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The Vacation Rental Owner: Before & After

By Matt Landau In my years of operating my own vacation rentals and consulting hundreds of owners/managers on a daily basis, I’ve come to get a pretty good idea of what it takes to succeed in this industry. Take being hospitable for instance: if you aren’t inherently hospitable to your guests or if you don’t learn how to be artificially hospitable to your guests, you will never succeed with vacation rentals. But the anatomy of a successful vacation rental owner goes far beyond bullet-point characteristics. Because many of us never had any experience with tourism or marketing before we got started, the learning curve of today’s property owners more resembles a dynamic, ever-changing scatter chart of ups and downs than it does a smooth upward curve. Being new to the vacation rental industry means a certain level of naivety. With an upsurge in popularity of sites like Only-apartments, HomeAway or AirBnB, many owners tend to forget that they also need to be proactive. It can be easy, if your property is doing well, for instance, to lay back and become complacent about your business. It can be easy to run your rental like a hobby, enjoy the passive income and even perhaps think about acquiring a second or third property without any real business-like acumen. It can be equally just as easy to slip into frustration mode at the lack of inquiries or bookings because a listing site’s lead generation seems to be slow. Many new owners start freaking out when their property isn’t filling up as expected. Matt But there is a very tangible shift that takes place somewhere along the vacation rental owner’s learning curve: whether in good times and or bad… It is, very precisely, the moment that an owner realizes that marketing is his/her responsibility, not solely that of the listing site. This is their Aha! moment. As the months and years pass, vacation rental owners get savvier in the marketplace. They learn what is a suitable target for the high season, they pick up tricks on how to book rooms in the low season, they work together with local business owners or fellow vacation rental owners to devise ways to improve. An established vacation rental owner begins to run his/her property like a business: they start producing monthly reports, setting annual goals, hiring outsourced jobs, and most importantly, actualizing realistic expectations. Throughout the whole learning curve, however, one thing remains constant: the best vacation rental owners in the world are persistent. I have found this persistence trend evident not only in my own vacation rental work, but in just about every case of a successful vacation rental owner on the books. Several years after you’ve started your vacation rental business, you will be older. Several years after you’ve started your vacation rental business, you’ll be wiser. And if you have the right attitude, several years after you’ve started your vacation rental business, your learning curve will increase substantially. But using persistence as the anchor for this growth is what sets apart the good owners from the great ones. With a can-do attitude and purely optimistic mindset, vacation rental success isn’t in doubt: it’s simply a matter of time. Matt Landau has become an expert in vacation rental marketing. Check out his blog here: http://www.vacationrentalmarketingblog.com/