Vacation Rental Owner Retention: A Guide for Property Managers

As a property manager, keeping your short-term rental owners happy is crucial.

Vacation rental owner retention is just as important as guest acquisition and retention because it has huge potential to maximize your vacation rental income and ensure continued business growth.

A great property manager doesn’t just focus on new guest leads or repeat bookings: they also make sure to build strong rapport with their property owners.


After all, it’s much more difficult and expensive to find new owners than it is to maintain a good relationship with your existing ones (and even to attract new guests).

Vintory, a vacation rental owner acquisition platform, even claims that “adding one new homeowner to your rental network is the equivalent to booking 100 guests”.

But the importance of nurturing your owner relationships is often overlooked in the vacation rental industry, so it can be difficult to know how to do it right.

To help, we’ve listed our tried-and-tested five-step plan on the best ways to keep guests happy and nurture your relationship with them, as well as explain exactly why owner retention is so key to the long-term success of your vacation rental property management business.

RueBaRue is much more than a guest communication tool. We’re adding new owner communication functionalities to our platform, so you can build lasting relationships with your owners. To see how it works, book a demo now.

Why owner retention is key to the success of your vacation rental management business

Owners are a central part of your success as they provide the vacation homes in your portfolio. No owners means no properties, no guests, and no rental business altogether.

And yet, they’re literally in a seller’s market. The competition is huge, as there are hundreds of vacation rental management companies out there (including some giants), and if you’re not careful, it can be remarkably easy to lose good owners to competitors.

When it comes to business, it’s always more expensive to acquire new leads and bookings than it is to nurture existing customers, and owners are no exception.

The work doesn’t stop once you’ve signed an owner to your portfolio—in fact, that’s the crucial point at which your long-term relationship building begins.

Make an owner regret signing up with you, and they’ll jump ship with a bitter taste in their mouth.

Make them happy, reduce their stress, and prove just how great a job you’re doing, and they’ll become a key part of your portfolio for years to come, bringing in great ROI for everyone involved.

Vacation rental owner retention: How to nurture your relationship with homeowners

Building great owner relations takes time, but there are some key practices to focus on that will hugely improve that rapport. Consider these top five tips.

1. Streamline your owner communication

Guest Communication Vacation Rentals

RueBaRue’s award-winning guest communication platform will soon enable you to send automated messages to owners as well as guests.

Choose a great communication tool

There’s nothing worse than bad communication—or worse, a noticeable lack of it.

Owners want to know that their property is in safe hands, and there’s almost no such thing as ‘too much reassurance’ and communication when it comes to getting them to trust you.

Communicating easily, clearly, and often shows a level of transparency and professionalism that will set you apart, and show the owner that you have everything under control.

We recommend making this as easy as possible by using a guest communication tool for vacation rentals that also lets you automate your owner communication, so you can keep them informed with regular updates, without having to type the same emails manually over and over.

You want to keep owners in the loop about key changes or updates, such as any changes in fees, issues with guests or the property, and any maintenance taking place. It’s about showing the owner that you’re treating their place, and business, with respect.

RueBaRue is set to roll out this functionality on its platform soon, so you’ll be able to schedule important messages to owners as well as guests.

Show owners the guest experience

Similarly, owners will often be very curious about what it’s like to stay in their place as a guest.

Many owners will use their own rentals to host friends and family (or even stay there themselves) and will want to make sure they get the same top-quality stay as any other guest, including pre-arrival messages, entry details, welcome notes, and local recommendations.

Ultimately, owners want to see the same things that guests see, so they can stay on top of how you are showcasing their property and get a feel for the five-star experience you offer.

Automate and digitize owner involvement

Many vacation rental tools can help you automate processes for owners as well as guests.

For example, you can enable them to log in to your integrated property management system (PMS) and keep an eye on reservations themselves, without you having to constantly send manual updates.

Choosing a PMS with a user-friendly owner portal will help with this, and ensure your operations remain transparent, accessible, and easy for the owner to see if they wish.

This will keep them on-side and reassure them that their property is in the safest, most dynamic hands.

RueBaRue integrates with some of the most popular PMS providers for exactly this reason, including Guesty, HomeAway, LiveRez, OwnerRez, and Direct.

2. Be diligent about owner reporting

While sending hour-by-hour updates might be overkill, owners will still appreciate regular reports about what’s going on with their properties.

Owners hate being in the dark and having no communication for weeks or even months. Rather than seeing no news as good news, they may start to worry that there’s something wrong and begin to consider switching to a competitor to assuage their anxiety.

To ensure that doesn’t happen, schedule regular updates to keep them in the loop about the so they feel like a real partner, without any of the actual stress of management.

We recommend sending regular, scheduled updates on the following areas:

  • The latest bookings and takings.
  • Changes to pricing or revenue management practices.
  • Any good news or success stories, such as a super-happy guest or excellent review.
  • Any complaints or issues and how you managed them.
  • Any maintenance issues or wear and tear updates or expenses.
  • How you’re ensuring professional standards of cleaning and hospitality (especially post-Covid pandemic).

You might also recap how you use the latest technology to professionally manage your housekeeping and occupancy, and show them how much you value taking care of their property.

It’s also good practice to send quarterly updates on their property's performance and how you've managed to increase their occupancy and revenue year over year.

This helps to build trust and reminds the owner why they’re paying you to manage their property professionally, instead of trying to do it themselves.

3. Broaden the range of services you offer to homeowners

On that note, owners typically want to work with property managers because they want better results—more bookings, happier guests, and higher revenue—with less stress and hassle than would be possible if they tried to manage everything themselves.

Offering extra services as part of your professional package is likely to impress the owner even further, making it more likely they will stay with you, as they recognize that there's no way they could offer the same level of hospitality on their own (or with a lesser competitor).

Extra services might include:

  • Giving guests automatic access codes ahead of check-in.
  • Enabling online and contactless check-in and check-out.
  • Sending digital guestbooks and local area guides.
  • Writing welcome letters.
  • Sending automatic emergency alerts.
  • Communication via super-easy SMS messages.
  • Automated invitations and payment processing for extending guest stays.
  • Personalized gifts such as your guest’s favorite coffee or a welcome glass of their preferred sparkling wine.
  • Data collection and following up with personalized thanks, post-stay surveys, review requests.
  • Subsequent email marketing, such as birthday discounts and gifts, or holiday deals.
  • Rating guests and/or highlighting poor quality or destructive guests so you don’t invite them again.
RueBaRue Local Area Guides page screenshot

RueBaRue can help you provide extra services to add value to your business.

Platforms such as RueBaRue can provide all of this, so you can offer more services while also having extra time to personalize guests’ stays and make them more memorable.

This might include giving guests a welcome basket or a bottle of wine. It could even involve helping them set up personalized day trips tailored to their interests.

Anything that you can offer and communicate that would be a hassle for owners to coordinate and manage themselves, is another reason for them to stay with you.

Vacation rental owner retention: Communication is key

Ultimately, maintaining excellent relationships with your owners is all about communication.

Everything you can do to ensure their property is seen in the best light, maintained well, and provides an excellent experience for happy guests will also make owners happy—but they won’t know that unless you tell them it’s happening.

From the moment they sign up to your portfolio, they will welcome updates on everything from bookings, revenue, maintenance, cleanliness, reviews, automation, the guest experience, and more.

Of course, it’s important to strike a balance—no one likes a deluge of email. That’s why choosing a communication platform designed for the purpose, such as RueBaRue, can help you write, plan, and schedule communication in advance, to send regular reports without overkill.

If you can show owners why using your services is better than trying to manage their vacation rental alone, or by going with another company, your relationship will continue to flourish, ensuring great revenue and ROI; plus major savings on new owner leads for years to come.

Vacation rental owner retention: Frequently-asked questions

Why is it so important for property managers to have good communication with owners?

Good communication with owners ensures you maintain a good relationship with them so that they are far more likely to stay happy and stick around as part of your portfolio.

This will maximize your vacation rental income and make business growth much more likely because it’s far more difficult and expensive to find new owners than it is to maintain a good relationship by communicating transparently with your existing ones.

How can you automate your vacation rental owner communication?

Using a specially-designed property management communication tool such as RueBaRue enables you to set up and send scheduled, automated messages to owners with regular reports and updates, without you having to keep track of things and type everything manually.

RueBaRue is set to roll out this capability soon, so you will be able to communicate with owners automatically via email and SMS, for even more convenience, ease, and time-saving.

How can you show homeowners the value of your property management services?

Anything that shows owners why using your services is better than those offered by a competitor, or that they could possibly provide themselves, shows the value of your work.

Communicating transparently, openly, and regularly on how you’re ensuring excellent ROI, cleanliness, and five-star guest satisfaction and post-stay follow-up will also provide owners with extra value and reassurance that your management is the best option for their property.

RueBaRue is much more than a guest communication tool. We’re adding new owner communication functionalities to our platform, so you can build lasting relationships with your owners. To see how it works, book a demo now.

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