This Article is About
vacation rental property
rental sector
sales pitch
shapes and sizes
short periods
rental business
Owners, Work With Your Rental Agent, Not Against Them
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Owners, Work With Your Rental Agent, Not Against Them

I don’t own a rental property or run a property rental business but I have worked with enough that do to understand a lot about this business. It seems to me that many owners should take a course in “customer service” before they consider buying a property so that they can rent it especially in the short term vacation rental sector.

The problem seems to start with the salesman. “Buy a property and rent it out to holiday makers, golfers or others for short periods. You can use the property too for your own holidays”. These are the sort of messages included in the sales pitch. Sounds good in theory and for some it works. Unfortunately it only supports the “dream” of a house in the sun. The dream has to be paid for like everything else.

For those captivated by the dream they gather their cash together, take out a mortgage and take the plunge. Depending on the route taken, new build or resale “Mr Joe Public” soon becomes the owner of a rental property. Having committed all that they possess they do not realise that the investment or cost does not stop there.

For many owners it is essential to use the services of a property management agent. These come in all shapes and sizes and range from those which generate rentals for you and provide full care of your property and guests to those which provide little more than a key holding service. They all have different price tags depending on what they offer.

Usually for a vacation rental property you would use a managing agent which looks after your guests and usually generates rentals for you. Owners will always generate their own bookings but successful owners usually have a large proportion of their reservations generated by the local Agent. I am in the fortunate position of looking at the booking profiles for many properties in different parts of the world and it is obvious that usually owners with pro-active rental agents have the highest occupancy weeks.

The vacation rental sector becomes more competitive all the time and those involved in the rental supply chain are setting and expecting higher standards all the time. If you are renting a Villa in Portugal and have paid for a live-in chef and maid, then clearly the guest has expectations with regards to the level of service and what will happen if something goes wrong. These days, attitudes of those renting a basic two bedroom apartment on a Spanish Costa resort are the same and owners must realise this.

Recently a Managing Agent told me he was “dumping” all owners at the end of their contacts where the property was a “basic” one. He was fed up with the reputation of his Agency being damaged by owners who had no idea how to “look after a guest”. He had received a call on a Friday morning from a guest in an apartment advising that the air-con was not working. It was mid-August and temperatures were 35 degrees C and air-con was essential. So out of courtesy he called the owner and let them know. The owner wanted to use her usual air-con company and she would deal with it. Later that day the agent was called again by the guest. “Did he know what was happening as they had heard or seen nothing”? He called the owner and was advised that “Her engineer was busy today and could not do it”. She would not pay for a weekend call out so it would need to wait until Monday. The guest called their agent they had used to book the property and complained. That agent of course does not know the owner and does not care they just want their guest looked after properly by the Managing Agent. So the managing agent called out his air-con company and had the problem fixed to protect his reputation and soon the owner will need someone new to generate rentals in the future.

Owners must understand in this modern world that if they work with pro-active rental agents then they must deliver on their side. If something needs fixing, then it needs doing in a suitable time frame and if the owner does not like paying for it then they should not be using their property for short term rentals. Many booking agents and websites use feedback from guests to rank properties. It is not just ranking of the property but also the managing agent reputation that is affected. One piece of negative feedback can ruin the benefit of many positive ones.

So owners please make sure you authorise your managing agent to have essential repairs done automatically and quickly. It is important that your guest has problems they consider serious resolved quickly or at least they quickly see steps taken to resolve it. For those considering buying a property for vacation rental please ensure that you have sufficient working capital to keep it in perfect condition. Don’t forget, it can take 3-5 years to build up its rental presence before you reach good levels of occupancy.


Street Talk

You are right. I see the statistics, owners that work with their agents usually earn more money. Sounds obvious that everyone should work together but in the real world this is often not the case. Thanks again Rob

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Hello Rob, Working together may bring more revenue than constant conflict. Thank you for the informative and interesting article.

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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