Up Your Game To Be An Airbnb Pro

Up Your Game To Be An Airbnb Pro

Listing your home on Airbnb in this day in age is easier than ever.  With forum after forum, and other hosts likely struggling/thriving in the same areas as you, there is no lack of support from the internet.   

Travelers have every home they could ever rent at their fingertips, so you have to be sure and list your home in a way that gets you noticed, and in a way you can still cover your costs.

Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about what to do and more importantly about what not to do when it comes to listing your home on Airbnb.   Sites like Airbnb and HomeAway are extremely intuitive and straightforward. They hold your hand as you walk through the steps, but keep in mind these sights are very “guest-centric” so if you under-list your home they often won’t recommend raising your rates (as one example…)


It’s key that you have professional-level photos of your home because image is everything!  You could own the most beautiful vacation rental on Planet Earth, but without captivating photographs that display such beauty, you might as well own a cave…

Not only is it important for your photos to be high quality, but they need to accurately represent how the home looks and what it includes.  Guests will treat photographs like legal contracts, and they should! So be sure to update your photography as often as necessary.

Accurate and Honest Fees

There’s nothing worse than hidden fees…and Airbnb and Homeaway take pride in protecting their guests from such.  To avoid stirring the pot, be honest and upfront with your guests about any and all fees they might have to pay. It’s better to spell out the details in the beginning, rather than fighting a battle after the fact.

*Another helpful tip:  Ensure all of your fees are active before actually listing your home.  For example, if you forget to set the amount for a damage deposit, or neglect to include any kind of cleaning fee whatsoever, and go ahead and click “publish”…don’t expect to circle-back and charge guests a damage deposit and/or cleaning fee after they’ve booked.  

*Also, be sure to list all amenities accurately, as guests have the right to complain about listed amenities that are not actually included in the home.  If you’re planning on adding additional items to the home, but haven’t yet, make sure your listing reflects the current status.

Clear Communication

There is certainly such-a-thing as over-communication but when people have paid a lot of money to travel to a stranger’s home…it’s safe to say folks would rather have their inboxes slightly over-loaded than completely empty. When your guests book, be clear and set the expectation for how often they will be communicated with prior to arrival.

For example:

Thanks for booking!  I’ll send more details about arrival, and entry as we get closer, but generally, you expect to receive a series of 3 emails/texts from me.

1) Booking Confirmed – within the next day or so
2) Arrival Instructions – 1 week before your trip
3) Entry Codes – 1 day before your trip (email and text)

Feel free to send any questions you have my way.

Guests will typically expect a response to both booking inquiries, and for general questions within 10-15 minutes.  Airbnb requires a response within 1 hour to maintain a positive response rate.  For example, most travelers will put the feelers out on multiple properties in a given area, and more often than not they end up booking the home with the speediest reply.  You can beat out other Airbnb users by simply answering the inquiry faster than others.

If you employ a property management company like Book By Owner, the guest communication piece is completely handled, and when your travelers have questions our team is on-call 24/7, 365 to answer their questions.

Practices like this, in terms of communication, will greatly impact your reputation as a host, and will also offer peace-of-mind and comfort for your guests.

We can’t reiterate enough, just how user-friendly sites like Airbnb and HomeAway have become.  Don’t be intimidated, but at the same time don’t be afraid to seek help! These travel-site giants have hundreds of people working day and night to make your travel experience is the best it can possibly be, and they’re committed to both travelers and homeowners.

When in doubt, reach out the massive community of folks already hosting; odds are, someone has already encountered the same issue you’re coming across, and it’s likely someone has already figured it out.  On the off-chance, you’re the one to come up with a solution, help your fellow hosts and post the answer!

There are plenty of pro’s that can come into play here if you’re overwhelmed.  A very special shout-out to our #1 booking partner in all the land: Evolve Vacation Rental Network!  These folks increase the number of bookings, utilize professional photography, and recommend competitive market rates (in addition to hours of start-up support) for a mere 10% fee.  It’s a no-brainer!

These are just a couple of examples of what we specialize in at Book By Owner. Let us help you achieve ultimate success in your vacation rental endeavors.

Call now! (970) 305-3166 or email info@bookbyowner.com


Interested in a Vacation Business Franchise

Book by Owner offers local franchises where you get to live in a beautiful destination city like Aspen and enjoy a great lifestyle business. Benefit from the proven tools and processes of the Book by Owner system, and add a personal touch to make your BBO franchise all your own. You serve the local rental property owners while enjoying the corporate support that helps ensure your success.

For franchising information and answers to many popular questions about the Book by Owner business opportunity, including possible locations and financing options, visit our franchising page or call (970) 305-3166. We would be glad to arrange a consultation at your earliest convenience.

Top Vacation Rental Destinations: Aspen, Colorado

Aspen, Colorado, is a popular ski resort town as well as a year-round destination for outdoor recreation nestled at approximately 8000 ft. in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Aspen is also known for great shopping destinations and fine dining at high-end restaurants. If you’re looking to travel and explore the great outdoors with all the best amenities nearby, then Aspen should be near the top of your list.

Top Attractions Near Aspen, CO

While there are numerous ways to enjoy your stay in and around Aspen, some of the most popular are highlighted below. Whether you like robust outdoor adventures or prefer scenic views and relaxation, Aspen has something to offer.


Mention Aspen and most people think of skiing, and for good reason. This bucolic mountain town is nestled in the middle of four incredible ski areas:


When the snow is gone Aspen is close to some of the most spectacular hiking spots in all the Rocky Mountains. Choose from beginner paths, mid-level challenges, or expert trails at some of these great destinations:


Aspen also offers some great options for those who want to enjoy picturesque views without strenuous hiking. Take a ride and prepare to be enthralled with the beauty of the surrounding area at these locations:

Culture / History

Experience the history and culture of Aspen with tours and museums that record the rich people and events of this region. If you enjoy cultural attractions, you won’t want to miss the following:

Fine Dining

What’s a trip to Aspen without fine dining? Aspen hosts the Aspen Food and Wine Classic culinary festival each summer, so you know there will be a wide variety of dining and drinking options. Choose from some of these elegant and popular eateries while relaxing from the day’s activities:

Thinking of Turning Your Property into an Aspen Vacation Rental?

With all the fantastic attractions in and around Aspen, CO, vacation rental properties are a sound investment. And, vacation rental homes are growing in popularity, with more travelers choosing them over hotels than ever before. Book by Owner is your on the ground partner for resort property management in Aspen.

For an affordable monthly flat fee, our local representatives handle the details of vacation rental home management, including meeting guests, routine maintenance, turnaround housekeeping, and those middle-of-the-night calls from guests. Our motto says it all: You book the guests. We do the rest. Contact our Aspen office online or call (970) 300-3412 for more information.

Interested in a Vacation Business Franchise?

Book by Owner offers local franchises where you get to live in a beautiful destination city like Aspen and enjoy a great lifestyle business. Benefit from the proven tools and processes of the Book by Owner system, and add a personal touch to make your BBO franchise all your own. You serve the local rental property owners while enjoying the corporate support that helps ensure your success.

For franchising information and answers to many popular questions about the Book by Owner business opportunity, including possible locations and financing options, visit our franchising page or call (877) 977-8411. We would be glad to arrange a consultation at your earliest convenience.

How Do You Provide Damage Protection for Your Vacation Rental Property?

Robert and Karen are pleased that the new 65-inch LED Smart UHD Home Theater Display with High Dynamic Range has been a big hit with guests. Over the last four months, almost every guest has commented on it in reviews. But then, some guests got a bit out of hand, which sometimes happens, and bumped the television off the wall. Before anyone could react, it hit the floor and shattered. Robert and Karen are more than a bit distressed when they find out. How will they pay to replace it so soon? Have they considered some type of damage protection?

As privately owned vacation rental homes become more popular, the demand for hotel-quality comforts and amenities grow. Moreover, guests are no longer as careful as when staying in someone’s actual home; a rental home is more mainstream now like a hotel and people are more carefree. Accidents will happen, even with top quality guests. And, standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover damages incurred from short-term rental guests. Some additional form of damage protection is needed.

Inevitable Damages

Damaged property is part of the facts of life for vacation property owners. Under normal conditions of use, especially during heavy rental seasons, items wear out or get accidentally broken. In the overwhelming majority of cases, these are small, relatively inexpensive items like remote controls, plates, or an occasional lamp. When such inconsequential items are damaged, it’s usually not a big deal to replace them between guest departures and arrivals.

However, when the damaged item is a large, costly piece of property as in our scenario above, the circumstances are different. Such an item likely involved a substantial investment, and a similar expenditure is now required only months later. Most vacation home owners do not plan to make repeat purchases so close together. How can you plan and pay for such accidents when they occur?

Damage Protection Options

For vacation home owners who book guests through a commercial service, most services provide some sort of protection via a property damage deposit that is required in addition to the rental cost. Such deposits are usually around $250 and will cover most accidental damage. Some services add a small amount to each day of rent for built-in damage protection instead of asking for a separate damage deposit from guests.

However, a few hundred dollars from these deposits is not enough to replace large ticket items costing thousands. Those vacation home owners who handle their own bookings must charge a substantial damage deposit in addition to rent, and as a result, see much fewer bookings.

A better and affordable option is a Damage Protection insurance policy from a local commercial insurer. For example, $3,000 of coverage could be obtained by adding a few dollars per night to the cost of rental. The additional cost need not be identified as a separate security deposit. Moreover, the addition of “$3,000 damage protection is included” and “no damage deposit required” on your rental agreements are additional selling points for your vacation property.

When seeking to acquire such a policy in addition to your homeowner’s coverage, be sure to ask for ‘Damage Protection Insurance for short-term rental property.’ Simply asking for ‘Renters Insurance’ can cause a misunderstanding and the wrong type of insurance coverage.

Book by Owner – Your On the Ground Team for Resort Property Management

The scenario described at the beginning of this article can happen to any vacation property owner. By taking steps to provide Damage Protection beyond your homeowner’s insurance policy, such unexpected accidents are no longer a major setback. For more information about damage protection options contact your local Book by Owner franchise owner or call 877.713.4947.

With Book by Owner as your local, on the ground property management team, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your property is cared for and protected. We care for your home and guests 24/7/365, all for an affordable monthly fee. Contact Book by Owner for complete details and pricing for all the services available in your resort vacation area or for franchising opportunities.


How Can You Benefit From Guest Ready Inspections?

Owning and caring for a vacation rental property is a large investment in time and resources. That’s why smart property owners invest in some form of property management arrangement to oversee care of the property between guests. But, are you getting the most effective care for your investment with simple housekeeping and key services? How could you benefit from guest ready inspections for your vacation properties?

What is a Guest Ready Inspection?

Guest ready inspections are the premier level of property management service. The inspection is designed to ensure that your property is handled with the utmost care. Between guests, the inspection guarantees property security, cleaning, maintenance, functionality, and staging are all completed in a timely and satisfactory manner. Here’s how it works:

Within 24 hours after guests check out, a member of your local BBO management team drops by the property for a quick walk-through to check for any obvious problems, deficiencies, or damage. After this preliminary check, housekeeping is summoned to complete the between-guest cleaning checklist for your particular property.

After housekeeping is completed, a member of your local BBO management team performs a thorough guest ready inspection that consists of the following:

  • Ensure adequate cleaning has been performed according to the owner’s housekeeping checklist
  • Inspect for damages and missing items, following the owner’s property/items cataloging
  • Check safety/security measures, smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, windows, are operational and locks are re-keyed (if part of the between-guest setup plans established by the owner)
  • Light staging following owner’s staging notes as a guide
  • Ensure wifi, lights, sound system, televisions, TV remotes, hot tub, gaming systems, etc. are fully functional with adequate batteries in all remotes
  • Provide documented inspection notes including any necessary photos and cataloging that is automatically sent to the property owner

This comprehensive report, complete with necessary photographs, provides important documentation concerning the care of your property and any deficiencies that need to be addressed. When guest ready inspections are completed, your vacation property is ready for new guests to enjoy.

How Can Guest Ready Inspections Help Me?

If you wonder why such an extensive service is necessary, consider how things work without such an inspection. Property management and housekeeping often become unequal partners in completing only a few of the items on the above inspection list. Too often, housekeeping is asked or expected to handle property management duties (“Could you check the lights….etc.”). These extra duties fall outside their normal scope of service and are unfair.

Moreover, housekeeping is not accustomed to billing for such extra services, therefore they handle issues for which they are not compensated. This leads to unhappy cleaning services and incomplete property and staging. Cleaning services are not happy, property management isn’t happy, and property owners end up with lower guest ratings from items left undone.

A guest ready inspection between every new guest ensures that every item is fully ready for every guest. Nothing is overlooked and every detail is in order. In addition, your property is cared for, cataloged, and regularly inspected to minimize damages and loss.

While between-guest housekeeping and regular deep cleaning are important investments in the care of your property, guest ready inspections represent the top tier of vacation rental investment maintenance. Guest ready inspections are the most important service we offer, and although each come at a slight additional cost, the long-term value investment into your property is incalculable.

BBO – Your Property Management Team

With Book by Owner as your local, on the ground property management team, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your guests will enjoy a fully cleaned and prepared vacation rental and your property investment is protected. We care for your home and guests 24/7/365, all for an affordable monthly fee. Contact your local Book by Owner for complete details and pricing for all the services available in your resort vacation area, including guest ready inspections.


Housekeeping vs. Deep Cleaning – Which Do You Need?

Every conscientious vacation property owner knows the value of having a clean home for guests. But some owners get confused about the difference between housekeeping and deep cleaning. Which do you need to protect your investment and keep your vacation property ready for guests?

The simple answer is, you need both. Busy vacation rentals need cleaning in between guests and a periodic deep cleaning to maintain a prime level of pleasing sanitary conditions. This can become quite a chore for property owners, even if they live close to their rental homes. Book by Owner is your on-the-ground team for vacation property management, and that includes housekeeping and deep cleaning services.


What is Involved in Housekeeping?

Housekeeping is different from end-of-season deep cleaning because it involves more general cleaning between guests. The time isn’t available for a deep, exhaustive cleaning, so a quick, yet thorough, cleaning process is observed. Some local or state health department codes may require certain actions between guests, such as draining, cleaning, and refilling the hot tub, or changing mattress pads and pillow protectors.

Aside from these mandated services, BBO housekeeping follows a detailed checklist to ensure your property and its furnishings are spotlessly clean for each new set of guests. This includes:  


  • Wipe down major and minor appliances, countertops, and cabinets
  • Scrub and sanitize sinks
  • Clean and empty garbage cans
  • Clean floor
  • Empty dishwasher and put away the dishes
  • Replenish supplies and dish hand towels


  • Change sheets on the beds
  • Vacuum floor and check for trash under beds
  • Check windows for fingerprints
  • Dust furniture and clean mirrors
  • Empty wastebaskets

Dining Room

  • Sweep/vacuum and/or clean floor
  • Wipe down dining table
  • Wipe down chairs

Living Room

  • Dust all surfaces
  • Sweep/vacuum and/or wash floor
  • Check sofa bed for dirty linens, and leave clean linens if needed
  • Empty wastebaskets


  • Clean and sanitize showers, bathtubs, toilets, faucets, and sinks
  • Clean mirrors
  • Clean floors and wall tiles
  • Empty wastebaskets
  • Replenish supplies and clean towels based on occupancy


What is Involved in Deep Cleaning?

Deep cleaning after the main rental season ends involves a much more thorough cleaning indoors and out. Approximately three times as many items are included in a deep cleaning over basic between-guests housekeeping. Your BBO property management team adheres to the following deep cleaning checklist:


  • Empty cabinets and drawers, all silverware, all dishes, and pots & pans cleaned
  • Insides and outsides of cabinets and drawers are thoroughly cleaned
  • Wood cabinets are oiled
  • Refrigerator pulled; floor and walls cleaned entirely; appliances cleaned
  • All light switches and outlet covers will be cleaned
  • All small appliances cleaned and polished: toasters, microwaves, and blenders
  • Floors are scrubbed clean
  • Kitchen sink is scrubbed and sanitized
  • Garbage cans are scrubbed inside and out


  • Medicine cabinets and door tracks cleaned completely
  • Any lights are dismantled and completely cleaned
  • All light switches and outlet plates are cleaned
  • Sink, mirror, and additional cabinets cleaned out, tile and grout scrubbed
  • Shower walls and tub/shower area are scrubbed thoroughly
  • Toilets cleaned inside and out, top to bottom, and behind
  • Exhaust fans, heating fixtures in the wall and ceiling, including covers, are cleaned
  • Floor are mopped and scrubbed or vacuumed thoroughly
  • Walls around toilet are scrubbed thoroughly

Living Room, Dining Area, Bedrooms and General Cleaning

  • Fireplace area, hearth, and all outside surfaces wiped down
  • Every couch, chair, bed, or other furniture are moved and vacuumed under, and every square inch of carpet vacuumed including all room edges
  • Lamp bulbs checked and dusted
  • Any garbage in furniture picked up and furniture is vacuumed or dusted
  • All wood furniture is cleaned and properly oiled for longevity
  • Shelves emptied and cleaned; items on shelves are cleaned and re-stacked neatly
  • All areas that collect dust are swept and wiped down, cobwebs removed from ceilings, fans, windows, etc.
  • All dresser drawers pulled out and cleaned inside and out
  • Any door/bath mats and bed skirts washed
  • All mirrors are cleaned
  • Bed and sofa bed mattresses turned
  • All windows cleaned inside, blinds dusted and cleaned
  • Ceiling fans dusted and cleaned
  • All baseboards cleaned
  • All door and window frames are cleaned
  • Light switches and outlet plates are cleaned
  • Garage is swept thoroughly, hosed out if needed
  • Blankets, comforters, mattress pads, skirts, rugs are washed
  • Outdoor area and furniture is cleaned (hosed, wiped down)

Book by Owner recommends at least one deep cleaning per year, between busy rental seasons. Depending on your location and rental volume, two may be deemed necessary. Other homeowners choose to have a deep clean performed after every 5th guest stay. The goal is to keep your vacation rental property looking new and fresh for every guest, all the time.


BBO – Your Property Management Team

With Book by Owner as your local, on the ground property management team, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your guests will enjoy a clean, refreshing vacation rental and your property investment is protected. We care for your home and guests 24/7/365, all for an affordable monthly fee. Contact your local Book by Owner for complete details and pricing for all the services available in your resort vacation area.


BBO Property Management vs. Traditional Property Management

With all the options available today in vacation property management, you may assume that all management companies are the same. If so, you would be wrong. Book by Owner is a pioneer in professional property management and guest services. Our promise, “You book the guest, we do the rest” accurately describes our service to you.

What makes BBO property management different from traditional property management? There are several vital advantages to having BBO as your property management team. Let’s explore a bit about each one.

Fee-based Service

Book by Owner pioneered fee-based resort property management and continues to lead the industry. We provide professional, reliable management services to you and your guests 24/7/365 without the steep commission costs of traditional property management programs. This fee remains the same, no matter how many bookings you have.

We provide:

  • Cleaning and Laundry
  • Inspections between guests
  • 24/7 guest communication
  • General maintenance
  • Stocking supplies
  • Deep cleaning between seasons
  • Installation and programming of keyless entry locks
  • Secure access for guests and service partners

No surprise costs and no percentage commissions. Ever.

24-7-365 Property Management

One of the main concerns of guests who book vacation rental properties is whether or not there will be an emergency contact available if something goes wrong. BBO is available 24/7/365 to assist your guests before their arrival, during their stay, and even after they depart. And we mean 365 days of the year, even on weekends and holidays.

We’ll take that call when guests or service partners:

  • Can’t log into the wifi
  • Can’t find the light switch to the hot-tub area
  • Need access or have questions
  • Arrival plans change
  • Need directions
  • Want local recommendations
  • Have a complaint

Local Franchise Owners

Our local offices are owned and operated by a local franchisee who has a vested interest in providing excellent guest services and property management. These local entrepreneurs are our front-line personnel to handle guests and service partners alike. Other national companies have quickly realized how difficult it is to hire and retain local managers — we are local business owners; so we can adapt to the unique needs of each town.

These are the folks who show up when you need a real person to handle:

  • Cleaning and Laundry
  • Inspections between guests
  • Complete guest communication
  • General maintenance
  • Stocking supplies
  • Deep cleaning between seasons
  • Installing and programming keyless entry locks
  • Providing secure access for guests and service partners

In addition, our innovative access control solutions and web-based property inspection system will instantly update you on the condition and security of your property.

Corporate Support

BBO is also available 24/7/365 to assist our franchise owners. In addition to being your ever-ready partner, we also provide regular updates from the vacation rental industry to keep you informed on the newest advances in technology, latest marketing strategies, and vacation rental best practices.

We provide:

  • Exclusive Territory
  • Low Cost to Enter
  • Low Overhead
  • Year-round, Recurring Revenue
  • Training & Support
  • Proven Processes & Proprietary Software
  • National Partners, Suppliers, and Advertising
  • Additional Income Streams
  • Exit Strategy (When you’re ready to sell your business)

BBO Property Management – The Right Solution for You

Enjoy peace of mind knowing you have a local, professional partner caring for your home and your guests 24/7/365, all for an affordable monthly fee. Contact your local Book by Owner for complete details and pricing on all the services available in your resort area. Interested in opening your own BBO location? Visit our franchising page for more information.


2017 Recap – BBO and the Vacation Rental Industry

As 2017 fades into history and 2018 dawns afresh, it’s safe to say last year was huge for the vacation rental industry. More and more, travelers are choosing to rent private properties instead of cramped hotel rooms. In fact, as recently as Thanksgiving 2017, vacation rentals tied with hotels and resorts as the most popular places to stay.

Vacation Rental Industry Growth

According to Phocuswright, the travel industry research giant, almost one in three U.S. travelers in 2015 stayed in a privately owned short-term rental, an increase of 24% from 2010. Growth in the private accommodation sector is faster than in the travel industry as a whole, and is expected to be worth $36.6 billion by the end of 2018. That is double the growth rate of the entire travel sector.

According to a Bloomberg news article concerning the vacation rental industry, “If people have stayed in peer-to-peer lodging [P2P] in the last five years, the likelihood that they prefer traditional hotels is halved (79 percent vs. 40 percent);” this according to data from research by Goldman Sachs. They continue, “We find it interesting that people ‘do a 180’ in their preferences once they use P2P lodging. They move directly from preferring traditional hotels to preferring P2P accommodations.”

Without a doubt, vacation rentals represent a product that people love and a solution that people need.

Regulation Efforts in the Vacation Rental Industry

In 2017, several states and municipalities examined or enacted legislation regulating some aspects of the short-term vacation rental industry. Mainly, these laws seek to address two basic issues:

  • Location – Many local jurisdictions seek to regulate where short-term home rentals can be located, mainly within tourist and short-term occupancy zones and outside residentially zoned areas.
  • Taxation – Many states and cities are eager to enact and enforce rental taxation statutes to take advantage of the growing short-term vacation rental industry in their area.

Some states are siding with vacation rental property owners on the issue. For example, HB 216, preempts cities and counties in Idaho from enacting or enforcing any ordinance that would prohibit a short-term rental from a certain part of their jurisdictions. It took effect January 1, 2018. Even for states and municipalities that allow short-term rental properties in any zone, they still seek to require homeowners to provide a local contact person who can respond to complaints or emergencies for each home when local needs arise.

Book by Owner – Resort Property Management

At Book by Owner, we are glad to be part of the vital movement that is the vacation rental industry. In 2017, we opened new offices in Aspen, CO, Kissimmee, FL, and Phoenix, AZ, while our other offices continue to flourish. The response to our unique model of local, flat-fee vacation home services has been great from both homeowners and realtors.

As your on-the-ground team for resort property services, we provide local, personal contacts and service with corporate support, including answers to your questions concerning local laws pertaining to the vacation rental industry. We handle the hassles of taking care of a property, responding to late guest calls or calls from neighbors, and more.

This year, we expect to open many more offices in exciting locations. In fact, we’re looking for entrepreneurs that want to own and operate their own local offices. Growth through referrals is our model. Will you help us spread the word? For more information about BBO franchise opportunities, or our local vacation property services, call 877-645-7060 or contact us online.


Great Property Management – Even on Christmas Day

It’s Christmas Day and your vacation rental is filled with a large, happy family celebrating the holiday together. After numerous conversations, cooking a vast meal, and plenty of coffee and holiday drinks, some guests decide to try out a new gift – a cappuccino machine. Upon plugging in the machine and turning it on, the unexpected happens – several other electrical devices suddenly die, including some lights. The property management arrangements you have in place will now prove their value or utterly fail. Which will it be?

DIY Vacation Rental Management

There are some property owners who choose to manage all their property management issues themselves. Cleanings between guests, lawn care, pool and hot tub care, routine maintenance, dealing with clients, and any emergency phone calls are all handled by the owners. This can work for property owners who perhaps own several properties in the same locale, and live nearby. All their time can be devoted to managing and maintaining their vacation rental homes.

Unfortunately, most property owners do not live close to their properties. And those who do may not have all the equipment, essential tools, or skills to perform their own maintenance. Or the time to do so. And who wants to be bothered with emergencies late at night, on weekends, or on major holidays?

Common Property Management Services

Other vacation property owners choose to contract management services with a property management firm. Most of these firms handle common rental property tasks like cleaning, routine maintenance, lawn care, and dealing with emergencies for a percentage of the overall property rental fee. This is great for property owners who live some distance away and cannot handle these chores themselves, but it is quite expensive, often 30 – 50 percent of the rental income.  

Reliable Guest Services from BBO

With Book by Owner as your property management service, you get great vacation rental property management on weekends and throughout the holidays, even if issues arise on Christmas or New Year’s Day. BBO guarantees professional, reliable management services available to you and your guests 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, all for a set monthly fee and without the costly commissions of other property management firms.

In the scenario at the beginning of this article, the local BBO franchisee was a simple phone call away and was able to guide a guest to the main electrical box and walk them through the steps of resetting a breaker to restore power to the outlets and lights in question. They were also able to advise the guest on the best place to plug in their new machine in order to not overload a particular electrical circuit.

BBO’s prompt and efficient service was appreciated by the guests and was reflected in the guest review. How would that emergency have been handled under your current vacation property management arrangement? For more information about our 24/7/365 quality property management services, contact BBO online or call us at 877-218-0139.


Meet Mike Cushing and the New BBO Arizona Office

Book by Owner has been your on the ground team for resort property maintenance since 2003. They seek to help you create great guest experiences while saving you money and protecting your investment by providing a host of on-site services for your vacation rental property. As the demand for vacation rentals continues to grow, BBO continues to open franchise locations to better serve you, including our newest location, BBO Arizona. 

I recently talked with Mike Cushing about Book by Owner’s new Arizona location.

BBO Beginnings

Interviewer: Mike, tell me a little about yourself and how you got started with Book by Owner.

Mike: My wife Kerry and I originally founded Book by Owner in 2003 in Dillon, CO. That was and is ski resort country, with a large number of resort properties. With the growth of internet-based vacation rental listing services like VRBO and Airbnb, we saw an opportunity to provide resort property management for those property owners who lived some distance away from their properties. The owners could easily handle the booking process themselves over the internet. What they couldn’t handle was property management, including cleaning, inspections, maintenance, and dealing with guests in person.  

Interviewer: That’s a great idea, Mike. And it appears you were successful.

Mike: Yes, we were very successful. As the business grew we began offering franchise locations in 2009. We opened several franchises in and around the local CO ski country, and Kerry and I continued to manage day-to-day operations supporting our franchisees.

From Owner/Manager to Franchise Operator at BBO Arizona

Interviewer: Your story has an interesting twist. Tell us about it.

Mike: Yes, it does. Kerry and I love the mountains, but with our daughter leaving for college, we were ready for a warmer climate and a return to our true passion for property management. So, in 2016 we sold the majority of BBO franchising to current owner Bill Scott. We remain actively involved with BBO as active board members and help with franchising however we can.

Interviewer: And now, you are back where you started, managing a new franchise location. Tell us more about that.

Mike: We opened the first BBO Arizona franchise in Phoenix on October 1, 2017. Arizona is home to warmer climes, plus mountainous ski country, so the potential is there to manage a vast number of rental properties, as well as expand with new franchise locations. We are seeking to open new franchises in Flagstaff, Tucson, and Sedona in the next year or two.

Interviewer: How many properties are currently under management through the BBO Arizona franchise in Phoenix?

Mike: We just opened in October, so currently we only manage five properties, but we have several owners interested in coming onboard. We are predicting to have 15 to 20 properties under management within the next year and anticipate growing 100% year over year.  

Interviewer: Just how many properties can a local BBO franchise effectively manage?

Mike: There is really no limit to how many properties each franchise location can manage. When looking for possible franchise locations, we require a minimum of 5000 rental homes available in the area. That provides plenty of opportunities for a franchise to be successful.

What Can Book by Owner Do for You?

Interviewer: What does BBO do differently than other property management companies?

Mike: We developed a fee-based business model that provides fixed costs for our owners. This way, the more they book, the more they make. This is very different from traditional property managers who take a percentage of the rental income. In that model, the more you make, the more you pay. We also do not rely on our service partners, such as housekeepers and handymen, to inspect properties before and after each guest. Our franchise owners or their direct employees perform each inspection, which is customized to the property. Once the inspection is completed, a customized report is submitted onsite and emailed instantly to the owner, sharing photos and details about the condition of their property.

Interviewer: What is the biggest benefit to contracting a property management company for your vacation rental?

Mike: Hiring a professional to help you manage your vacation rental eliminates enormous headaches. This industry has experienced explosive growth in recent years and travelers’ expectations are higher than ever. With easy options for booking online, they now expect a perfect place, with hotel-like service. Most owners live great distances from their rental properties, and it is impossible for them to provide effective management and personalized guest service. We enable them to do that.

Interviewer: How vital is excellent guest service in this industry?

Mike: Guest service is crucial to the success of any vacation rental. Great guest service leads to great reviews, and travelers read those reviews when choosing a vacation rental. Great reviews attract new guests and maintain repeat business; a single bad review can significantly impact the ability to book a property and cost an owner much more than what they invest in effective property management.

Interviewer: What would you say to property owners in Arizona seeking to rent their property?

Mike: At BBO Arizona we have flexible and affordable options for property owners seeking to rent short-term. If they want to do their own marketing and booking, we can help them create their advertising and get their properties rental-ready. If they don’t have the time or desire to do the marketing and booking, we can connect them to a booking partner we have who can assist them with those processes. Every property is unique, with unique needs. We can tailor a package to provide what they need for a surprisingly affordable price.

Interviewer: Mike, how can property owners in and around the Phoenix, Arizona area contact you at BBO Arizona?

Mike: Property owners can contact us through our website at https://bookbyowner.com/arizona/, call us at (480) 744-5929, or email us at bboarizona@bookbyowner.com.

Contact BBO Today!

Are you interested in renting out your property yourself on VRBO or AirBnB, but still need someone local to take care of the home and guests? Book by Owner (BBO) pioneered fee-based resort property management and continues to be the industry leader. With BBO you have professional, reliable management services available to you and your guests 24/7/365 without the costly commissions of traditional property management programs. Contact BBO and get started today!


Preparing Your Rental Home for Holiday Cooking

Holiday cooking is a major part of most family traditions and, all too often, the extended family has outgrown a normal sized home. Consequently, holiday renters are often seeking a large place for family gatherings that include a large meal. How you prepare for guests and their holiday cooking is important. It can mean the difference between repeat business or bad reviews.

Preparing your rental home for holiday cooking is not a major seasonal undertaking. In fact, you should already provide the necessary amenities for cooking as part of your basic furnishings. But, certain aspects of your rental home are absolutely vital for those guests with holiday cooking on their agenda. Think of your own home during these occasions to anticipate the needs of your guests.

A Fully Furnished Kitchen

When thinking about how to furnish your kitchen, remember that guests appreciate convenience. Your kitchen should be equipped with enough plates, tableware, and glasses, for at least double the number of people that your home can sleep. In addition, some colorful and durable kid-friendly plates and cups would be a plus for families with young children. Ensure that everything is dishwasher safe. Everything – pots and pans, dishes, glassware, etc. – will be put into the dishwasher, so make sure it CAN be put in there safely.

You should provide plenty of cookware and baking ware in various sizes. Nothing disappoints a guest more than arriving with holiday grocery items and discovering only a few pots and pans in the cabinets. Don’t break the bank on high-end cookware, but everything you do provide should be of good quality and spotlessly clean. Any chipped or cracked items should be discarded and replaced.

Clean, functional kitchen appliances are a must for guests doing holiday cooking. A large stove and refrigerator are only the beginning. Mixers, coffee makers, can openers, toasters or toaster ovens, and crock pots are added bonuses that are sure to contribute to a positive cooking experience. Again, these items should be of good quality and easily cleaned. Any non-functioning units should be discarded and replaced, not simply shoved to the back of the cabinet.

Adequate Serving / Dining Space

Guests will appreciate a large dining room table if your property layout allows. In addition, plenty of counter space is a plus for serving. As with serving ware, you should seek to provide dining space for at least double the number your home can sleep. If one or two large tables is not practical, consider a table that fits the available space with additional places along the counter or bar area.

Keep in mind that those guests who are not accommodated at the dining table or counter will eat in the living room. Therefore, your furniture and flooring should be durable and easily cleaned in the event of accidental spills. Providing a few small card tables or TV trays is an added bonus to add friendly seating for children.

Cleaning Supplies

Plenty of guests and lots of cooking means a great deal of cleaning up. But, your guests don’t want to spend their holiday vacation cleaning. Make it easy for them to care for your property by providing everything they need to do it quickly and efficiently. Dishwasher detergent, dishwashing soap, scrub pads, dish cloths and towels, spot cleaner, a vacuum, and plenty of extra garbage bags will help ensure your guests clean up after themselves.

Don’t forget that large groups of guests will all cycle through the bathrooms at some time through each day of their stay. This means providing plenty of toilet tissue, bathroom cleaning supplies, extra bath and toiletry amenities, and a plunger in each bathroom. Guests will appreciate your thinking ahead of their comfort.

Holiday Property Management Can Get Busy – BBO is Your Partner

What are some other items needing attention to prepare your property for holiday rentals? Book by Owner (BBO) is an experienced and professional property management company that assists homeowners who like to do their own bookings. We can assist you with everything necessary to prepare your property for holiday gatherings. Call BBO today at 877.713.4947 or go online for a quote. You book the guest. We do the rest.