Is Your Wilmington Short-Term Rental Underperforming?
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Wilmington Vacation Homes

Experience the perfect getaway in Wilmington with our exceptional vacation homes. At Wilmington Vacation Homes, we specialize in providing top-notch hosting and rental accommodations, ensuring your stay is nothing short of extraordinary.

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Is Your Wilmington Short-Term Rental Underperforming?

Managing a short-term rental is a daunting task. There are so many aspects to making guests feel happy and comfortable, and to do so consistently time and again. It’s hard to get it all right, especially if you are an owner doing it all yourself. Perhaps you have an inkling that your Wilmington Short Term Rental isn’t doing so well. Maybe it’s getting less than positive reviews, maybe it’s got a lot of vacancies during prime times, and maybe it’s not getting repeat business. 

The first two considerations are important for a short-term rental anywhere, but in Wilmington in particular, if you’re not getting repeat business, then your rental is underperforming in our market.

That’s because we’re a ‘local vacation’ destination with many guests who drive in from within 3-5 hours away and take the same vacation year after year. Be it a family trip or a romantic getaway, these guests like to stay in the same place or the same neighborhood each time and visit the restaurants, bars, and shops that they enjoy and have fond memories of. These repeat guests are the foundation of a short-term rental business in Wilmington and this customer base is crucial to success.

Wilmington Vacation Homes owns and manages 25 short-term rentals in Downtown Wilmington and we have been super hosts for 6 years and counting. Without a doubt, the Key to Short Term Rental Success is Repeat Business

Repeat customers will give your company stability and can help fill the slow season with winter vacations. If you have more bookings, your pricing is more stable and doesn’t have to dip beyond the typical threshold to fill the vacancies. Loyal customers who trust you will also be significantly more likely to recommend you to their family and friends, and will often provide you with the best and most authentic reviews and ratings. If you’re not getting a minimum of 30% repeat business, then it’s worth carefully reviewing your entire system and finding areas that need improvement. 

How do you get repeat business? It’s a simple concept, but difficult to execute: you need everything right, every time. While the concept of “perfection” doesn’t exist, it must always be the goal that is worked toward. Here are the most crucial steps that we follow at Wilmington Vacation Homes that lead to a high percentage of repeat customers.

1. Curb Appeal.

Guests have to walk into greatness and this starts outside of the unit. Outside areas have to be well-appointed and cleaned before each guest. 

2. First Impressions.

Guests need to open the door to something wonderful. This means the lights have to be on in the house where needed and the same way every time. Units have to smell and look amazing with a welcoming gift basket and perfection as they explore the unit. Total integration of cleaning and management is the only way to achieve this. 

3. Consistency

Guests cannot walk into surprises. Giant palmetto bugs, even dead ones, are not good butlers. Pest control, post-cleaning inspections, AND pre-check-in inspections are necessary for every single cleaning and guest stay. A photo from the cleaner to show that the unit was cleaned is not ever enough.

4. Inventory.

The stock in each unit has to be there and the same every time. That means no mismatched bottles of shampoo and conditioner, snacks that are new and fresh, regular AND decaf coffee, cooking oil that is not what the last guest happened to leave…etc. We utilize an inventory system to keep every unit stocked.

5. Presentation.

The photography in the listing needs to be professional. The rooms have to look exactly like the pictures when the guest walks in. The blankets need to match what’s in the photos. Even the bed throws need to be in the same location as in the photos. 

6. Cleanliness.

“Perfect cleans” transform the guest experience and tie into the goals of the company. Hiring outside cleaners with no control over what they do will kill a short-term rental because of inconsistent results. Our cleaners are all trained W2 employees that work for us. By offering extensive training, fair pay, and by having clear and consistent expectations, we retain our cleaning staff for years and together we realize the goal of perfect cleaning.

7. Comfort.

Furniture has to be inspected, cleaned, and repaired regularly. The beds, couches, and chairs need to be high quality and comfortable. If the rental is allowed to degrade, so will the listings.  If that happens, forget about repeat business. 

8. Neighbor Initiative.

Guests need to feel at home in the neighborhood. However, short-term rentals have been given a bad rap because they usually don’t foster a relationship between the guests and the neighbors. To combat that, we have a “neighbor initiative” where we offer reduced-price stays for neighbors having reunions, out-of-town companies, etc. We also offer reduced-price cleaning to neighbors for their homes. The result is a warm and welcoming neighborhood for our guests, and neighbors who have a friendly connection to the short-term rental.

9. Business Initiative.

Guests need to feel at home in their new town. Providing guests with descriptive and accurate shopping and dining recommendations will give them a sense of familiarity with the town, even if it is their first visit. Our “business initiative” introduces guests to local businesses that we know and trust in our thorough Welcome Book. This helps local businesses succeed and connects the guests with an overwhelmingly welcoming experience. 

10. Laundry.

Shower curtains, towels, and linens have to be perfect, white, and fluffy. Tossing the laundry in the unit’s residential washer and dryer will never work. We built a well-lit, well-appointed commercial laundry facility and hired our laundry pro to make certain that every single towel and linen that goes out to our units is simply perfect every time. 

11. Pricing.

This is one of the few areas where fluctuation is normal, as pricing changes based on the season and special events. However, it is essential to get the pricing right. Too high and no one books. Too low and the quality of the guests will suffer. We use an easy automatic pricing system that is constantly overseen and managed. 

12. Customer Service.

The communication with the guest must be over-the-top amazing. Some people only get one vacation a year and this is it. Responses need to be in seconds, not minutes, and never hours. Guests need to be treated like they are special and the customer service representative needs to be empowered to help the guests in any way they can no matter what it takes. Our customer service representative is a co-owner of the company. 

13. Maintenance.

Problems need to be dealt with at lightning speed. To properly address this, we have a full-time maintenance worker on call 24/7 with tools and a vehicle. When there is a problem, maintenance needs to be on the way before the guest hangs up the phone and arrives within minutes.

So, What Do I Do if My Rental is Underperforming?

If you’re an owner and you know that you’ve got a great rental unit but your property management isn’t up to the task, be it you personally or a property management company, just make the call.

Schedule your free property assessment and we’ll inspect your property and calculate what we think you could be earning in a year. Or use our calculator!

If you decide to entrust your short-term rental to Wilmington Vacation Homes, you will be signing up for amazing benefits:

  • Everything at WVH is in-house.  Marketing, customer service, laundry, cleaning, maintenance, and pest control. We oversee everything directly, with all parts of the company working in synchronicity. 
  • Lateral Movement. We have repeat guests who love the consistency and quality of renting from WVH each time they visit, but they like to stay in a different unit each time. From Day 1, your rental will benefit from this dedicated customer base.
  • The Power of a Franchise, But Local. We’ve got the personal touch of local owners who genuinely care, but we’re big enough to have major systems in place and a full team of dedicated professionals.

You’re one phone call away from the best short-term rental decision you can make in Wilmington! Learn more about our property management services here.


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