Southern cities are popular with short-term tenants, particularly older “snow birds” who flock to warmer climes, but whether you want to attract snow birds to your properties or hope to reach a broader group of short-term tenants, you need to leverage your location. But what attracts travelers to your location? By learning to see your city through the eyes of an outsider, you can identify the attractions that will draw visitors to your properties.
When advertising a property for long-term rentals, most owners will assess the neighborhood for various amenities – how close the property is to a supermarket, for example, or what schools or parks are nearby – and the same principle applies when marketing to short-term tenants. Not only do short-term tenants want to know where they’ll meet basic needs, like buying groceries, especially if they don’t have a car, but if they’re visiting for the first time, they’ll appreciate your guidance as a local. Not every highlight needs to be fancy, though for very short-term rentals it’s important to include features like restaurants, museums, and other tourist-focused spaces.
Don’t forget to talk to your friends or neighbors about what neighborhood features they like best or recommend to guests. We tend to only notice those things that we’re interested in, so asking people who have different hobbies about their favorite activities to appeal to the broadest audience.
Stay Up To Date
One great way to catch renters’ attention when writing your short-term rental listings is by featuring locations that no one else is talking about, and that means you have to stay up to date with local developments. As Katy-area property managers, for example, that means keeping track of new attractions in the Boardwalk District, which is currently under construction. Though it’s not yet ready to receive visitors, the Boardwalk District is bound to attract travelers to Katy, whether they’re attending a conference or looking for a bar or club.
In addition to monitoring the development of new attractions in your city, it’s important to stay up to date with major events like concerts and sports championships. Short term rental rates often skyrocket if a major event is coming to town, like an arena tour, so flag those dates to be sure your rates are keeping up with the market and namedrop the event in your listing. You can also provide information on transport to the specific venue if you know you’ll be renting to visitors attending a specific event.
Know Your Audience
Short-term rental can mean several different things, depending on who you consider to be your audience. Snow birds, who typically rent properties for a few months at a time, are technically short-term tenants, but so are Airbnb renters who stay for just a few days. The problem, though, is that these two groups don’t typically want the same thing. As such, you need to know who your audience is when writing your property description.
In some cases, identifying your audience is easy because your property appeals to a narrow group. This is the case if you’ve invested in a property on a golf course, for example, or if your property is in the heart of a museum district. In other cases, though, you’ll have a more expansive audience that consists of tourists more generally; in that case, you’ll want to acknowledge the breadth of possible activities in your area.
Make Meaningful Connections
One popular feature that Airbnb has been developing over the last few years is their Experiences program, which has, by some accounts, lost money for the company because it doesn’t include mainstream attractions. As an independent owner, though, you have the option to make your own connections to events and activities. And, unlike Airbnb, you have the ability to make connections and provide activity insights without sinking a lot of money into the process. All you have to do is provide a simple guide.
Some of the most popular short-term rental managers provide visitors with a binder of local music venues, museums, restaurants, and sporting events, as well as information on where to get discounts for these events. It’s even better if you have an inside line on something special through a friend or local contact; giving visitors a peak of the city that they would otherwise only see if they were permanent residents can encourage them to rent from you again in the future.
Follow The Local Rules
Finally, whenever you list a property for a short-term rental, be sure that you know your area’s specific regulations. In the past, listing a property as available for a few days might have been odd, but there likely weren’t any rules against it. However, with the rise of Airbnb and similar sites, many major cities, including Houston, have instituted new rules about how short-term rentals must be run. Those renting an Airbnb in the Houston area, for example, must pay the hotel occupancy tax, despite not technically staying a hotel. In smaller cities like Katy, on the other hand, you’re much less likely to face such restrictions. It’s important to be well-versed in these regulations, not just for your own security, but because your tenants can’t enjoy themselves if they’re being put in a risky legal situation.
Short-term rentals can be highly profitable, but when compared to longer contracts, they’re also far less stable and require much more work to manage – so what’s a landlord to do? One way to avoid the stress while ensuring that your tenants have a pleasurable visit is by employing a professional property manager. At Green Residential, we have over thirty years of Houston and Katy, Texas management experience and we know what brings visitors to our fine cities. And we also know what a big responsibility managing tenants can be.
If you need support managing your rental property, contact Green Residential today. We can help guide you through the process of transitioning to passive rental income with our full-service team. From tenant screenings to maintenance and rent collection, we handle every part of the property management process. So stop juggling a never-ending cycle of tenants and let Green Residential take over. There’s an easier way to take your rental to the next level.