The Most Common Mistakes from Vacation Rental Hosts

These are some of the mistakes you should avoid as a vacation rental host.

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Many vacation rental managers make mistakes at the beginning. Not to worry, we are here to help you avoid nasty surprises and give you tips to prevent the most common mistakes.

Common mistakes when buying real estate

Location, price & target audience

The most important decision when starting a vacation rental business is buying a property. Before you buy, it is crucial that you correctly assess the location and value. Start by thinking about the target audience you want to rent to. When choosing a property make sure that there are enough bedrooms for your target market.

Underestimating renovation costs

If the accommodation you may purchase is needing renovation, you should estimate realistically how much the renovation costs will be and whether this is feasible for you.

Underestimating the cost to run your accommodation

Many landlords underestimate the costs involved in renting out a vacation property. These include costs such as electricity, water, management costs and the hiring of specialists (gardeners, electricians, etc…) In some regions, there are also additional fees such as tourism and occupancy taxes.


The Most Common Mistakes from Vacation Rental Hosts ᐅ Guide

Superfluous purchases

When furnishing, always think about your target group and their needs. In a city apartment you may not need a fully equipped professional kitchen and in a kid friendly accommodation you don’t need luxury equipment.

Interior and exterior do not match

Make sure your vacation home is not a design faux pas: modern architecture may clash with rustic furnishings. When furnishing and designing your property, keep in mind that it’s not just your tastes that counts. Get a second opinion if you’re not sure or even consult a professional.

Cheap or discarded furniture

Don’t skimp when it comes to furniture: the furnishings of your vacation home should be practical and functional. Make sure your furniture is of a minimum quality because it will look last longer and look nicer in pictures.

Small defects and damages not repaired

In every apartment there are a few little things that you need to pay attention to: A closet door that sometimes sticks, a loose doorknob, etc. As a vacation rental owner, you know all these little peculiarities of your apartment and automatically pay attention. However, your guests don’t know anything about these quirks and may not feel like paying attention to the little things while on vacation.

Instead, guests may be quickly become annoyed when the closet door doesn’t open and may even think they have broken something. It is not advisable to cut corners here and instead you should always fix small defects as quickly as possible or give your guests clear instructions if they need to be careful about something.

Wrong pricing

Have you miscalculated and are earning too little to cover your running costs? On the flip side are your prices too high or too low, which might discourage potential guests from booking?

Mistakes in the rental price

If you price your accommodation too high or too low, vacationers will book with the competition. If the accommodation is too expensive, they will easily find a better offer. If the price is too low, they may think there is something wrong with your accommodation. Additionally, if you price too low, you’ll lose money. This is where dynamic pricing tools can help.

Prices calculated wrong in high and low season

You should keep in mind that there are busy and less busy periods of the year. In less busy weeks and months, you should adjust your prices and possibly use discounts to attract long-term guests for the low season. The opposite is true in the high season. Often times, hosts charge too little in the high season. In our guide you will learn more about pricing for your vacation home.

Common mistakes in dealing with guests

Poor interactions

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when dealing with your guests is poor interactions. This can be in the form of booking requests that you answer too late, or even a lack of contact in case of an emergency.

Even if you have everything well prepared, unexpected situations can occur in which your guests need to contact you. They could have lost their key or something broke. Always make sure that your guests have a contact person for these emergency situations.

Pro tip: If you use a channel manager to manage your vacation rental, you can control the communication with your guests from a central place and even automate a lot of things thanks to email templates and automated messages.

Neighbors not informed

Before you rent out your apartment to visitors for the first time, you should inform your neighbors. They can help your guests in case of emergency and inform you in case of excessive noise.

No clear instructions

When it comes to separating waste or complicated appliances, your guests need clear instructions. If they don’t have these instructions, they will either be afraid to use the appliance or do something wrong. It is advisable to prepare the necessary information in an easy-to-understand way and place these instructions next to the device.

With Smoobu you can provide all the important info for your guests in a digital guest guide. Within the guest guide, you can also add instructions for the TV, air conditioning, etc.

Legal & Taxes

If you don’t follow the legal requirements or don’t tax pay income tax correctly, it can be end up being very expensive when it is all said and done.

You don’t know the legal requirements in your region

Are you allowed to offer your condo on vacation rental portals? Maybe, maybe not. Generally, you can rent out your property as a vacation home if the condo community agrees. In the case of rented apartments, you may need the permission of your landlord.

However, in cities and regions where housing is scarce, additional restrictions may apply such as local laws, housing protection ordinances and more. Therefore, it is best to find out about the regulations in your region before you advertise your vacation rental.

No written agreements

You are not legally obligated to sign a rental agreement. However, in case of problems, it best to be on  the safe side and have guests sign a rental agreement.

You neglect the bookkeeping

You must pay taxes on your income from renting out vacation homes. To ensure that you do not forget anything, you should document all income and expenses.

Insurance & deposit

Property and liability insurance

You think that all damages are covered by your household insurance? Think again: Many homeowner’s insurance policies explicitly exclude rental cases. When choosing your insurance, make sure that the rental of your holiday home is also covered. If your property is located abroad, you will also need to take this into account.


Do you think you can just keep the guest’s deposit if something is broken? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You need to be able to show receipts for the repairs, and sometimes even more documentation is required.

Overbooking / double occupancy

If you offer your vacation rental on multiple platforms like Airbnb, and Vrbo double bookings can easily occur.

You must make sure as a vacation rental host that your booking calendars on all portals are always up to date. This also applies to booking systems on your own website. A channel manager like Smoobu can help you with this.

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