Choosing a company to manage your short-term vacation rental property isn’t easy. Maybe you’re bombarded with outreach from many managers, all trying to sell you on their value and performance. Maybe you’re just starting out and don’t know where to begin looking or how to sift through the options. It can be a bit like online dating. Sure, their profile looks like a great fit, but what are they really like through good times and bad?

To get you started, here are six questions you can ask to begin homing in on a management partner you can trust and grow with for the long term:
What is your mission and focus?
What is your marketing strategy?
How do you optimize guest experience?
Do you have knowledgeable local staff?
What is your approach to owner reporting and accounting?
What’s included in your commission rate, and are there extra fees?

1. What Is Your Mission And Focus?

Every business is guided by its mission and focus when making important decisions and choosing its future trajectory. When evaluating a vacation-management company, make sure that their mission aligns with your goals and values. Some companies prioritize meticulous care and maintenance of your investment property while striving to maximize rental opportunities. Others just maximize booked nights, making property care a secondary consideration. Choose a company whose mission harmonizes with your objectives.

2. What’s Your Marketing Strategy?

An effective marketing strategy is paramount for attracting guests to your property. Seek out a management company that has experience in effectively marketing properties like yours and attracting the right kind of guests. Ask them which online platforms they use, and consider their compatibility with your property’s target market.

3. How Do You Optimize Guest Experience?

A solid property management company excels in providing a positive, memorable experience for guests from the moment they inquire about your property until the end of their stay. This means streamlining the guest screening process, promptly addressing customer service concerns during their stay, and proactively responding to reviews post-stay. Inquire about the company’s guest screening methods and what they do to ensure your property is well cared for. Often, the screening process is the most important way
to ensure the upkeep of your property. Ask how the company screens potential guests and monitors and confirms the exact number of people occupying your property at any given time, collecting all appropriate guest fees and preventing out-of-control parties.
Getting good guests and prioritizing their satisfaction leads to positive reviews, which significantly contribute to future bookings.

4. Do You Have Knowledgeable Local Staff?

One way to be sure you have the appropriate number of guests in your vacation rental property and that those guests enjoy an amazing experience is to hire a company with local, knowledgeable staff. Your management company is the “face” of your home, connecting with your guests and ensuring they have a great experience.

5. What Is Your Approach To Owner Reporting And Accounting?

A reputable management company should thoroughly and transparently handle rent collection, expense accounting, and owner statements. It is crucial to understand how they account for collected rents, manage expenses, and deliver clear, simple, comprehensive monthly reports. Ensure that they maintain a dedicated trust account exclusively for rent collection, segregating those funds from their operating accounts.

6. What’s Included In Your Commission Rate, and Are There Extra Fees?

All vacation-rental management companies charge some type of commission, but the devil is often in the details. Be sure to compare apples to apples when you hear that one company is offering a significantly lower rate for their services. They may be collecting
fees you’re not aware of. When you’re getting to know various companies, be sure to ask them who is paying fees for credit-card transactions, advertising, professional photography of your home, and the consumable supplies guests use, such as paper towels, toilet paper, hand soap, dish soap, and laundry detergent. Sometimes the low-commission companies hit you (or your guests) with a variety of additional fees that you may not have considered, or they might not provide a service you assumed was part of the package.


Ask the Right Questions, Get The Results You Want

Choosing a rental management isn’t like using a dating app. Don’t make a hasty decision based on a good first impression. Before partnering with a vacation-rental management company to run your property, it’s important to ask the right questions. By taking the
time to carefully consider each management company’s focus, marketing strategy, and approach to owner and guest experience, you can be sure you are making a wise investment. Do your research before signing on the dotted line, and you can find a management partner aligned with your goals who will make your vacation-rental experience easy and rewarding.