Getting Your Hands Dirty

Why Starting in the Trenches of Short-Term Rentals Matters

Roca Williams 06-Aug-2023

Hey there, fellow adventurers and short-term rentalers!

If you're thinking about diving headfirst into the exciting and potentially lucrative space of STRs, I've got some sweat-earned sage advice to share with you. Before you start delegating tasks from a Zoom call or Slack message, consider rolling up your sleeves and actually getting your hands dirty at the property itself. Yep, I'm talking about working on-site during the initial phase. Intrigued? Appalled? Let’s break down three compelling reasons why this approach could be your golden ticket to STR success.

1. Familiarity with Nuance:

Let's face it – STRs aren't like your run-of-the-mill mid/long-term rentals. They require a unique and dynamic understanding of your target market's ever-changing preferences and expectations. And guess what? The best way to grasp these nuances is by immersing yourself in the daily operations of your property. By spending time at the property, you get to see firsthand what your guests love, what needs to be rejiggered, and what has the potential to be a frantic late-night repair in the  near future. You can get out ahead of these things before they start to cost you in cancelled bookings and emergency repairs.

Think about it: Would you rather rely on reports and data charts, or experience the joy of a satisfied guest first-hand? You'll learn what amenities are worth investing in and where you can save by going generic or even ditching it altogether.. You'll gain insights into what makes your property stand out, setting the foundation for a successful STR venture.

You’ll get really, REALLY particular about the vacuum lines in the carpet.

(That last one might just be me, but we all have idiosyncrasies and this is a great way to find yours).

2. Appreciation of Different Approaches:

Running a successful STR isn't just about having a cozy bed and a few amenities. There's a balance between the forward-facing roles (where you interact with guests and create memorable experiences) and the back-of-house roles (where the gears that keep everything running smoothly are hidden). This balance exists whether your team is only you wearing all the hats or if you have hundreds of employees. We tend to think of binary systems as opposing and in this instance, that is not at all the case. Where your STR is concerned, front of house and back of house are two sides of the same coin and that coin increases in value the better the balance is between the two is maintained. 

By working on-site, you'll come to appreciate the distinct challenges and rewards of each role. You'll understand the effort that goes into cleaning, maintenance, and logistics. But you'll also witness the joy of guest smiles and positive reviews, which can be incredibly motivating. This dual perspective will empower you to make informed decisions that benefit both your guests and your bottom line.

3. Savings in Overhead Costs:

Let's talk money, shall we? Starting an STR business can be a financial rollercoaster, especially when you factor in overhead costs. Think about it: property management companies and third-party services come at a price. But what if I told you that by getting your hands dirty and working on-site, you could significantly cut down these overhead costs?

When you handle tasks yourself- like cleaning, maintenance, and even guest communication- you save a considerable chunk of change. These savings not only serve to shield you from the fiscal landmines that you will inevitably encounter when starting any business, but also offer intangible benefits like peace of mind, efficiency, and propriety. You'll build a stronger connection with your property, understand its quirks, and foster a genuine, organic bond with your guests (or repeat customers, if you will).

It's a win-win!

So there you have it, my fellow aspiring STR moguls. Working on-site in the beginning might not be the most glamorous approach, but it's a surefire way to gain a deep understanding of the STR landscape. You'll grasp the nuances that make your property special, appreciate the dynamics between front-end and back-end roles, and save a bundle on overhead costs. It's like laying a solid foundation for your STR dreams – one brick at a time. Do you have any experience working ‘in the trenches’? What was something you took away from that experience?

After all, in the world of short-term rentals much as in anything else, success often starts with getting your hands dirty.


Getting Ready to Host

Roca Williams 12-August 2023

Have you ever seen someone trip and fall over a house?

What about a curb?

It tends to be the little things that trip us up the most. When it comes to hosting, we are creating a space that feels like a home to and for our guests. There are myriad different approaches to this but at Full Moon Travelers, we interpret "home" to mean a place where you can walk from your front door directly into ours and feel more or less as comfortable and prepared. That means there are LOTS of little things that we consider when prepping a new property. Whether you're a seasoned professional or stepping into the hosting realm for the first time, a little preparation goes a long way. Keep reading for the playbook to excel in the hosting game and set the stage for exceptional reviews.

What's Covered in This Guide

Streamlining Your Calendar

Organizing Guest Details

 Readying Your Space

    Streamline Your Calendar Efficient calendar management is at the heart of successful hosting – it’s the key to convenience for both you and your guests.

    • Sync with other calendars to ensure availability aligns across platforms (Airbnb, VRBO, Vacasa,, etc).
    • Keep rates competitive by setting per-night pricing.
    • Establish trip duration boundaries – minimums and maximums (what's the shortest/longest amount of time you want guests to have in your place).
    • Define guest check-in and check-out windows.
    • Allow ample time between reservations for thorough preparation.  

    Organize Guest Details Know your guests. The more information you have, the capable you'll be of providing the guest the five star service they expect.

    • Build a foundation of trust and understanding with your guests through thoughtful communication and information sharing.
    • If ID verification is important to you, set up an ID verification requirement.
    • Familiarize yourself with potential guests by reviewing their profiles/reservation details or by initiating a pre-stay conversation.
    • Craft comprehensive check-in instructions containing contact details, WiFi passwords, local area insights, house rules, and any other crucial information for a comfortable stay.

    Ready Your Space Elevate the guest experience by making your space inviting and accommodating from the moment they arrive.

    • Consider offering self check-in options for seamless accessibility.
    • Enhance guest satisfaction by stocking up on amenities like soap, bottled water, and snacks.
    • Keep extra sets of sheets and towels on hand to expedite turnovers (this is so clutch, I wish I could make this mandatory for all hosts!).
    • If time and resources allow, contemplate hiring professional cleaning and management services(You can recoup cost through cleaning fees).

    Set the stage for hosting excellence by adopting these strategic steps. Whether you're shaping your first hosting venture or refining your seasoned skills, thoughtful preparation paves the way to guest satisfaction.