When my family purchased a vacation home on Sanibel Island many years ago, we knew we faced a challenge when we decided to make it a rental property. That challenge was competing with glitzy hotels.
Sanibel and its sister island of Captiva are home to dozens of lovely hotels, with everything from highly luxurious suites to cozy beachside cottages. Even the condominium complex where we had our property had hotels as neighbors on both sides. We were tasked with trying to promote and market our property in a way that was competitive with all of the nearby hotels, and it wasn’t easy.
This problem is even more challenging for other South Florida vacation home owners, like those in Miami Beach. In the Miami Beach area, tourism and the hotel industry is hyper-competitive. The area is renowned for its luxurious, world-class hotels, with incredible views, and on-site amenities like spas and boutiques.
That’s why I always tell Miami Beach vacation home owners that hiring a quality property management firm is an absolute must. Having that professional expertise on your side allows you to be more competitive with the local hotel industry.
So how can you work with your property manager to help make your property more competitive, increase bookings, and command higher rental fees for your vacation home? Let’s take a closer look.
Tout the Privacy of Your Miami Beach Vacation Home
One thing that hotels lack is privacy, even in the larger, more luxurious hotels. You have paper-thin walls with other guests situated in rooms above you, below you, and on either side of you. And even with the “do not disturb” sign up, there's a chance that housekeeping could intrude.
At a vacation home, guests typically enjoy a lot more privacy and that can be a big draw, especially for honeymooners and others who really value their “alone time.” This is also true of more high-profile individuals, such as celebrities, who tend to prefer more secluded, private accommodations.
If possible, work with your property management company to highlight the privacy and seclusion of your vacation home. Your property manager can emphasize this when speaking with potential guests and when creating marketing materials and advertisements. Use terms like “private,” “secluded,” and “hideaway.” When applicable, be sure your property manager also emphasizes that while your vacation home “feels far removed” from the action, it's actually very conveniently located.
Your property manager can also turn the lack of a daily maid service into a benefit by pointing out that you won't be disturbed by intrusive maids. Many property owners do opt to provide their guests with maid service. Some offer it every other day or on a certain day of the week at a particular time so the guests can anticipate the visit. If you do offer maid service, be sure your property manager mentions this as well, as many potential guests assume that maid service is not included when staying at a rental home.
Emphasize the Spaciousness of Your Miami Beach Vacation Rental
Even luxury hotels are not known for offering lots of living space. In fact, this is a major advantage that most rental properties have over hotels, so work with your property manager to ensure he or she is aware of your property's square footage. This should be prominently mentioned in all marketing materials and in phone calls or chats with potential guests.
If your vacation home sleeps more than four people, this is also a major selling point and benefit since most hotel rooms can only accommodate four. (And generally, it's a tight squeeze!)
Your property manager can really tout the spaciousness of your home if you have the ability to accommodate larger families or groups. In many cases, it is actually more economical for a large family or large group to rent a vacation home versus reserving multiple hotel rooms.
The per-person cost is frequently less when you have a large group, so ask your property manager to get some quotes from some nearby hotels that are comparable in terms of location and offerings. If your per-person rate is less than your primary hotel competitors, then this is a major selling point that should be mentioned prominently in your marketing materials. A rental home is also more comfortable for large groups, so this should also be highlighted.
Replicate the Services Offered at Nearby Hotels
We already discussed the issue of maid service, but Miami Beach hotels tend to offer lots of other amenities too.
Two of the most popular hotel offerings are concierge services and room service. Your property manager can help to replicate these two offerings and then promote it like crazy in your marketing, advertising, and chats with potential guests.
There are many individuals and even firms that offer concierge services and personal assistant service in Miami Beach and the surrounding area, so you can ask your property manager to negotiate some sort of discounted rate or contract that allows you to offer this to your guests.
Miami Beach is also home to lots of food delivery services, enabling your guests to order from some of the area's top restaurants. Ask if your property manager can secure a contract or discounted rate with a local food delivery service. Also, your property manager can compile a loose leaf binder with plastic sleeves, each containing a take-out menu from a local restaurant. Place this binder somewhere prominent in the kitchen area and remember to mention it on your website and in your marketing materials.
Promote Your Amenities and Offerings
While the most high-end hotel suites tend to have everything you would find in a home, the typical hotel room does not feature these many amenities. So highlight any and all amenities and offerings in your property, including:
- Sound systems and technology
- Your security system and the security guards if your property is in a complex
- Hot tubs and pools
- LED showers, 360-degree showers, and Jacuzzi tubs
- Full kitchen (especially if you have high-end appliances)
- On-site washer and dryer
- Loaner vehicles, boats, or recreational vehicles
- Private beach access
- Waterfront access or water views
- Anything else that makes your property stand out
These are all items that should be prominently featured in your marketing. The focus should be on anything that provides a bit of pampering, convenience, and novelty. Your property manager might even research what local hotels offer comparable amenities and what you would spend per night at that hotel. If the per-night figure is less than what you charge, this is a point to mention in your marketing.
Whenever possible, you should work with your property manager to determine what, if any, amenities can be added to your vacation home to increase your home's competitiveness in an already competitive vacation market. Your property manager will have a really good feel for your target audience and what they expect or enjoy.
Build a Brand for Your Miami Beach Vacation Rental Home
With a good property manager, many vacation property owners can get away with not building a unique brand and website. But in hyper-competitive tourism markets such as Miami Beach, it's really vital that you have a defined brand identity, such as a logo and website. These will prove to be key for your marketing and promotion efforts, allowing your property manager to maximize profits by increasing the number of bookings, while also commanding a higher rental fee.
Of course, a property manager is essential for maximizing the potential of your Miami Beach vacation home. If you don't have a property manager, visit Rented.com today and create a free profile. From there, South Florida property managers will bid on your vacation home and you can choose the one that’s right for you. Many of the property managers Rented.com works with offer a guaranteed income model, so you can receive a set amount of monthly income regardless of occupancy. Get started today on Rented.com.
Lead image: Flickr CC user Bianca Stella Mejia