Another year has come and gone! As we near the end of the year, you may be wondering what you should do for your vacation rental to get ready for the next year of business. Should you keep things the same or change them up? Change your prices? Re-decorate?
If these are the questions plaguing you about your short-term rental property, then you have come to the right article! We are going over the top things that you as a host should take care of for your listing before the year is over. Let’s get going!
Make Sure All of Your Calendars Are Open
This is the most important thing to take care of: you need to go through all of your channels you are listed on, even your own direct booking website, and make sure each one of your 2023 calendars is open and bookable. Some of these channels do this automatically, but some don’t, so make sure to go through each one to be certain they’re properly set up. Having your calendars open and bookable is one thing for the next year but keeping them updated and synchronized is another. You can keep your calendars updated and synchronized, to avoid double bookings, by using a Channel Manager like Hosthub or by exchanging manually ical files through the channels.
Rethink Your Rates
If you have been at the same rates all year, then it’s time to sit down and take a look at your numbers and see if you need to reevaluate. If you have had a ton of consistent bookings, maybe look at raising your price a tiny bit. If you haven’t gotten many bookings, do a little research on the area your rental is located in to see if you are on par with the others in the area. You may find that you need to lower your prices a bit to be competitive. You should also look at the costs that come with running your vacation rental; if they have increased or decreased, then you can rework your prices to reflect that. The key to this tip is to do your research.
Health-Check Your Listings
The end of the year is a great time to do a little check-up on the quality of your listings for your rentals. As you go over your listings, take a close look at all of the categories for each one. Are your properties live and bookable on every channel that you intended for them to be on? Are the calendars for them up to date with things like blackout dates and current bookings? Make sure that they are functional and in order. You also need to read through each section, such as the amenities or cancellation policies, and make sure that those are accurate and up to date. Keeping everything for your listings current is one of the most important things to accomplish at the end of each year.
Update Your Listing Photos
Getting fresh photos for your listing each year is a great way to highlight any new work that you may have done or additional areas of the property. Doing this also means that as the technology improves, your images and image quality will look better on your sites. Some tips to make sure your photos are appealing to possible guests are to have good lighting, get a variety of angles, use a high-quality camera, and make sure that the exterior photos look enticing. If you’d like, you can even get a professional to do these photos to give an extra level of professionalism to the pictures! That’ll also take the stress off of your plate, so you can spend your time focusing on the other tasks for the year’s end.
Update Your Vacation Rental Website
If you don’t already have a vacation rental website, you should! If you do have one, then the end of the year is a great time to go through and see if anything needs to be updated. Pricing, style of the rental, photos, description…all of these things could change over time. Some key aspects to focus on are your imagery, booking system, all of the copywriting (lists of attractions, the intro and property descriptions, lists of amenities, etc.), a chat section for easy contact and questions, and reviews. You should also take the time to upgrade your website, making sure that it is fully operational and has the latest technology running on it to make finding and booking with you easier.
Do a Thorough Cleaning
While you will (hopefully) be cleaning on a regular basis after each guest, you should do a huge end-of-year clean. You want to hit the whole property, top to bottom, all of the nooks and crannies! This will need to include the typical cleaning things, like laundry and general housekeeping, but also entail hitting the ceilings, walls, baseboards, and every possible surface in the home. This may be the one time of year that you want to hire a team of professional cleaners to do the work if you don’t already have them. It is something that you could do on your own, but letting the pros handle it will be better on your stress levels and ensure that the job is in good hands. Do your research on companies and find one that will work for your budget and your cleaning needs.
Get on Niche Channels
This one is a big help if you haven’t already made sure you are on these. While you may be listed on Airbnb, Vrbo, and some of the other big names, have you looked into putting your property on a variety of smaller, niche channels? These can be anything from smaller companies, pet-friendly places to stay, unique styles of stays, etc. Finding local OTA (online travel agents) to add your home to their channels, creating your own rental website, and any other regional channels can bring more eyes to your place and get you more bookings! If you have a more upscale property that you would like to show off on additional platforms, then you should look at those luxury concierges and booking sites that the fancy folks prefer to use. All of these niche channels will help you to pull in new potential guests to visit your beautiful vacation rental.
So, after reading through all of our tips for your end-of-the-year property check-up, what are you thinking? Even if you only follow a few of these suggestions, you will be ahead of those who don’t when the new year rolls around. Give these ideas a try and we wish you the best of luck with your rental listing!