agers will assist you in picking out the right house to buy, and they can also help you fill it with the right tenants at the right price. NO. 3 KNOW YOUR GUESTS. The Millennial generation is becom- ing one of the biggest groups of rental customers, but that doesn’t mean you should discount Baby Boomers or Gen Xers. Know your rental market and recognize the unique desires and expectations of each group. While Millennials might want to know the best "selfie spots," Gen Xers could care more about Wi-Fi (for their children's movies/devices), and Baby Boomers may just want a little peace and quiet. Know who you're trying to reach, and make sure your home is properly outfitted to be your target guests’ "home away from home." Vacation rentals can be a great way to help you build long-term wealth, and various rental plat- forms make unlocking that po- tential and finding renters easier than ever. Still, the ins and outs of managing these properties are often much more demanding than people expect. A single property might be manageable but juggling the demands of multiple properties quickly becomes a full-time job. To leave the headache behind, follow the above steps and unlock addi- tional wealth without any unneces- sary work. •

ly simple process of dealing with bookings can even be demanding: Most prospects expect a response to their inquiry almost immedi- ately, even if the rental period is months away. If you don't respond fast enough, potential customers will take their business elsewhere. If these challenges are making you think twice about earning income and building wealth with a vacation rental property, it doesn’t have to be this way. Follow these three tips to keep your eyes on the prize as you begin to real- ize the potential of vacation rentals: NO. 1 PLAY THE LONG GAME. Keep an eye on the long-term investment horizon, and don’t expect immediate returns. Even when you budget for necessary up- dates to a home, you might find that revenue from the rental doesn’t cov- er 100 percent of upkeep and rental operations. Pace yourself — you’re tapping into the appreciation of the asset, and you’ll get to enjoy it with your family as you build wealth. Try to avoid the short-term temp- tation of comparing the price of your own rental with others in the neigh- borhood. Just because a neighbor rents a house for $2,000 per week doesn’t mean you necessarily can. NO. 2 CHOOSE THE RIGHT PARTNER. The right property manager will constantly be on the lookout for new ways to improve their (and your) business. They’ll identify best-in- class technology solutions to solve everyday problems and streamline operations, maximizing your return and protecting your assets. Consider a professional vacation rental manager who is a member of an organization such as the Va- cation Rental Management Associ- ation (VRMA). Professional man-


owners start out with the intention of taking advantage of the rental market on their own. Managing a single property is a viable approach, but it generally takes more time and effort than people think. Finding guests, collecting rent, paying taxes, and finding help to clean and maintain the property is only the beginning. When you start consider- ing multiple properties, the respon- sibilities quickly add up and become more than one person can handle. It’s important to remember that the demands of short-term rentals aren’t spread evenly throughout the week. You might have a high volume of check-ins and check- outs on Thursday, for instance, or multiple calls from tenants on a Saturday looking to get a problem addressed quickly. The seeming-

by Sean Miller


acation rentals, increasingly referred to as private accom- modations, have been around for decades. Historically, a family would buy a second home and then hire a property manager to rent it out during the time it wasn’t in use. With this tactic, the owners used vacation rental income to defray ongoing costs and generated profit based on the long-term appreciation of the asset. With the rise of platforms such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO, the number of people using these rental

options has skyrocketed. A 2017 report by Phocuswright notes that the number of U.S. travelers using or considering private accommodations rose to almost 50 percent in 2015 — up from just 35 percent the year prior. In fact, research from Booking. com indicates that 33 percent of trav- elers prefer this option over a hotel. In other words, it's a great time to be positioning yourself in the vaca- tion rental market. For the skeptics who think that the bubble is about to burst, a 2019 report from Skift sug-

gests that we can expect to see solid travel growth in the coming year. In- ternational travel increased by about five percent in 2018, and global eco- nomic growth is expected to increase in 2019 — indicating that travel won't be slowing down anytime soon.

Sean Miller is president of PointCen- tral, a subsidiary of and the leader in enterprise property automation solutions for long-term and short-term

managers of single-family and multifamily rental properties. Outside of having a lifelong passion for technology, Mr. Miller has almost 10 years of pro- fessional experience with B2B and B2C IoT/home automation technology, having previously led global sales and business development for Wemo, Belkin’s home automation business unit, and launched Mobile Link, a cellular-based internet connectivity service for generators, at Generac Power Systems.


Market conditions aside, success- fully managing a vacation property is not without its challenges. Many

64 | think realty magazine :: july / august 2019

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