Welcome to Short Term Rental Success: Create Welcoming Five Star Stays.
I am an author and rental property owner in Kansas City, Missouri. At present, I own four homes in and around Kansas City - one is a long-term rental, another a short-term rental, and the third is currently undergoing renovations and will be available as an STR by the end of 2023. We also have two unique STRs, both RV/Campers - the Hedy Lamarr vintage Airstream and a 1969 Holiday Rambler currently being renovated that will be available by mid-2023.
I have a wealth of customer service and business experience in a variety of industries from over twenty years in administrative, help desk, and customer service positions. My experiences in customer service helped me immeasurably when I jumped out of the corporate world and into the entrepreneurial one - first with a cleaning business in 2005, then later as a professional organizer, author, and community educator. I first dipped my toe into the business of rentals as a landlord in 2013. And when we had the opportunity to purchase, renovate, and rent out a property at the west end of our property in 2014, I jumped at it. My husband and I opened our first short-term rental in 2019, the Hedy Lamarr Airstream in 2021, and, as I mentioned above, we are currently renovating our third and fourth STRs.
The hospitality business embraces service and professionalism. I have found running an STR to be a perfect position for me. As an introvert, I tend to prefer my exposure to other people to be limited to short bursts of time. And what better way than providing a place for others, where they can check in on their own, but have me close enough to help them should they need anything? It’s a win-win for me and my guests!
Throughout this book, I will use a variety of descriptors - STR, short-term rental, rental property, even Airbnb to describe your property (and mine). The meaning is the same. A property you either own or rent for the purpose of renting out short-term (anywhere from one night to up to six months or more at a time) to guests.
Short-term rentals can also be an excellent way to make a solid income, pay off your mortgage and even jumpstart other entrepreneurial endeavors. Thanks to the additional income it has brought, I can now work from home, write my books, and build my author business. I am also here for my children when daycare is closed or school isn’t in session, and that has been wonderful. We have a grown daughter, a teenager, and our two “littles.” We recently adopted our six-year-old foster daughter and our one-year-old foster son. Having our STRs so close, literally feet away from our home, has meant less expense and more time in just about every possible way for us.
Perhaps you are looking to make ends meet and put a few dollars in your pocket. Perhaps you are miserable in your day job and want to do something, anything, that is different from the grind of a 9 to 5. You may be a single parent who wants to stay at home with your kids or you might be looking to create a rental empire, one property at a time. Do you dream of becoming the owner/manager of two, five, or ten (or more) properties?
Every piece of information I present can be scaled up - from one or two, to five, ten or more and I’m happy to show you how.
My goal with this book is to help guide you into creating something of unique value for yourself and the guests that you host. I want you to be successful, and for your guests to leave you messages like these:
I’ve never been in an Airbnb that was better equipped and organized. We appreciated all the thoughtful touches.-Laurel
Christine’s home was amazing! Filled with art, books, and thoughtful touches, we could feel that this home was a labor of love!-Danielle
This was the most amazing time! I thank you for sharing your space, your warmth, and your energy with us! I could not have asked for better hosts! - Valencia
I cannot say enough amazing things about this beautiful home. Everything was so thoughtful, from the personal notes placed throughout the house, to the notebook detailing the journey of love put into rehabilitating this home, to the grounds themselves. If I could give it 10 stars I would. - Sarah
I love your place and if I had an Airbnb, it would be just like yours!…Our other stays this trip would have been better if they had notes like yours (and if they had been as clean as yours). - Martene
These reviews don’t get old, not at all. You will see plenty more throughout the book. The feedback from so many happy guests made me realize that, 1) I had tapped in to what made guests happy, and 2) I should share that with others.
My personal experiences are solely in long-term rentals and short-term rentals of properties separate, yet adjacent to my home. And I’m going to focus on this specific thing - short-term rentals where the guests have the entire place to themselves - instead of branching out into areas I know little about. But even if you intend to share your home, and rent out a room or two, I think you will find my book helpful.
By the end of this book you should have an excellent grasp of short-term rentals and how to create a space that is welcoming, hospitable and encourages repeat business. I will touch on financial concerns, planning for the unexpected, must have’s for every STR, the proper mindset, and more. There are plenty of lists - everything you need to stock each room in your unit, thoughtful additional touches, a cleaning supplies list (I was a professional house cleaner for more than fifteen years) and step-by-step cleaning advice.
I will cover handling problem guests and techniques for dealing with them, what wording to use to get excellent reviews, how to respond (or not) to poor reviews, outsourcing your cleanings (or how to clean a property properly all by yourself) and even touch on the art of the upsell.
I will give you some good reasons to list your property not just on the behemoth company of Airbnb, but also on VRBO and others, as well as how you may wish to go about accepting direct bookings. There are pros and cons, and I will discuss them in as much detail as possible.
Most importantly, I hope to impart upon you a combination of humanity and business ethic that is so necessary to becoming a successful short-term rental owner and host. With kindness and compassion, with clear rules and expectations, you can run a successful and lucrative short-term rental out of your shared space or separate property. And you can also craft a property that earns gushing reviews. By the end of this book, you will be ready to open your own short-term rental business and welcome your first guests. Welcome to Short-Term Rental Success!