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Choosing A Vacation Rental Management Service

  • 2017-03-16

Choosing a vacation rental management service is every bit as important as choosing the right school for your child, the right doctor for your health and the right partner for your business. Essentially, the role of your vacation rental manager is to protect your investment and help it grow. Just as you would never take any chances with a teacher, doctor or business partner, it is vital that you take the time and effort to choose the right manager if you want to see a real return on your investment.

Choosing A Vacation Rental Management Service

We have a fantastic guide on how to select a vacation rental manager that gives you a list of important questions to ask before hiring a manager. We also have a useful article on why you should consider using a vacation rental property manager. Today, we will be looking at some of the things that you should avoid when making the final decision on which vacation rental management service you will choose.

What to Avoid When Selecting a Vacation Rental Management Service

The rapid growth of platforms such as Airbnb has changed the short term rentals market in ways that we never could have imagined. These days, it is common to have friends or family who are renting out spare rooms to guests. As the industry continues to grow, there has also been a rise in short term rental managers. While some of these managers are experienced professionals who have built up a solid reputation, others are people who are simply trying to cash in on the rise of vacation rentals. Sadly, there are also scammers who are trying to lure people into parting with their hard earned cash. With that in mind, you will need to look out for a few warning signs when choosing a vacation rental management service.

Some of the things that you most certainly want to avoid when choosing a vacation rental management service include the following:

  • Unrealistic promises. If the company or manager is promising you very specific returns, a pre-defined booking rate or anything else that seems unrealistic, be very cautious. It is impossible for any manager to make any guarantees. The very nature of the short term rentals sector means that there will always be variables, from season to season and from year to year. A projected outcome is one thing – especially if it has been determined after a proper evaluation of your property and area. Big promises however are a whole other thing entirely and can often mean that the would-be manager is trying to impress you to get to sign on the dotted line.
  • Excessive fees / hidden costs. Another thing to be wary of is fees or rates that are well above industry average. If you are not sure what you should be paying, it can be worthwhile doing your own research in advance, well before you look at hiring a manager. This way, you will know what to expect when receiving estimates. You should also be very careful about hidden costs that suddenly spring up. When getting initial cost estimates, make doubly sure that the manager has quoted for everything. Ask if anything seems to be missing. This will save you plenty of hassle in the long run, and quite possibly a lot of money, too.
  • Lack of references. Newer management companies may not have a huge number of references. But there should be at least one or two properties on their books. If they have never managed any property before, you will need to think carefully about whether you want to be their guinea pig or not. If they have managed a few properties before, they should have references to back this up. A lack of references could simply mean that they have not gotten around to requesting any, or it could mean that there are less-than-happy clients out there.
  • Lack of experience. How many properties has the company managed? What duties have they performed for property owners in this role? Do they know how to deal with problem guests? Are they trained in customer service management, or have they never interacted with guests before? Experience is essential in this industry, and is closely backed by reputation. Your ideal bet is a manager with a solid reputation and at least enough experience to ensure that they know what they are doing. If they don’t know what they are doing, how will they ever be able to manage your investment adequately?
  • No portfolio. On a similar note, the last thing to look out for is the portfolio of properties, or lack thereof. If the manager claims to have experience, they will have a portfolio of properties that they have managed. Be warned though – this can be faked. Warning signs that the portfolio may not be above board include a lack of experience, lack of references (or reviews and references that seem a little too glowing, even though the manager has only been in operation for a few months), properties that look like they stepped off the pages of a glossy lifestyle magazine and portfolios that contain photos without any details.


Another tip for choosing a manager is to trust your gut. If something does not feel right, sound right or look right, always listen to your initial feeling. Take a step back, do some research online and see if you can find out more information about the manager. It’s far better to be cautious then to proceed with a contract even when you have doubts.

If you’d like to learn more about the Totalstay approach to short term rental management, contact us today. We will arrange a free evaluation of your property, before developing a personalised projection and strategy. Our services provide a comprehensive range of solutions, from marketing to day to day management, guest concierge, bookings management and everything else you need to keep your property running smoothly. Get in touch today to find out more about our world-class vacation rental management service.