Avon: it’s a bloody battlefield where only the strongest short term rental listings survive. And even if it’s not quite that dire, it can certainly feel that way for a solo property owner. The entire Vail Valley is a competitive market for short term rentals, and the automated systems and sophisticated pricing tools in play can feel hard to go against.
But with the right techniques, anyone can step into the fray and succeed. You just have to understand the game you’re playing. Based on the rentals we’ve managed, here’s what you need to do to win.
Tell Your Story
Any big amenities like a hot tub or huge fireplace should be front and center, along with access to workout rooms or other great features. Give juicy details on everything a guest can expect, and check the boxes for all the little amenities you offer (you never know what filter someone is using). Tell your story and make it fun and personal. People often want a bit of an experience, so share why yours is unique.
Show It Off
This is where you invest in professional photos…or at least make sure the ones you’re taking are up to snuff. Good lighting is a must. Open the windows, pick a time of day that gives you the visibility you need. Use a good camera with a wide angle lens and get clean, clear shots. Short term rental platform algorithms prioritize higher resolution images, and people appreciate them. Just as you’re going to write a lot in your description, so you should take a lot of photos. Nothing looks sketchier than the listing with only three shots, and you never know which room will pull your guest in. Just keep it to two or three shots per room…eleven shots of the bathroom might be a little excessive.
Price It Right
Too high and you lose customers; too low and you lose money! What to do? We use Airdna for market research, and have found the program well worth it. But you could follow the DIY route by simply making a spreadsheet of three or four competitive properties similar to yours. Search them out once every month or two and note their housekeeping price, daily price, and if they run any deals. Then price yourself 5% lower. Boom.
Automate Your Messaging
There are a lot of things you’ll have to say more than once. This is more of a behind-the-scenes optimization strategy, but you will thank us after you’ve copied and pasted the same exact answer five times. Eventually, you’ll have a check-in policy, driving directions, FAQs about the nightlife, “standard welcome”, etc, but maybe the best way to start is to answer inquiries manually and copy and paste your answers in a Word document. After a few months, you’ll see strong patterns. Develop an FAQ and you’ll look like a wizard at responding quickly. There are also tools like Guesty that automate this for you, but it’s good to do it manually at first to get into the rhythm of it.
Small fish can play in a big pond if they know what they’re doing. By nailing down your writing, photos, pricing, and messaging strategy, you’ll succeed with your Avon short term rental.