How-to guide for multi-property owners (Part 1 of 2)
The vacation rental market is an increasingly crowded place.
Great vacation rentals need to stand out from the crowd. But not every property can be in a prime location with 5-star facilities.
However, whilst working with property managers in my career in holiday rental technology, I’ve seen average properties performing exceedingly well, thanks to owners’ efforts.
What’s their secret?
They’ve dug into their business, taken action, and then told the people that need to know.
The first step is to really truly understand your business. This doesn’t just happen. It’s not instinct or experience. It requires research.
Small businesses should take time out to have a good look at their services – and then, and this is key, use the findings to attract more sales and grow the business.
Today I’ll cover 3 points:
Why do this?
To help your business excel, you have to understand it from the perspective of everyone involved fully.
By breaking down and truly understanding your company, its processes, your employees, the impressions you make, and your guests, you can make educated business decisions.
Here are just some strategic directions for your rentals that you’ll be able to consider:
By identifying your strengths, you know what is working well for you.
- Do you communicate your strengths sufficiently?
- Do you charge the right price for the value you give?
- Do you allocate the right amount of time to activities that benefit your company?
By identifying weaknesses, there are opportunities to grow.
Although this can be painful, this is key.
- Do you need to outsource a problem area?
- Should you undertake some training?
- Can you get to the root of a problem and fix it
So let’s start with the research.
I’d recommend starting with a Strengths and Weaknesses analysis, on your own or with your team.
If you’ve never done this before, then you’ll enjoy this!
Create two documents, title the first one ‘Strengths’ and the second ‘Weaknesses.’
Now is the time to think about your business.
On each document, make a list of the aspects of your company which are strengths or weaknesses.
It’s important to ask around. Start with your team, your business partners, your guests (either directly or looking at your reviews), and even contacts who know you and your business well.
Here are some questions to consider.
- What do guests say that pleased them?
- What is written in your reviews?
- Which services annoy you when you don’t get them from other companies?
- What do you do better than your competitors?
- Which tasks bring you joy?
- What are the special features of your properties?
- What does your team do well?
This is just a starting point, dig deep and take your time.
Here are some questions to ask.
- What is written in your complaints?
- What isn’t written in your reviews that you think should be included?
- What does your team fail to do?
- What does your team think that your company doesn’t do well?
- What do you dislike doing?
- What do your competitors or other companies do better than you?
This is the first part of the SWOT process. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. We’ll cover Opportunities and Threats in a future article.
Your findings will help you make informed decisions and take action.
Look at the points you’ve noted in your strengths and weaknesses. Now is the time to plan which changes to make.
1. Identify what actions are required (and which need to stop)
2. Prioritise and delegate tasks
3. Review the effects of the changes
You may choose to focus on one aspect initially or to cover a number at a time. Managing this depends on your company resources and what is best for you.
Your actions could include:
1. Changing or building new processes
2. Improving how guests perceive you and your business
3. Arranging tasks to add further value to your proposition
4. Adjusting your communication strategy
5. Adjusting how you manage your guests.
It’s important to be aware that no list is ever completed, so prioritise your actions.
The effect of a positive business change is magnified enormously when you communicate it effectively.
Now you know a great deal more about your business, it’s time to make plans.
Consider your communications with guests, employees, contacts, and anyone else who comes into contact with your brand at any time.
This is a perfect opportunity to build relationships.
Make a plan:
1. What do you want to communicate about your business?
2. Who do you want to tell?
3. What mediums should you use?
4. How often should you communicate?
And the important element of communication is to be consistent and be true.
Whatever you say, whether you tell your guests that you care about them, or you are environmentally conscious, or you provide outstanding service or are ethically motivated, you need to ensure that you have embedded that ethos in all parts of your business.
So that’s it.
Reviewing your company is a valuable exercise, but isn’t a one-off activity.
I’d recommend going through this at least yearly. This is because people, companies, and our industry are in constant change.
The vacation rental industry is an exciting place, and particularly so when your guests can see the best of you, the services you offer, and your properties.
I hope this article inspires you to look at your business to help your guests notice the best of your rentals.