7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Running a Vacation Rental Business


Running a vacation rental business can prove to be a rewarding experience, and successful vacation rental owners receive a welcome boost to their income. But in order to reap the benefits, you need to put the effort in and make sure your venture is fruitful.  

Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan, and despite your best intentions, you might find yourself experiencing one or two problems. Forewarned is forearmed – so look out for these pitfalls and do your utmost to avoid them at all costs.

Ignoring Airbnb Regulations

The rising number of Airbnb vacation rental properties has attracted the attention of local residents and government officials. There are concerns that landlords are buying up affordable property in a bid to become vacation rental owners. They offer short-term rental, which some feel limits housing options for locals. 

Regulations have now been put in place in certain areas, restricting the number of nights Airbnb hosts can let their properties for. If you’re considering embarking on your own Airbnb vacation rental business or expanding into another area, check out the regulations first, and don’t forget to find out if you require an Airbnb business license. 


Not Getting Enough Bookings

Owning a stunning vacation property rental that sits empty for most of the year can be soul-destroying. Not getting enough bookings hampers your income, and a lack of guests equals a lack of feedback. In turn, a lack of positive feedback could put-off potential guests – who could be left wondering why people aren’t booking – is something wrong with the property? A vicious circle no host wants to get stuck in! 


Neglecting Your Property

Vacation rental owners are busy people, but taking proper care of their vacation rental business should be at the top of the list. There’s a lot to juggle, from keeping the interior spick and span, to carrying out running repairs, and keeping the garden trim – the list seems endless! 

Letting standards slide is a sure-fire way of upsetting guests and landing negative reviews. If you are struggling to get it all done yourself then please get some help. Employ a professional cleaning company to keep your pad spotless, find a local gardener to care for your blooms and greenery, and seek a reputable handyman (or lady) to keep on top of maintenance. 


Underestimate the Importance of Marketing

Never underestimate the importance of marketing your vacation rental property. It really can prove essential to your vacation rental business. There’s no point in having a great place to stay if no-one knows about it! Savvy vacation rental owners go all out on their marketing strategy, and adhere to the 4P’s:


Create a comprehensive listing (use catchy titles) and add striking photographs. You could even add a video to your listing to attract even more attention. 


Set your short-term pricing in line with the competition and demand. Do your research and don’t be afraid to adjust your pricing. 


Utilize all available marketing channels to showcase what you’ve got. Social media and your own website can help create a buzz. 


Choose the best platforms to place property listings, Airbnb is a great place to start but explore other platforms too. 


Lack of Preparation and Problem-Solving Skills

Sometimes guests come and go without incident, but now and again an emergency crops up that will test your hosting capabilities. The best vacation rental property owners understand the way you deal with issues can be the difference between a lukewarm review and a glowing one! 

Stay calm and remember preparation is key when running a successful vacation rental business. Fit your property with a fire-alarm, extinguisher and carbon-monoxide monitor to prevent catastrophe. It’s also a good idea to leave a torch, extra blankets and first-aid kit to hand, just in case! Plan ahead, source a plumber, electrician, etc so you have a “go-to” list in the event of a household emergency.


Overlooking Negative Reviews 

Unfortunately, you might encounter the odd “neutral” or (worse) negative review from a non-plussed guest. Ignore these at your peril! It’s tempting to get irate and upset, but remain calm and keep it professional. Launching into a personal attack won’t do you or your vacation rental business any favors! If you feel your guest has a valid point a simple apology could do the world of good. However, if you disagree, you are within your rights to respond to negative feedback by offering your own, eloquent explanation. 


No Clear Pricing Strategy

Flexible pricing is the way to go when listing your property. Check out other vacation rental properties in your area if you’re not sure where to start. Your rates should go up and down in line with demand. So, a weekend in the main holiday season should cost more than two weeknights in low season. Use dynamic pricing to ensure your rate remains competitive and attractive to potential guests. 


Lack of Organisation

Not sure which rental is booked and when? Struggling to keep up with the care and maintenance of your rentals? Finding guest communication hard going? A lack of organisation can impinge your performance as a host. If you need a helping hand you could consider automating your property and installing vacation rental software, such as the comprehensive software offered by iGMS). This will help you to:

– Communicate easily with guests, (create automated replies and templates). 

– Update your calendar and keep track of bookings from numerous platforms.  

– Schedule cleaning and maintenance. 

– Adjust your pricing. 

– Manage access to your property. 


Prevention is Better Than Cure

Our list of potential pitfalls is not designed to enlighten hosts, not to induce nightmares! The best way to negotiate problems is to put things into place ahead of time. When it comes to successfully hosting Airbnb vacation rental properties prevention is better than cure. 

Whether you’re busy looking after one property or have your hands full juggling four, you don’t have to struggle to do it all alone. Enlist the help of the experts, consider hiring a professional cleaner and maintenance worker to help turn your properties around efficiently (and maintain high standards). Explore the option of using a keycafe (key exchange allows for remote hosting – saving you precious time), install vacation rental software,and add automation. 

Set about streamlining the hosting process and make life easier for yourself! Going the extra mile can help you to avoid pitfalls, save precious time, improve your vacation rental business, earn great guest reviews, boost bookings and help to increase your profit margin. 


Inna ShevchenkoInna has 10 years of experience in marketing and content writing specifically. Currently, she is the Director of Marketing at iGMS, a short-term rental management software company.

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