Every year business travel contributes well over £1 trillion US dollars to the global economy. In the US alone, 458 million business trips are taken every single year and with so many people working online, or remotely now either for themselves or for organisations, that figure is certainly set to rise.
If you’re one of the many lucky people in the US who travel for business, or, you’re taking a gap year or some time out travelling or vacationing, you may struggle managing your vacation rental when you’re out of the country. The quandary of how to manage a vacation rental when you’re often out of the country could well be a reason that has stopped you making such a great financial investment.
9.26 million Americans own a second home, and that is because real estate can be a fantastic investment. However, let’s be clear, running a vacation rental isn’t exactly light work. It can drain time and energy from your day to day life. In a time when we are all so focused on our career and work life balance is hard enough, it makes sense that if you are going to benefit financially from a vacation rental that you need to be local. Local enough at least, to deal with clients yourself directly, or to speak to neighbours or friends nearby who manage the property on a casual basis.
However, that doesn’t mean it is impossible to manage a vacation rental if you are overseas. You don’t have to be nearby, or even in the same country if you don’t want to. You can have your cake and eat it, you just have to opt for a clever solution like any one of these:
Get A Company To Manage The Property For You
It makes sense that you want to keep every penny of the money you get back from your vacation rental, but, you may have to make some sacrifices if you want a stress-free business trip or holiday whilst the money flows in. A vacation rental management company will deal with the various problems and issues you may struggle to deal with overseas. They will usually take care of all the day to day management responsibilities such as:
- Managing grounds maintenance and cleaning of the property (or the company who do it for you)
- Marketing the property
- Communicating with guests
- Dealing with bookings
- Dealing with the finances of payments, price setting etc
- Dealing with any maintenance issues
What your company does for you, depends on the company and it is important to agree to terms before you sign any contracts. You should look carefully at different vacation rental management companies and check reviews before making any agreements. This company will be trusted to manage an asset of yours, and to make your property management stress free when you’re away on holiday/ business, so they really, really do have to be right.
Take Care Of It All Yourself, But Remotely
It isn’t impossible to take care of a vacation rental remotely, as long as you have thought through everything you need to before you leave the country. There are some amazing apps and pieces of tech out there to make things easier for you. This TechRadar article is a good place to start browsing some of the apps on offer. Your biggest issue is how to get people in or out of the property. There are several remote options including:
- Key Safes – this is where cafes, libraries and all kinds of businesses store your keys and guests can pick them up and collect them from that location.
- A Physical Person Checking Guests In – This could be a trusted neighbour to the property, or a company who only check guests in and out for you.
- Smart Locks – Digital locking systems that provide temporary access via a temporary code you create on an app.
This top 3 YouTube video is a good place to start with looking at options for your remote locking system.
With services like cleaning and maintenance, things are a little easier as there are all kinds of companies offering everything you need to keep the property fresh, clean and ready for guests.
Offer Longer Term Rentals
Depending on how long your trips are, you could offer rentals that fit around when you are around to manage things yourself. For example if you know you will be away for six weeks, you could only agree vacation rental tenants who want to stay for that period of time. That way you still have total control over the property, you can meet the tenants and show them around, but you can also go on your trip. This only really works for people who:
- Always know exactly when they are going away well in advance
- Who have a backup plan for anything that does need attention in their vacation property, when they aren’t nearby to deal with it
Before anything else, preparation is the key to success – Alexander Graham Bell
However you choose to look after your vacation rental whilst you are abroad, remember to thoroughly do your research so that your choice is as cost-effective and convenient as possible. Any company that you hire for help with your property management should be thoroughly vetted, and checked, so you know you can rely on them to do a great job, better than you could do yourself. All the effort will be worth it in the end, when you’re able to jet off on business or pleasure, knowing your investment is well taken care of.