Homeowners of short-term vacation rentals may decide to manage their listings on their own, or they may choose to use a vacation rental property management company. There are local property management companies, as well as worldwide companies, so which one should owners choose for the best results?
What Is Vacasa?
Vacasa is a widely known property management company that manages properties worldwide. With such a widely known presence, this may seem like a benefit, but it has proven to be a disadvantage for owners in recent years.
Vacasa was founded in 2009 by a property owner who needed a reputable property management company to oversee the entire rental process for his vacation home.
Because necessity is the mother of invention, Eric Breon used his entrepreneurship and analytical background to develop a vacation rental management company to manage his vacation home; thus, Vacasa was born.
What began as a company managing vacation properties in the Pacific Northwest soon grew to manage vacation properties in the Rockies and Lake Tahoe. Vacasa continued to grow and now has over 3,300 employees. There are over 14,000 Vacasa rentals for guests to choose from, and they have properties in over 16 countries.
With numbers like these, Vacasa is successful, right? Unfortunately, Vacasa has been unable to keep up with so many properties, which has proven costly to owners who use their property management service.
Vacasa Faces Problems
In the beginning, Vacasa gave guests a personalized experience by answering specific questions related to the properties they managed. This is undoubtedly how Vacasa gained its success. With so many properties worldwide, the employees are unable to give a personalized experience to each guest.
A guest who is curious about a rental property may need to call the property management company directly to ask a question specific to the property. With Vacasa, the customer service representative is highly unlikely to know the details of your property and is even more unlikely to have ever visited it. This can be a turn off to a potential guest. A guest does not want to listen to a representative fumble through unclear details of the property you are interested in. This is where choosing a local property management company can prove beneficial.
In 2017, Vacasa faced a $3 million class-action lawsuit by owners who used Vacasa to manage their vacation rental properties. These homeowners claimed that Vacasa misrepresented its commission and fee structure by charging guests additional fees and pocketing the money themselves without sharing with the property owners.
Founder Eric Breon claims in the class action lawsuit alleged that Vacasa has always been transparent with fees. He continues by saying that Vacasa shares applicable fees with homeowners, just as the contract states, and that any fees not shared with homeowners are permissible as the contract states.
Let’s start with VRBO for owners first. You will need to go to www.vrbo.com to sign up and become a registered owner. You will create your vacation rental VRBO login by owner within the www.vrbo.com login section.
When you have created your VRBO login, you will have access to your dashboard. The dashboard is where you can control the various aspects of your account, such as your property details, your fee selection, and your preferences.
Use this dashboard to customize your property’s listing. The VRBO dashboard is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
You will be directed to choose how to pay the VRBO service fees. You can choose to pay the fees per booking or annually. If you choose to pay per booking, VRBO will collect 5% of the amount of each booking for their service fee. If you choose to pay annually, you will pay VRBO a flat rate of $499 a year for an annual subscription.
Airbnb for Owners
One of the benefits of choosing to list your property on Airbnb is the option to rent just one room of the property or the whole property.
Regardless if you are renting one room or the entire property, the process remains the same. You will need to sign up on Airbnb and familiarize yourself with their website.
First, create a new owner profile on Airbnb’s website. You will need to verify your personal information via photo ID and phone number. Then, you will be on your way to listing your vacation rental property.
Once your account is created, you can tailor the listing however you please. You will also be responsible for incurring guest reviews, which play a large part in a guest deciding to book your listing on Airbnb.
VRBO for Guests
If you are a guest looking to book your vacation on VRBO, there are some things you can do to make the process easier.
First, you will need to create an account so that you can book the listing, as well as communicate with the host. This is important because you may need to ask the host before you book the property.
Sometimes, a host will allow you to split a payment, but you need to first ask them if you can do that. Creating an account on VRBO will allow you to message the host and ask any questions about the property you are interested in booking.
Once you have created your account, you now have the option to communicate with hosts, place a reservation, or submit a payment.
There is also a VRBO mobile phone application for you to check the status of your reservation at the touch of your fingertips. This will allow you to receive important information, such as reservation confirmations and arrival instructions.
You can also leave a review of your stay at the property through the VRBO mobile phone application.
VRBO for guests is a user-friendly website and mobile phone application for guests to use to easily book their vacation.
Airbnb for Guests
When finding a vacation rental on Airbnb, you have the option of searching for individual rooms in a vacation rental or renting the entire property.
Once you have found a vacation rental you are interested in, you can create an account. You will need to verify your account by using a photo ID, such as a driver’s license, and through a confirmation email or phone call.
Once your account has been created, you can make a reservation, message the host, and sign rental agreements, all from the desktop website or mobile phone application. There is a messaging tab within the mobile phone application for you to talk to your host directly in the app.
The mobile application will also notify you through push-notifications that you have received a new alert. This alert notification may be the rental agreement, check-in instructions, or departure directions.
Airbnb will also prompt you to leave a review of the property after your stay. If the host has already reviewed your stay as a guest, you will receive this notification, but you will not be allowed to read the review until you have submitted a review of the host and the property.
VRBO and Airbnb are beneficial listing websites for both owners and guests. Owners are able to take advantage of the dashboard within both programs to tailor the short-term vacation rental how they see fit.
Both Airbnb and VRBO will collect fees, but the owner has the choice of how the fee is collected. VRBO can collect fees through the host-only or the host and guest. If the owner chooses for VRBO to collect fees through the shared option, then the fee responsibility will be passed onto the guest. This feature may deter guests from selecting your vacation rental if there are steep fees included in the total price.
Both VRBO and Airbnb are successful short-term vacation rental websites that have proven successful for years. Airbnb was founded in 2008, while VRBO was founded the decade before in 1995. Both websites have proven they can accommodate both hosts and guests on their user-friendly platform.