the country.

Maybe you’re one of those long-distance hosts and you’re here to gather some vacation-rental tips for owners. If so, great! 

Maybe, though, you’re new to the scene in one way or another, and you’re learning how to not only manage a rental property, but how to do so from a distance. Even better!

Remote work is here to stay

Managing rental properties remotely requires a great deal of dedication, but it's something all hosts can do. Whether you’re someone who has invested in a high-demand area, or just someone who’s looking to make some extra money by opening the doors to your second home, it really doesn’t matter. 

The vacation-rental industry is rapidly growing, and with that growth, new technologies and platforms have emerged to make your life as a host easier. There are many tools out there designed to help you run your rental efficiently, even if you’re not physically on-site or within driving distance. 

Let’s take a look at the five key aspects of managing a short-term rental property, along with the corresponding strategies for completing each task remotely.

Managing A Vacation Rental Remotely

The task: Communication & Messaging

Clear communication before, during, and after a stay is critical to the guest experience. It establishes you as a caring and trustworthy host, but also, it ensures visitors are free to kick back without being bogged down by questions and concerns.

Your ability to communicate openly and produce helpful messaging leads to positive experiences, which leads to positive reviews, which drives your success on online travel sites. And ‘round and ‘round we go. 

How to do this remotely: Be up front and make sure your guests know that even though you don’t live in the area, you are still easy to get in touch with should they run into problems or aren’t satisfied for some reason. When they reach out to you, respond promptly. 

But wait—are you interested in going above and beyond the baseline requirements? Excellent! There are other ways to communicate with your guests even though you aren’t on the property. A “Welcome Book,” for instance, is always a pleasant greeting. You can include technical stuff, such as house rules, but you can also fill it with fun information like things to do and see in the neighborhood.

The task: Cleaning, Maintenance, and Upkeep

Cleanliness has always been important, and now, a stringent cleaning protocol is the top thing travelers are looking for during COVID-19. Pandemic or not, your property needs to be cleaned between stays, and when something breaks, it needs to be fixed. 

How to do this remotely: Hire reliable cleaning professionals and contractors. That’s a pretty straightforward undertaking, but do your homework: if the upkeep of your rental isn’t going to be in your hands, you have to fully trust the hands you put it in. 

Though it’s not necessarily “maintenance,” your home’s security should also be a priority. That’s why it’s a good idea to install a security system, which will protect your investment and put your mind at ease. Beyond that, you can also utilize technology like NoiseAware, which monitors noise levels, and home automation systems, which allow you to manage temperature, lighting, and more right from your smartphone. 

The task: Bookings & Reservations

If there’s one goal all short-term rental owners have in common, it’s this: keep those booking calendars full! When you’re maximizing your occupancy rate, chances are, you’re maximizing your revenue. And, well, isn’t that the whole point?

How to do this remotely: Keep your calendars up-to-date on any booking sites you’ve opted into. Aside from that, you can also experiment with merchandising campaigns while offering discounts, deals, specials, and other perks designed to help you improve your rental’s performance online. 

The task: The Check-In, Check-Out Process

Travelers expect a smooth check-in, check-out experience the same way they expect your home to be clean when they arrive. It’s supposed to be a simple, borderline automatic task, and even though it doesn’t necessarily “make” a stay, it can certainly break a stay—especially if guests don’t feel safe, such as right now during the pandemic.

How to do this remotely: It’s best to automate your check-in, check-out procedures if you can. And obviously, contactless check-ins and check-outs are currently all the rage. There are numerous ways to automate this part of a stay, including technology like EveryDoor. This keyless self check-in service allows you to schedule and control things remotely, and guests can only access your property by making a call on their phone or inputting a unique pin code. 

The task: Marketing & Advertising

You already know the short-term vacation rental market is extremely competitive. So that begs the question: how do you make your rental(s) stand out? Travelers have to see your property before they can book it, which means you have to separate yourself from your competition. If you can deploy marketing strategies on various channels, that’s even more effective. 

How to do this remotely: Your listings are your most effective marketing tool, so keeping those up-to-date is pivotal. If you are offering new rates, advertise them in your headings; if you recently renovated part of your rental, show off those updates in your photos and videos. When it comes to written descriptions, you can also curate your copy for your target audience. For instance, if your home is perfect for kids and pets, make sure to write your description with families in mind!

Flawless listings on online travel sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com are a powerful way to market your rental. When you’re ready to to expand your marketing game, though, there’s plenty of room to do so through social media, personal blogs, email campaigns, and even by starting your own website. 

The Pros & Cons of Managing a Rental Property Remotely

Clearly, managing a vacation rental from a distance is doable. But it does require quite a bit of dedication. If you have the time and the resolve, though, you can run a successful rental business from across the street or across the world—especially if you utilize the technology and tools available today. Effectively managing your vacation rental remotely means:

  • You can be anywhere on the planet, and your property is making you money wherever it is.

  • Your hours can be as flexible as you want them to be, so long as your operation is running smoothly.

  • You can save some money by doing everything yourself, instead of paying commission to a property management service.

  • You control everything, from the marketing of your rental to who gets to stay in it. 

On the flip side, though: managing your rental remotely is a lot of work! The daily repetition of tasks that comes with owning a vacation property can truly become a grind—doubly so if you already have a full-time job. 

As a remote owner, you're never really "off" the clock

A full-service company like MyVacayHome bridges that gap, allowing you to own a profitable rental remotely without having to dedicate all your time to its day-to-day operations. In fact, you can view MyVacayHome as your personal booking team: our experts handle everything from revenue management to marketing your rental, and our 24/7 call center keeps your guests covered from pre-stay to post-stay and everything in between. 

If you’d like to learn more about what MyVacayHome can do for you and your property, click here and let us know what you’re looking to accomplish!

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