Turning a vacation home into a vacation rental property is a great way to make owning a vacation home affordable. Managing this, even from a distance, is quite easy.

Managing a vacation rental property from hundreds or even thousands of miles away may seem daunting. It’s tempting simply to turn over the property to a management company. Still, those companies typically take a large cut, often 35% or more of any rental money earned by the VRP. Many people rent out their vacation homes as a way to make having a second home affordable; the large cut taken by management properties often changes the maths so substantially that it may no longer be financially possible to own that dream vacation property. Luckily, it is fairly simple to manage a VRP and keep all the profits.

Find a Trusted Cleaner for the Vacation Rental Property

The hardest part of managing your vacation rental property is finding a cleaner who will not only do basic cleaning but who will also do the chores that are critical to the success of a vacation rental property.

You will need a cleaner who will:

  • Clean all surfaces.
  • Launder and change linens.
  • Wash and put away any dirty dishes left out.
  • Keep track of stock of cleaning supplies (like toilet paper, paper towels, soap, and any other amenities provided at the property).
  • Let you know if there’s any damage to the property.

The best place to start looking for such a person is by asking the estate agent used for the purchase of the vacation property; Very often, he or she will have a few names to recommend. If that fails, try posting an ad on services like Craigslist. Always interview the candidates, preferably in person, and select a licensed and bonded professional. Be sure that there is good rapport and communication; This person will play a critical role in the success of managing a vacation rental from afar.

Effective Advertising of the VRP

Once a suitable cleaning person is found, and the property is well furnished and ready to rent, it’s time to advertise. The HomeAway corporation has recently bought many vacation rentals by owner portals out there. This makes advertising easier on their multiple portals, like VRBO.com, Homeaway.com, and CyberRentals.com. Listing on these portals is worth the investment; you’ll make back the cost of the listing with the first rental, and you’ll secure far more business with the listings than without.

Another valuable and free source of advertising is Gumtree. Post an ad every couple of weeks.

Be creative: If the property is near a ski resort, ask to put a flyer on the bulletin board in the ski instructors’ lounge. If you have the perfect spring break spot; Advertise near the local college entrance


Regardless of where you advertise, post as many pictures as possible. Renters love pictures, and the better they feel they understand the property, the more likely they are to book.

Respond to Inquiries Promptly

This is critical: Answer the phone, answer emails; The faster you respond, the more likely you’ll be to secure a booking. Often, the potential renter fires off several emails or phone calls to VRBOs in the area. Responding quickly inspires confidence, so be attentive.

Accept Credit Cards

Renters love having the option of being able to pay by credit card over the phone, and it’s the best way for you as a business owner to quickly, efficiently, and dependably get payment. It’s also valuable if there’s ever damage to the property; there is no argument and haggling with the guests; you can simply charge the amount to the card on file. 

Accepting credit cards is one of the best ways to run a vacation rental property smoothly.