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:
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
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.