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Maximizing Your Short Term Rental Profits in Whistler, BC

17 Jul
Leo Chrenko July 17, 2019 0
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A short-term rental has always been a great way to earn some extra dollars on your vacation property when it’s not in use by your family. However, in the past, it’s been time-consuming to manage and something that most property owners did very occasionally. 

With the rise of sites like Airbnb and HomeAway, many people who had been merely dabbling with short term vacation rentals were suddenly given access to a more extensive market of people who would much prefer renting a vacation home in the community, to staying at a hotel in the ultra-touristy part of town. The appeal of a vacation home seems to be especially important for families travelling with children. 

However, despite the ease of listing your property, provided by Airbnb and the like, there are still several responsibilities that get added to your plate as a “Host.” Your property needs to be actively managed by you or someone you trust. You have to deal with bookings, answer questions, and ensure a clean place for each new guest. Not to mention, the marketing you have to engage in so that you place stands-out among all the other listings. 

When it comes to short term rentals in Whistler, more specifically, the good news is that the City is actively engaged. Where many places seek to restrict or even evict operations like Airbnb, the City of Whistler has sought to work with them. This embrace of technology has meant the City now requires operators of short term rentals to acquire a business licence for $165 annually and charges an extra $10 for each additional address you plan to list. Of course, the more engaged route has also meant that they have followed up with a $1,000 per day fine for those owners found in violation.

With more than two million annual visitors, Whistler was almost forced to embrace operators of short term rentals. It used to be that Whistler was a ski resort town with a considerable off-season for recovery. These days around 50 percent of Whistlers guests come during the non-skiing months to enjoy hiking, cycling, golf, and so much more. 

Given Whistler’s pedigree as a resort town, it’s no surprise that there are a considerable number of vacation properties that spend many weeks of the year unoccupied by their owner. Airbnb listings in Whistler have risen so much that close to one in five homes are currently listed. The exciting part is that the market is still far from saturated. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can simply list your property and relax. If you want to maximize the profit of your vacation property when it’s not in use, you have to stand out from the crowd. 

Let’s look at some great ways to get the most of your short term Whistler vacation rental. 

Storytelling

People don’t buy convertibles because they have a retractable roof, they buy them for the story of freedom they conjured up about that retractable roof. When you first decide to list your vacation property for short term rental, create an inventory list. Write down every attribute you can think of to help craft the story of how your home provides an incredible vacation experience.

For example:

  • Large bay window with a view
  • Chef’s Kitchen
  • Espresso maker
  • Short walk to the golf course  
  • Distance from the nearest neighbour
  • Large master bedroom with on-suite overlooking a lake
  • Soaker tub 
  • A library full of books

Each of these items is a great feature, but the important part is the story they can weave. 

– Imagine waking up in this charming master bedroom with the breeze cool off the lake and the sound of birds chirping. Saunter downstairs for your morning espresso, before taking a short walk to play a leisurely round of golf. After your lunch, in our well-appointed kitchen, find your way to the home library for something to read, either in the bay window or out on the sundeck. Maybe better yet, take that book to the sun-lit on-suite and relax in the soaker tub for a time before meeting friends in the village for a world-class meal. After all this, you’ll be ready to head over to the Whistler Olympic Plaza to check out The Family Stone or one of the other amazing acts playing there all year round.–

Try to imagine what someone could do with each of your amenities and tell them the story of a perfect day using them. If they can see themselves living it, you can almost guarantee they will not be too fussed at what it’s going to cost to make it a reality. 

When you’re thinking about your Whistler property, remember to tailor the amenities to the season. As Whistler has become very much an all-year destination, you will want to switch up Skiing adventures, with Golf outings, and Mountain biking trail rides. Try to think of all the great activities that made Whistler the place you choose to spend your vacation time. 

Photos

Think of the story you just drafted in your mind for your guest’s “perfect” day. Now imagine complimenting that with just the right images. It’s almost like providing the stage for the script to play out. When your story matches the photos, it will be hard for them to feel good about any other offer listed. It also means you can confidently list your property to maximize profits. 

When it comes to taking photos, we recommend hiring a professional. Too often, we see gorgeous homes brought down in demand and value by subpar photographic representation. 

Another great option is to hire a drone operator. Real estate agents have been doing this for a while now. Not only can you give a prospective guest a walkthrough tour, but by getting some aerial shots of the home and its surroundings to help you continue to build on that “perfect” day story.

Buy Like a Hotel

If possible, designate a closet where you can lock all of your “hotel” supplies. Fresh bedding, towels, tissue & toilet paper, and all the things that you will need to have flipped over or refreshed between guests. Once you have a designated space, buy in bulk. If you have a Costco membership, you can purchase a lot of these things in large quantity and save. One full trip from the Lower Mainland will keep you going for some time and save on these expenses overall. Too many times short term rental profits get whittled away by purchasing one-off incidentals too regularly.

Hire Cleaners, Keep your Ranking

Even if you live close by, the need to do a thorough cleaning between guests can become arduous. And, while it may not seem like a way to maximize profits, we can assure you it is. When you list your property on Airbnb, or sites like it, not only are you accepting guests, you are being rated on the level of hospitality you provide. Your guests are evaluating you on their overall experience of your property. By guaranteeing a polished home for each new short term rental, you are helping to ensure your rating stays high. The five-star rating system allows sites like Airbnb to decide which listings will rise to the top of their search. In a competitive market like Whistler, this is always going to be necessary.

Work with Bolld

It may sound quite bold, pardon the pun, for us to include ourselves as a way to maximize your short term rental profits, but we can promise you it’s true. Working with a property manager like Bolld will ensure that your property is well cared for when you’re not using it. The cleaning will always get done on time, the supplies will be stocked, and you will benefit from the advantages of being a member of a group of properties under one management team and purchasing group.

With Bolld specifically, you benefit from our rating as an Airbnb Superhost. This designation is given out to hosts that have a minimum of 10 stays in a year, maintain a 90% response rate or higher, have at least 80% of their ratings as 5-star reviews, and honour all confirmed reservations. Having a Superhost designation usually translates into an 81% higher occupancy rate, 60% more revenue per available day, 5% improvement in listing traffic, and improved short term rental profitability. 

The best part is that by listing with us, you benefit from this hard-earned ranking, and your listings rise above all the other listing available. Not to mention, taking advantage of our years of experience managing properties in Whistler and the Lower Mainland. To learn more about our Superhost status and what it means for your listing, click here.

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