VRS307 – 15 Tweaks to Help Build a Profitable Short-Term Rental Management Company

Growing a property management company isn’t easy. There’s so much involved from building inventory to setting up operational practices; understanding channel management and book direct strategies; hiring the right people to manage guest and owner relations. It can be very tough.

Over the 16 years I’ve been running a PM company there’s been a lot of things we’ve done that hasn’t worked, and equally a lot that has. We’re always on the lookout for new ideas and techniques – things that will make life easier and more efficient, and often these are small changes that are pretty easy to implement.

The key is to never be complacent or operate a ‘set it and forget it’ approach.

This business is moving so rapidly, if you aren’t quick on your feet when change happens, you may find you are languishing behind your competition.

In today’s episode, I’m sharing fifteen of my favorite tweaks (or hacks) that we’ve used to streamline our business a little better.

1. Create an owner information package

Since we are using Touch Stay to deliver our owner information we’ve built a simple advertising package that creates desire for more information. We include a sample checklist and a sample video letting prospective owners know that .when you register with us, this is what you get. It creates curiosity and better conversions.


2. Outsource what you don’t want to do

Use Fiverr for small jobs. I spent hours trying to create a fillable PDF information sheet for our owners to send data on their properties. And made a mess of it. It cost $54 for it to be done so much better on Fiverr. For bigger projects use Upwork ie. editing video

3. Create a campaign calendar

Think strategically about digital marketing and plan ahead. Build an editorial calendar that delivers content for each campaign and have it organized and ready to go well in advance.


4. Find a writing intern

Enquire at local colleges – in tourism or journalism courses and find an intern who would like to hone their skills in writing content for you.


5. Build a set of lead magnets

For each campaign in your calendar produce a PDF or video. For example for fall marketing, get out on the trails and make a video of the colors, the scenery, maybe some people mountain biking. Produce a download of the best hiking trails including some secret ones you are sharing with your guests only. So, anyone can download the general trail information, but if they book they get an extra map to the ‘secret trail only the locals know about. (This one really works if you are in an area popular with hiking enthusiasts.


6. Build an emergency management profile

Collate a list of providers (bats, pest controllers, bed bugs, plumbers, appliance providers). Contact them all and create a relationship. This way, if you need someone at very short notice, they know who you are and will be more inclined to be responsive


7. Create a dynamic pricing strategy

Be proactive about dynamic pricing. You know your locality and what the seasonal ups and downs are. Create a strategy according to supply and demand. Use a platform such as Beyond Pricing if the data is available in your area.


8. Don’t change PMS on a whim

This probably goes without saying since anyone who has done this knows how painful it can be. Collect all the information on the companies that interest you and start talking to users.


9. Get active locally

Join your local Chamber of Commerce and get on the board, or become active in community projects or the tourism committee. This brings you into the know if any regulations are being discussed, and it’s just useful to bring a pro-rental face to the table which is so often negatively represented.


10. Hire a bookkeeper

Our first hire was a bookkeeper and we’ve never looked back. I don’t enjoy that side of the business and if you do, that’s great. However, if keeping up to date with the finances isn’t your thing, get this one covered early on.


11. Create a Youtube channel with guest advice

It’s so easy to create short Youtube videos and can bring a lot of traffic once your channel gets established. Just answer all the frequently asked questions such as “Can I drink the water?”, “Do I need a visa to travel to your country?”, “Will we see bears and should we be worried?”.   Make a list of questions and create a quick video to answers each of your questions.


12. Stage bedrooms well

Study the best looking bedrooms online using Houzz or Southern Living, or Pinterest, and make sure every bedroom in every home is staged well for photography. A bad looking bed can cost you bookings so it’s worthwhile making the effort.


13. Create an About Us page

This is super helpful with owner onboarding and introduces your team. New owners like to see who they are talking to and what role each person holds. It’s a special relationship so work on making it the best.


14. Build relationships with key realtors in your area

Provide them with a folder for introducing your company. Include sheets on how to choose the right property management company, ways to rent a property successfully, rental preparation checklists, etc. Make this a reciprocal arrangement so you promote them to your owners who want to sell or new ones who want to buy.


15. Pick a social media platform and command it

We used to say ‘Be Everywhere” but that’s impossible now unless you have a dedicated SM manager. If that’s not in your budget then just take one and make it your own. Decide who you are targeting (your personas) and choose the platform where they hang out.



This month’s recommended book is Beyond Influencer Marketing: Create Connections with Influential People to Build Authority, Grow Your List, and Boost Revenue
by Cloris Kylie.

In Beyond Influencer Marketing , you’ll discover how to:

– Avoid common roadblocks to connect with influential people

– Assume a winning mindset that leads to measurable success

– Build and nurture long-lasting business relationships

– Tap into your network of connections to land your ideal clients

And much, much more!