How to Manage a Vacation Rental Property

Vacation rentals are a rapidly growing segment of the hospitality industry, offering travelers an alternative to traditional hotel stays, and homeowners a source of passive income. Managing a vacation rental property however can be a complex endeavor, demanding time, organization, and a commitment to providing exceptional service. Here are some tips to help you understand how to effectively manage your vacation rental.


Freedom and flexibility come hand-in-hand with responsibility and time commitment, so how do you decide between self-management and enlisting the help of a property management company? Both options offer distinct advantages and disadvantages, so let's delve into some key factors to consider when making this important choice for your vacation rental property.

Self-Management: Freedom and Control

  • Direct Guest Interaction: Building relationships with guests, fostering positive reviews, and personally managing the booking process can be a rewarding experience.
  • Maximized Profits: By eliminating property management fees (typically 15-30% of your rental income), you keep a larger share of the profits.
  • Customization and Flexibility: You have complete control over pricing, amenities offered, and house rules.

Self-Management: Time and Effort

  • Time Commitment: Self-management requires a significant time investment. Tasks include listing management, guest communication, booking confirmations, cleaning coordination, maintenance oversight, and guest issue resolution.
  • 24/7 Availability: Be prepared to address guest concerns and emergencies that might arise outside of regular business hours.
  • Local Presence: Effectively managing a vacation rental often necessitates living nearby to handle cleaning, maintenance, and guest interactions in person.

Property management companies handle everything from marketing and guest communication to cleaning and maintenance. They also leverage their knowledge of the vacation rental market to optimize pricing, maximize occupancy rates, and ensure compliance with local regulations. They often have established marketing channels to reach a broader audience of potential guests, potentially increasing bookings as well. Property management companies do charge fees, but weigh the cost against the time you’ll save and the expertise you’ll gain.


The first decision is whether to self-manage or hire a property management company. Choose self-management if you have the time, live close to the property, and enjoy guest interaction; you’ll maximize profits, but need to have a strong understanding of the local vacation rental market. Consider a property management company if you want convenience, or lack the local presence or expertise to effectively manage the property yourself; you'll forgo some control and profits, but in exchange for a more hands-off approach.

Next steps to managing your rental include:

  • Define Goals: Are you prioritizing high occupancy rates or maximizing rental income?
  • Know Your Market: Research rental trends in your area to determine competitive pricing and marketing strategies.
  • Understand Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local regulations, including permitting requirements and tax implications, and keep meticulous records of income and expenses for tax filing purposes.
  • Craft a Compelling Listing: Showcase your property with high-quality photos and detailed descriptions, and utilize property management software to streamline tasks like booking, communication, and guest reviews.
  • Exceed Expectations: Be available to address guest concerns throughout their stay, and provide a clean, comfortable, and well-equipped property with thoughtful amenities.

Create and state clear house rules outlining expectations for responsible use of your property which can help prevent damage and maintain its condition. Obtain insurance to protect yourself from liability in case of accidents or property damage, and conduct regular inspections to identify and address maintenance issues promptly. Also establish a reliable cleaning service to ensure your property is spotless between rentals.

Success in the vacation rental property management world hinges on providing exceptional service, meticulously maintaining your property, and staying informed about market trends and regulations. Our sales and marketing team, property management staff, and support services teams are dedicated to maximizing your property's revenue while protecting your asset. Click here to learn more