You’ve dedicated countless hours to growing your vacation rental business, from building relationships with guests and earning 5-star reviews to perfecting your listings and analysing your data.

So, the last thing you want is to lose all that hard work by giving up control. It’s more important than ever to retain ownership of your listings, reviews, and data, be the merchant of record and secure your brand identity.

In this article, we’ll explain how to stay in control of your business in today’s shifting vacation rental landscape.

Your channel manager should allow you to manage all your rentals without sacrificing control. With Rentals United, you can connect to 60+ channels and stay in control of your vacation rental business.

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5 ways to stay in control of your vacation rental business

If you don’t secure your brand identity, you risk losing everything you’ve worked hard for.

Follow these 5 strategies to avoid losing control of your business, and continue growing your brand without limitations.

1. Be the Merchant of Record

The Merchant of Record (MOR) is the entity that processes and distributes payment for products or services.

Being the merchant of record for your vacation rental bookings means you are responsible for processing payments. You also take on the liability of ensuring payment card industry (PCI) compliance and accepting refunds and chargebacks.

These are benefits to being the merchant of record, such as:

  • Greater control of finances — As the Merchant of Record, you handle your payments, and your revenue and cash flow are under your control. You don’t have to wait for a third party to process your payments.
  • More flexibility — You can decide on your payment schedule, terms, and accounting preferences. This also helps you provide a better guest experience as you can customise terms to suit both parties.
  • Less risk of losing income — When a third party, such as your channel manager or a booking site, is the merchant of control, you may have to accept a reservation without charging the client’s card. If that transaction is later declined, you may not be able to resell those dates. As the merchant of record, you can spot problems like this earlier and deal directly with your client.

Not all channels allow you to be the Merchant of Record. However, with Rentals United, you don’t have to sign over control of your finances and can be the Merchant of Record for all channels that allow.

2. Own your listings and guest reviews

Your listings and guest reviews are a huge decision-making factor for potential guests, so it’s important to make sure your channel manager or PMS doesn’t take ownership of your listings.

If you don’t own your listings, your properties won’t appear under your name on OTAs. You won’t be able to change or update your listing as you wish, and you won’t have access to your reviews or be able to respond to them.

This takes away a lot of your freedom and makes it difficult to establish your brand, build relationships with customers and resolve problems that arise. It also prevents you from getting commission-free direct bookings in the future.

In contrast, with a channel manager like Rentals United you retain full control of your listings and reviews, and you can message guests and respond to reviews from a single inbox. And of course, they are your property!

3. Collect and own your guests’ data

Guest data is a powerful asset. You can use data about your guests to create marketing campaigns, loyalty programs and content that helps you build a loyal customer base and get repeat bookings, and direct, commission-free bookings.

The problem is that some channel managers and booking sites do not give you access to guest data or permission to use it for marketing purposes.

With a channel manager that lets you own your listings and reviews, you will have access to guest data which you can use to grow your customer base.

4. Create a direct booking website

If you rely entirely on OTAs for bookings, commissions and fees will cut into your profits and you won’t have the chance to develop your brand.

One of the best ways to establish your brand is to create a direct booking site. With your own website, you can accept direct, commission-free bookings and own the entire process, including guest data and payment.

You can create a beautiful vacation rental website in minutes with our website builder.

5. Collect data and track performance

To grow your business, you need to understand what’s working and what you need to improve.

Property performance data can show you:

  • Top-performing and under-performing properties
  • Times when demand is highest and lowest
  • How competitors are performing, and what’s happening in your local market.

With this information, you can optimise your revenue management strategy and secure as many high-value bookings as possible.

Choose a channel manager that puts you in control 

There is nothing more important than staying in control of your business. To grow your vacation rental portfolio and increase your income, you must ultimately retain ownership over your data, payments, and listing content. For insights on how to streamline your processes and enhance guest experiences through automated messages, explore this resource on efficiency-enhancing strategies.

The tools you choose have a significant impact, so it’s essential to select a channel manager that helps you run your business and stay in control.

With Rentals United as your channel manager, not only will you benefit from reliable connections with 60+ channels, advanced guest data, and content management. You’ll also be able to:

  • Retain ownership of your listings and reviews
  • Be the merchant of record (for booking sites that allow this)
  • Capture and process direct bookings through your own website
  • Collect rich data insights and analyse your property performance in a simple dashboard

See how you can grow your business with Rentals United –
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