How to Protect your Vacation Rental Property During the Coronavirus Outbreak
There are many benefits that can come from owning a vacation rental property. When managed correctly, these properties can produce steady incomes and will also appreciate in value over time.
As a result of the recent coronavirus outbreak in the United States, many people have begun canceling their vacations. Fortunately, for Scottsdale, Arizona residents, “The Arizona Department of Health Services considers the spread of the COVID-19 virus “minimal,” and rates the current level of community risk “low.” However, while Scottsdale has not been affected as badly as elsewhere, the outbreak of the disease in nearby California has diminished an otherwise reliable supply of tourists.
It is difficult to sugarcoat this current troubling situation. In addition to the dozens of deaths in the United States, countless sporting events, conferences, and concerts have been postponed or canceled altogether. For the time being, many vacation rental owners are likely to experience some cash flow challenges. But just because a temporary decline is inevitable, that doesn’t mean you should give up altogether; there are still quite a few things that can be done to separate your vacation rental property from the rest of the competition.
In this article, we will discuss how vacation property rental owners can effectively address the effects of the coronavirus. By keeping these helpful tips in mind, your property can continue generating at least some income and you also will be better prepared for once the outbreak comes to an end.
Hire a Vacation Property Management Team
If you are like many vacation rental property owners, you are probably quite overwhelmed with how quickly this virus has begun affecting the industry. While you may want to do all the increased cleaning efforts, guest communications, and guest management tasks on your own, you’d likely be much better off hiring a company with the infrastructure in place to help.
By working with a vacation property management company, you can pass off the stress of this situation onto a professional firm that has the experience and capacity to help. They’ll help you do things such as rework your pricing model, make sure every home is absolutely clean, and continue attracting guests in the future. Even once this temporary problem has subsided, they will still be able to offer ample value.
Make Cleaning a Top Priority
Deep cleaning your rental property between guests is not only the morally wise thing to do, but it is also the financially wise thing to do as well. Even if your property management company already goes through great lengths to keep the place clean (as they should), you should make an active effort to increase your cleaning efforts even further. Using masks and gloves, wiping down all surfaces (even ones that don’t appear to be dirty), and changing all sheets and towels will be expected for all vacation rental homes. Your guests are, rightfully, going to want to know that they will be safe in your home—it will be up to you to prove that you are taking extra measures in order to make sure this happens.
Communicate Clearly with Already Booked Guests
Communicating with guests will be very important because, naturally, they probably have quite a few questions. Even if your upcoming guests haven’t contacted you yet, it will be a good idea to initiate the dialogue yourself and reach directly out to them. Send a message letting them know that their stay is still scheduled and further explain how you are accommodating the current situation (discounts, increased cleaning, etc.), and further explain what your refund policy is. These are topics that the guests are likely to approach you with themselves; you should also pay close attention to which events are being canceled, which golf courses are closing, and other major changes occurring in and around Scottsdale.
Give Guests an Incentive to Reschedule, Rather than Cancel
The coronavirus has had a major impact on the travel industry and, as a result, up to 40 percent of flights have been canceled. Consequently, many vacations, including some Spring Break trips to Scottsdale are being canceled and, in many situations, you will need to refund your guests. However, rather than automatically issuing a refund, you may be better off offering a discount for a future stay. So instead of giving 100 percent of the money back, consider offering 120 percent of it back with the condition that it ill be used at your property in the future. This helps you keep the business you’ve already earned while also offering your guests a unique opportunity for savings. Win-win.
Many people living in the areas most affected by the outbreak, including San Francisco, Washington, and New York, are actually looking to get away from their chaotic situation and spend some time in the less affected parts of the country. This means that places such as Scottsdale, Arizona have become especially attractive. If your vacation rental property is a large home that is not particularly near any neighbors, now might be an excellent opportunity to attract some additional guests.
Increase Your Marketing Efforts
With many people either working from home or not working at all due to the coronavirus, there is no denying that the average person is currently spending even more time on the internet than they usually do. Additionally, with clouds and gloom all around us, many people are taking steps to begin planning a future vacation.
While it may be tempting to cut back on your marketing efforts in light of recent events, now is actually the perfect time to expand these efforts and reach a broader audience. Social media, rental platforms, and other outlets are all excellent platforms for advertising your property. Take the opportunity to showcase your home and become the highlight of a future guest’s newsfeed.
Conclusion - Protecting Your Vacation Rental Property During the Pandemic
The coronavirus has already had a major impact on the world and has complicated many people’s plans for upcoming vacations. As a vacation rental property owner, you are likely worried about the impact this outbreak will have on your property’s cash flows. While a minor loss may be unavoidable, by working with the right vacation rental property management team and taking the other actions included in this article, you will still find yourself in a position for success.