Marketing Your Vacation Rental

Vacation Rental Checklist for Homeowners

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
5/5 - (3 votes)

The rental season will be here before you know it!  Are you ready?  Here are the top 10 things to keep in mind as you make your preparations. 

1. View your Listing Quality Audit

Your Listing Quality Audit is for your eyes only and details the aspects of your listing that are in good shape and the ones that need improvement. The Listing Rating, which is based on the Audit, is tied to the search order results.  The better your Rating, the higher your listing will appear in the search results. So, take a look by using the Listing Quality Audit link in your Homeowner Center. Read more about the Audit in Is Your Listing Up to Snuff? 

2. Take advantage of our Booking Management feature

It truly IS easy! Using this feature in your account allows you to conduct your rental management business with accuracy and professionalism. It helps you take notes about your guests and track their payments. You can even schedule reminders to be sent when a payment is imminent or overdue. And using Booking Management helps prevent double bookings! See more about managing your bookings with ease.

3. Set up your service providers for the season

It’s never too early to confirm your turnover schedule with your housecleaners who are so vital to your success in renting! And don’t forget your trash removal, landscapers, or any other service providers who help you through the rental season. Take a look at our Home Services Directory for providers in your area.

4. Communicate with your guests

Nothing is more important to your success than communication with your guests every step of the way. Establishing a personal relationship with them during the booking process will set the tone for their experience. And then continue the communication before, during, and after their stay. Read more about the importance of Reaching out to your guests.

5. Be sure you are in compliance with the MA Lodging Tax rules

Is your home registered with the MA Dept. of Revenue? Is it covered for at least $1M in liability insurance? Does your lease include a line item for the tax? The tax rate for rentals in your town is posted on your listing.  For more information about the Lodging Tax, see our Lodging Tax FAQ’s. 

6. Keep your calendar up to date at least every 2-3 weeks 

Even if there are no changes to your pricing or availability, it’s important to keep your listing’s date stamp as current as possible, indicating to vacationers that your pricing and availability information is accurate. Vacationers who see an outofdate calendar date stamp are apt to move on to another listing. Take a look at 5 Crucial Reasons to Update Your Calendars. 

7. Make sure you have current and high-quality pictures with descriptive captions

Large, bright, and attractive pictures will lead to more inquiries. Vacationers spend about 8 seconds browsing through listings, and if your pictures don’t grab them . . . off they go to look at the next house. See our blog post, The Ideal Listing: Visual Appeal. 

8. Review your cancellation policy

Even though the worst of the pandemic is behind us, many vacationers are still very wary about losing their deposits if they have to cancel the booking. If your policy is relaxed, promote that on your listing so vacationers are incentivized to book with you. You might also encourage your guests to get travel insurance. TravelInsurance.com will provide them with a choice of companies and policies. Read more about our cancellation policy advice. 

9. Ask your past guests for reviews

Did you get at least a few  reviews from your guests last summer? If not, it’s not too late to ask them!  Use the Guest Review Request Form (see the tab on your Guest Reviews page in your Homeowner Center) to generate an email to your past guests providing them with a button to easily submit their review. See more about soliciting guest reviews.

10. Indicate your payment method options on your listing

Online payments are becoming increasingly more popular with vacationers, so why not distinguish your listing by promoting this attractive option? Add the forms of payment you accept to the Payment Methods section near the bottom of your calendar page. Read more about Online Payment Options that you can offer your guests. 

About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for WeNeedaVacation.com since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.