15 Mar Managing Your Vacation Rental from Afar? You’ll need backup.
Shani, a Washington D.C. resident had some background in housing and real estate development, and it had taught her that she never wanted her own rental property. That all changed when Airbnb started getting popular, she recalls, “instead of getting a condo or a timeshare, I figured I could do that, and get my mortgage paid.” She decided to take the plunge– she bought a house in a place that she always loved– New Orleans. Despite her initial hesitation, she at least was looking forward to having a place to stay when she returned to the city regularly. Now, all she needed was some help.
Through The HOST, she hired a vacation rental designer who furnished her entire four bedroom home. This service provider doesn’t just pick out furniture; they make sure the home has enough towels, the power outlets work, that every window has blinds, and much, much more. At first Shani was caught off guard by the level of personal touches put into outfitting the home, “I would never have put the amount of detail that [they] put into the house, going that extra mile to make it more like a home and less like a hotel.” The home functions smoothly because of the meticulous effort that went into laying a strong foundation. Shani says she’s constantly surprised at the low cost of repairs and maintenance to keep the home in good condition.
Once the house was ready, Shani needed a team to help her manage the property remotely. A host ambassador put together a group of local service providers including a guest concierge, housekeeper, repairman, and yard maintenance professionals. Her host ambassador not only runs her house team and ensures operations go smoothly, but also manages her schedule. Initially Shani kept track of guests herself, but she realized quickly that it was a lot of work: “I was dying for them to take it over…because it was constant communication with people making inquiries.” When she wants to check-in to see how things are going, she has access to her calendar, booking communication and her house team assigned.
While The HOST provides a diverse array of potential services for vacation rental guests, it doesn’t cost Shani any time or money. If a guest wants a private driver for example, The HOST facilitates that additional component for one of Shani’s guests. That means travelers receive a special experience without making more work for the homeowners.
By engaging local service providers, the profits of the vacation rental industry reach those who cannot necessarily afford to rent out their own property. After making friends with her neighbors, Shani found out about a local lawn care business that now benefits from her vacation rental property as well. Once they’ve established themselves as service providers on The HOST, locals get increased visibility to other homeowners and travelers who may need their help.
Shani says she’s used to taking risks now. She did her research, engaged the local community, and found her crew. Her biggest tip?
“Invest the money into a quality experience. That’s the biggest return on your investment.”
As for Shani’s love for New Orleans?
“I’ve been coming down there every other month. Thirty-six days last year. That was the whole point.”