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Owning a vacation rental property can be an incredible investment, but managing it requires a lot of time, money, and effort. As an asset in your financial portfolio, it’s important to protect its value, and part of doing that means maintaining day-to-day upkeep, performing major repairs when needed, collecting and managing rental income, remitting state & local business taxes, fielding inquiries and managing reviews. While handling it all on your own is certainly possible, if your rental property is in a location away from your full-time residence, or you simply want to ensure that your property is consistently delivering on your revenue goals, then partnering with a rental management firm is in your best interest.
If your rental home is in a popular vacation destination and receives a sizable amount of bookings, it’s vital to understand that not every rental management company is the same, and to understand what sets a top rental management firm apart. Here at Luxury Simplified Retreats we’re a luxury property management company in Charleston that goes above and beyond to provide exceptional care for your home, maximize your revenue, and offer incredible high touch service to your guests. But what makes us different?
3 Reasons Luxury Simplified Retreats Is the Best Luxury Property Management Company in Charleston
1. Don’t just take our word for it.
Luxury Simplified Retreats is a Charleston based white-glove property management firm with over 25 years in revenue management, property management, property maintenance, and guest services management. We became a property management firm for the simplest of reasons – because we’re owners too and as such, we understand what matters to owners. And frankly, it’s everything.
When we set out to create a dedicated property management team we set our sights pretty high. From the top down, we have amassed a group of expert managers, marketers, designers, landscapers, cleaners, property inspectors and guest service staff, each with an impressive background from industries that include real estate, hoteliers, hospitality, tourism and interior design. With a team that manage a $75M portfolio of luxury properties throughout the Lowcountry in locations from the Charleston peninsula and the surrounding barrier islands to, most recently, an expansion into Palmetto Bluff, SC, it’s no surprise that we were named among “The Best Airbnb Property Management Companies in the US” by AirDNA, November 2020.
2. A qualitative approach reduces the guesswork of what’s really working.
Data is everywhere in the vacation rental industry and we’re here to harness it. As Certified Revenue Managers we know the value comes from measuring more than once. Our team of certified Revenue Managers are trained to analyze key data metrics that can greatly impact the success of your rental and ultimately impact your bottom line. Tracking data points that make a difference include available competing inventory in the market overall, Average Daily Rate (ADR), Occupancy, RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Rental), and the power of price flexing.
So what does that mean for you? Transparent monitoring, tracking, and reporting. You should expect a management firm to provide transparent revenue tracking and reporting so that you can be fully aware of what’s really working to deliver revenue, plus future revenue-driving strategies that best suit your needs. Your monthly owner statements should reflect a full accounting of the monthly bookings, revenue, accommodations taxes, fees collected, maintenance tickets opened and resolved and any additional expenses that were accrued on your behalf – all without compromising on the care & upkeep of your property.
3. Because the “telephone game” is still around. Now it’s called Google Reviews
In the vacation rental industry, 5-star ratings are king. It’s like the modern-day version of the “telephone game” but with real monetary value at stake. Rental properties that consistently receive 5-star reviews get shared more often on social media, receive preferential placement on the OTAs and deliver more repeat bookings from guests + their family and friends. Many of our guests are repeat customers and for a good reason. We have spent years developing a reputation as an elite vacation rental company that provides luxury vacation homes, unparalleled amenities, and best-in-class guest services. So you can rest assured that guests staying in your property will be well provided for when your home is in our care – and we know they’ll still be talking about it after their stay.
Our in-house maintenance team provides assurance that should anything go wrong, someone will be there to fix it immediately. This ensures that guests will not be bothered by minor inconveniences during their visit. We also offer natural disaster preparation and support should that ever be necessary.
Let Us Help You Manage Your Property
Where to begin? Head to our blog to read: “Seven Questions to Ask Yourself While Researching Property Management Firms.” Luxury Simplified Retreats is one of the top options for luxury property management companies in Charleston, SC and we don’t say that lightly. We even have numerous case studies that demonstrate the quality care you will receive when working with us. If you’re ready to take the next step, reach out to us for a free property income analysis.
Learn more about what makes us the best luxury property management company in the Holy City. And, when you’re ready to take the plunge, we’re here to help.
Have you been planning a group getaway this year but the thought of planning such an adventure makes you panic? Who could blame you? With differing opinions of where to stay, anxiety of where everyone will sleep, and activities to plan while you’re here, these tasks would scare anyone away from planning a group vacation! That’s why booking with a vacation rental firm that offers concierge services can help to alleviate the stress. If you’re heading to Charleston with a group and want to experience a walk-everywhere vacation in the heart of the downtown historic district, we’re sharing some of our top luxury group accommodations. You’ll wonder why you ever worried about planning such a big trip.
So you have invested in a second home, perhaps as an investment that doubles as a getaway for you to vacation with family and friends, or intended to be used strictly as rental income. The theory goes that you can use your home to generate income that offsets its cost of operations and pays the bills. That investment model can be one of great success, but who will be responsible for overseeing your property and just what should you expect? When you begin thinking about hiring a property management company for your vacation rental, whether for the first time, or your property is currently being managed by a company who’s performance you’re not happy with, there are some key criteria to consider as you evaluate property management firms.
WHY CAN’T I MANAGE IT MYSELF?
For the first time owner, the question naturally begins with, “why shouldn’t I just do this myself?” The answer may be as simple as, “you can, but how much time do you have?” Certainly there are owners who handle management themselves, but it can be incredibly time consuming to do so. The first hurdle may simply be one of not living in close proximity to your vacation property. Charleston SC is a top vacation destination, both the downtown historic district and along the beaches, and can often have fully booked calendars for much of the year. Vacation homes, when marketed well, will have consistent bookings, and in turn will have a tremendous amount of “wear & tear” so it’s important that you have the opportunity to put eyes on the property and ensure that it is in good condition between guests. This is doubly so in the luxury vacation rental space, as the luxury traveler has a heightened expectation of lodging and are generally paying a higher nightly rate to get it. Having the access to cleaning vendors and a reliable maintenance team is vital, as well as staff that can quickly solve issues that may arise between guests checking out and those that will be checking in next.
Additionally, in order to generate and maximize your income potential, you need ample time to promote your rental, take quality photos, write and revise the listing, field traveler inquiries, answer questions about your property, vet potential guests, juggle service providers like cleaning and maintenance, follow up for reviews, manage local permits & licensing, and remit transactional taxes where applicable. That’s a lengthy job description for anyone. Hiring the right vacation rental management company for your home can take the stress, endless tasks, extra time spent, and marketing responsibilities off your plate.
DO THEY HAVE EXPERIENCE IN REVENUE MANAGEMENT?
Successful property management companies are those that, in a robust rental market, can consistently deliver revenue to owners while maintaining their asset and providing exceptional service to their guests. Revenue management is a big part of that, and requires a combination of both a team of skilled revenue managers and the use of a comprehensive Property Management System (PMS) software. Day to day oversight means continuously monitoring and measuring KPIs, market conditions, competitors, events and customer data. To maximize earnings for owners in our luxury portfolio, our revenue managers start by performing an in-depth review of comparable rental properties in the area. Our dynamic pricing strategy means that we continually monitor and adjust rates on a daily basis by accounting for factors that influence rates including occupancy, seasonality, and fluctuations in demand. Additionally, every manager should be fully aware of the status of local short-term rental regulations. In a city like Charleston SC, the regulations are strict and the penalties are substantial should you attempt to rent your property illegally.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT TO PAY IN FEES?
Before hiring a local property manager, do the math to determine whether you can afford to pay a fee and still meet your rental income goals. Many vacation rental property management fees range from 20-50% of your rental income. Just how much property managers charge depends on the company and the services you can expect in return. In a commission-based fee structure, a property manager will take a percentage cut of your overall monthly earnings. This is a popular fee structure since your expense is directly linked to the income generated. Bear in mind, that the property management company has fixed costs of their own, including many of the services in place that exist for the care and promotion of your property, including PMS software, site-based inspectors and maintenance teams, and marketing staff. Above all, make sure any fees and agreements you undertake are those that prioritize guest experience over short-term profit. You should want this to be the goal for both you and your management company.
WHAT SERVICES ARE INCLUDED IN MANAGEMENT FEES?
Specifically ask whether the fee covers marketing, professional photography, writing the listing description, updating and optimizing the listing, observing market trends, cleaning, maintenance, inspections prior to guests checking in, or site-based team support for any issues that arise during a guest’s stay. It’s important to closely understand any services/fees that may be assessed to you outside of your commission arrangement. If your management company covers everything from marketing to maintenance, the agreed upon fee structure may be worthwhile for the peace of mind that your property is being well-managed and you are maximizing your return on investment.
HOW WILL YOU MARKET MY PROPERTY?
This is an important one. Marketing is a big word that includes the photography of your rental, a high-converting property listing, framing your rental for current trends and the market, and how it is promoted. Make sure you understand their marketing plan. With the predominance of travel search and planning originating on the web it is vital that your property is marketed to all of the top, major rental sites with highly professional listings. At Luxury Simplified Retreats your rental not only will appear on our website, but also some of the top syndicated marketplaces for vacation rentals including Airbnb and Vrbo. We also employ powerful tools for garnering exposure including paid search, display ads, social media and our growing database of travelers.
A vacation rental manager’s 20-50% fee ought to cover the cost of marketing your property as well as any marketing efforts they make to raise the profile of their own site. Words like “search engine marketing” or “higher search results” are good indicators your management firm has put effort into raising and maintaining their website’s profile online. In addition to dedicating marketing dollars to maximize the exposure and promotion of listings on our own custom-designed website in order to increase the amount of bookings that are generated for our owners, we know it is still vitally important that we ensure our properties are receiving maximum exposure on the major online travel sites like Vrbo or Airbnb. Your manager should also actively solicit reviews from happy guests and follow up with guests who have already stayed at the property to see if they want to book again next year. Ask your vacation rental manager what they do to ensure repeat business and 5-star reviews to entice new guests to come and stay at your property.
WHEN AND HOW ARE GUESTS ABLE TO BOOK MY PROPERTY?
If you have ever tried to book travel online yourself, you know the things that are most important to you: listings that are easy to find and accurately represented, calendars that are easy to navigate, rates that are quoted quickly with additional fees clearly displayed, and the ability to easily pay online and complete your reservation. Management companies that have optimized their websites to accommodate online e-commerce transactions and are supported by PMS systems that are continuously syncing the calendars for to-the-minute availability can handle all of this seamlessly.
The vast majority of guests prefer to book online, and very few are willing to get on the phone or send a paper check in the mail. Making an online chat feature available to quickly answer questions is another benefit from a well optimized website. The ideal response time for inquiries is 15 minutes, so the bar is pretty high for providing the kind of service that turns into bookings.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT ON THE CARE & UPKEEP OF MY HOME?
A successful, well-run property management company should have a vested interest in the care & upkeep of your rental home. You’re looking for a manager who performs a post-stay walkthrough after every guest leaves, takes photos of any damages for your records, and quickly handles issues that will affect the experience of the next guest who have booked a stay. Be sure to ask your potential vacation rental manager how they handle issues like broken or missing items after a guest’s stay. You shouldn’t expect your property management company to pay for damages out of pocket – that cost will come from the guest’s deposit, however, the property inspector or cleaning service provider should note the damage, report it, and then alert the guest about retaining their deposit to cover the damage if necessary.
THE ONLY PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY FOR YOUR LUXURY HOME
We know you didn’t purchase your vacation home to spend all your time worrying about the upkeep. You should be focusing on the memories to be created there for you and your family & friends and the return on your investment. Let us create a pro forma for your property, and help you to realize the full potential that awaits when you partner with the top property management firm in Charleston. Visit our property management page for more information to find out why we’re leaders in the property management industry and learn more about working with us.
Charleston SC is a favorite year round travel destination and for good reason. With gorgeous, centuries-old historic homes, streets that tell the stories of deep-rooted, Southern history, a mild climate, and miles of sunny beaches, there truly is something for everyone in Charleston. While Charleston offers top events throughout most of the year, in the summer, the city comes alive with the blooms of azaleas, dogwoods, honeysuckle, Jasmine, roses, and wisteria. The longer days wrapped in Carolina blue skies that melt into fiery pink & orange sunsets make for the perfect backdrop for some of the season’s highly anticipated events and festivals. This time of year is chock full of fun and festivities, from bustling farmers markets and lively sporting events to world-class art festivals and historic celebrations.
Read on to learn more about Charleston’s upcoming summer and fall events in 2021. For more information about the best things to do during your visit, request a free copy of our Insider’s Guide!
9 of the Best Charleston Summer Events and Fall Festivals in 2021
Charleston Farmers Market | Every Saturday
Farm-fresh produce, local artworks, and delicious eats make the Charleston Farmers Market the best place to be every Saturday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Festival of Houses and Gardens | March 11–August 17
Admire some of the Holy City’s most iconic architectural gems and magical gardens during the Festival of Houses and Gardens. Tours take place in the historic districts of Downtown Charleston.
Safe Sounds at Firefly Spring Concert Series | April 17 – June 26
Live, outdoor concerts are returning to Firefly! This year, the distillery hosts the Safe Sounds Spring Concert Series, which is mindful of social distancing while still being plenty fun.
Spoleto Festival USA | May 28-June 13
The Spoleto Festival USA celebrates the arts through live music, theatre, dance, and more. Impressive performances bring people to Charleston from all over the world.
Piccolo Spoleto Festival | May 28-June 13
While the Spoleto Festival USA focuses primarily on an international scope, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival shines a spotlight on local, Southeastern artists.
Root of Soul: J19th Fest| June 18-19
Lively music, delicious food, and dancing will take place at the celebratory Root of Soul: J19th Fest. This immersive festival celebrates African American emancipation and aims to unify, educate, and uplift.
Charleston Riverdogs Baseball at “the Joe” May 4 – September 19
Head out to the ball game for some peanuts and crackerjacks, and the zany, ball-field antics of the Riverdog’s mascot Charlie T. RiverDog. Opened at the start of 1997 season, Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park is one of the premier atmospheres in Minor League Baseball. Named after the city’s longest-serving mayor, “The Joe” is the best place to spend a family friendly, fun-filled night in the summer. Check out the RiverDogs 2021 Schedule, grab your tickets and don’t forget to bring your glove!
Charleston Restaurant Week | September 9-19
Charleston Restaurant Week takes place in mid-September this year. Experience the incredible culinary scene here in the Holy City and enjoy dining at some of our finest restaurants.
Cooper River Bridge Run | September 25
Although the Cooper River Bridge Run, traditionally held the first weekend in April, usually tops the list of some of the best springtime events in Charleston – this year’s CRBR was postponed because of the pandemic. So lace up your shoes and join in all the fun at this years Bridge Run on Saturday September 25th.
Elevate Your Charleston Experience When You Stay with Luxury Simplified Retreats
In a city known for its vibrant culture, rich history, delicious food, and beautiful setting, it comes as no surprise that some incredible lodging options are available. Spend your days attending the best Charleston summer events of 2021, then return to enjoy some rest and relaxation in a Luxury Simplified Retreats vacation rental. Our stylish accommodations, located on Folly Beach or in the heart of Downtown Charleston, set the scene for an unforgettable Lowcountry getaway. Additionally, our expert concierge services team is more than happy to help you plan your trip, make reservations, and even stock your refrigerator.
Allow us to make your visit to the Holy City unforgettable. Contact us to start planning your trip today!