There are many ways to help owners expand their base of income and to market yourself as a property manager that’s going above and beyond to help your clients succeed.
Recently I learned of a company that had their “Initial Public Offering” (IPO) on the Nasdaq stock exchange. It reminded me of an opportunity that property managers are able to create in their own backyard. Austin, Texas based HomeAway, Inc. (Nasdaq:AWAY) operates as an online marketplace for the vacation rental industry. Its online vacation rental property marketplace enables property owners and managers to market properties available for rent to vacation travelers who rely on the company’s websites to search for and find available properties. The company’s website (http://www.homeaway.com) offers property listings, photographs, pricing, availability and contact information for vacation homes.
The company publishes detailed property listings, including photographs, descriptions, location, pricing, availability, and contact information. It also sells complementary products, such as travel guarantees and property management software and services. It’s a smart business model and successful people I know have been looking for something like this for a long time.
One couple told me, “when we go on vacation with our half-grown kids, one hotel room is too cramped and two hotel rooms for a week is more expensive than renting a house.”
How does one find a short-term house to rent? Typically, it means calling a local real estate agency that has a limited number of rental properties available. If you don’t find what you want, you have to call another agent, and this process is often a pain in the neck. HomeAway takes this highly fragmented market and consolidates it, offering just what people need at their particular price point. With millions of second homes in resort areas sitting on the market unsold, many of them will ultimately be offered up for rentals, increasing both inventory and affordability.
So why not consider this as an additional service that your property management business can offer? This would be especially valuable in resort areas or in parts of the country where people come for extended stays (university towns, state capitals or hubs of major industries). Try presenting this idea to selected owner-clients who may want to use some of their rental units or houses for this purpose. It will remind them that you’re a reservoir of not only reliable management but also lucrative suggestions.
There are variations on this theme, like offering short-term rentals for corporate executives, graduate students with families, or for retirees who want to test your area by living there for a few months. In these challenging times it pays to think outside the box and create the strong reputation that you are a property manager who’s also a source of good ideas. The “Home-Away-from-Home” rental concept is just starting to catch on. See if it can benefit you and your clients.