How to Manage Your Vacation Rental: AirBNB, HomeAway, & More
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Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
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How to Manage Your Vacation Rental: AirBNB, HomeAway, & More

Learn from a market leader how to efficiently earn extra income using sites like AirBnB, HomeAway, VRBO, & Trip Advisor
5.0 (6 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
691 students enrolled
Created by Adam Harper
Last updated 6/2017
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Current price: $10 Original price: $200 Discount: 95% off
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  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 10 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Rent your vacation home like a pro in your spare time from a distance
  • Set up your vacation home and rental process
  • Choose which best vacation rental listing website for you such as AirBnb, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, Flipkey, VRBO, etc.
  • Complete every reservation task quickly and easily
  • Maintain and improve your property, and guest pre- and post-booking experiences
  • Manage your vacation rental calendar efficiently to fill vacancies and get your property cleaned on time
View Curriculum
  • A positive and action-oriented attitude.
  • A smartphone, tablet, and/or laptop with reliable internet access.
  • A very basic understanding of downloading and using apps, and using online software.

Do you own a vacation rental home or have you ever considered buying one? Would you like to rent your own home while you're out of town? If so, you’re facing a very big question...

What's the best way to manage your vacation rental property?

What if you chose to hire a traditional management company?
You'd end up paying their fees that average around 30% of your annual rental income. THIRTY PERCENT!!! It is often higher than that in some areas of the country. Let's do a little math. A "good" rental property will be booked around 70% of the time. If the average rate of the same property is $199/night (~$1,200/week), your rental income (without taxes and extra fees added in) would be around $4,180 per month, which is just north of $50,000 per year. Sounds great, right?! Not so fast. Out of that $50,000, you'd pay your traditional management company $15,000, leaving you with only $35,000 to pay your mortgage, utilities, property maintenance, etc. Yikes!

What if you chose to invest in this course and manage your vacation rental home yourself?
Using the same numbers as the example above, you'd still be making $50,000 per year BUT your one-time investment would only be $200. That's 0.4% of your rental income--less than half a percent. So, my question to you is: Would you rather have $35,000 or $50,000?

What websites should I use to manage the rentals for my property?
The process you'll learn in this course will work regardless of the website on which you choose to list your property. It'll work for sites like:

  • AirBnB
  • HomeAway
  • Flipkey
  • Trip Advisor
  • VacationRentals (.) com
  • VRBO

"But I'll spend too much time managing my own vacation rental property."

Actually, that's not true. I spend an average of 1 hour per week managing vacation rental properties (this course teaches you how I do it). 1 HOUR! If you spent an average of 1 hour per week managing your own vacation rental property, and saved $15,000 in the process, you'd be saving an average of ~$288 for every hour you spend doing vacation rental management tasks. If someone offered me a job that paid $288/hour, I'd take it in a heartbeat!

"But I won't get near the number of bookings a traditional management company would get me."
Again, not true. The process I use (and that I teach you in this course), has led me to average 80-85% occupancy rates (97% in July 2017)--well above the average of "good" properties. Actually, the vacation rental management process I will teach you in this course, has lead me to be one of the best vacation rental managers in my market. Here are some of the statistics I'm achieving, according to my listing website (VRBO):

  • Number of bookings in the last 90 days - outperforming 99% of my market
  • Total listing page views in the last 30 days - outperforming 91% of my market
  • Number of 4 and 5 star reviews in the last 2 years - outperforming 97% of my market
  • Current listing rank - outperforming 96% of my market
  • Number of bookings declined in the last 90 days - outperforming 100% of my market (currently ranked #1 out of 5,588)

"But I don't live in the same area as my vacation rental property."

That's not a problem. Actually, most of the hundreds of thousands of vacation rental owner/managers don't live near their property either. I live 5 hours away from the properties I manage. The process I'll teach you in this course doesn't require you to live anywhere near your property to be the best vacation rental manager you can be.

Still not sure? Have more questions? Try these three things:

  1. Read more info below and watch the free sample lectures, to get a better idea of what this course will do for you.
  2. Send me a message through Udemy or email, I'd love to hear from you and answer your specific questions.
  3. Visit my website, "Up and Renting", which contains additional resources and information about the best way to manage your own vacation rental home.

What will I give you through this course?

  • A high-level and detailed understanding of the best vacation rental process you can use
  • Confidence that you're not forgetting anything by giving you a comprehensive task list to follow
  • Valuable tools and templates that help you hit the ground running without "re-inventing the wheel" (questions to ask a cleaning company before you hire them, guest communication templates, how to find out how much tax you should charge, and much more. )
  • A versatile method that can be used with ANY market and/or vacation rental listing website (including AirBNB, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, Flipkey, VRBO, VacationRentals, and many more.)
  • A thorough understanding of all the vacation rental management websites available to you and how to choose the best vacation rental website for you
  • A competitive advantage by learning several tricks of the trade that improve the guest experience and get you more bookings

Invest in yourself, and in your property by purchasing this course today!

Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone who wants to earn extra money renting their home using sites like AirBnB, HomeAway, Trip Advisor.
  • Anyone who already owns one or more vacation rental properties and is tired of paying huge fees to their management company.
  • Anyone who is even remotely interested in investing in and owning a vacation rental property.
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
22 Lectures
1 Lecture 04:51

In this lecture, I'll go over a high-level view of everything you need to know to manage your own vacation rental property. I've included a course outline PDF that you may want to download to help keep you on track. It also highlights the downloads that are available throughout the course.

I highly recommend you go through this course twice. The first time you watch this course, just take it all in. There are so many interdependencies here that it'll be great for you to get an overview of everything you're going to need to do and connect the dots before you begin the work. The second time you watch this course, you should be ready to do the work for your vacation home as you watch each lecture.

Also, feel free to check out the link below to see my listing on VRBO.

Preview 04:51
Setting Up Your Vacation Rental
7 Lectures 32:06

In this lecture, I'll talk to the scope of this course and let you know where the vacation rental management process I'm showing you starts. Also, I'll discuss the importance of staying organized and how I recommend you go about doing so. Before watching the lecture, it would be a good idea to download the Task List PDF included below.

Preview 03:33

This lecture digs into three crucial steps of managing your own vacation rental that most people either don't know about or completely ignore. The need for a license and the amount of taxes you'll need to charge varies greatly by state, city, and even county. I'll share a great resource I've found for finding the requirements in your area. Also, we'll discuss your potential need for an additional bank account and how to find out if you need one.

Preview 03:00

In this lecture, I'll talk about the two basic ways that vacation rental property owners can grant guests access to their property if they're managing from a distance. We'll also cover the pros and cons for each method, and how to overcome some obstacles with a few handy tricks.

Guest Access

You don't want to get caught in a situation where you need emergency maintenance done on your vacation rental property and you're not prepared to handle it. That's why I've created this lecture that will help you think through these situations and get prepared ahead of time to save you time, money, and frustration.

In case you didn't already know, Angie's List now has a free membership option that can be very helpful for you to find maintenance professionals in your area. I've included a link below for your convenience.

Maintenance Professionals

In the vacation rental management process, partnering with the right cleaning company is incredibly important. That's why I've collaborated with the cleaning company I use to cover everything you need to consider when hiring a cleaning company to care for your vacation rental property. I've also included a questionnaire that you can download and use to interview cleaning companies before you hire them.

Remember to check out Angie's List to help find cleaning companies too.

Cleaning Company

Getting photos taken of your vacation rental property should involve than simply shooting a few pictures on your phone and uploading them to your listing website. This lecture goes through the thought process why photos are so important and how to get stellar shots that really make your property shine.

I've included a link below to a Real Estate Photographers Directory. This allows you to search for registered photographers (Domestic & International) in your state that specialize in real estate photography.

Photos of Your Property

Every guest will need to agree to your rental terms and get helpful information from you for their vacation. This lecture walks through the steps to get you started in creating these two documents. I've included a sample PDF of a guest reservation information document based on the one I use myself.

Guest Reservation Information and Rental Agreement
Choosing a Vacation Rental Listing Website
4 Lectures 20:54

When it comes to listing your vacation rental property on the internet, there are three popular options being used today. In this lecture, I'll help you understand what those three options are and which one I recommend you use.

Options Available

When you're trying to find the right vacation rental management website to list your property on, there are so many options it can be very daunting. It can also be very tempting to just pick one that you've heard of before and list your property on it without doing any research. This lecture will simplify the process and help you understand most of the options available to you. Be sure to download the Evaluation Worksheet I've provided below to get the most out of this lecture.

I've included links to AirBNB, HomeAway, Flipkey, Trip Advisor, and VRBO. However, keep in mind that HomeAway owns VRBO (and several other rental sites), so listing on one of HomeAway-owned sites will get you listed on all of them. Also, Flipkey is owned by Trip Advisor, so when you search for vacation rentals on Trip Advisor, you're really using Flipkey.

Choosing Listing Websites to Evaluate

Now that you've selected at least three vacation rental listing websites to choose from, you're ready to start collecting data from each of them to help you decide on just one. In this lecture, I'll walk you through the process of collecting the necessary information, including where to find it, and why it's important.

Collecting Data

Now that you've collected the necessary information from at least three potential vacation rental listing websites, it's time to evaluate and make a decision. In this lecture, I'll walk you through aggregating all of the information you've collected side-by-side and helping you be critical about what you see. At the end of this lecture, you should be ready to decide on the listing website you want to use and begin setting up your property listing.

See the links I've collected below of the cancellation policies to the 5 popular sites I've mentioned. I haven't been able to find the Flipkey / Trip Advisor policies outside of my account on their website, so I've copied their policies into a downloadable pdf. They are accurate as of 9 June 2017.

Note: Although HomeAway and VRBO cancellation policies are listed on separate websites, they are identical.

Evaluate Data and Choose Your Listing Website
Reservation Cycle
2 Lectures 11:11

There are tasks that will need to be done for every new reservation you receive. This lecture describes all of the tasks that will need to be completed as soon as you get the reservation.

The immediate tasks I record for each of my reservations are:

  1. Accept or Decline the reservation
    - I almost never decline the reservation. This has only happened a couple of times where I received two booking requests that overlapped before I could confirm either of them. I obviously can't keep both if they overlap.
  2. Send "What to expect next" email.
    - See the sample PDF of the email message I use attached to this lecture.
  3. Record "Deferred" Reservation Tasks in to-do list app
    - See Lecture 14 to understand what these tasks are
Immediate Reservation Tasks

There are tasks that will need to be done for every new reservation you receive. This lecture describes all of the tasks that will need to be completed at a certain time in the future. The timing of those tasks will depend on the lead time of each reservation.

The three deferred tasks I record for each of my reservations are:

  1. Send/grant the guest access to the reservation information (see PDF attachment in Lecture 8)
    - I complete this task about a week before the guest's check-in date after confirming that they've paid in full
  2. Give the guest their door code. (see PDF attached to this lecture for a typical conversation)
    - This task is completed on the guest's check-in date
  3. Refund the guest's damage deposit.
    - Right after I hear from my cleaner that the property is ready for the next guest and there were no problems with the property
Deferred Reservation Tasks
Maintain and Improve
3 Lectures 17:43

Maintenance and improvements are an important part of owning any property. Vacation rental homes are no exception. You need to be intentional about keeping your property up to guest standards to keep a steady stream of cash flow. In this lecture, I'll discuss some things for you to keep in mind in this area as well as how to keep yourself on track without wasting time.

Your Property

A guest's pre-booking experience is anything from the pictures and description of your vacation home to the way you respond to inquiries from potential guests. I'll show you some tips and tricks for maximizing your efforts and getting the best pre-booking experience you can for your potential guests.

Guest Pre-Booking Experience

Once you've booked a new guest, it's time to make their experience unforgettably positive and easy. In this lecture, I'll show you five resources that provide you valuable information about how you can improve your guests' post-booking experience.

Guest Post-Booking Experience
Calendar Management
4 Lectures 15:15

After going through the evaluation process and choosing which vacation rental listing website you want to use for your property, you should already have a decent idea of the pricing scale your property will fall into. Admittedly, this one lecture could be an entire course, but I'm focusing on the bare essentials to get you started. This includes a strategy of how to use your pricing to your advantage when you're competing against well-established vacation homes in your area.

Setting Prices

One of the most important things you need to do while managing your own vacation rental property is making sure your cleaning company and potential guests always have an accurate view of your current bookings. Don't let that sound daunting--it's actually really easy to do. In this lecture, I'll show you how simple these tasks are and how to keep yourself on a regular schedule of completing them so you won't run into trouble.

Updating and Coordinating with Cleaning Company

Once you've been managing your own vacation rental property for a while (6-12 months), you should have many guests that have stayed in your property, and would love to come back in the future. In this lecture, I'll explain how to be proactive in trying to book return guests. Something as simple as tracking some basic information about each guest and using that to appeal to them in the future can make a return trip to their property a valuable experience for them.

Past Guests

Nearly every vacation rental property available has vacancies in their calendar. I've broken vacancies into two categories; those that are shorter than your minimum stay requirement, and those that are longer than your minimum stay requirement. In this lecture, I'll show you some inside tricks for helping you fill those vacancies to fill your calendar the best you can.

Filling Vacancies
1 Lecture 04:29

Aside from the obvious "recap" tasks, this course highlights the most important take-aways that you'll need from this course to be successful in managing your own vacation rental property. Don't forget that completing the work outlined in this course is only the beginning. Once you've mastered your process and are booking the heck out of your property, it's time to move on to more advanced techniques.

Course Recap and Final Thoughts
About the Instructor
Adam Harper
5.0 Average rating
6 Reviews
691 Students
1 Course
Market-Leading Vacation Rental Manager

For the last 10+ years I've been solving business problems by doing anything from creating graphics (logos, websites, ads, etc.), to managing businesses and helping launch startups. 

In 2013, I began managing vacation rental properties using helpful tools like VRBO and HomeAway. Since then, I've built great a business for those properties by packing their calendars at around 85% occupancy rates, and ranking in the 90 percentiles in my market.

After teaching a couple of vacation home owners how to manage their property themselves, I realized that this is a process that any homeowner could do. It only requires an hour or two of work per week, and saves thousands of dollars per year in management fees.

So how did I do it? That's what I'm here to share with you! I've created a course to explain the surprisingly simple process I've crafted over time. This process is one that can be used by any vacation property owner, in any area/market, to effectively and efficiently manage their own property in their spare time--even if managing remotely.