Top Tips for Successful Rental Management

For the busiest rental season EVER!

Ready or not, rental season is upon us! Here in the Finger Lakes we are seeing a 134% increase in bookings compared to 2020 with many summer weeks completely sold out. There is no better time to talk about responsible renting for vacation rental owners.

What are the biggest complaints about vacation rentals?

According to the Rent Responsibly, a national advocacy organization, the biggest complaints of short term rentals nationwide are:

1. Noise

2. Parking

3. Trash

Additionally, with vacation rentals surpassing hotels as the preferred accommodations in our region, the attention on management comes to forefront.

Other rental issues we frequently hear about in the Finger Lakes Region include septic systems and mismanagement.

Many homes in our region reside in rural areas where public water and sewage are not available. Before renting your home, you should always check the capacities of your septic system. Many were systems were installed for smaller families who would not be using the home as frequently. It is likely you will either have to schedule frequent pumps or install a larger system. Also, check with your local Code Officer to see if your township has requirements. There is no bigger damper on your guests experience than having a septic issue mid-stay resulting in refunds, future cancellations, and an overall 1-star experience.

Mismanagement of vacation rentals affects owners, guests, neighbors, and entire communities. This often occurs when a homeowner lists the home on a booking site, rents it, collects the cash, and is unavailable through the booking process. Sometimes guests will take advantage of the situation which then results in the three top concerns noted above. Neighbors are left with an uncomfortable situation, sometimes resulting in a call to authorities. If these situations remain unresolved, it may lead to further investigation by the local town board to then impose restrictions or regulations on all rental homes within the township.

As you begin to consider becoming a vacation rental owner it is crucial to understand how managing the home and guests are the most important factors for having a successful rental business.

How do you overcome these rental issue (and more)?

1. Communication – If you are renting, ensure you are setting the expectations for your guests. Let them know they are staying in a family community, not a resort destination. There will be quiet hours, there is limited space for parking and guests, and there is an expectation for caring for the property during their stay. This should be outlined in your contract with your guests.

There should always be a legal contract with your guests. This contract outlines the expectations, is agreed upon by both parties, and outlines all consequences of infringements of the contract.

2. Management – Ensure you are set up for success for this summer for both you and your guests. Make sure your neighbors know you are renting and provide them with your contact information in case there are any issues.

Make sure your trash pickup is scheduled and communicate the trash days with your guests. Housekeeping, lawncare, and septic pumps are other vendors who are in high demand this summer who will

3. Establish a 24/7 Contact Person – While it is helpful to have your neighbors keeping an eye on your property, they are not responsible for your guests. Do not rely on your neighbors to be the resource for your guests and do not give your guests their contact information. Unless you have a property manager, you should be the contact person before, during, and after their stay.

Some townships also require you to register your rental property to ensure they have a point of contact. Whether or not they require this, it is helpful for you to provide them with your contact information should they ever need it.

4. Welcome to the Hospitality Industry! When you become a rental owner, you are entering the world of hospitality. Keys to your success will be customer service, cleanliness, and did we mention customer service?

Envision your last vacation and the expectations you had. You expected to be welcomed into a clean space with all of the amenities advertised. Was something not working, who did you call and how did they respond? Were they prompt and were you able to enjoy the remainder of your stay? These (and more) will become the expectations of your guests.

With any vacation you likely wanted an understanding of the places to eat, visit, and experience during your stay. Providing your guests with local resources from grocery stores, restaurants, shopping, and attractions will assist them with having a memorable stay and more likely to book with you again.

Want more resources about managing a vacation rental?

As the leading vacation rental management company in the region, we have established national and local partnerships with organizations that assist short term rental owners. Here are some more resources for you to visit:

Finger Lakes Vacation Rental Association

Rent Responsibly

Vacation Rental Management Association

Our local team of experienced vacation rental professionals is also- available to answer questions you may have about renting your home. If you are interested in learning more about our all inclusive services for vacation rental homeowners, you can reach us at 888-414-5253 Option 4 or NewOwners@FLPPlake.com.

3 Reasons Why You Should Book Direct This Year

Book Direct Day 2021 is February 3! It’s a day when vacation rental owners and managers from around the world promote a common message: bypass third-party channels to book your vacation directly at the source.

There’s a misconception that when guests book from a third-party site, like Airbnb and VRBO, that those companies are responsible for the rental. In reality, these sites act as a middleman while a local owner or management company oversees your stay from booking to departure. It creates confusion when policies don’t align or when guests don’t know who to call when problems arise.

Here are 3 more reasons why you should #BookDirect this year:

Save Money

Third-party sites tack on extra fees that can add up at checkout. When you book directly with a vacation rental management company, you can be certain you’re getting the lowest price guaranteed on the rental you’ve selected.

While third-party sites may display many rental options, not every owner or manager uses them. Only a fraction of our 270+ professionally managed rentals are on VRBO or Airbnb and 70% of our bookings come directly from our website or reservation agents. If you can’t find the right rental on a third-party site, contact a vacation rental management company in the area you’re traveling to see what they have available.

As an added bonus, vacation rental managers send out exclusive promotions and special discounts that can only be used when you book direct. Join our mailing list so you don’t miss an opportunity to save!

Local Experts

When you make the decision to book direct, you’re booking with a team of local experts in the hospitality and tourism industry. Our reservation agents, housekeepers, maintenance techs, marketing team, and more are all members of the local community. Our on-the-ground teams can quickly and easily respond to guest issues and requests. Plus, our local vacation planners provide the best recommendations for your trip based on their intimate knowledge of the area.

Services You Can Trust

You don’t always know what you’re getting when booking your rental on a third-party site. With numerous reports of scams and safety issues for Airbnb users, its more important than ever to know you’re renting from a reputable source. Vacation rental managers hold themselves to high standards with a focus on education, advocacy, and professional services. They elevate the industry and articulate best practices for others to follow.

With high standards and hyper-localized services, comes the ability for vacation rental managers to guarantee services many independent hosts cannot. Our team is available 24/7 for emergencies and has a fully staffed office during business hours to accommodate special requests. In addition, we have a housekeeping guarantee that promises your home will be clean upon arrival. If for some reason our services are unsatisfactory, a housekeeper will return to make it right, ensuring guests are comfortable in their rental.


To join in on #BookDirect Day, visit FLPPlake.com! Finger Lakes Premier Properties is largest, full-service vacation rental company in the Finger Lakes. Our team has been managing lakefront properties locally for 28 years.

Browse our selection of over 270 lakeside vacation rentals here or call our reservation agents for a personalized booking experience – (800) 897-8161

3 Reasons Why You Should Prepare Your Vacation Rental NOW for 2021

Finger Lakes travel trends for 2020 showed a significant shift in accommodation preferences. Demand for private vacation rentals has soared above traditional hotel stay by travelers. As the year progressed and our reservations inquiries swelled by 61% year-over-year, one thing was clear, people still want to vacation.

What is the outlook for vacation rental demand in 2021?

Demand for Finger Lakes vacation rentals continues to soar. In fact, our bookings for next year (2021) are up 56% compared to this time last year! Our private rentals have become the preferred choice of accommodations for travelers seeking comfortable, clean, and dependable lakeside spaces.

Our guests and owners value the services included with their premier property. Such services include our 24/7 guest services, professional housekeeping standards, keyless check-ins, and travel planning assistance by our local agents. As we continue to accommodate inquires for our short term rentals, we want to ensure our owners and prospective rental homeowners are optimizing our partnership for the 2021 season.

Why list your home for rent now? Isn’t the season slowing down?

Many assume this is the time when we are winding down for the year. Not true. Yes the rush of peak season is behind us, but with arrivals still 88% higher this fall than last, the momentum continues. Plus, our inquiries for 2021 bookings are flowing in! Now is the time we work with our owners in preparation for next year with optimizing their home, online listing, and rates for the next year.

If you are interested in joining for the 2021 season, now is the best time to get the most out of our partnership for three reasons:

  1. It’s all about the photos! Joining now will allow us to optimize your listing with premier photography before the leaves fall. We will send our staff photographer to your home to get interior and exterior photos PLUS a virtual tour. Photos are one of the most important assets to your listing and will help generate demand for your home.
  2. Take advantage of expert recommendations. Our partnering owners have full access to our team of industry experts. When you join, talk to our Owner Services team about possible upgrades. From remodels, furniture upgrades, to bonus amenities, these will help secure bookings, enhance your guest’s experience, and capture more revenue. If you join this fall, you’ll have more time to make these enhancements before your first guest checks in.
  3. Secure 2021 revenue now! With demand up 56% for 2021 vacation rentals, joining now will get more traffic to your listing and secure more bookings for next year. Secure revenue now for 2021 at the best rates possible.

Want to learn more about partnering with us?

Whether you are currently renting your home, looking to purchase an investment home, or are just starting to explore what it means to be a vacation rental owner, we’re here to help.

We have a dedicated Owner Services Team ready to answer any questions you may have about renting your lake home with Finger Lakes Premier Properties. Contact us today for more information by calling 855-585-5877 Option 4 or by inquiring here.

How the Finger Lakes Benefit from Vacation Rentals

Vacation rentals may feel like a new trend, but the short-term rental industry has been around for decades in destinations worldwide, including the Finger Lakes. With third party booking sites, like VRBO and AirBnb making vacation rentals more popular and plentiful than ever before, its important to explore what responsible renting looks like and how short-term rentals can continue to add value to our region.

Here are just a few of the ways that the Finger Lakes benefit from vacation rentals:

Vacation rentals uphold the lake culture of our communities.

The Finger Lakes are a traditional summer vacation destination. Our shorelines are lined with seasonal homes and cottages, where families have experienced lake life together for generations. Short-term rentals support the culture of our lake communities, extended stays in the region, and the need for more property tax revenue.

Vacation rentals supplement hotel room supply.

Local hotels book up fast for peak season. Short-term rentals not only supplement hotel room supply, but can better accommodate larger groups and niche travelers. Finger Lakes Premier Properties has hosted over 80,000 guests since 2015. The more tourists our region can lodge, the more we encourage economic growth for local businesses and communities.

Booking and packing for a vacation

Vacation rentals keep family homes in the family.

Short-term rental income makes it possible for families to afford the increasing costs associated with owning a lake house. This allows the tradition of gathering at the lake to continue for years to come.

Vacation rentals support property values.

In 2018, 32% of investment property owners planned on renting their home as a short-term rental, up 24% from 2017. The demand for lakefront homes is growing because of increased demand for short-term rentals.

keys to a house

Vacation rentals create opportunity.

Short-term rentals make the lakefront experience affordable and accessible to everyone. Families have private, recreational access to the water, regardless of whether they have the means to live on the lake. In addition, the vacation rental industry creates a variety of skilled and unskilled jobs throughout the region.

Family by the lake at a vacation rental

What does Responsible Renting look like?

Vacation rentals managed by professional property managers add significant value to the community by expanding the tax base and attracting direct and indirect spending in our area. Unfortunately, popular listing sites have portrayed the ease of owning a vacation rental without highlighting the importance of managing the experience for the guest, owner, and local community. Read more about what responsible renting looks like here.

To learn more about professional property management services for your short-term rental, visit our website.

Why Rental Owners Should Consider Fall Upgrades

Fall is the perfect time for vacation rental homeowners to consider upgrades for next summer. It’s the sweet spot between peak season bookings and winterization, where you can actually slow down and take a look at how your home fared during its busiest months.

While our housekeeping and maintenance teams provide routine care for your home, there are always items that experience wear and tear, requiring repair or replacement. Taking a look things in the fall can help you prioritize investments that will increase your bookings for next year.

Here are a few tips for making autumnal upgrades to your vacation rental:

  • Shop summer clearance sales to save on big ticket items like BBQ’s and patio furniture. Simply updating seat cushions and outdoor pillows can make all the difference – repeat guests will notice the small upgrades and appreciate your attentiveness to their comfort.
  • Take a good look at guest feedback from the summer. If multiple guests address a problem area, it might be in your best interest to focus on that part of the home. This can be a huge task, as there are many different ways to receive reviews. Our Owner Services team can sort through the feedback and make helpful recommendations. Plus, we’ll be sure to follow up with guests and update listings to reflect your efforts.Consider scheduling a complimentary post-season inspection, where we provide a list of suggestions to increase bookings for next year.
  • When it comes to larger projects or renovations, start planning early! Do your research, source reliable contractors, and develop a timeline for the work now, so construction doesn’t interfere with next year’s calendar.

Ultimately, our goal is to maximize the income potential of your vacation rental. The best – and easiest – way to increase bookings and demand a higher weekly rate is to make regular updates and improvements to your home. Here are a few more resources to get the ball rolling:

Secure booking for 2020 now by becoming a Premier Partner! Learn more.


If you’re an independent rental owner, we want to know how your peak season went! What were your challenges with guest turnover? Did your home see more wear and tear than you expected?

We’re your local partner in vacation rental management. Call us today to learn more about what we can do to help! 844-573-7255 | Opt. 4

Ask Your Agent: Purchasing an Investment Property

Lakefront living has its perks – gorgeous views, a place to cool off, an escape from everyday life – but it can come at a cost. As a result, many homeowners are looking to short-term renting to pay taxes or generate extra income.

If you’re in the market to purchase a lakefront home and are interested in making it an investment property, here are a few questions you should be asking your agent:

Has this home been rented before?

This is a great place to start. Homes with vacation rental history have the advantage of past and repeat guests, so you won’t be starting from scratch. Knowing a home’s rental history will also give you a better understanding of rates to set and revenue generated by the home, helping you know if this is a solid investment.

What are the local vacation rental regulations?

Working with a real estate agent that’s also in property management is a huge advantage. They will be up-to-date on any local vacation rental laws in place that might limit the return on your investment. For example, you could purchase a 6 bedroom house with a potential occupancy of 14 people, but a local law may limit you to renting out only 4 of those rooms. That effects your rental rate and your bottom line.

How close is this home to attractions?

The Finger Lakes region is a tourism destination, host to numerous festivals, graduations, weddings, and well-known events. The demand and rate for your vacation rental is directly impacted by your proximity to attractions and venues. While some guests may come to spend time on the lake, most are here for a specific experience and will pay more to be close to the action.

Can this home be used year-round?

Many lakefront homes are seasonal – they may lack heat or have a driveway that’s impassible in winter. While demand and rates peak in the summer months, there is still potential to profit during the off-season. Consider a location near a popular winter festival or ski resort, or transition to long-term renting to college students or professionals outside of peak season.

Do you have property management experience?

Work with a real estate team that has property management experience and leverage that expertise! Our Owner Services team works closely with our real estate agents to provide an analysis based on the criteria we use for homes in our vacation rental program. This helps you to compare properties and make the best financial decision. Plus, you have already have a team in place to help you manage your investment.


Our Real Estate team has over 25 years of experience in vacation rental and lakefront property management. Call (877) 211-5917 today to discuss your revenue goals and real estate investment options with our team!

Tips for lake-friendly spring cleaning

The Finger Lakes are an abundant and vital resource to our region, providing us with recreation, tourism, agriculture, and clean drinking water. It is the responsibility of lake-centric businesses, lakefront homeowners, and responsible renters to keep our Finger Lakes clean and safe for generations to come. What we do in the spring can not only increase bookings and improve home aesthetics, but also reduce pollution, algae blooms, and other harmful outbreaks that can affect the lakes during peak season.

Here are some tips from the local watershed associations to help you protect the lakes during your spring cleanup efforts.

Avoid using fertilizers

Lawn care blends contain excess nutrients that enter the lakes through rainwater and runoff this time of the year. According to the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association, this results in “harmful algae blooms, increased aquatic plant growth, and the degradation of our water quality.” If your lawn or garden can’t go without, switch to a phosphorus-free fertilizer instead. The best practice for a lake friendly lawn? Replace your grass with native plants, bushes, and trees.

Change up your household chemicals

Avoid using toxic or flammable household cleaners, poisons, herbicides, and pesticides. Not only can these be picked up by runoff into the lakes, but according to the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, many chemical products are not completely removed by the biological treatment in septic systems, so they still end up in groundwater and nearby water sources. Buy and use only what you need, switch to environmentally friendly alternatives, and dispose of chemicals at designated drop-off sites. As always, make sure household chemicals are stored carefully and away from where guests can access them.

Clean up pet waste

Not only will it improve the look of your yard, but cleaning up after your pets is lake-friendly practice. Dispose of pet waste in the trash or flush it down the toilet. We encourage all guests to clean up after pets, but if you have a pet-friendly rental, we recommend stashing some baggies near any exits to the yard.

Control soil erosion

Keep the dirt where it belongs – in your yard! You can minimize storm water runoff by planting a raingarden, adding shrubs, trees, and ground covers to your landscaping, and allowing vegetation to grow along any nearby streams. These plants can help trap sediment and pollutants on their way to the water.

Join a lakeshore monitoring program!

If you reside in the Finger Lakes year round, you can volunteer to monitor shoreline with any of the local watershed associations. Keeping your eyes on the lake can help these organizations monitor algae blooms and cyanobacteria build ups that tend to proliferate during the late summer months.

Doing your part to keep the lakes clean this spring and monitoring shorelines for harmful plant and bacteria growths can have a huge impact on the health of the Finger Lakes. Best of all, improved water quality during peak season translates to higher guest satisfaction and increased reservations for your vacation rental! For more lake-friendly spring clean-up tips, visit www.flrwa.org.

Need help getting your lakefront home ready for peak season reservations? Our owner services and housekeeping teams can assist with your lake-friendly cleanup efforts. Call 844-404-1059 today!