Investment Property Tips & Advice

A Guide to Vacation Rental Management

| 4 min. read

Statista reports that the global vacation rental market will soon hit 893.7 million guests. With dozens of Airbnb owners making more than a million dollars a year, investing in a vacation rental seems like a no-brainer. 

But before you jump into vacation real estate, consider how you’ll be able to manage a property that’s not in your backyard. And even if you live locally, do you have the time to handle maintenance requests, tenant checks, and other management responsibilities? Or would you prefer someone else, such as a property management company, to take those stressful tasks off your plate? 

Today, we’ll ask critical questions about vacation rental management, see if it’s a good fit for your real estate investment, and outline the next steps you can take to get started in this thriving market. 

What Is a Vacation Rental Property Management Company?

A vacation rental property management company is pretty much exactly like it sounds: It’s a company of experts who handle the pesky day-to-day aspects of your vacation rental management. Whether you’re worried about repairs, maintenance, bookings, or collecting payments, a vacation rental property manager has you covered. 

A vacation rental management company will typically deal with alternative accommodations, short-term leases, or any type of property except a hotel. Guests stay between 1 and 90 nights, sometimes longer, depending on local laws. 

Most often, alternative accommodations appear on the market as a condo, villa, bungalow, apartment, or even boat or tiny home. Think of a vacation rental property management company as a short-term rental management company—the two are synonymous. 

Is a Vacation Rental Management Company the Right Fit For You and Your Property?

If you already own a vacation property, then yes, you’re a great candidate for management services. Especially if you’re one of the 88.3% of landlords who experience stress when handling tenant requests and routine maintenance, according to a Porch survey

Even if you haven’t purchased a vacation home yet or are on the fence about converting your property, it may be wise to start coordinating with local property management companies early. A short-term rental management company can often give essential insights into the real estate buying process. 

It’s also worth noting that many property owners have short-term leasing potential that they’re unaware of. 

Let’s play a quick game. It’s called: you might have a valuable short-term rental property if you…

  • Travel frequently
  • Have multiple properties
  • Work remotely
  • Live in another town from your property
  • Want to use your property occasionally
  • Own an inherited property

In any of these cases, you may already have a valuable (and rentable) asset that can earn you profits without much effort.

So, does your property qualify? If so, it may be time to consider working with a vacation rental management company to increase the ROI of your investment and limit the work you’ll have to do. 

3 Vacation Rental Management Options

If your property is a good fit, there are three typical avenues to secure rental management assistance. Let’s look at the options.

1. Rental Manager

You may partner with an individual rental manager. This would be one person who handles the details of your vacation rental. They may have a small team to assist when necessary, but as far as your involvement goes, your communication is streamlined through one person. This option works well for owners with single or several properties in the same location.

2. Rental Management Company

A vacation rental management company will offer the most comprehensive services and have fewer geographical restrictions. This option may work best if you have–or plan to expand to–properties in different areas. The management company will likely have the required resources, several locations, and the ability to manage your property effectively wherever it is located. It can also be a pricier option, so thorough research is recommended.

3. Rental Management Software

Rental management software is the least expensive but the most hands-on option for a property owner. Websites like VRBO and Airbnb will help you coordinate bookings and payment but won’t take care of maintenance, cleaning, or repairs. If you’re just getting started, have a small budget, or are looking to dip your toe into short-term rentals for the first time, this can be a good option. 

Where to Buy Vacation Rental Property

There are three primary considerations when deciding where to invest in a vacation rental property. 

First, ask: Where would YOU want to vacation? 

Once you’ve picked a location—here are a few “bests” to explore—it’s time to get realistic: What can you afford in the local market? Remember that even small spaces can pull big returns, so don’t be afraid to think tiny. 

Finally, evaluate what you’ll be able to make monthly in rentals

What is your next step? Start researching the vacation market.

3 Steps to Vacation Rental Success

If you’re seriously considering adding a vacation rental to your real estate portfolio, you’ll want to follow these three simple steps. 

Step 1: Finding the right management

Sure, it sounds dreamy to own a house on the beach that you can visit whenever you want and make money from when you’re off galavanting elsewhere, but successfully managing a profitable vacation rental is no easy task. Securing good property management is key to your success. 

Sites like All Property Management contain extensive details on vacation rental managers in the area of your choice. There’s no better way to start your search. 

Step 2: Finding the right balance

Once you’ve decided on the perfect property manager for your needs, it’s time to hash out the details of a vacation property management agreement

This agreement can be relatively simple, but there’s a few points you should include. Read the fine print, discuss anything you’re unsure of with your new manager, and build in a trial period–3-6 months is usually a good window–so you’re not locked into a 24-month agreement immediately.  

Step 3: Letting go

The final step can be the most difficult for property owners. It’s time to let go and let the vacation management company do its job. Luckily, you’ve done your research and know your property is in the hands of trusted professionals. Take a deep breath—it’s time to sit back and collect checks. 

All Property Management’s search tool is the perfect place to begin your research if you're ready to find the right vacation rental property management company. 

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