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Vacation and short-term rentals have exploded onto the scene, snatching up the short-term stay market share from the hotel industry in high volumes. But with the presence of so many options – Airbnb these days has nearly four times the rooms for rent than Marriott does – it’s hard to make sure your rental stands out among others.

Many experts in the short-term rental and vacation rental industry shared thoughts with Inman on how to ensure your rental gets excellent reviews and stands out among a crowded field.

“It takes a mix of high-touch service and quality standards to convert a guest experience to a high rating,” Brian Ferdinand, managing partner of CorpHousing Group, a newly-launched national short-term rental operator, told Inman.

“As a national operator for the SoBeNY hospitality platform, CorpHousing Group focuses on the incorporation of contemporary design, modern décor, adequate sleeping arrangements for the unit size and upgraded appliances,” Ferdinand added. “Amenities are also a key focus, like swimming pools and fitness centers, in addition to a standardized level of cleanliness across the portfolio.”

Ferdinand also noted that a streamlined service approach could provide guests with a higher level of autonomy – which is a feature traditional hotels and many competing rentals lack.

“As we transition to a more tech-based world, guests increasingly prefer less face-to-face interaction in exchange for an automated check-in and check-out process,” Ferdinand said, adding that it is still important to have a human element for maintaining, inspecting and overseeing units through concierge service.

Bob Milne, the chief operating officer of rental management startup Vacasa believes the most important thing you can do to ensure your property receives a great review is to set a guests expectations before they even walk through the door.

“A rustic, quaint beach cottage is likely to receive a five-star review if that’s what the guest was expecting, but if a homeowner has marketed the property as a luxury oceanfront getaway, that’s where a review will suffer,” Milne said.

“The easiest way to set guest expectations is through accurate property descriptions and photos,” Milne added. “It’s advantageous for the homeowner to highlight the best features of the property, but they shouldn’t be afraid to note the quirky parts too — it’s all about the right home for the guest.”

Vacasa uses the 3D virtual tour technology from startup Matterport to provide potential guests a real view of each home, so they can know what to expect.

PLG Estates founder and broker/owner Peter Lorimer, who recently launched a Netflix series about helping struggling Airbnb owners, spoke about what short-term rental owners must know about having a successful rental for the Inman Essential Guide to Second Homes and Vacation Homes. 

“Short-term rental patrons are buying an experience,” he said. “They want to experience the neighborhood through the eyes of the owner.”

Lorimer suggested a guestbook for each visitor that has a list of the best restaurants, attractions and quirky things. The kitchen should also always be stocked with water and snacks for guests.

“When you can predict what the client wants before they know they want it, you’ll receive five stars and you’ll be consistently booked,” Lorimer said.

Email Patrick Kearns

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