Friday, December 28, 2007

Pricing your Vacation Rental By Owner for Profit

Pricing any type of real estate in the long run can spell victory of defeat.

There are so many factors that go into "how to sell" or "how to rent" real estate or vacation rentals. In this blog we will concentrate on PRICING!
Pricing is king! Anyway you look at it, pricing in almost any industry drives the market. So how does this effect us in the vacation rental business.

That is easy! Supply and Demand. If there are plenty of 3 bedroom condos for rent at $1000 per week and you are priced at $750, you will be 100% occupied but also you will be missing out on real income.
On the other hand, if you are priced at $1200 a week, you may not be getting bookings due to your pricing being too high. You may get some left overs, as the other units get booked up, the SUPPLY goes down and the last minute guests are only left to book your higher priced condo.

So some owners mistake some bookings as "they will pay my price" but they are really missing out on the majority of the market. The idea is to be almost 100% booked. With 90-95% occupancy you are running at optimal pricing. Any less and you may be too high, any higher you may be too low. Again, this is taking into consideration JUST pricing!
Now this does get a little harder to figure out as you have different units. Condos are easy to price as they are really close to being the same. Look online at comparable units. If you have a 3 bedroom home near the beach, do not comp it out with homes ON the beach. Be realistic. One mistake owners make is thinking their unit is "the best" one on the market. Chances are it is not. Be honest and realize that there are MANY nice homes/condos just like yours. Now comp them out to see what they are getting in rent. Comp out the market and see what everyone else is doing and come in AT the market! It does no one any good to UNDERCUT the market.

Here is why. If everyone is at $1000 a week, price yours at $1000 a week. If you go to $900, the next guy goes to $850 and so on. Now you may all be giving away income! If the market will pay $1000, stay there. Then your job is to "out market" and "out service" the competition. If you are using the online booking software,, you will have a big advantage on the competition already. You can take a booking in 30 seconds, and your competition will take 10 days to get a lease back with a check. Who do you think the guest wants to book with? The owner who accepts credit cards and has an online booking system. Also make sure you have your photo albums set up on your listings. Example: SLIDE SHOW

Now that you are priced at the market, and you are out performing your competition, you should be running at an optimal level. That is the whole concept. Keep your prices at the market, but work harder than the market to get MORE than your share. It works! Try it!

SPECIALS. Running specials or offering discounts is totally different than low ball pricing. Once you have researched your market, found your optimal pricing structure, stick to it and market your vacation rental. As time goes by, you will get the business you need to keep your unit booked. Then if a week does not book, as they sometimes will not, or if you get a last minute cancellation, you can offer a SPECIAL or DISCOUNT to try to get that time booked.

The online booking system has a COUPON system in place to handle this situation. Many listing sites have "specials" you can run to get the word out quickly that you have a "offer to good to pass up". The idea is to offer something to entice the guest to find you!

Give them $100 off, save 20%, anything that makes you stand out. The concept is your month is 3/4 booked, you have one week left that has not booked, you run specials or discounts for that week and the guest responds to those ads. Now you are 100% booked that month. With proper , marketing and placing ads or changing your "titles" on the ad portals, this is a great system of marketing to employ. Here is an example of a "title" I would run on say, VRBO, to help book a last minute cancellation: " Oct 7-14 now OPEN, save $150, Call today".

This targets a guest that needs that week, then they see the special and they click on your unit instead of the other 100 on that page. Now they view your spectacular photo album, you provide online booking and credit card processing and you get the business. That is how it works. Fast clean and easy!

Try this concept. You will enjoy the results! Remember to have your "system" in place to take the booking, then market, advertise and bring in the prospects. Pricing is one of the most important parts of the puzzle. Do your research and price your unit RIGHT!

Good Luck!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Vacation Rentals In Panama!

We are very excited about a new project that we are associated with. We have been working on Panama, the country, for about 3 years, buying, researching and now building vacation rentals on the beach in Panama.

This is the first home we will have completed. It is under construction now and here is a slide show to show you the progress of this home:

The reason we are in Panama is to try all the things we know that work in the Vacation Rental business. We have purchased ocean front lots and are building homes to vacation in. There will be maids quarters, built in swimming pools, sun decks, plus more. Everyone wants to be on the beach. Theses homes are on the beach, the back yard is the Pacific Ocean.

The country and area have so much to offer. Taking a vacation to Panama and staying at one of our homes on the beach will offer the ultimate vacation experience. The list of things to do is endless. There is horse back riding on the beach, ATV riding in the mountains, Zip lining in the rain forest, deep sea fishing, scuba diving, sunbathing, plus more.

The people are EXTREMELY friendly. You will have a live in staff waiting on you when you arrive. So now I hope you can see why we are going in this direction. To take a vacation and have this type of service and list of things to do is unreal! The best thing about it is the prices will be very reasonable. So instead of taking the family to Florida, consider the "other" Panama. The country.

Stay posted to our sites. We are offering "Fractions" for sale on this property. You can purchase 4 weeks a year and use them as you see fit. You can place them on the rental program and we will rent them for you. So this can truly be a lifestyle investment. Or use them! It is up to you.

Here is the site for fractional sale information: PanamaFractional

And stay tuned to our online booking site, and be ready to book your next adventure of a life time in Panama! UNIT 613 in Panama! ( currently under construction)

Hasta Luego Amigo!

Monday, December 17, 2007

New Features on ivacationonline, to help run your Vacation Rental by Owner.

RENTORS.ORG Update! One the of the new features and one of the most highly anticipated ones is the ability of the ivacationonline system to automatically update your RENTORS.ORG calendar.

Now when you enter the needed info into your property account, every time you CONFIRM, DECLINE, VOID or DISABLE a lease in the ivacationonline system, it will update your calendar on the RENTORS.ORG system. This can save you time and keep you accurate!

Automation is the pride of, we are taking tasks and time consuming items and automating them so the private owner can operate a vacation rental like a PRO! With the ivacationonline calendar being totally automated, you will never have to worry about keeping track of a calendar again!

SPREADSHEET! You can now email your spreadsheets to someone. We got this ready for the end of year tax rush. If you have a partner, manage a property for someone or just need to get your spreadsheet to your CPA, you can now email it to them off the system.

If you have not tried the system to run your vacation rental, you truly do not know what you are missing. Stop emailing word documents! Have a booking in seconds not days! Keep track of everything! The list is endless. Here is a LIST of FEATURES.

Sign up for our FREE 30 DAY TRIAL today. No credit card needed. No obligation. We will work with you to get you taking online bookings in a few minutes!

We look forward to helping you run a successful business!

Monday, December 10, 2007

eCom and now on

We are proud to announce the Patent Pending online reservations system, has added a new merchant service provider. eCom is now available to use with your online reservation system.
We have added eCom as an option for our owners as they use the gateway and this let's us have the most up to date technology for processing credit cards online.

This will mean more reliable servers are processing your transactions. Less possibility of a communication problem during your booking. Faster bookings too. Now the combination of the reservation system with the eCom, gateway for your processing is a sure fire way to take online reservations for your vacation rentals.
The rates are the best we could find. No application fee, no annual fee, only 2.24% for qualified transactions and no monthly minimum.
You can APPLY ONLINE for this service and you have to be an member to get these rates.
No set up fee
No monthly minimum
No closure fee
No Annual Fee
2.24% qualified discount rate
2.19% debit card discount rate
$.15 per transaction
$5.00 monthly service/statement fee
$10.00 gateway monthly fee
$.20 gateway per transaction fee

It only takes about 24 hours to have your merchant service set up. Then just add the log in and password information to your MY ACCOUNT section on, edit your rates to accept the eCom account and you are back in business. Taking online bookings has never been any safer or easier!
If you are not currently on the system, try our FREE 30 DAY TRIAL to see what taking online bookings can do for your vacation rental business. No more email WORD documents! No more double bookings! No more tracking everything! Let the software do it for you!
We hope you have a Happy Holiday Season and make sure to sign up for the free trial soon! The busy 2008 vacation rental season is just around the corner.
Happy Renting!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Vaction Rentals, End of year updates!

With the year coming to an end, now is the time to consider your next years business.

What needs to be updated? What are you going to do about your rates? Increase them or not? Any changes needed at the property?

These are all great questions most owners have. Anything I have done in my life, one principle holds true. The more time you put into something, the more you will get out of it. If you only advertise on a few sites, do not visit your properties, do not make improvements on a regular basis, then your gross rentals will reflect that.

The cabin pictured above is a new owner to the "BY OWNER" market. The owner has been taking the time to set up his "BY OWNER" business. Since he has taken the time, I know he will be successful in 2008. Be sure to check out his unit, 623 on

I know we are all busy. So you must be honest with yourself to the commitment you can make. The owners we work with have many different ideas on how much time and money they invest in this business. We do see a trend. The owners that look forward to the future, paint the units, price them right, spend time researching what ad portals to advertise on and in general, just run a good business, are the ones that are the most successful

This is the perfect time of year for some self evaluation. Are you spending enough time to get the business you want? Are your rates for 2008 up on the ad portals you advertise on? Have you made any improvements to your properties?

Before you know it, Jan 1 will be here and for most of us, that is the start of another busy booking season and we are on our way! So get ready now. Make a list and work a little each day to make sure you are ready!

Look over your competition too. See what is going on in your area. Don't be the last to know something, be the first!

Your time spent on your vacation rental business will come back to you in rental dividends. Good luck in 2008!