Last year I was fortunate to spend some time in one of my favorite places—Tulum, Mexico. I was carrying out an interior design project for two condos that belonged to a client. When the job was finished, I handed them both over to the local vacation rental management company, who promised a 32% to 34% occupancy rate. Not a stellar rate, but not terrible for the first few years of business.
It's a rare child that says, "I want to be a vacation rental owner when I grow up." I'm writing this from the hanging bed of my home in Fiji—Starfish Blue. The breeze is delicious, the view world-class, and the scent of frangipani—my favorite flower on the planet—perfumes the air. I am a delighted vacation rental owner. But I did not start out that way.
This is so simple, yet many people miss it. When people are looking at a number of properties across a few listing sites, it will begin to register with them. If you want to do additional marketing and have a website or Facebook page, this gives people a way to find you without the competition of other rentals.
When I first went to Fiji in 1999, I had no thoughts of buying a lot, designing and building a house, and becoming a vacation rental expert. Of course, life often turns out better than we ever imagined...and I'm living proof of that.
In 1999, I traveled to Fiji. For me, living in the mountains of North Carolina, it was a long journey but some of my friends thought I was heading to Mt. Fuji, Japan. After getting there, honestly, I was a bit disillusioned.
Now, instead of working with a resort that was giving me 25% occupancy and pocketing half the rent, I was maintaining 85% occupancy and keeping all the profits.No matter what age you are or where in the world your dream takes you, you too can make your dream vacation rental a success.
When I fell in love with the Pacific island of Fiji in 1999, my mom, who's a steady, smart person, implored me to reconsider building a vacation rental in such a distant locale.
With vacation rentals, location is everything. Except for the little luxuries, like upgraded kitchens, a water feature (or three) or a luxurious master suite.
I talk to a lot of people who are considering renting their second home out to vacationers. Some of them already have a home, sitting empty most of the year.
While I have a second home overseas, I’m certainly never going to be featured in “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”—even though people may have put me in that category. How can I afford a luxurious home on a tropical island without a millionaire’s bank account?