Four Steps to Becoming a Professional Short-Term Rental Host

With each new listing added online, the short-term vacation rental industry grows even more increasingly competitive. To set yourself apart from the amateur operators, you need to understand which opportunities to jump on and which to avoid. This can be a huge challenge, especially when you’re just starting out.

By following these tips, you will improve the experience of your guests, keep your neighbors and community on your side, and encourage future referrals putting you one step closer to booking direct.

A living area in a spacious luxury modern home with large windows and natural light filtering through the short-term rental property.

Research Local Regulations

As the short-term rental industry expands, more and more cities are implementing regulations as a way of protecting the peace and personality of their communities. Short-term rental safety is unfortunately often the most overlooked aspect of maintaining a rental property. Cities and states understand that there is a need for safety guidelines to be in place for vacation rentals as well as keeping them regulated by requiring owners to have permits.

As a host, it’s important to stay updated on the local ordinances and regulations in the area of your vacation rental. The last thing you want is the added expense of a fine, especially when trying to get your business off the ground. Each week we update Proper’s Regulation Map with new and upcoming ordinances to help hosts stay informed.

Vet Your Guests

Once you’ve onboarded a handful of properties, operating your short-term rental business becomes a full-time job. And the more listings you manage, the greater the risk of hosting bad guests.

To protect your properties, you need to vet the guests you book. If you only have a couple of properties under management, this is something you can handle on your own. When working with multiple properties, however, this becomes too difficult. Screening services like Autohost could give property managers peace of mind, flagging high-risk guests.

The vetting process ensures that you and the guests are on the same page.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

In the short-term rental industry, hosts who leverage technology at their vacation rental are better positioned to succeed. By using the industry’s latest technologies, you can minimize your workload while making your operations more efficient.

For example, there was a study done on ‘Exploring Smart Home Device Use by Airbnb Hosts’, and it stated that hosts were less concerned about their guest’s privacy, as well as felt that the smart lock provided a unique advantage to their guests, giving them a competitive advantage over other vacation rentals. Being that smart home locking devices can be operated from your mobile phone, it’ll save you the hassle of arranging a time to exchange keys in person, so your short-term rental guests would be able to enter your property immediately once they arrive.

No matter what aspect of your operations you are trying to improve, there is a technological solution.

Verify Your Insurance

Professional short-term rental owners/hosts should have professional insurance. With so many guests checking in and out, having adequate short-term rental insurance is an absolute must.

There is a common misconception that owners can rely on their existing insurance for coverage, but homeowner policies traditionally exclude business activity.

Check with your insurer to see if you’re covered against injuries, theft, or damage caused by short-term rental guests. Proper Insurance recommends asking your current insurer the following question to determine compatibility with your short-term rental business: If I regularly entrust my property/vacation home to a paying vacation rental guest for a period of less than 30 days, and that guest damages, steals, or is injured at my property; do I have property and liability coverage?

Proper Insurance is the nation’s leading short-term vacation rental insurance provider, with the most comprehensive policy on the market. We protect homes in all 50 states with unmatched coverage for your property, revenue, and business liability, customized to include guest-caused theft/damage, liquor liability, amenity liability (bikes, kayaks, hot tub, etc.), bed bugs, squatters, and more. 

About the Author

Proper Insurance

Proper Insurance is the nation's leading short-term vacation rental insurance provider, with the most comprehensive policy on the market. We protect homes in all 50 states with unmatched coverage for your property, revenue, and business liability, customized to include guest-caused theft/damage, liquor liability, amenity liability (bikes, kayaks, hot tub, etc.), bed bugs, fleas, squatters, and more.

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