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10 Common Issues in Running a Vacation Rental Business and How to Overcome Them
Blog / Marketing / Apr 17, 2024 / Posted by Sales POP Guest Post / 61

10 Common Issues in Running a Vacation Rental Business and How to Overcome Them


While typically lucrative, running a vacation rental business can be hectic, especially when you have properties in different locations. Unfortunately, vacation rentals aren’t scalable in the way manufacturing businesses are, where the relative effort to accomplish an activity tends to decrease with expansion. Owning more properties always means more houses to clean as well as more social media and online travel agency (OTA) listings to update.

Thankfully, choosing the right vacation rental software can provide your rental business with a hub for managing many of the most common activities needed to maintain and promote vacation properties. Additionally, the continued growth of the rental and hospitality industry has given rise to several novel best practices that could mitigate common issues. Let’s look at some common vacation rental problems that could be solved through modern management practices and better software.

1.  Poor Message Response Rates

Late responses to texts, chats, and emails inevitably lead to fewer bookings and irritated guests. Fortunately, overcoming this once-difficult issue is simply a matter of integrating vacation rental software with automated messaging tools. These tools can be set up so that you can address concerns across multiple communications channels all in one place. Better yet, they can provide a range of predetermined responses for minor inquiries so that guests can immediately get the answers they need. If you have a high volume of requests that require human responses, you can also consider training a dedicated guest relations manager to use your software and handle inquiries and bookings.

2. Negative Reviews

Despite the fact that many of them are outliers, negative reviews can still significantly impact your vacation rental business’s reputation. You will never please everyone, but with enough genuine positive reviews as a counterpoint, the negative viewpoints will become largely irrelevant to most prospective guests. Given this, you must make it a point to actively ask for honest reviews, especially from guests who have communicated positively about your property.

One thing that you should never do, however, is to delay responding to any review, good or bad, Use vacation management software to quickly respond to reviews across different OTAs and review sites. If it’s a bad review, offer to discuss matters over chat or email rather than on the site itself.

3. Excessive OTA Commissions

OTAs are a necessary channel for marketing and bookings, but their commissions can eat into profits. To reduce reliance on OTAs, invest in a direct booking website as well as low-cost marketing campaigns over social media and email marketing. While you may not totally replace OTAs as a way to get guests, having channels that don’t take a cut for every booking will still boost your income. To make things easier, you can use vacation rental solutions to effectively manage all your different booking and promotions channels in one place.

4. Ineffective Pricing

Setting the right pricing for your vacation rental is crucial for maximizing revenue and staying competitive. Conduct thorough market research to understand pricing trends in your area and adjust your rates accordingly based on factors such as seasonality and local events. You can also invest in vacation property software that comes bundled with dynamic pricing tools to ensure your pricing is always competitive relative to your nearby competition.

5. Overbooking

Overbooking can result in guest dissatisfaction and logistical headaches, since you will become responsible for compensation or alternative accommodations. Vacation rental software can be used to greatly minimize the odds of overbooking since these solutions synchronize all your booking platforms in real time. To further guard against excess bookings, you can also set up automated alerts for booking conflicts so you can handle unexpected situations right away.

6. Unregistered Guests

While unauthorized guests can lead to security concerns, most instances are probably benign. Still, you do not want to encourage unvetted people from staying over. An added charge may be appropriate if there are under two unregistered guests, but you should not tolerate groups that number significantly more than this.

To prevent issues, clearly communicate occupancy limits in your rental agreements to prevent serious disputes. Make sure to automate the sending of guest occupancy policies to paying guests so that they cannot feign ignorance if caught. You can also consider investing in security cameras or onsite managers to ensure compliance with guest policies.

7. Cleaning and Maintenance Issues

Overlooking even something as seemingly insignificant as soap scum in the shower area can even result in negative reviews. A comprehensive schedule that includes routine inspections, repairs, and upgrades should be set up so that your cleaners and utility staff can proactively handle maintenance concerns before they become a problem. Your rental software should be able to provide you with visibility on the maintenance schedules and needed staffing and supply inputs of all your properties.

8. Property Damage or Theft

Take proactive measures to safeguard your property by installing security features such as alarm systems, secure locks, and safes for valuables. Require guests to make refundable security deposit to mitigate financial risks associated with potential damages or theft. You could also use your vacation rental software to send guests automated reminders about your security policies before they check out to avoid unintended pilferage.

9. Abandoned Food Items

Leftover food items are a fact of life for any property with a kitchen. Unfortunately, these items can be biological hazards that attract property-damaging pests. As wasteful as it sounds, cleaning staff must immediately dispose of all food items that guests leave.

If food waste really bothers you, you can consider an exemption for unopened bottled beverages, canned goods, and other intact hermetically-sealed items. These can be left in the pantry for other guests to take, along with a note explaining their origins. Everything else must be immediately disposed of, for your property and guests’ safety.

10. Pet Policies

Allowing pets in your vacation rental can attract a broader range of guests, but it also presents challenges such as pet-related damage and allergen concerns. Rather than banning or allowing pets outright, see if either action can serve or harm interest in your property. If you do want to make your rental pet-friendly, do a test run with just one room or house and write clear policies outlining rules and fees for guests traveling with pets.

Build a Sustainable Vacation Rental Business with the Right Technology

Running a successful vacation rental business involves much more than owning a property and cleaning it out for each guest. Shaping your property into a sustainable, income-generating asset will require you to exercise attention to detail and adopt technology systems that make pleasant guest experiences repeatable. With the right tech and knowledge, you’ll bounce back from common vacation rental woes faster, perhaps creating new advocates for your rental properties in the process.

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These are Sales POP! guest blog posts that we thought might be interesting and insightful for our readers. Please email with any questions.


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