Should you contract a vacation rental agency?
Whether you’ve just decided to enter the vacation rental business and feel a bit lost or simply had enough of juggling everything yourself, you might consider contracting an Agency or Management company to take vacation rental tasks off your hands. They are always happy to take on new clients. But is it actually worth for you to become partner of an Agency?
1. Know how
You should expect the Rental Property Management to be an expert. They will know where to advertise, what prices to set, how to portray your property so it is more appealing to potential guests then your competition. They should have an existing network or provide services that cover most of your needs: cleaning, maintenance, insurance etc.
2. Larger Scale
Since they operate on a larger scale, Agencies will be able to afford tools that make it possible to be more flexible on the market. They can update prices quicker, they can offer multiple payment methods to guests and initially for you as well. They also have a better chance of spotting fraud bookings in advance.
Management companies depending on their size have the possibility to offer wider services. They can increase guest experience via multi language, around the clock customer support or selling additional services such as transfers, car rentals, and events. They can do the same for you by taking key collection off your hand, updating your OTA profiles, arranging professional photography and design for your property, etc.
This is quite an obvious one. There is no such thing as a free dinner, Property Management Companies usually charge by percentage or set an exact fee for each week that is rented out. Percentage model drives them to increase your sales. The amount varies from company to company and can range from 25%-50% even. The fixed fee is security: regardless of how successful they are, this is the income you’ll have.
2. Less control
Once you’ve signed the contract they’ll be quite independent. This business requires quick solutions sometimes and you can’t always be kept in the loop if you’re not actually the one carrying out the task. They could relocate your guests upon check in for very good reasons, but it would still mean profit loss to you. They might need to change your sheets and use some from their stock. They might rename your property if it’s easier to advertise that way. Part of not having to do everything is letting go and trusting them enough to do it. This can be a challenge and a relationship you need to build together.
3. No guest relations
With taking one steps back from organizing everything, you are also one step further away from communicating with your guests. Depending on your agreement with the Agency, you might not even be the one to greet them upon arrival. In short: you could have no clue what kind of people are staying in your property. This can be unnerving, especially if you’ve gotten used to it by now.
What to consider
Trust is a very important factor between you the owner and the Agency you contracted with. You will entrust them to enter, modify, and rent out your property to strangers. You expect them to make you a profit and keep your best interest in mind. Whether you choose a small local company or a big international business, you should feel comfortable with them managing your property.
2. Can you let go?
If you do this, you won’t be able to micromanage. The pictures you’ve put on the wall, the color of the curtains, the template you used to send out to your guests will be subject to business decisions. You’ve entrusted this company to sell your room nights, you need to let them do it. This can be extremely hard in the beginning.
Don’t assume things will be handled the way you used to do it. Discuss the practices, read the contract, make sure to address your concerns beforehand. Most Agencies do their best to meet your needs, but you need to talk about it beforehand so that both of you enter this agreement with the same expectations. This does not only go for profit, although that is a significant factor. Consider what are the issues you definitely want to be involved in with and what are you comfortable letting them handle without consent.