Renting out vacation homes was originally driven by homeowners placing advertisements and relying on word-of-mouth referrals. From Airbnb to VRBO, we have plenty of options to showcase our homes and turn them into income-generating properties. In fact, according to the Global Vacation Rental Market 2015-2019 report, the vacation rental market will topple $169.7 billion by 2019 with the help of vacation rental websites.
You can turn your own home into a luxurious vacation retreat, earn more and turn your biggest asset into your own business. Here’s how to get started.
Protect your home
Before you list your vacation retreat on Airbnb or VRBO, you need to know how to protect it. Let local police and neighbors know about your plans, and consider hiring a nearby property manager who can help manage issues in your absence. Installing a reliable home security camera system that you can monitor from anywhere is also a must to keep tabs on what’s going on at your property. Your system should be weather resistant to the great outdoors, especially where tropical storms or snow is imminent. Home security protection is affordable and may save on your home insurance.
Know the legalities
Turning your home into a vacation retreat is not complicated, but it can require some additional tax and legal hoop jumping before setting up shop. Speak to your attorney and accountant about the tax implications of turning your home into a rental. Whether or not you live on the property full-time, or are renting out a second home can make an impact on your tax return.
You should also contact your homeowner’s insurance agent about any considerations to your policy. Homeowner policies typically don’t cover vacation rentals, and you may need a short- or long-term policy that covers you and your guests.
Listing your vacation rental without a pricing strategy in mind can make or break your experience as a luxury vacation landlord. Sites like Airbnb will suggest a base price that fits your property and listing, but it’s usually necessary to start low to kickstart your listings. After all, guests need a reason to take a chance on your listing instead of the one with tons of positive reviews. Price low for the first few bookings until you work out the kinks and generate enough positive testimonials to attract your own loyal guests.
However, pricing too low for too long can cut your revenue opportunity short and send the wrong message. You don’t want travelers to think there’s a reason your home is priced so much lower than other listings.
Enhance your listings
Your vacation retreat listing is the sales channel to snag those first guests and turn your rental into a full-fledged business. Take the time to research similar listings that convert well in your area and emulate their success. For example, they may have compelling and detailed descriptions and sparkling photos that drive people into action.
Depending on how far you want to take your vacation retreat business, you may want to hire a professional copywriter or photographer to enhance your listings. Airbnb can connect you with a professional photographer to showcase your space and snag more bookings. Airbnb deducts the total cost of your photo shoot from your scheduled payouts so you can start earning immediately without upfront costs.
Prep for success
Once you’ve tidied up your legalities and listing protocols for your luxury vacation retreat, it’s time to prep it for success. Guests have limitless vacation rental options and want to be wowed. Leave bottled water, fresh fruit and a teapot for guests to enjoy a few creature comforts without running out to a local market. You can also create a book with information on area attractions and restaurants, or even offer airport pick-up or fresh flowers to enhance your guests’ stay.
Turning your vacation home into a luxury retreat should be a fun and rewarding experience that benefits both you and your renters. Start small and find your dream renters to work out the process and get feedback before opening the doors to the world.