How digital nomads can earn money with vacation rentals.
The digital nomad lifestyle has become the pinnacle of freedom and success. Travel as much as you want, never wake up to an alarm clock, and all you need is your laptop to make passive income.
But, how do they do it?
Where does the money come from?
The truth is, there are all sorts of ways to make passive income and be location independent, but the vacation rental industry proves to be one of the quickest and most successful ways to be able to work and travel.
There are two ways a digital nomad can start a vacation rental business. The first is to either own or in some cases be renting a property that you can turn into a short term rental. The second is offering online vacation rental management services for hosts who have property that is active on a vacation rental listing site like Airbnb.
Whether you want to become a host yourself or operate a vacation rental management team from your computer, the following vacation rental tips will help you start and strategically scale your income so that you can stay on the road as a digital nomad.
Master Marketing Trends
Marketing trends come and go. The trick is finding what works best for your target client or guest.
If you turn your home into a vacation rental there are a few marketing trends that have proven successful for other digital nomads including the following.
Create a social media page for your vacation rental
If you really want to compete, you’ll have to go beyond listing websites. Post exquisite photos of your home on Instagram, throw in some hashtags that include your city name and the word vacation (i.e. #SeattleVacation, #SeattleVacationRental, etc.), and watch guests come to you. Then you can redirect them to the booking page where your listing is.
Use Events to Appeal to Visitors
Keep a calendar of upcoming events from sports games to conferences, be on the lookout. In your social media marketing strategy, you’ll be able to reach out to potential guests headed to your area that prefer the comfort of a home to a hotel.
Got a jacuzzi outside or a fancy espresso machine? How about an incredible skyline view? Are you near a historic landmark or national park? Anything special and significant about your home and its location is an amenity worth mentioning. Much like a unique selling proposition, amenities are gold for your vacation rental business.
Optimize Your Rental Listing
You don’t want to put all your marketing eggs in one basket, but if you had to–it’d be in your listing. Whether you’re creating your own listing or offering it as a part of your management services, here are a few vacation rental tips that you need to know about ranking high on the listing site and turning clicks into bookings.
It sounds awfully shallow, but in the world of online vacation rental bookings, looks are everything. Skip the awkward cell phone shots and hire a professional photographer who can stage the home, knows all the right angles, and can get the lighting just right. Consider the property photos the storefront to your short-term business.
Assessing your listings optimum price is all about comparison. Just like any business, you have to understand what guests or customers are willing to pay. To determine your value take a look at competing listings. Study the price using the following similarities:
- Geographical competition from neighborhood, city, even entire state.
- Similar size and shape (bedrooms/sq ft)
- Style (Apartment, home, duplex, penthouse)
- Amenities (Overall value)
If you know your listing is simply better than the rest, then go for it. But don’t hesitate to refine your prices according to the season, local events, length of stay, or special requests. You don’t want to lose customers to a few extra dollars per night.
Provide Lightening-Fast Responses
No one likes to be kept waiting when booking their vacation rental home. Being on top of inquiries is going to get your bookings up. By responding quickly, you reduce the risk of losing the guest to another rental home and you also demonstrate how accessible you would once the guest is at the property. The response rate is a big contributor to how guests rate you as a host.
Maintain Positive Reviews
After awwing at the professional shot photos on your listing, the next place potential guests inspect is the review section. There’s no better way to assume what their experience would be like than hearing what previous guests had to say.
There are three guaranteed ways to get 5-star reviews every time.
Create an Honest Description
Dishonesty or exaggerated claims are a sure-fire way to get called out in the review section. It doesn’t matter if everything else is perfect, if a guest expects something that is listed and it isn’t provided, they are likely to give future guests a heads up. You want the listing to sell, but honesty and guarantees are an important part of hospitality, so only promise what you can deliver.
On the other end of the guarantee spectrum is over-delivering for your guests. If they are traveling for vacation, there is nothing better than knowing they are being taken care of by their host. Think like a guest but providing above and beyond hospitality including regular cleaning services, a bottle of wine to greet them, or a few dining vouchers to a local restaurant. You’d be amazed at how these little touches keep guests coming back to your rental time and again.
Be in Touch
As a digital nomad, you will have to compensate for not greeting your guests or providing that human touch by being available via call, text, or email. Prioritize your guest’s needs by remaining in touch and they’ll never know you’re on the other side of the world.
Scaling a Vacation Rental Business as a Digital Nomad
One of the rewarding challenges you’ll face running a vacation rental business as a digital nomad is maximizing your occupancy rate. You’ve mastered your listing, have rave reviews, and now it’s time to strategically take advantage of peak season. Here are vacation rental tips to amp up bookings during the height of the travel season and all year round.
- Make booking easy and instant
- Keep listing and calendar up to date
- Automate your messages, prices, and bookings using automation tools like iGMS
- Ask for reviews after each stay
- Update property decor seasonally
- Provide long-term rental options
- Offer discounts during slow-season or extended stays
- Follow all of the tips provided in this article
Running a vacation rental business as a digital nomad isn’t only doable – it’s lucrative, reliable, and opportunities are increasing daily. Balance work and travel by implementing these powerful vacation rental business tips that will help you scale your side gig into a consistent way to earn passive income on the go.