In a booming tourist destination city such as Charleston SC, named No. 1 City In the United States by Travel & Leisure for the 5th consecutive year, a vacation rental home as investment property can be a lucrative source of additional income. With more than 4 million visitors each year, the Holy City is no stranger to tourists – all searching for a charming, authentic place to stay while in town. But before you go running to self-manage your own rental, you will need to understand what exactly goes into purchasing, operating, and maintaining a successful vacation rental home.
After the hunt for the perfect property with the right price and ideal location is over, the renovation begins. Whether it’s a small project such as updating countertops, flooring, fixtures, or it’s a full gut job, the renovation process takes time, oversight and attention to detail (TIP: Save time shopping around for trustworthy contractors, our team of experienced renovation experts have done countless renovations in the Charleston area!). Once the renovation is complete it’s time to furnish and stage the home, after all, guests will expect comfortable furnishings and tasteful interiors (TIP: Consider investing in a professional interior designer. The added upfront costs will pay for themselves through the increased nightly rate, guest satisfaction, and repeat guests). Now the property is ready for its first guest. But how will the guests find your Charleston vacation rental and book their stay?
Most guests look to third party sources such as AirBnb or VRBO, though many don’t realize that they can save BIG by booking directly through the property owner. Either way, listing the property will require photos (TIP: Invest in professional, high quality photos not only to attract guests but also rank to higher within the booking platform), a well written property description designed to entice guests, and inputting all of the property features into the listing. Once this is done, the property is added to the pool of thousands of other rentals in the Charleston area. When a guest is ready to book their stay, many third party sites will handle the processing of payment (a fee for which is passed on to guests), which will have to be managed and processed prior to the guests’ arrival.
Once the guests have booked and paid for their stay, they will require a certain amount of preliminary information with instructions for parking, entrance to the property, details regarding amenities, appliances, pet limitations, etc (TIP: Providing soaps, coffee, etc. eases the burden on guests and makes their stay just a little bit more relaxing). All of that information has to be clearly displayed and sent to guests, usually via text or email. Property owners may choose to meet guests at the property to ensure a smooth entry, provide a quick tour, and answer additional questions. All of this set-up is time out of the property owner’s day that is predetermined by the time of the guest’s arrival. Once their stay has begun, the guests may reach out to the owner with questions about the property, requests for recommendations in the area, or maintenance emergencies. Guests like to have 24-hour access to someone who can address all of their needs.
Every detail of the guest’s stay, from the renovation to the furnishings to the guest experience should be designed with the guest’s satisfaction in mind. The goal is to provide the best possible experience for visitors with 3 key motivators in mind: repeats stays, free word-of-mouth advertising, and 5-star reviews – all of which lead toward the property’s overall success and profitability.
All of this can, of course, be managed by the property owner, but it takes away from the “set-it-and-forget-it” aspect that makes income properties so attractive to many people. There’s also a learning curve and a lot of education that goes into successfully managing vacation rentals and doing it WELL. A professional management company, with dedicated and trained staff, can help take the property to the next level and maximize profits.
Whether you’re investing in your first property, tired after years of self-managing, or dissatisfied with the results from your current Charleston SC vacation rental management company, discover the difference in partnering with Luxury Simplified Retreats. View our FREE case study booklet and find out why we’re the best at what we do…