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Short Term Rental Property Management Guide

Josh Parry
Josh Parry
March 17, 2023
Short Term Rental Property Management Guide

Roaring into fresh life after the pandemic, you might have realized by now that the short-term rental economy is here to stay and will grow rapidly. Established players in the short-term rental and property management companies have learned to foresee changes and trends to help navigate a sometimes-volatile market. 

If you want to be a successful short term rental manager or owner – let’s say host – you’ll need to become proficient in what makes the modern short-term rental industry tick, and how to be an efficient operator. When equipped to scale efficiently, you can grow your business to generate a solid, sustainable, and perhaps even passive income. 

The allure of short-term rental and vacation rental has caught the eye of a diverse range of individuals, from individuals and families all the way up to major corporations and investment groups. Before you join them, get answers too important questions such as the difference between short-term and long-term rental management, how to maximize your return on investment (ROI), and how to operate efficiently so you can scale your business towith ease. 

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If you’re ready to run a high-value short-term rental enterprise and reap long-term gains, you’ve landing in the right place! This guide has detailed answered to the most-asked questions about managing short-term rental properties in a streamlined, efficient, and profitable way.   

What is Short Term Rental Management? 

Short-term rental property management services has become increasingly popular over the years. Short-term rentals refer to rental properties that are rented out for less than 30 days. The concept of short-term rental management refers to the process of managing these types of properties, ensuring that they are well-maintained, fully equipped, and ready for guests to enjoy. 

Short-term rental management is a highly demanding job that requires a lot of attention to detail. It involves a wide range of tasks, such as advertising the property, setting rental rates, communicating with guests, and managing reservations. As a short-term rental manager, you are responsible for ensuring that your guests have an enjoyable and memorable stay. 

Let’s Understand With a Case Study

Despite being industry experts, many of you might get confused between the terminologies, such as ‘short-term rental’ and ‘vacation rental’. Is there a difference, and if so, why does it matter to you? So, let’s dive deep into it. 

Mr. Jones is planning a week-long trip with his family to Disney World, Florida and finding top-notch accommodation is his top priority. As he is going on a vacation with his family, he searched for vacation rental spaces that may accommodate him and his family with lots of space, close to the attractions, and with the top amenities for a relaxing getaway. 

Alternatively, Mrs. Smith, who is a political analyst, received a call from a client in Washington, DC to attend a weeklong seminar. She started looking for a place to stay for a week in DC, close enough to the conference center and removed enough from the tourist attractions that she wouldn’t experience delays getting around and so she can focus on the seminar while getting work done in-between.  

Both Mr. Jones & Mrs. Smith are looking for accommodation for a week, but exactly how they search for and select their rental depends on their destination and the kind of experience they are looking for. As a host, your topmost priority is to take the best care of your guests and attract the right kinds of guests to your listings. 

Mr. Jones is going on a vacation, and will therefore be searching for vacation rentals, which are a type of short-term rental marketed deliberately to individuals and families traveling for leisure. 

Mrs. Smith is traveling for work, and likely won’t be browsing search engines for listings categorized strictly as vacation rentals. Her focus is on work, and her search will be narrow to short-term rental accommodation that may not necessarily be marketed to vacationers. The point is, the short-term rental industry is comprised of several unique-sounding segments, including vacation rentals, corporate rentals, luxury rentals, and more, and all that truly differentiates them is how the host markets to the guests they want to accommodate. 

The period for which the properties can be rented out

Short-term rentals are popular for vacationers, business travelers, and those looking for temporary housing. They offer flexibility, convenience, and a more personalized experience compared to traditional hotels. The most common types of short-term rental properties include apartments, condominiums, villas, and single-family homes. 

The property types

There is a wide range of properties that can be used for short-term rentals, from small studio apartments to luxurious villas. The type of property you choose to rent out depends on your target audience and your location. Properties that are close to popular tourist attractions or business districts tend to be in high demand. 

How much does it demand

Short-term rental management can be highly demanding. You need to be available 24/7 to handle inquiries, reservations, and emergencies. You also need to be able to manage multiple properties, each with their own unique set of requirements. It is a hospitality business; you never know what it is bringing next for you. It demands your mind, heart, and whole body.    

Short Term Rentals vs Long Term Rentals:

There are many advantages to short-term rentals over long-term rentals. For one, short-term rentals tend to generate higher returns, particularly in high-demand areas. They also offer more flexibility, allowing you to use the property yourself or rent it out for only a portion of the year. Short-term rentals also tend to be more tax-efficient than long-term rentals. 

Make More Money with Short-Term Rentals:

A property manager who is looking to make more money and isn’t opposed to a little more elbow-grease may want to consider the short-term rental business over the long-term rental business. Short-term rentals provide the opportunity for a property manager to earn more money in several ways. Firstly, with short-term rentals, the rental income is typically higher compared to long-term rentals. This is because short-term rentals are priced on a nightly, weekly, or monthly basis, and can fluctuate based on demand and market conditions. This means that the property manager can adjust the rental rates accordingly to maximize their profits.  

Short-term rentals also provide more opportunities for ancillary income streams such as cleaning fees, additional services, and property management company fees. Vacation rental business or property manager can offer additional services such as airport pickups, cleaning services, and other amenities to increase their income. Finally, short-term rentals  allow property managers to better manage their inventory and optimize their rental income. Overall, the short-term rental business provides more opportunities for property managers to make more money and maximize their profits. 

Flexibility:

The short-term rental business has become increasingly popular over the years, and one of its main advantages is its flexibility. Unlike with long-term rentals,, the short-term rental business provides greater flexibility in terms of duration and availability. With short-term rentals, property owners can choose to rent out their property on a nightly, weekly, or monthly basis, depending on their preferences. This allows them to adjust their rental income based on demand and market conditions. 

Additionally, the short-term rental business provides more flexibility in terms of the types of properties that can be rented out. Property owners can rent out a wide range of properties, including homes, apartments, and vacation properties, among others. This flexibility also extends to guests, who can choose from a wider variety of locations and amenities when renting a short-term property. Overall, the flexibility of short-term rentals make them an attractive option for homeowners, property managers, and guests. 

Tax Benefits:

The short-term rental property management has become an increasingly popular way for hosts small and large to earn rental income. One of the advantages of the short-term rental business is the significant tax benefits it can offer to property managers. Unlike long-term rentals, short-term rentals are considered business income, which can provide property managers with several tax deductions. For example, property managers can claim deductions for expenses related to cleaning, maintenance, repairs, and other business expenses. 

Property managers can claim depreciation deductions for their properties, which can result in significant tax savings over time. Moreover, property managers can take advantage of the Section 179 tax deduction, which allows them to deduct the full cost of qualifying property in the year it was placed in service. Overall, the short-term rental business provides several tax benefits that can help property managers reduce their tax liabilities and increase their profits. 

Disadvantages To Short-Term Rentals:

While short-term rentals offer many advantages, they also come with some disadvantages. For one, short-term rentals tend to have higher vacancy rates, particularly during off-peak seasons. They also tend to have higher running costs, as you need to constantly advertise and maintain the property to attract guests. 

Higher Vacancy Rates:

High vacancy rates can be a significant disadvantage for a property management company. The short-term rental business relies heavily on occupancy rates and the number of bookings it receives. When there is a high vacancy rate, it means that the property is not being rented out as frequently as it should be, which can result in lost revenue. This can be particularly challenging for property managers who have invested in the property and are relying on the rental income to cover their costs. 

High vacancy rates can impact the reputation of the property, as potential renters may be deterred by the lack of occupancy. It also makes it harder for growing rental property managers to attract new homeowner clients when their calendars look empty. To mitigate the risk of high vacancy rates, property managers may need to adjust their rental rates, improve their marketing efforts, and ensure that the property is well-maintained and meets the needs of guests. It’s also key to evaluate the performance of a location prior to investing in a rental property, in order to set accurate expectations and make logical financial projections. 

Higher Running Costs:

A short-term rental business can be more costly to run than a long-term rental business. Property managers may need to invest more in marketing, cleaning, and maintenance services to ensure that the property is always ready for new guests. The cost of utilities, such as electricity and water, may be higher due to the frequent turnover of renters. These higher running costs can impact the profitability of the business and reduce the overall return on investment. Property managers may need to carefully manage their expenses to ensure that the short-term rental business remains profitable in the long run. 

More Time and Effort

Managing a short-term rental property can be more time-consuming than managing a long-term rental property. Short-term rentals require more frequent communication with guests, handling check-ins and check-outs, and resolving any issues that may arise during the guest's stay.   

Advantages of Short-term Rental Management Over Traditional Rental Management

Higher ROI

Short-term rental management can offer a higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional rental management. While traditional rental management typically offers a stable and predictable rental income, short-term rental management can generate significantly more income in a shorter period, despite being somewhat more unpredictable. 

Short-term rental properties can command higher nightly rates, particularly in desirable locations and during peak seasons. Additionally, short-term rentals often have higher occupancy rates, which can result in a more consistent stream of rental income. When managed effectively, short-term rental management can offer a higher ROI than traditional rental management, making it an attractive investment opportunity for homeowners and property managers. 

More Flexibility and Control Over Your Accommodation

Short-term rental hosts have more control over their properties than traditional long-term landlords. You can set your own rental rates, choose when and how often to rent out your property, and dictate the terms of your rental agreement. 

Vacation Rental Platforms Offer Protection to Hosts

Short-term rental platforms like Airbnb and VRBO offer a certain level of protection to hosts, including insurance and liability coverage. This can provide peace of mind for hosts who may be concerned about damage to their property or other potential issues. 

Disadvantages of Short-term Rental Management Over Traditional Rental Management

More Hassle

Short-term rental management can be more challenging and require more effort than traditional rental management. Short-term rental properties require a more frequent turnover of guests, which can result in more cleaning, maintenance, and restocking duties for property managers. 

Short-term rentals often require more extensive and ongoing marketing efforts to attract new guests and maintain occupancy rates. Furthermore, short-term rental properties can be subject to more stringent regulations and compliance requirements than traditional rentals, such as local zoning laws and tax regulations. Property managers need to be prepared to invest more time, effort, and resources into short-term rental management to ensure its success. 

Seasonality May Affect Your Income

Short-term rental management can be more season-specific than traditional rental management. Short-term rentals often experience higher demand during peak seasons, such as summer or holidays. This means that property managers may need to adjust their rental rates and marketing strategies to capitalize on these high-demand periods. 

Traditional long-term or residential rentals, on the other hand, tend to have more stable demand throughout the year, with less variation in rental rates and occupancy rates. Property managers need to be aware of the seasonality of short-term rental management and be prepared to adapt their strategies accordingly to maximize their rental income. 

You May Face Strict Short-Term Rental Rules and Regulations

Many cities and municipalities have strict rules and regulations regarding short-term rentals. These rules may include limits on the number of days a property can be rented out, occupancy limits, and safety requirements. Hosts must be aware of these regulations and ensure that they are in compliance to avoid fines and legal issues. 

Higher Expenses

Short-term rental properties often have higher operating costs than long-term rental properties. Frequent cleaning and maintenance, the cost of furnishing and outfitting the property, and marketing expenses can all add up. 

Is Short-Term Rental Property Management Company Right for You?

 If you're considering managing short-term rental properties, there are several approaches you can take. Here are some tips on how to get started: 

You Can Go for a DIY Approach

If you want to own and manage your own properties, you will need to get a required business license and establish your goals. Once you have prepared your property and found your first guests through popular listing sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, you can automate processes using software tools designed for smaller or single-property operators. 

You Can Hire a Property Manager

If you don't have the time or inclination to manage your own properties, you can hire a property manager to take care of the day-to-day operations for you. A professional property manager for short-term rentals effectively allows property owners to earn passive income and outsource the daily grind to experts. 

Property Managers & Large Owner-Operators can use Vacation Rental Business Software

Great software can help streamline and automate everything from guest communications to cleaning and maintenance, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business, like homeowner/property acquisition and operational efficiency. 

Tips for Effective Short-Term Rental Management

Short-term rental management can be a profitable and rewarding business, but it also requires effort and planning. Here are some tips to help you manage your vacation rental properties effectively: 

Great Service, Great Reviews, High Occupancy:

Providing great service and earning positive reviews from guests can have a significant impact on the success of a short-term rental business. Guests are more likely to choose a property with high ratings and positive reviews, which can lead to higher occupancy rates and increased rental income. Conversely, properties with negative reviews or poor customer service are likely to experience lower occupancy rates and struggle to attract new guests. 

Property managers can improve their occupancy rates by providing excellent customer service, promptly addressing any issues or concerns, and ensuring that the property is well maintained and meets the needs of their guests. By prioritizing great service and earning positive reviews, property managers can build a strong reputation and establish their short-term rental business as a top choice among travelers. 

Know Your Tax Laws:

Knowing and understanding tax laws is crucial for the success of a short-term rental business. Property managers need to be aware of their tax obligations, including income tax, sales tax, and occupancy tax. Failure to comply with tax laws can result in penalties and fines that can negatively impact the profitability of the business. 

Knowing the tax laws can help property managers identify potential tax deductions and credits that can lower their tax liability and increase their overall profitability. Staying updated with tax laws and regulations can be challenging, but it is essential for the success of a short-term rental business. Property managers may want to consider consulting with a tax professional to ensure that they are complying with all applicable tax laws and maximizing their tax benefits. 

Be a Budget Boss:

Being a budget boss is essential for the success of a short-term rental business. Property managers need to carefully manage their expenses and ensure that they are generating enough rental income to cover their costs and earn a profit. This involves creating a detailed budget that includes all the expenses associated with the property, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, insurance, and maintenance costs. By being a budget boss, property managers can identify areas where they can reduce their expenses and maximize their profitability. 

Having a solid budget in place can help property managers make informed decisions about rental rates, marketing strategies, and property improvements. Being a budget boss requires discipline, attention to detail, and a willingness to make tough financial decisions, but it is essential for the long-term success of a short-term rental business. 

Keep the Property Well Maintained:

Maintaining a property in good condition is crucial for the success of a short-term rental business. Guests expect clean and comfortable accommodations, and a well-maintained property can lead to positive reviews, increased occupancy rates, and repeat business. Property managers should regularly inspect the property to identify any maintenance issues and promptly address them to ensure that the property remains in good condition. This may involve routine cleaning, landscaping, and repairs to appliances, plumbing, and electrical systems. By investing in the maintenance of their properties, property managers can create a positive guest experience and establish their business as a top choice for travelers. 

A well-maintained property can help property managers avoid costly repairs and replacements, which can negatively impact their profitability. Therefore, it is essential for property managers to prioritize the maintenance of their properties to ensure the success of their short-term rental business. 

Charge Competitive Rates:

Property managers need to research and analyze the rental rates of similar properties in their area to determine a fair and competitive price. Guests are more likely to choose properties with reasonable rates, and charging too much can lead to a decrease in occupancy rates and negative reviews. Conversely, charging too little can result in reduced profitability and undermine the value of the property. 

By offering competitive rates, property managers can attract more guests and generate more income, leading to the success of their short-term rental business. 

Be Energy Efficient:

By implementing energy-efficient practices and technologies, property managers can significantly reduce their energy costs, which can help them save money and increase their profitability. Being energy-efficient can help reduce the environmental impact of the property, which is becoming an increasingly important factor for many guests. 

By showcasing their commitment to sustainability, property managers can attract environmentally conscious guests, enhance their reputation, and differentiate themselves from their competitors. Overall, being energy-efficient is a win-win for short-term rental businesses, offering financial benefits and demonstrating a commitment to sustainability. 

Create a Stand-Out Listing:

A well-crafted listing can attract more guests, increase occupancy rates, and generate more revenue. By highlighting the unique features of the property, showcasing high-quality photos, and providing detailed descriptions, property managers can create a compelling listing that stands out from their competitors. A stand-out listing can also help establish trust with guests by providing accurate information, clear expectations, and proof of excellent customer service. A well-designed listing can enhance the overall guest experience by providing helpful information, recommendations, and instructions. 

By investing time and resources into creating a stand-out listing, property managers can differentiate themselves from their competitors, attract more guests, and build a loyal customer base, leading to the success of their short-term rental business. 

Use a Property Management Software:

A property management services software can offer numerous advantages for a short-term rental business. By automating tasks such as guest communications, reservations, payments, and scheduling, property managers can save time and streamline their operations. A property management software can also provide real-time updates, analytics, and reporting, which can help property managers make data-driven decisions, optimize their pricing, and improve their marketing strategies. A property management company software can offer features such as guest messaging, online booking, and guest screening, which can enhance the guest experience and increase guest satisfaction. 

Moreover, using a property management company software can also help property managers stay organized, reduce the risk of errors, and improve their overall efficiency. By utilizing a property management services software, property managers can focus on delivering excellent guest experiences, growing their business, and increasing their profitability. 

Best Sites to Market & Manage Short-Term Rentals

Choosing the right platforms to market and manage your short-term rentals can be crucial to the success of your business. Here are some of the best sites to consider: 

Airbnb: 

One of the most popular short-term rental platforms, Airbnb has a massive user base and provides a user-friendly platform for hosts. 

Vrbo: 

Vrbo is a great platform for hosts looking to target families and larger groups of travelers. The platform also offers tools and resources to help hosts manage their properties effectively. 

Booking.com and TripAdvisor:

These platforms provide global exposure and access to a broad range of travelers. They offer a variety of features and tools to help hosts manage their properties effectively. 

Google Vacation Rentals:

Google's vacation rental search engine allows travelers to search for properties in specific locations. The platform also integrates with several other booking platforms. 

Your Own Direct Bookings Website:

Having your website allows you to maintain full control over your bookings and avoid paying commission to the aforementioned listing sites. You can also use your website to promote your brand and provide a unique experience for your guests. 

What To Look for When Choosing A Short-Term Rental Property Management Software?

Choosing the right short-term rental or property management company software is crucial for any property owner or manager who wants to streamline their operations and improve their guest experience. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to know what to look for when choosing a software solution. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a short-term rental or property management software. 

User-Friendliness: Look for a software solution that is easy to use, intuitive and requires little to no training. The last thing you want is to invest in a system that is difficult to navigate, resulting in wasted time and money. 

Integration: Ensure that the software integrates seamlessly with your current systems, such as your website, online booking platforms, and payment processing systems. The ability to sync data across platforms will help you streamline your processes and eliminate manual data entry. 

Automated Communications: A good software solution should have the ability to send automated communications to guests and team members. This could include reservation confirmations, payment reminders, and check-in instructions. Automated communications can save you time and improve your guests' experience by ensuring that they have all the information they need. 

Reporting and Analytics: The software should provide you with comprehensive reporting and analytics to help you make informed decisions about your business. This could include data on occupancy rates, revenue, and guest reviews. Having access to this information can help you optimize your operations and improve your bottom line. 

Scalability: Consider whether the software can grow with your business. If you're planning to expand your portfolio of properties or add new features, make sure that the software can handle your growth without compromising on functionality or performance. 

Customer Support: Finally, make sure that the software provider offers reliable and responsive customer support. Look for a provider that offers a variety of support channels, including phone, email, and live chat, and that has a track record of providing excellent customer service. 

In conclusion, selecting the right short-term rental or property management software is critical to the success of your business. By considering the factors listed above, you can make an informed decision that will help you streamline your operations, improve your guest experience, and grow your business. 

And you can get the best of all the above features in a one stop solution, CiiRUS property management software. So, why don’t you click on the link here(link) and book a demo for yourself.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Which short-term rental platform is best?

There are several popular short-term rental platforms, including Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Google Vacation Rentals. The best platform for you will depend on your specific needs, property type, location, and target audience. 

Are short-term vacation rentals a good investment?

Short-term vacation rentals can be a good investment, as they often generate higher rental income than long-term rentals. However, they also come with higher costs and more management requirements. It's important to carefully weigh the pros and cons and make an informed decision based on your specific circumstances. 

Is short-term rental a good idea?

Short-term rental can be a good idea if you have a property or properties in a desirable location and are willing to put in the time and effort required for management. However, it's important to understand the risks and requirements involved before getting started. 

How do you manage short-term rentals from a distance?

Managing short-term rentals from a distance can be challenging, but it's possible with the right tools and strategies. Hiring a local property manager, using property management software, and setting up automated processes can all help streamline management and ensure that guests are satisfied with their experience. 

Get Your Short-Term Rental Property Management Guide

Download Our Complete Guide on Short-Term Rental Now!

Download this CiiRUS curated Complete Short-Term Rental Property Management Guide
Thanks! We'll be in touch! In the meantime, browse our full website for more information about CiiRUS.
Please check all required fields and try again. Thank you!
Josh Parry
Josh Parry
Josh is the Chief Marketing Officer at CiiRUS, where he has been working with vacation rental managers in various capacities since 2014. He is passionate about helping VRMs increase their revenue earning potential and operational efficiency.

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