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Tampa: a Not-so-Secret Gem on Airbnb
for Vacation Rental Owners

With top U.S. vacation cities like Orlando, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale, it’s easy for property owners looking to succeed on sites like Airbnb to overlook another outstanding Florida city: Tampa.

Why do One Fine Flat vacation rental property managers consider Tampa an outstanding Airbnb opportunity? The reasons are many.

Let’s start with an important but oft-overlooked area: higher ed. Tampa boasts two major universities: The University of Tampa (known locally as “UT”) and the University of South Florida (“USF”). Combined, the Tampa campuses of these two schools have more than 40,000 students. Many parents and siblings of UT and USF students prefer the advantages of vacation rentals on Airbnb over conventional options.

An even less widely known Tampa attraction is Ybor City. Called “America’s Cigar Capital,” Ybor is a bona fide cigar vacation destination. (Don’t worry: a “no smoking” rule ensures vacationers won’t treat your property as a cigar lounge.)

But Ybor City is much more than a cigar mecca. Ybor’s 7th Avenue, an area often compared to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, was recognized as one of the “10 Great Streets in America.” Its rich architectural and cultural history made it a National Historic Landmark District. Development is accelerating in Ybor City and we expect this to drive increases in demand for vacation rentals.

Of course, attractions like Busch Gardens continue to draw a massive number of vacationers. With more than four million visitors in 2018, Busch Gardens ranks as one of America’s most popular attractions. Add the Tampa Riverwalk, Glazer Children’s Museum, George Steinbrenner Field, Henry Plant Museum, Bayshore Boulevard, and other attractions, and a compelling argument can be made for Tampa property owners to be part of the “sharing economy.”

And what about vacation rental regulations?

We rate the Tampa regulatory environment as more favorable than many other cities. One Florida plan under consideration would require sites like Airbnb to collect and remit taxes on properties listed on their sites. Among other things, they’d also be required to ensure that only properly licensed rentals are listed. But that controversial measure was recently described as apparently “doomed.”

Tampa data on AirDNA displays a $125 average daily rate, 68% average occupancy rate, and $1,912 in average monthly revenue (it runs as high as $3,077 in March and as low as $1,200 in October). The site shows 2,776 active rentals in Tampa, with 81% listed on Airbnb. Rentals have grown continually each quarter since at least Q4 2016.

Want to discover how to maximize the odds of having your vacation rental beat the Tampa average? Download our FREE guide,

This guide takes you through the big contributors to success on and off Airbnb: optimizing your property’s online exposure; listing your site for the very best results; communicating properly with inquirers and renters; pricing your property to maximize your income; the importance of sweating the details; and how to know if you’re a good candidate to go it alone or work with the best Tampa vacation rental property manager you can find. Get this free guide now.

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Tip for Bradenton Vacation Rental Owners:
Leave Regulations – and Profit Maximization – to a Full-Service Vacation Rental Manager

Bradenton, FL property owners say local regulations governing short-term vacation rentals are filled with “garbage.” They have a point.

When Ordinance 17-476 went into effect, owners of some vacation rental properties that required side yard trash pickup service missed that fact. It was easy to overlook, because the only way to know was to read the Ordinance, which doesn’t exactly contain consumer-friendly language.

The side yard trash pickup requirement doesn’t apply to vacation rental properties exempt from TPLE regulations and licensing requirements. That’s because those properties are located in the Planned Development, Mixed-Use, Limited Commercial, or General Commercial zoning districts.

The side yard pickup requirements also don’t pertain to vacation rentals in R-1 and R-2 residential zones if a property owner lives in part of the home or duplex, or the property has onsite management at least six hours a day.

Got it? We didn’t think so. And that’s just a portion of what Bradenton, Florida vacation rental property owners who go it alone need to know relating to garbage. There’s plenty more where that came from on the regulatory front.

Hence, the tip at the top: if you prefer to leave the regulatory side of the Bradenton vacation rental owner experience to professionals and largely sit back and collect a direct deposit each month, speak with us.

One Fine Flat manages every important aspect of the Bradenton vacation rental experience, from listings on sites like Airbnb to communications with guests. As well as price optimization, housekeeping, turnover, review management, and more. We can even be your trusted adviser when it comes to major issues like the cost-effectiveness of potential property improvements and the best vacation rental for you to buy next.

We’re your full-service vacation rental manager organized entirely around optimizing the experience for you as an owner. Starting with your income.

Schedule a complimentary consultation with a One Fine Flat expert on Bradenton short-term vacation rental management. If you qualify, you’ll receive a free revenue projection for your property. You’ll learn how One Fine Flat makes the entire process exceptionally easy – and free of the “garbage” other owners endure.

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San Francisco Bay Area Vacation Rental Tip For Property Owners: Don’t Go It Alone

It’s one of the most enticing – and challenging – vacation rental markets.

We’re referring, of course, to the San Francisco Bay Area.

AirDNA has revealed a set of extremely attractive statistics for San Francisco vacation rental owners – including, on average, a $234 daily rate, an 85% occupancy rate, and $3,863 in monthly revenue.

Earlier this year, Airbnb reported 44% year-over-year growth in guest arrivals in the five counties surrounding San Francisco, with a 43% increase in the number of nights hosted.

But with a median single-family home price in San Francisco of around $952,000 and a corresponding monthly mortgage payment of $4,254, property owners on Airbnb need to optimize every major element of the vacation rental process if they want to operate in the black.

And of course, San Francisco Bay Area property owners in the vacation rental game have competition. Airbnb has more than 7,800 listings in San Francisco alone. What’s more, the competition is by no means confined to Airbnb. Hundreds of new hotel rooms have recently been completed or are being built in the city of San Francisco.

The second most expensive U.S. city to live in also has burdensome restrictions for Airbnb short-term vacation rentals. Legal requirements cover owner residency, insurance, compliance with building codes, registration, reporting, taxes, certification, and more.

All of this points toward a recommendation from the experts: don’t go it alone. By choosing the best full-service vacation rental property manager you can find, you’ll receive invaluable advice on making the math work in the tricky San Francisco Bay Area market. In the process, you’ll discover how to obtain the competitive edge you need to stand out from the crowd. And this may be the best part: you’ll gain a resource capable of handling all the stuff most owners would rather not do themselves – from responding to inquiries on Airbnb to housekeeping, so you get more five-star reviews – while you largely sit back and collect a direct deposit each month. That’s what we do at One Fine Flat.

Schedule a complimentary consultation with a One Fine Flat Airbnb expert on short-term vacation rental management in San Francisco. If you qualify, you’ll receive a free revenue projection for your property. And you’ll learn how One Fine Flat – an innovator in Airbnb vacation rental management – makes the entire process surprisingly easy for owners.

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Short-Term Vacation Rental or Long-Term Rental: As a Property Owner, What’s Best for You?

With Airbnb’s enormous popularity, many property owners are wondering whether to rent to short-term vacationers or lease to longer-term tenants. We’ll discuss the advantages of each here.

But first, a couple of key definitions: in the Airbnb world, a short-term renter is someone renting for under 30 days (for example, a vacationer who rents a property near the beach in Santa Monica, California, for 10 days). And as you may have suspected, a long-term renter is someone who leases a property for 30 days or more (for example, an advertising pro who accepts a job in Lower Manhattan and signs a one-year lease for a condo unit across the river in Hoboken, New Jersey – which, by the way, happens to be Frank Sinatra’s hometown).

In some cases, the decision is fairly easy. If your property is located in, say, Camden, New Jersey, even with its proximity to Philadelphia, that city’s low demand level among vacationers translates into a well-below-average vacation rental opportunity. In that case, long-term rental will probably be the best bet. But if you own a residence 4,900 miles away on the beach in Waikiki, Hawaii, upon receiving a revenue projection, you may quickly conclude that renting to short-term vacationers is your best way to go.

In other cases, even where demand among vacationers is strong, regulatory issues may prevent owners from getting their property listed on Airbnb and related sites. Some city ordinances lay down specific geographic boundaries for short-term vacation rentals inside city limits. And even when no city regulation locks out vacation rentals, HOA bylaws may include a requirement that all renters sign an agreement for 30 days or more. Because the vast majority of vacationers rent on Airbnb for under 30 days, such terms all but eliminate a short-term vacation rental opportunity.

What’s more, personal preferences often tip the decision in one direction or the other. For example, if your vacation home in Asheville, North Carolina is enjoyed by you, your spouse, children, cousins, and friends for, on average, one month each year – during different times of the year – you probably aren’t going to want a renter to sign a lease for a year or more (Asheville, incidentally, is in high demand among vacationers).

Here are key advantages of each option:

LONG-TERM LEASE ADVANTAGES

Greater Revenue Consistency

A long-term lease usually runs for one year or more. This can create a highly predictable revenue stream. One key tradeoff in comparison to vacation rentals: average revenue over each day of occupancy may be considerably lower with a long-term lease. But for less risk-averse owners – including many seniors – this option is often attractive.

Fewer Financial Responsibilities

Long-term leases often enable owners to hold renters responsible for utility bills. In areas with high heating and air conditioning bills in the winter and summer, that can translate into substantial savings.

Reduced Number of Variables

When renting to long-term tenants, owners don’t have to list their property, respond to inquiries, stock basic supplies, ensure housekeeping is taken care of, and so on. One outstanding tenant may stick with you for years.

SHORT-TERM VACATION RENTAL ADVANTAGES

Higher Net Income

Your daily rate for vacation rentals from Airbnb may be MUCH higher than your rate from a long-term renter. How much more? Lots of factors contribute to the difference, but you could net 50% or even well over 100% greater income by renting to short-term vacationers.

Lower Degradation Rate

In many cases, vacation rentals earn owners more income while reducing wear and tear on the property in comparison to long-term tenants. That’s because unlike long-term rentals that are generally used every day, even under the best of circumstances, vacation rentals aren’t occupied 100% of the time.

More Fulfilling Interactions

In Airbnb listings, you have the option of renting your entire property or a private room/area. Fact is, many owners love the company and thoroughly enjoy meeting new people regularly. Others who rent their entire place derive considerable joy by reading reviews from vacationers who had an amazing time.

Greater Property Availability

Many owners of vacation homes want their property available for personal use. Very often, it’s the main reason they made the purchase in the first place. With short-term vacation rentals on Airbnb, you’re able to block out days, weeks, or even a full month for personal use of your property, while enjoying the income advantages of short-term vacation rentals.

Improved Scalability Opportunities

Yes, it’s possible for an ambitious property owner to scale a business consisting entirely of long-term leases. But lots of entrepreneurs have started with a single property on the Airbnb platform, and in a relatively short amount of time, grew a substantial property portfolio. Very often, these Airbnb moguls found the best Airbnb property manager available to maximize their income while minimizing stress.

On that note, a recommendation: schedule a complimentary consultation with a One Fine Flat Airbnb expert. If you qualify, you’ll receive a free revenue projection for your property. And you’ll learn how One Fine Flat – an innovator in Airbnb vacation rental management – makes the entire process surprisingly easy. So you mainly sit back and collect a direct deposit each month.

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12 Keys to Selecting the Best Service for Outsourced Airbnb Property Management

Airbnb can be very lucrative for owners of investment properties and second homes – especially with full-service Airbnb property management by an outstanding team.

Outsourced Airbnb Property Management

Here are a dozen keys to optimized management for owners who prefer to outsource Airbnb property management:

1. THINK BEYOND AIRBNB – Promoting your property on Airbnb is a “must,” but limiting your exposure to a single site is less than optimal. Your property should be visible on 50+ online destinations. The best Airbnb management companies think beyond Airbnb.

2. EMPLOY THE “SECRET WEAPON” OF AIRBNB LISTINGS – Remember two words: “professional photography.” Your ideal full-service vacation rental property management company won’t have a staffer walk around your unit shooting photos with an iPhone; they’ll invest in first-rate photography to show off your property’s unique characteristics and make it look irresistible on Airbnb and other relevant sites. What’s more, they’ll write listings that go beyond the basics and rock people emotionally.

3. SEE THEIR AIRBNB LISTINGS IN ACTION – Ask the vacation rental property manager you’re considering to share actual listings they’ve created for clients on sites like Airbnb. See if you find the words and pictures enticing. Pay particular attention to comments from guests and ratings – including whether clients have achieved coveted Superhost status.

4. DEMAND YOUR PROSPECTS AND GUESTS RECEIVE EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE – “Prospects” are people thinking about becoming your guests. Before booking, they often send inquiries via sites like Airbnb. Each inquiry has value that diminishes as each minute rolls by without an answer. “Guests” are, of course, people who book a stay in your property. When they have questions or issues, the quality of service they receive will directly impact whether they give you a good review and ultimately return. You should expect both groups to receive responses that aren’t just prompt but are clear, complete, and courteous.

5. OPTIMIZE YOUR RATES, EVERY SINGLE DAY – Vacation rental rates on sites like Airbnb are more science than art. If a property manager responds to your question on price optimization with something like, “We’re experienced and know what we’re doing,” it’s a good idea to look carefully at other options. The right vacation rental property management service will provide specifics on price optimization, which should be a daily occurrence. If your prices aren’t optimized each day, you’re leaving money on the table.

If your prices aren’t optimized each day, you’re leaving money on the table.

6. THINK STRATEGICALLY – A good vacation rental property management service will handle all the basics, including marketing, inquiries from prospects, questions from guests, housekeeping, feedback solicitation, and more. A great one will be a strategic resource and serve as your trusted advisor on big decisions like potential property improvements – and even help you choose your next investment property and city, whether it’s Portland, Orlando, Houston, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, or somewhere else.

7. USE A TECH-SAVVY MANAGER – The best vacation rental property management companies are using smart technology to give property owners a competitive edge. They use advanced technology in price optimization, call tracking, email systems, guest history, housekeeping metrics relating to cleaning services, and more. Technology helps ensure your turnover speed (interval between guests departing and arriving) is optimized, to help maximize your bottom line.

8. KEEP PROPERTY DAMAGE FROM EATING INTO YOUR PROFITS – Fact is, some Airbnb users are far more likely to cause damage to property than the vast majority. That’s why all of your guests should be screened. Cleaning services hired by your vacation rental property management service should inspect your unit between each guest stay to identify guests responsible for any damage and electronically document evidence. When a deposit isn’t collected by a website, guests should submit a credit card and sign a rental agreement with your manager to ensure you aren’t financially responsible for damage caused by a guest. Successful vacation rental carries costs, but property damage caused by a guest shouldn’t be one of them.

9. AVOID “ONE SIZE FITS ALL” MANAGEMENT – In vacation rental property management, a “one size fits all” approach doesn’t fit all cases. The right manager will customize a package that fits your situation perfectly. But they’ll also have standard operating procedures designed to ensure a consistently high-quality experience for guests. For example, because guests typically expect housekeeping that exceeds their cleaning standards at home, we always use professional cleaning services. And while we want new clients to give us ample time to demonstrate the value we bring, we don’t insist on locking new clients into lengthy agreements.

10. PAY YOUR MANAGER BASED ON PERFORMANCE, BUT DON’T OVERPAY – Vacation rental property managers typically receive all or most of their pay on a percentage-of-revenue basis. So, the more you earn from guests, the more they earn. As one might expect, some managers charge a lower percentage than others (One Fine Flat charges as little as half the percentage of some competitors). Very often, the service charging the highest rate isn’t the one providing the most services. On that note, it’s crucial to get a clear idea of what is and isn’t included in a potential manager’s monthly percentage-based fee, so you’re able to compare your options on an apples-to-apples basis.

It’s crucial to get a clear idea of what is and isn’t included in a potential manager’s monthly percentage-based fee, so you’re able to compare your options on an apples-to-apples basis.

11. ASK ABOUT A GUARANTEE – Traditional property managers haven’t generally offered a performance guarantee. In fairness to our competitors, very often, a guarantee of success is impossible to make in advance. But we’re proud to say One Fine Flat was, to the best of our knowledge, the first in the industry to offer guaranteed rental income to select clients.

12. CHOOSE THE AIRBNB MANAGEMENT OPTION THAT ENSURES YOU GET PLENTY OF R&R – An essential part of a property manager’s job is to make your life easier. After everything is in place, your ideal full-service vacation rental property management company will enable you to largely sit back and collect a check each month. That’s precisely what we do for clients at One Fine Flat. Intrigued? Schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with us on your Airbnb vacation rental opportunity here.

 

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Get Everything You Need to Know About Price Optimization for Vacation Rentals – in Under 5 Minutes

Price Optimization for Vacation Rentals

More than a fancy marketing term, price optimization raises vacation rental revenue by as much as 25%.

So, what is price optimization, how does it work, and what’s the best way to start using it to raise revenue on Airbnb, HomeAway, Vrbo, and other sites?

As it sounds, price optimization is about optimizing pricing on your vacation rental property.

Before we go any further, it’s important to add that unless vacation rental pricing is optimized daily, it isn’t true price optimization.

Price optimization in vacation destinations like Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Nashville, and other hot areas should include a wide variety of factors. “Comps” (comparable properties) need to be continuously reviewed, considering a full range of factors that contribute to pricing on a given day.

On that note, as a vacation rental property owner, you’re not just competing against owners of private houses, townhouses, condo hotel properties and the like; among many users of sites like Airbnb, you’re also competing against conventional hotels (yes, that Westin down the road may be your frequent competition). Their daily prices are data that must go into your price calculation … if you’re aiming for real optimization.

And as they say in those middle-of-the-night TV commercials, “But wait – there’s more.” When that big music festival inks an agreement to stage their event in Nashville in two years, pricing on those dates should quickly reflect that reality.

Besides special events, holidays and off-peak periods must be part of daily price optimization. Look at it this way: At the end of the year, it’s all about your annual bottom line. Some revenue during quieter times will be much better than no revenue – and be a serious contributor to optimization.

On top of all that, price optimization should rapidly reflect legislative or regulatory changes, as well as site commissions that can impact your bottom line.

Vacation rental property owners who’ve tried to do all this on their own have generally been unable to pull it off – even when using tools of different sorts. Fortunately, at no added cost to you, the right full-service vacation rental property management service will apply advanced technology to optimize your pricing and help maximize your bottom line throughout the year. In many cases, the lift in revenue from price optimization covers the cost of a vacation rental property management company that takes care of everything and allows you to sit back and collect a check each month. 

Find out more about optimizing the bottom line of your vacation rental using Airbnb and other sites. Download Capitalizing on the Vacation Rental Boom: 8 Keys to Success.

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Why Many of the Highest-Earning Vacation Rental Owners Use a Full-Service Property Management Company

Let’s say you’ve decided to become one of the 2.9 million hosts on Airbnb. Your aim: earn as much money as possible – as fast as possible – while enjoying your vacation rental property each year.

As you consider the possibilities, you find yourself saying something like, “Surely I’ll earn more if I keep all the revenue, rather than turn over a percentage to a vacation rental property management service.”

If that’s you, consider this: whether you act as your own vacation rental property manager or hire a full-service vacation rental property management company, your bottom line will ultimately depend on this simple calculation:

Revenues – Expenses/Costs = Profits

To optimize profits, let’s start with the revenue side. Your vacation rental property absolutely should be listed on Airbnb – and on 50+ other sites. You’ll want listings to take full advantage of each site’s unique characteristics, with words and photography that compel viewers to act.

After your listings go live and you begin hearing from potential guests online (in the vacation rental property management industry we call them “inquirers”), you need to respond to each inquiry in a complete, polite, and timely manner – even if it’s 10 p.m. and you’re exhausted after a long day. If you don’t, you’ll reduce the quality of the experience before a guest even walks through your door.

While communicating with inquirers, it’s important to not “double book” – a common mistake among do-it-yourselfers in vacation rental property management (particularly when listing on multiple sites). When you book different guests for the same dates, someone ends up being disappointed.

A key contributor to revenue is, of course, pricing. Anyone who prices their property at the same rate throughout the year is guaranteed to be missing out on substantial income. Optimal pricing means scanning supply and demand of comparable properties daily – factoring in holidays, special events, and hotel room prices.

Vacation rental owners who attempt to perform price optimization manually tend to find the process time-consuming and almost impossible to pull off.

Fortunately, the right full-service vacation rental property manager will use technology to perform daily rate optimization … as part of their fee. And get this: the increased revenue from daily rate optimization may cover the entire cost of your property manager!

Now let’s return to communication, which by no means ends at the inquiry phase. Booked guests need to hear from you before arrival. If a problem comes up during a stay, they’ll want it quickly addressed. This is particularly true of urgent issues – including the 3 a.m. type. And after each stay, your guests should be encouraged to do something that contributes heavily to revenue: post a review.

On that note, let’s look at a significant contributor to ratings on sites like Airbnb: the expense side. Your property should be thoroughly cleaned before the arrival of guests (the right property manager will include this as part of the management fee). The unit should be sufficiently stocked with starter supplies like shampoo, toilet paper, dishwashing liquid, and more (the right manager will also include this as part of the fee).

So, feel you’re up to the task? If your answer is a big “HECK NO!”, you’ve discovered why many of the highest-earning vacation rental owners use a full-service property management company. 

Find out more about optimizing the bottom line of your vacation rental using Airbnb and other sites. Download Capitalizing on the Vacation Rental Boom: 8 Keys to Success.