Many buyers of vacation homes in Orlando purchase their vacation homes with a view to renting out to guests when they are not enjoying the villa for themselves.  This is usually to ensure that they cover most of their outgoing costs.   The only downside to owning an investment property in this way, is the marketing and try to get new bookings each year.  It can, for some people, become a little tiresome and hard due to their own work commitments etc.    At Vacay & Co Real Estate, we are always here to nurture and help our vacation home owner clients in the best way in order for our clients to have success with their vacation home purchase so they can enjoy their investment as much as possible.   

Here are some tips to help you in the quest to run your vacation home like a ‘well oiled machine’, so to speak.  Let’s tackle the cancellations issues and ways to avoid getting them

Look at your Competitive   – When setting your bookings prices, we always recommend checking out your competition and looking at ways you can offer more for the same price.  This will ensure that you are ahead of the competition and that the guest will book with you and won’t the find something better and cancel your booking and move on.   

When you set a competitive rate for your property, it will help you attract and keep bookings.   Most vacationer book online and then keep on browsing just in case they find something better.      When you price your property correctly and also add some extra’s, i.e.   PlayStation, computer desk, printer, WIFI, games room etc.     This way you are less likely to have those cancellations. 

Focus on Repeat Guests –    As soon as you get those guests through your doors and staying at your property,  this is the point where good service comes into play.    Have you ensured that you are with a great Management Company that offers some extra’s (i.e. a welcome pack goes a long way after a very tiring trip).  The communication is so important, so if a guest arrives and there is no reply to the contact phone number and there is any problem, it is typically in the first 24hours that they will call in to the Property Manager’s office.    Once the teething problems are out of the way, then it’s time for your guests to really enjoy your vacation home.    The great news is, we are all creatures of habit, so if your vacation home offers some home comforts and a great welcome, then it’s pretty certain they’ll want to book again.  Even better that they will go back home and recommend you to all their friends and family.   When you acquire their email address at booking stage, ask them if it is OK for you to email them from time to time with offers etc?  Then you could keep a list of email addresses of all your past/ present guests sending them information and updates on your vacation home, e.g. each time you upgrade or add a new feature to your vacation home, let them know about it.   You can guarantee when they think about booking Orlando, they’ll be sure to have your vacation home top of their memory rather than starting a search for another vacation home.

Repeat guests and recommendations are the core strengths of owning a vacation rental home and if you can master that, then you will only have a handful of new guests to seek out for the rest of the year and after a few years, your house will be full with repeat guests and their friends.  

Are your Vacation home Pictures online looking great?   –   This is so important!  You know that phrase, ‘people always buy with their eyes’, is so so true and because all or most of your bookings will come from an advert or booking site online, then it’s imperative to have the best pictures and to have your home dressed prior so it’s looking so impressive to them.   It is definitely worth spending out some money for a professional photographer and come along and take some shots and even have a floating tour completed.  That way the potential guests can look at a gliding video of your home and feel like they are walking through it will really entice them to book.  

Do you have a clear and concise Cancellation Policy?  –    It is so important to set out your cancellation policy in a formal manner and treat your vacation rental as a business.  Your policy should state clearly what happens should guests need to cancel their stay, including listing a date they must cancel by, any fees they will incur and how they must inform you. 

It’s common practice to require a non-refundable deposit.  Make it clear when your guests make a reservation that the booking won’t be official until you receive their deposit. It is also a great ideal to consider asking for a higher deposit during high season to discourage last minute cancellations. 

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