Many people start their vacation rental without much thought or any research. Some are successful while others fail. Although research may not be a make or break for your rental, it can definitely help you become more profitable much quicker.
You and I both know that a major corporation conducts major amounts of research prior to investing into a business, so when we were starting our first vacation home rental I booked a suite at a nice hotel. This gave me the opportunity to see what my competition was like as well as the results of their research. I saw what this company stocked in its kitchen, in their bathroom and how the little apartment was laid out with furniture. This experience gave me a good idea of what guests would expect when visiting my own house.
Next I went to Airbnb and looked at houses in my city to develop an idea of what was being offered by people around me. I read hundreds of comments left by guests to see what hosts were doing good and bad. Viewing comments allowed me to look beyond the words in the listing and to get below the fluff. I took note of things people really liked and included them in my rental. On the converse I made sure we did not make the same mistakes that hosts were being gigged for.
The final piece of research was into the legality of operating a short term rental in my neighborhood and city. More and more cities are developing laws and regulations to limit short term rentals as a way to cater to big money hotel corporations. Fortunately vacation rentals were still legal in my city and zoning rules also did not affect me. (See our other article on legally operating a vacation rental.)
This new knowledge assisted me in the set-up of our home. While some hosts prefer to be minimalists and provide their guests with nothing, we chose to be the all-in-all for our guests. We provide entertainment, quick meals and water and coffee. This has helped us stand out above our competition and obtain more bookings. (See our other article on amenities.)
I believe that research is extremely important for new hosts. Determining the legality of your business prior to investing may prevent you from receiving potentially huge fines. Some people have lost their homes after trying to start a short term rental business. Don't let that happen to you! Research takes out a lot of the trial and error and enables you to have the all important strong reviews from the very first guests. Take some time and research your business and then grab the bull by the horns and go for it!
Of course, if you need some help researching, let us know. We are short term rental consultants.