There can be many origins to the launch a vacation rental management activity:
- A real estate agency – with a network and requests from local owners – may wish to develop such an offer.
- Owners or Airbnb hosts who started rental management for their own property. They then started to help friends and ended up taking a linking in it (that’s my case)
- Some historical service providers have an activity linked with vacation rentals and have the need to widen their activities (valet service, laundry, cleaning company)
Each case has advantages to start such an activity. Whether it be well-functioning networks of potential clients, know-how, or logistics.
But the day comes when you must scale up. The natural acquisition of new clients is just not enough anymore. Therefore, you must find new ideas and means to find – and convince – new owners to hand you the management of their property.
I will share five ideas with you. Some have already been tested and they will help you acquire new properties to manage:
Collaborate with real estate agencies that do not offer – or do not wish to offer -vacation rentals.
“Regular” agencies (brick-and-mortar) located in a vacation spot offer vacation rentals. But they have mixed interest in it. They more or less – sometimes less than more – have the tools for it.
Following numerous talks with property managers or concierge services, I know that partnerships (mutually beneficial) can often be set up.
Administer a sale or a yearly rental is one thing. Manage stays, travelers, online availability (most software don’t include publishing on major vacation rental platforms such as Airbnb, HomeAway, Booking, TripAdvisor, Expedia) is another. And that’s not even touching the subject of logistics.
So don’t hesitate to hop in and introduce yourself to the local real estate agencies in your city/suburb. You may offer to collaborate and bring your expertise on the matter.
Word of mouth/sponsorship program through your first clients
The first owners who gave you their trust, when you started out, are your best ambassadors. They should be encouraged to present your services to their families and friends. You can thank them in various ways. It could be a special gift when they return to their home at the end of the season. You can offer Chef services at home (they can then share this experience you also offer to travelers). It could be a meal at the restaurant. Or even a coupon.
Prospecting with GoogleMaps
Google Maps’ satellite view and Google StreetView are quite useful to spot houses and neighborhoods of interest. The advantage is that if you manage houses (and depending on the area), you can easily spot the ones with swimming pools. The same thing goes for tennis courts.
Then, according to your business skills, you can go there and introduce yourself or leave a flyer in the letterbox.
Houses for sale: profiting from the sale offering period
This tip does converge with the idea of collaboration with real estate agencies. I have gained the management of a house, two years in a row, thanks to this tip.
Empty properties on the sales market may take time to sell. Each passing month may be a revenue shortfall for the owner and a step closer to a downward renegotiation of the price.
But a house that hasn’t been sold by May (no sales agreement) could be a vacation rental during summer. The rental gains could dampen the expected price drop.
Note: obviously, the house must still be furnished. Concerning visits, the travelers who are warned beforehand understand the situation quite well. When the visit is planned while they’re on an outing, all is fine.
Craftsmen and related trades
This is the most promising way for me. It has a double interest: create a network of partners and help you find new properties. Depending on the good (flat, house), you can identify related craftsmen that you can call upon. All plumbers, electricians, pool cleaners, gardeners can connect you to the type of owner you seek.
When your turn comes, you can refer them to the property owners.
Another approach I find interesting if helping a craftsman sell better thanks to you. Let me explain.
I have often witnessed owners thinking of renting their primary residence to finance their holidays or household maintenance.
Imagine the number of meetings, visits, and quotes made by kitchen designers, installers of rolling shutters, verandas, fireplaces…
And if, amid the discussion with owners, they snuck: “You know, last year we have some clients who rented their house during summer. In three weeks, it paid for their fireplace!”
They only need to give your card and tell you to go there on their behalf. With a single visit for a quote, owners will imagine the long-awaited project but also have the nice surprise of considering it could end up being completely free!
I hope these ideas will help you. They are starting points and there are countless possibilities and tricks to promote your services. As well as to find properties to manage as vacation rentals.