How for Increase Bookings for your Airbnb, VRBO, FlipKey and HomeAway Listing! A Property Owner’s Guide and Effective Tips
No time wasted here so let’s get to it:
(1) Professional photography highly recommended – this is the most important factor if you’d like to attract renters over other listings in the same geographical area. Invest the money to hire a pro photographer to take photos of your rental property especially to feature the amenities that make your rental stands out from the rest, be it hot tub, lake views, prime location, etc.
Even if you have a tight budget, consider hiring an ‘up and coming’ photographer from Craigslist to take professional looking photos of your vacation home/ski lease rental property. And yes, it’s true: “a picture is worth a thousand words” and photos are priceless when it comes to instant appeal which will get you more clicks on your rental listing which equates to more booking inquiries.
(2) Take time to write a clear and concise description of your rental/ski lease listing and be sure to include things such as:
* amenities? what makes your rental property unique? prime location at the base of Squaw? hot tub and sauna?
* how many people can your property sleep/accommodate? How many beds and baths total?
* location and proximity of your property in relation to points of interests in the area: resorts, restaurants, grocery markets, etc.
* is this a family type rental or a group type rental?
* duration of rental/lease: daily, monthly or winter seasonal lease?
* rental/lease rates: discount if booked for longer term? Security deposit? Cleaning fee? Snow plow service included? Utilities included?
* how many covered parking spaces? flat driveway?
* pet friendly? other restrictions?
* for group ski lease, guest fees? full time residence ok?
* for ski lease group, it’s good idea to describe age range of people in the group and preferences for social activities, apres ski happy hour, family type shared meals, etc
* best way to contact you: by email, phone, text or?
* what basic information would you like from potential renters or ski lease members to provide as part of initial email contact so you can get an idea of who they are? Ask renters to share something about themselves such as profession, LinkedIn profile, FB, Instagram, etc.
(3) Make use of well written rental agreements:
Your rental agreement is essential for setting expectations between you and your guests/renters/lease members! It provides a sense of security for all parties involved, and defines the rules and policies for the property prior to their stay. Some key items to include in rental/lease agreements:
* Maximum Occupancy
* Cancellation Policies
* House Rules (very important to be specific)
* Check In/Out procedures (be clear & specific)
* Damage Policy
Consider having your renters/lease members read and sign House Rules and rental policies to show that they clearly understood your rental terms prior to their stay. For example, include in your policy things like where guests can smoke, where they can’t smoke (a fine is levied if they are caught smoking where they aren’t allowed to). Consider including rules and policies on pets, occupancy and type of use (no wild parties, etc).
Visit the following sites to view some examples/templates of Lake Tahoe area lease/rental agreements/terms/contracts/policies:
(4) Complete a rental market research ‘due diligence’: ask yourself.. ‘have I priced my rental or ski lease competitively for the current rental market for my geographical area my rental is located in?’
Do some market research and make sure to price ‘apples to apples’ comparison based on rental location, number of bedrooms, baths, amenities, square footage, etc. If you don’t nail your rental pricing competitively, you won’t get as many rental inquiries no matter how pretty your rental photos look.
Next, perform keyword searches on Airbnb, VRBO and Craigslist among other rental sites to get an idea of what is the current market rate for rentals/ski leases.
(5) Lastly, leverage your social connections (before you submit your listing) by asking family and friends to give you feedback on ways to improve your rental/ski lease listing for clarity, conciseness and appeal.
Ski Leases for families and groups. The Ins and Outs of Getting Into One.
I’d like to talk to you about ski leases. Not the kind to lease ski equipment, but condo and cabin rentals for an entire ski season for ski addicts like us. I had never heard of one until the end of last season. After I learned about them, they seemed so intriguing and beneficial to my situation that I had to learn more. I finally got into one and would like to tell you about my experience with my first ski lease. By doing so, I hope that you will gain some insight into them and learn about what they are and how you too can get into one. I’ll start with my story and then provide a general description of a ski lease and then some tips from people that have lots of experience with them. Hopefully this will help you into your very own ski lease either for your family or for your group of ski and snowboarding buddies.
When I discovered ski leases I saw them as a great ski housing opportunity for me and my family. You see, I’ve come back to skiing full tilt after almost 20 years of hiatus. Back in the day, I skied every opportunity I could get and being young and without responsibilities, never had an issue finding a place to crash when up in Tahoe. Back then, the freedom of being able to drive up to Tahoe, bum around, ski lots and have really no worries about a place to stay was taken for granted.
Flash forward twenty some-odd years and is it still that way? We all know that answer to that. Marriage and kids have become the major parts of the equation. Since the kids are now old enough to ski all day without a meltdown, we can go up quite a lot. However now when we go its not just me and my buds anymore. Can you imagine going up to Tahoe with my wife and three kids to just show up at someone’s place ready to crash there? It just doesn’t work that way anymore.
What is a family to do? Buying a ski house is out of the question right now. We could book a hotel stay, but that gets very expensive especially for those of us with a ski season pass with the goal of getting in as many ski days as possible. How about day trips? We had to go that route towards the end of last season because we were spending an ungodly amount of money on hotel stays. I’m sure I’m in a similar boat with many of you out there. The solution for someone like us was the seasonal ski lease.
What is it? Basically it is a rental of a condo or cabin in Tahoe for the ski season. If you know you’re going to Tahoe often for skiing then renting a condo/cabin for the ski season is a great alternative to paying for hotels/other lodging each time you go up. It can be more cost effective but also more convenient because you can leave your ski gear and clothing at your ski lease cabin and not worry about having a place to stay and the chore of having to pack for every ski trip. Combined with a season pass to your favorite ski resort, the major expenses are covered and you’ll only have the cost of meals and gas to worry about. If you’re a ski nut like me and aren’t yet in a similar situation, I can’t express how priceless it is to have peace of mind, comfort, and the convenience of having a ski season pass and a place to stay anytime during the season taken care of.
If you’re ready to take the plunge into a ski lease, how do you get into one of these great deals? Through my research, I’ve discovered three ways.
(1) – you can deal directly with the owner of a property and lease the place for you and your family or group for friends for the season. If that is too costly, then you could ask families/friends that you know if they’d want to go in with you and share the cost of the lease.
(2) – you could contact a local professional that brokers these kinds of deals. I haven’t had much luck finding these professionals though. From what I’ve heard and if you can find one, they can put you in touch with owners that are looking to rent out their property. Once in touch with the owner, you could do the lease yourself or put together a group of members to split the cost. A good resource is to search for Lake Tahoe area vacation rentals available as a seasonal ski lease listed on SnowPals rentals page.
(3) – you could go to online resources and search for individuals that already have a deal in place with the owner of the property and are looking for additional “members”. For those of you that are new to this, this route is probably the easiest way to enter the ski lease world. SnowPals is a great resource for Tahoe ski leases organized by various groups and has an entire section dedicated to available Tahoe area ski lease membership opportunities. For those of you looking for ski leases in areas outside of Tahoe, you could check TGR, EpicSki forums or Craigslist for postings.
The cost per membership varies and there are so many options out there. I’ve seen listings on SnowPals for full season (typically December to April) ski lease membership for one person from $700 all the way to $2500. If you’re single and can spend just $700 for lodging for an entire season–that’s an amazing deal; let’s say you stay at the ski lease for a total of 30 nights, your cost per night would be $23.34 per night. Naturally, the more nights you stay, the more value you get from the ski lease. Signing up for ski lease membership is a great way to maximize your ski season pass since it encourages you to go up to Tahoe the night before and be close to the ski resort and can take advantage of a good night’s rest and get the chance to ski/ride fresh tracks/powder when resorts start up their lifts. Also, the value of beating the crowds and traffic to the resort is priceless; how many times have you been stuck in traffic or frustrated with locating free parking spaces? In addition, getting into a ski lease gives you the chance to expand your social circle and make new friends.
So, how did I find my ski lease? I got into mine by letting everyone I knew know that I wanted to learn about ski leases and my desire of joining one. Within a short period of time, a friend contacted me to ask if my wife and I would be willing to go in with them on a ski lease. He knew the owners of a great place in Truckee and they mentioned to him that they wanted to rent the place for the ski season. I told him absolutely and that we should jump on that. We brought our families together along with one other family and now we have a great house to stay in any time we want from Dec 14 to May 15. Each “member” in our group is a family. We each paid an equal lump sum on November 1, have no guest fees and our lump sum cost includes all utilities and snow removal. It is such a great deal. Of course, if another family is up there when we go up, we must share the space with them, but since we all know each other and our kids are all friends, other members being up there makes our stay more fun. Also a great benefit is that we take turns watching the kids so each set of parents get some down time. We also rotate turns cooking so that gives us more quality family time to enjoy our time together.
So what are some of the pitfalls? There have to be some, right? From my research, most pitfalls come from a misunderstanding of the rules of use when in a group ski lease. If you leased the place on your own, then the rules are yours and yours alone. However, if you are going into a ski lease as part of a group, then it is important to understand the rules otherwise there could be trouble. Of course it is important to click with the other members and if you do then it is important to nail down whatever rules all the members of the ski lease decide on in a clear and concise written agreement. Here are some things to consider from my wise and experienced ski lease mates, Eric and Andy:
What does your membership cost include? Make sure you know up front what your membership cost includes and what other expenses (if any) you’ll be responsible for at the end of the lease (e.g. utilities, firewood, hot tub maintenance, snow removal, house cleaning services, etc.)
Guest fees. Some ski leases charge “guest fees” for non-members to stay overnight to cover any additional expenses for lease. Make sure you are clear about guest fees in your ski lease and the rules for them
Parking. What are rules for parking? Last thing you want is to go up late Friday night and not have a parking space or at least be prepared for no parking space. Consider the option to carpool or ride share to your ski cabin if you don’t have alot of people in your family and empty seats in the van/SUV.
Storage of your stuff. Can you store stuff at the ski cabin/ski lease and if so what are the rules and where do you store your stuff?
Priority for bedrooms. If it is important for you to be in a bedroom, then what are the chances that you might not get one if everyone in the membership happens to be up at the same time. Some ski leases have agreements to allocate a dedicated bedroom where it is solely yours for the entire season which is very beneficial to bringing your own bedding and store your winter clothing and gear in the closet for convenience and easy access.
So, if you go up to Tahoe a lot and need the convenience of your own home without the financial commitment, but want a more cost effective solution than hotels/motels, a ski lease is the way to go. There are so many different options available out there. A great place to start is to browse available ski lease memberships organized by families or group of skiers/snowboarders to share a ski cabin. If you’re in a different area than Tahoe, you can also try craigslist, TGR, EpicSki, SnowHeads forum and other places online in your search to join a ski lease.
Many thanks to Eric and Andy, my ski lease mates who share their many years of experience and useful advice on how best to get into a ski lease and to reap the benefits of maximizing our ski season pass, lodging cost savings and most of all, deepening our friendship with shared experiences. Also many thanks to those of you who provided me with some great stories and advice.
For rental property and ski lease tips/guide/how to, read ..
What: Join to increase your ‘fun factor” by expanding your circle of ski, ride buddies for Tahoe ski trips & powder trips to other snow destinations especially covered by a multi-resort pass such as the
EPIC PASS, IKON PASS, MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE PASS + POWDER ALLIANCE PASS.
Our Host is Emily ..
“I was born & raised Vermonter, and a current Epic Pass holder. Most weekends you can find me at Kirkwood, or Heavenly shredding the pow. Interested in carpooling on weekends, or weekdays to any Epic Resorts. Looking forward to meeting everyone!”
– Swag giveaway: $25 Sports Basement gift card Sports Basement + other swag in the works
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– Share POWDER Stories from last season and enjoy complimentary drinks and light snacks 😉
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