We are experiencing a busy August here in Durango! With a steady flow of tourists and ideal weather, we’re seeing new hotels and lodging option all through the area. Many Durango residents are creating an extra income using a room, wing, an accessory living unit, or even creating one to list on short-term rental services like Airbnb and VRBO.
Seeing picture-perfect local accommodations can be inspiring; however, make no mistake! These local entrepreneurs are putting in the work to truly make an income worthy of the work. These 5 factors help properties stand out on these services, and they are worth considering before even taking the first step to list your property.
#1: Pictures. Pictures. Pictures!
You’ve heard pictures are worth a thousand words, and when we are talking homes, they are worth a million. (This also applies for home sales listings if you were wondering!) Clear, bright, open pictures that highlight the features of the space sell the accommodations more than any extra service or description you take the time to craft.
People like to see pictures of clean, bright bathrooms and kitchens, modern appliances, photos that share the spaces aesthetic, and features that set the space apart from others. Does you space have a reading nook? Does your kitchen have an espresso machine? Is there a shaded outdoor area?
You get it! Short-term rentals don’t book without curb appeal, and with online bookings, the curb is what your photos communicate.
#2: Let your property run itself
There are so many smart devices out there for homes, and many of those can be utilized to make check in and more run more smoothly with less work. Additionally, most guests are looking for a more personal, but still professional hotel-like experience. Guests don’t necessarily want to have to interact throughout their visit.
Short-term rentals can automate with electronic locks, doorbell ring systems, providing technology in the space, automated cleaning devices, and more. The idea is to provide the ultimate guest comfort with the minimum effort required.
#3: No news IS NOT good news!
Short-term rentals require marketing and follow up. These side businesses do not run themselves! Let that be a warning, promise, and tip. The best way to get business to immediately follow up inquiries with as much information as possible. Offering comprehensive information and following up with a deal can bring new guests in.
However, the work doesn’t stop there! Feedback and reviews make or break short term rentals. Running a property well requires sending follow up messages asking for reviews and explain their importance. Additionally, customer service is key – just like any business. Sometimes guests won’t be the most polite or issues may need fixed, but short term rentals require 5-star-hotel level attention.
#4: Keep it local
Keeping it local personalizes the experience and sets short-term rentals apart. Good examples of this are stocking local products (i.e. coffee, soap, condiments, candy, etc.), brokering relationships with businesses for your guests to get a deal on a meal or experience, or highlighting the themes of the local community. Durango locals are so interested in sharing the mountain lifestyle that this part comes naturally in this area!
#5: Durango Area Laws & Taxes
Here comes the paperwork part. You need to make sure that it is allowed in your home, your local government entities, your HOA, and more before listing your space as a short-term rental. Additionally, side businesses beware! Not all properties are listed as they are with the assessor’s office. Using your home as a source of income can often spur an assessment of your property and sometimes can increase property taxes. It’s best to know about your limitations, utility costs, and more before your short-term rental gets started.