We’d like to think that we’ve compiled a list of mistakes that only new vacation rental owners make… Yet the reality is that some of these mistakes are done by experienced ones too. Everyday we hear of people not reaching 75% occupancy rate because of their poor distribution network; too many times do we get asked what a PMS is and why they’re useful; and oh so often do we read bad reviews because of poor check-ins. So whether new or experienced, these are some of the mistakes you ought to avoid making… now!

1. Staying in their own bubble

If you run your business in your own bubble it’s unlikely you’ll be in business very long. There are plenty of people, online groups, industry blogs out there to help you stay on top of industry news and trends – let alone informing yourself about vacation rental laws. Start with subscribing to Linked In Groups like the Vacation Rental Professionals. Follow vacation rental experts on twitter and subscribe to good blogs like ours 🙂 or Tnooz, Skift, and more. **if you’d like to recommend an industry blog please do so in the comments below, we’re compiling the best blogs out there for a new post**

2. Not investing in software

When you start renting out you imagine that an excel sheet to run your new business is going to be just fine but very quickly you’ll find out the hard way that all that data will need to be shifted to something way more intuitive. We’ve combined some sure signs you need a Property Management system but in all honesty if you have more than 2 properties you should start immediately with a good PMS.

3. Not trying out more distribution channels

You’re new and you’ve only heard of a few OTAs – you’re thinking HomeAway and AirBnB. Do they get you your 75% occupancy rate? If the answer is “yes” skip this paragraph and go onto the next mistake. If “no” then checkout this growing list of distribution partners and rest assured that going for a channel manager will save you time by automatically updating availability and prices while increasing the number of bookings you get. Disconnect from the daunting tasks of creating and updating ads and instead easily connect to hundreds of distribution channels.

4. Not knowing the basics of check-ins

The check-in is the one crucial interaction you will have with your guest. Getting it wrong means likelyhood of a negative review. There are only 4 things you need to get right. Travellers expect:

  1. that everything you’ve advertised is there & working
  2. that you’re perfectly on time
  3. that they are no extra hidden charges
  4. that the property is spotlessly clean

Get these right and your negative review probability is likely to be cut by half.


5. Getting the pricing wrong

This is a biggy. After all when you start off how could you know how to price your holiday home. You probably have a vague idea about seasons and know of a few local events that attracts tourists but have you done your analysis properly? Have you looked at competitors? We’ve written in length about how to price your vacation rental and the automatic rate engines that have the answer. Well-worth doing your homework properly and then making sure your scale your rates well for each channel you work with. As you know, Rentals United makes that part EASY 🙂

Any mistakes you wish you had avoided? Enlighten us in the comments below!!