The Art of Becoming Fully Booked: Competing in the Vacation Rental Market

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For many second home owners, vacation rental income is crucial for paying the mortgage. But with interest rates and other costs rising, it is difficult to boost rental prices since there are so many properties now on the market. It's brutal out there. Here's what you can do.

Competition is heating up as millions more second homes and investment properties appear on the vacation rental market. In 2005, according to the National Association of Realtors, second home sales accounted for a whopping 40 percent of all transactions, for a total of 3.34 million second home sales. More tellingly, 16 percent of those sales (2.32 million) were to investors, most of whom count on rental income to pay their expenses while their properties appreciate. This is on top of 2 million investment home sales in 2004.

That much “product” on the market impacts property owners in at least two ways. It makes it difficult to raise rental rates. And it makes it more important than ever to do everything you can to stand out from the crowd to get your place rented.

That’s why vacation rental experts Alfred and Emily Glossbrenner created their Bookings Booster Consultation. The Glossbrenners, authors of the highly acclaimed book/CD package, How to Make Your Vacation Property Work for You! (FireCrystal, 2005), have a single goal: To help property owners master the “art of becoming fully booked.”

“There are all kinds of reasons why a place fails to attract renters,” says Alfred. “It could be that the owner isn’t advertising on the most effective Web sites. It could be substandard photographs or a poorly worded description of the property.”

“Or it could be that the place suffers from what I call ‘the boring condo look',” adds Emily. “Gas prices and travel costs are likely to cause vacationers to think twice from now on. You’ve got to give them a compelling reason not only to come to your location but also to rent your particular property. You’ve got to set it apart from the ‘cookie-cutter’ look of the competition. We can help people do that.”

“Our Bookings Booster Phone Consultation is very much like National Public Radio’s Car Talk,” says Alfred “Or the Suze Orman Show, or any other call-in advice program. The difference is we aren’t nearly as funny as Tom and Ray Magliozzi, or nearly as blonde and bronzed as Suze Orman.”

According to Emily, there are two other important differences. “First, before you call, we take the time to analyze your current advertising efforts. It’s as if Car Talk’s Tappet Brothers were to give your car a going over before you asked your question on air. Second, we charge for our analysis and advice.”

The cost for the Bookings Booster Consultation is $250. It begins with an e-mailed questionnaire and concludes with a one-hour phone conversation. In between are an in-depth, property-specific analysis and lots of personalized, custom ideas and suggestions from two of the leading authorities in the field.

Many of the Glossbrenners’ clients are complete “do-it-yourselfers” who handle all aspects of renting and managing their vacation properties. But Alfred and Emily also consult with homeowners who prefer to offload some of the work to a property management company. “Trouble is,” says Emily, “most of these firms have scores—even hundreds—of properties to deal with. You just can’t count on them to optimize your particular property and listing information. It’s really something you have to do yourself. And we know our Bookings Booster Consultation can be a huge help.”

For more information, visit the Glossbrenners’ FullyBookedRentals Web site or call 215-736-1213. Media kits and interviews available on request.

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