Selecting a property manager is a big decision. Asking the right questions can help you choose the company that suits your needs the best.
To start, you want a manager who knows the local market. Great property managers will know the ins and outs of their specific market — busy & slow seasons, nightly rates, monthly rates, which properties are most popular, and how local regulations are impacting vacation rentals.
Listen for terms like “partnership,” “together,” and “we,” as these are key buzz words you want to hear from your property manager.
How much is your management fee?
Most vacation rental management companies in our area charge fees ranging from 18-35% of your rental income.
At Padre Escapes we have a management fee of 25% of your gross rental income.
Follow-up question…What other fees do you charge?
Beware of “per stay, per booking, per guest” fees, these can include linen fees, laundering fees, amenity replacement fees, booking fees, cleaning fees, travel agency commission fees, credit card processing fees, and many more.
There’s a variety of fee structures companies will charge to make additional income. So, what starts as an “18% management fee” ends up being significantly higher when you add everything else on. Ask about all the fees that you may be charged and keep an eye out for annual and quarterly fees that some companies try to sneak in there as well.
At Padre Escapes we have one reoccurring charge, our 25% management fee. We do have a one-time start-up linen fee and an optional fee for the DormaKaba coded lock. For more details on our management fees check out our “What we Offer” page.
Can your fees go up?
This is pretty self-explanatory. You don’t want to agree to one management fee then have it raised on you after a couple months when your property starts getting bookings and things are busy.
At Padre Escapes, we’ve changed our rate structure one time. We previously offered a 22% management and the owner paid the credit card processing fee, which fluctuated from 2-4%. To simplify things, we went to a flat 25% management fee, and that’s it. When we made this change, we allowed all owners who signed on with us to remain at their original agreement of 22% plus the cc processing fee.
There are companies that provide only booking services for a fee and other companies are full service. You need to ask yourself how involved you want to be in the management, this will determine the services you actually need. Full-service companies typically handle everything from the bookings, cleaning, inspections, maintenance, and more.
You’re hiring a professional vacation rental management company for the high level of service and expertise they provide. You should know exactly what services are being provided for the management fee they earn; you should know exactly what you are responsible for as well.
Specifically ask whether the management company fees cover marketing, photography, writing the listing, updating the listing, observing market trends and pricing accordingly, cleaning, inspections, handling guest issues, maintenance & repair issues, etc.
You should also ask about any services that are not included in their fee – for example, some property management companies will charge an additional fee if an employee has to visit the property to address a problem the guest is having.
Padre Escapes is a full-service professional management company. Our 25% management fee covers everything from marketing the property, to communicating & booking guests, getting them checked in and addressing any minor maintenance or user errors that come up during their stay. Once the guest checks-out we get the property cleaned, inspected and ready for the next arrival.
Any maintenance that requires a specialist, HVAC repair tech for example, would be setup by Padre Escapes but the cost would be the owner’s responsibility. The charge for that service would be on your monthly statement. We also have an in-house maintenance team that takes care of minor maintenance issues. There is no charge for maintenance time on trips that takes less than 20 minutes or minor maintenance such as:
It's important to know that your management company understands the local market where they’ll be managing your rental. Rental patterns of guests are different between markets, and your booking strategy needs to reflect that.
Our one and only market is North Padre Island/Corpus Christi. Every market is different and ours is very unique but we know it, very well.
How long have you been in business and how many rentals do you manage in this area?
Ask questions about the property management company’s experience. You don’t want your property to be the one the company is “figuring it out” with.
Padre Escapes has been in business since March of 2013, we are not the oldest management company but we are the largest vacation rental management company on the Island with over 230 properties. Some owners ask us:
"Padre Escapes is a large management company, won’t my property get lost amongst the others you manage?"
The answer is, No. The number of properties that Padre Escapes manages does not have an impact on the success of your vacation rental property. Whether you choose Padre Escapes, another management company, or choose to manage it yourself you’re ultimately still competing with the same number of properties. With Padre Escapes the difference is (1) you’ll benefit from our data-driven marketing plan that is targeted at guests who are most likely to book your property (2) our ability to generate more leads through offering a higher level of customer service and local knowledge as well as property knowledge (3) you’ll have access to our large pool of return guests that we’ve built up through the years (over 40,000 stays in the last 8 years). (4) we remarket to past guests to bring them back year after year. (5) our long-standing relationship with winter Texans who are a key part of offseason business.
Are there any restrictions on how often I can use my home?
You shouldn’t be restricted on how often you can use your home, it’s YOUR home. If you plan for it to be strictly an investment and don’t plan on staying there it may not be a big deal. If you’re like most owners, who want to enjoy their property from time to time, then you definitely want to know if there are any restrictions on owner or owner guest use.
With Padre Escapes you’re welcome to reserve your home for yourself or your guests whenever you’d like, provided that you are not asking us to move any guest reservations and that you are following the same check-in and check-out guidelines that guests do. Other than that, we just ask that you keep in mind the peak season is when you earn the majority of your annual rental income so blocking out nights for that time of year will certainly have a negative impact on your rental income.
Owner reservations can be made as far in advance as you’d like or at the last minute. You can call us, e-mail us or go onto your owner portal and book the reservation yourself.
Do I have to sign a long-term contract?
A contract can be the biggest sticking point for an owner who has been stuck with a bad property manager before. If you, as an owner, figure out in the first month that you chose the wrong property management company, you’re going to have a long 11 months ahead of you if you are locked in for a year-long contract.
If you’re having to sign a long-term contract with a company and there isn’t an easy out then you should really think twice before signing on the dotted line. Don’t get locked into a deal that doesn’t work for you.
All homeowners will have to sign a contract with Padre Escapes. This contract lays out the duties and responsibilities of each party. If at any time you decide our management style doesn’t work for you, we’re not going to force you to work with us. All we ask for is a 30-day notice, we will move any stays outside of that, remove our bedding, towels, etc. from your property and we will shake hands and part ways.
Who pays the cleaning fee?
Nowadays it is standard operating procedures for the guest to pay the cleaning fee, however if you are responsible for the cleaning fee of your vacation home, you should factor that expense into the companies’ commission rate.
With Padre Escapes the guest pays the cleaning fee. If you have an owner stay or an owner guest stay then the cleaning fee will show up on your monthly owner statement. We will typically do an annual deep clean on properties as well, that is paid for by the owner at 2-3 times the normal cleaning fee. Those are usually done in the fall/winter season after the high usage in the summer and when bookings tend to slow down.
Are you using secure, one-time-use digital locks to keep my home, my guests, and my family safe?
Do you feel safe with dozens of guests and vendors having a code for your key lockbox and having the opportunity to make copies of your property keys? Property managers who give guests the same code for accessing a lockbox or coded lock is not safe, at all.
Whoever you choose as a management company make sure they are using a lock system that generates a different code for everyone who accesses your property, including, guests, housekeepers, vendors, etc.
Safety & security is a priority for us, that's why we only use DormaKaba coded locks. They are purpose-built, one-time-usage digital locks. That means every guest, every housekeeper, vendor, and even you the property owner has their own code. Guest codes are good from check-in time to check-out time and that code is never used to access your property again. These locks are not cheap, they are made with surgical grade equipment and they require us to have a custom-built website for changing the codes for every single visitor to your property but they are the safest and most secure option on the market.
What if I decide I want to sell my property?
Selling your property while it is available for short-term rental can be difficult. You don’t want to intrude on a guest’s privacy but at the same you know potential buyers will want to get in to check out the property before making an offer. Make sure your property manager is willing to work with you if you plan on selling at some point.
With Padre Escapes, we understand things change for people and that some owners may have to sell their properties. We also have a real estate background so we understand the realtors’ side as well. At the end of the day, we want to help you sell your property while respecting the privacy that the guest has paid for.
In this situation we believe communication is key. We ask the listing agent to communicate with us directly about showings and, ideally, we will get them in when the property is vacant between stays. We can also help in the sell of your property by providing rental history, informational packets, and more.
How will you keep my home and belongings safe?
One of the nice things about owning a vacation rental is that you don’t have to be local to manage it. But that also means you could be hours or days away in the event of an emergency.
This is why you trust the property manager to have a system in place to ensure the safety of your home. How often does your home get checked when it’s occupied and when it’s not occupied? How do you check to see if anything was stolen?
At Padre Escapes we take annual inventories of your property and we do a check for large ticket items after every stay. You can expect to have to replace some silverware or dinnerware every year as things do get dropped or accidentally thrown away by the kids.
We do regular property checks on vacant properties and we are in the same day when guests check out. We have 24/7 customer service and maintenance available for emergencies as well. When major events like a hurricane or hard freeze come up we make sure your property is safe and secure before and after events occurs.
What separates you from the competition?
Every company should be able to answer this question, if they can’t then why would you consider them?
The short answer...we’re not a large corporation with hundreds of thousands of properties. We don't answer to shareholders and we are not propped up by investors. We work for you and the only way we succeed is by renting your property. We see our relationships as partnerships, if you’re not successful then we’re not successful.
For details on how we separate ourselves from the competition we encourage you to check-out our What Sets us Apart page.
Who should I call when I need assistance with my property?
You need a team of people locally based to handle all possible scenarios that may come up. Make sure the management company you choose has a team ready to respond to your needs as well as your guests' needs.
Since all our staff members are local anyone in our rental department can assist you with blocking time for personal use and entering a work order as well as answering general questions. For more specific questions on rentals, marketing, maintenance, housekeeping, and inspections we would put you in touch with the heads of those departments. However we always welcome owners to stop by and chat anytime they are in town.
If you would like more information on Padre Escapes' vacation rental management services please call our Managing Partner, Jeremy Clayton, at 361-949-0430 extension #4, or you can e-mail him at Jeremy@padreescapes.com
Does the company give suggestions for improvements to make your property a more desirable rental?
It benefits both you and the property manager to have your property looking it's best. They property manager is the expert and should make recommendations to help you maximize your ROI.
The nicer your vacation property looks & the better equipped it is the more guests will enjoy it and want to come back time and time again. Better looking/equipped properties also earn premium nightly rates as well. Your property manager should be providing you with consistent feedback on how your property could be improved to earn you more income.
At Padre Escapes we share guest feedback from reviews on a consistent basis. In addition, we also make new recommendations to help improve your property. One recent recommendation we made to all owners was adding a Keurig Duo (coffee maker and Keurig in one) to their properties to help with guest satisfaction. Setting up a WIFI booster was another recommendation we made during COVID to help get those guests that are wanting to work while on vacation.
If your property is not booking well we will let you know what can be done to change that. We can also conduct an on-site walk through with an owner to determine what improvements could be made to the property.
What makes a successful rental property?
Your property management company is supposed to be the expert. They should provide you with expert advice on how you can maximize your ROI.
A successful property is one that is well-equipped & well-maintained, including: king size beds, up-to-date & coordinated furnishings & decorations, multiple flat screen TV’s (one in every bedroom & a large one in the living room), DVD player, WIFI, & ample deck/patio furniture. Today’s guests are willing to pay higher rates, but they want to get a property with the appearance & comfort that coincides with that higher rate.
Quality furnishings and decorations are an important part of your property. Try to look at things from the guests’ point of view and realize that guests do not book and definitely do not return to homes that do not meet their expectations of quality and comfort. So having clean carpets and furniture and matching silverware, dinnerware, and glassware are a must.
Guests who have a comfortable, hassle-free stay usually request the same accommodations year-after-year. Disappointed guests will not return and may post a negative review to your property which can lead to an even greater loss of bookings.
For more details check out our page on Maximizing your Return
How much can I expect to make on my rental?
Management companies should be able to give you a rough estimate of what your property could do with them based on their history with like-type properties.
Many factors contribute to your return on investment, including: location, number of nights available to rent per year, size of property, occupancy of property, overall appearance/condition of the property, and more. To receive a projected ROI for a specific property/development, please give us a call and we can give you a good idea of what the rental income and ROI might be.
How would you market my property?
This is an important one.
Many vacation rental management companies will market their clients’ only on online travel agencies (OTAs) or only on their own website. These days, that’s just not enough.
You want to be on all the major VR sites with highly professional listings. While the manager’s site might perform well you need to have a variety of marketing outlets. Make sure you understand their marketing plan. Not only the distribution but who is responsible for the photos and the description. Ask what they do to get repeat business and 5-star reviews and who is responsible for responding to reviews. A vacation rental manager’s management fee should cover the cost of marketing your property and everything listed above.
We market your property on all of the major vacation rental websites available. Our number one source of bookings is our own website, padreescapes.com. More details are below in the next question.
Which sites will my property be listed on?
Most good management companies have your property listed on the major vacation rental websites like VRBO and Airbnb. Something to note is that while many people refer to vacation rentals as "Airbnbs" they are actually not a great source of bookings in our area. Besides our own website, VRBO.com is hands down the best site for bookings in our area. This is pretty common in destination locations such as ours, Airbnb tends to be a better source of bookings in urban markets.
Here is a little insight…Don’t be overly impressed with a long list of sites such as this one listed below. In reality, when you’re on 3-4 these sites your property is automatically advertised on many of the others.
Several of these sites are also location specific so your property will never show up on there. For example, you’ll never see your North Padre Island property on Colorado Vacation Rentals or LakeHouse Vacations:
Screenshot from competitor’s site:
The following sites are under the Expedia Network, so if you’re on Expedia or VRBO you’re on all of them (on the hotel-focused sites vacation rentals only display when hotel inventory is low):
VRBO.com, Hotwire, VacationRentals.com, Expedia, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Travelocity, CanadaStays, HomeAway.com, Abritel.fr, HomeAway.at, HomeAway.com.au, AlugueTemporada.com.br, HomeAway.ca, HomeAway.ca.fr, FeWo-direkt.de, HomeAway.dk, HomeAway.es, HomeAway.fi, HomeAway.it, HomeAway.com.mx, HomeAway.nl, HomeAway.no, HomeAway.pt, HomeAway.se, HomeAway.co.uk, Homelidays.es, Homelidays.com, Homelidays.it
All of these sites are under the Booking.com Network, so if you’re on one of them you’re on all of them:
Booking.com, Kayak, Priceline, Agoda, Venga
The following sites are “meta-search” sites which means they don’t actually list the properties they just pull them from other websites like booking.com, VRBO, etc. So, if you are on booking.com or VRBO, you’ll be on these sites as well:
Google Hotel Ads, TripAdvisor, Hotels Combined, Trivago, Skyscanner, Kayak
The following sites are location based so your property on North Padre Island will never show up on them:
Colorado Vacation Rentals, LakeHouse Vacations, Venere, LakeRentals.com, MountainSkiRentals.com, forGetaway.com, Visit Breck, DestinNetwork, Trails.com
These sites were bought out or are no longer available:
Rental Source (apartment listing site), RentByOwner (pulls properties directly from VRBO.com), Travelprorentals (bought out by another company and shutdown), PerfectPlaces.com (bought out by another company and shutdown), Vacayhero (bought out by another company and shutdown), CoastRentals.com (bought out by another company and shutdown), Vaystays (part of tripping.com, both are Meta search sites that pull from other sites like VRBO), VRGuest (no longer available), Resort Reservations (no longer available), Vacation Rental Supermarket (no longer available)
“Alltherooms” is not an advertising site, it’s a site that tracks analytics on your property’s bookings, rates, etc. & Pinterest is for social media.
That leaves these 3 stand-alone sites: Airbnb, Beachhouse.com, Owner Direct Vacation Rentals. Airbnb is really the only one that is a factor in getting your property booked.
At Padre Escapes, we do advertise on all of the (working) sites listed above as well as on padreescapes.com where we receive over 130,000 visitors annually. We’re constantly adding upgrades and enhancements to our site to ensure it’s user-friendly on desktop, mobile devices, and tablets, being user-friendly on all 3 goes a long way in maintaining high placement on Google.
Many of the visitors to padreescapes.com are repeat customers, some receive emails from us as part of our email marketing campaign, while others are part of our lookalike audience campaign. A lookalike audience is a new targeted audience we’ve put together based on the demographics and interests of existing customers. This is just one of the many ways we make sure our marketing dollars are spent wisely on bringing in new customers.
Additionally, when you partner with Padre Escapes, you’ll benefit from professionally shot photos, a virtual tour, a detailed description, plus a listing of property features and amenities.
Also included in our annual marketing plan is search engine marketing, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media, blogging, and we are constantly evolving our marketing plan to adapt to the ever-changing times.
How do you set prices/rates?
If a management company is only charging 1, 2, or 3 different rates throughout the year you should be very concerned. There are far too many factors that affect bookings to only have a couple different rates.
Your rental rates should adjust for variety of reasons, including:
These are all factors that we track through our dynamic pricing software, Beyond Pricing, but this is not a set and forget it system. We check the system multiple times a week and in busier times we check it multiple times a day. By being a local, experienced management company we know the market, we know booking trends, and when know to push rates up, bring them down and when we should offer a promo.
Additionally, we’ll never drop the rates so low it’s not worth it for you. We know you have expenses you have to cover and we know the quality of clientele can decline when rates get too low. That’s why we work with you to set a minimum monthly and nightly rate you are willing to accept and we only take that in the slowest time of year.
What are the seasons in this area and what rates are charged?
Any management company who is familiar with your market should know this answer off the top of their head. And anyone who says “year-round” should probably be marked off your list.
Some areas and some properties there are unique opportunities to go outside the peak rental season to target off market bookings, for example large properties for wedding parties in the shoulder season. For the most part, we have three main rental rate seasons, summer, spring and fall/winter.
The lowest rates are charged during the fall/winter season which starts after Labor Day and runs until February 28th. During this winter season we will accept monthly bookings, generally from Winter Texans but we also work with several traveling nurse and traveling doctor agencies, contractor workers, military families, etc. Being located in the Coldwell Banker office here on the island we also pick up a lot of business from customers in between real estate transactions.
March 1st starts our spring season during which rates are increased from the fall/winter season. We do accept monthly bookings during this time period as well but they are typically 25% higher than the fall/winter season monthly rate. The highest rates are charged during our summer season which runs from Beach to Bay weekend (3rd Saturday in May) to Labor Day weekend. Monthly stays do not typically occur during the summer season.
In addition to these seasons we also use dynamic pricing to earn you the greatest income possible. Dynamic pricing uses the market’s supply and demand to determine the rate that should be charged to get you the most bookings and earn you the greatest return on your investment.
How is your housekeeping?
In ideal world you could stay in a property with each potential manager and see how the cleaning is for yourself. When it comes to housekeeping expectations very widely, so if you can’t stay with each one you should ask them about it and you should check property reviews and see what other guests say.
Expect some bad reviews, if you see nothing but good reviews that typically means the manager is hiding the bad ones. When you see a bad review make sure the manager is responding to it and make sure there is not a consistent problem area that is not getting addressed. For example, you don’t want to see issues with dirty floors in reviews from the last 2-3 years, obviously there is an issue there that is not getting addressed.
Housekeeping is always a tough department, that is true for us as well. It’s a tough job to staff, it’s seasonal work, it’s fast-paced, it’s hard work and everyone has a different expectation of what “clean” is. To keep our cleaning standards high we rely on constant training, that goes for the leaders of the department on down to the newest housekeeper. Group training, one-on-one training, video training, webinars, seminars, and any other way we can learn how to improve the department we take advantage of it.
We also pay our housekeepers well. Vacation rental companies are always looking for new housekeepers, so to keep the good ones we have to pay them well. Additionally, our laundry facility makes the housekeepers job much easier than having to do laundry in the property.
When housekeepers finish cleaning, we have a 2nd team member go in and inspect the property to ensure the cleaning meets our high standards. In addition to cleanliness the inspectors also check for burnt out lights, dirty AC filters, and overall appearance.
How are property inspections handled?
You need to be able to trust your property manager can make sure everything is running smoothly before, during, and after a guest stay. A big part of that smooth running process begins when the guest walks in the door. A property inspector is key to making sure that first step in the door is a good one. Make sure whichever property manager you choose has a process for property inspections.
Do they inspect right after the guests leave or right after housekeeping is finished or is it right before the guest arrives? There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. What if there is an issue? What about the communication process with you if/when there is an issue?
These are all important questions that you need to have answered to make sure their approach fits your expectations.
During the busy peak season many guests are checking in the same day someone else checked-out so when the inspection is done is not as big of a factor but, in general we feel a final inspection just before the guest arrives reduces guest complaints and improves guest satisfaction.
Our inspection team is just as highly trained as our housekeeping team. We all make mistakes from time to time, so having a highly-trained second line of defense to double check things is huge in making a great first impression with guests.
What about issues? We typically take care of them, especially things like light bulbs. If there is something bigger, like an AC not working in the summer, we call a vendor out to address it ASAP. We wouldn’t bother notifying you about a light bulb but we would send you an email to let you know “your AC wasn’t functioning properly, we’ve got an AC tech headed to your property to get it taken care of before the guest arrives. If it is bigger issue that cannot be addressed or if there is a decision to be made on it we will reach out to you again. You can see the charge and more info on this in your owner portal.”
How are linens and towels handled? How often are the bed blankets/coverlets laundered?
This subject is more important than ever. The lack of consistent laundering of bed covers has long been the biggest weakness of many vacation rental companies and hotels. For most companies it’s just not possible for them to launder everything between the time one guest checks out and another one checks in. So typically, the sheets and pillow cases get changed out but not the comforter/blanket/coverlet that goes on top of the clean sheets.
Linen service should be handled by your property manager, but you need to know if they are laundering the linens and towels in your property, using a linen service, or do they have a laundry facility where they process them. If they are laundering the linens and towels in your property, with your machines, you need to run the other direction. This is not going to work, particularly in a drive-to market like ours where we see a ton of last-minute bookings. The bad thing about a linen service is that you lose all quality control. The bad part about a laundry facility is expensive.
Padre Escapes offers a stay-ready standardized linen program. Completely standardized bedding has always been our goal but with COVID-19 and the importance placed on offering clean, disinfected, and safe properties we decided it was the right time to implement a completely standardized linen program for all bedding. Going to this program would not have been possible without our state-of-the-art laundry facility.
In 2018, we built a 2700sf laundry facility that’s equipped with commercial grade washers and dryers. We follow strict guidelines to ensure all towels, linens, and bed covers are cleaned and sanitized to the highest possible standards. We have three sets of 60-85lb commercial grade washers and dryers that wash every item at temperatures up to 140 degrees. No other management company is able to offer this level of service.
What is provided for each guest stay?
For some people this is a big part of the guest experience but to others it's not necessary. Wherever you fall on this, the key is communicating it to the guest.
Padre Escapes provides premium towels and linens including:
For every stay we also provide a starter supply of the following items at no additional cost to owners:
Each guest gets a message about what will be provided for their stay and what they should bring, such as pool towels, sunscreen and any food items including, salt, pepper, oils, and spices. This is because Texas state law does not allow for any food products to be left between stays.
Does the company manage repairs to your property?
In the event something needs to be fixed, does the management company handle the repair? You also want to know how you’re charged and what level does the company have the authority to order a repair service and/or charge you for it.
What is the threshold for that dreaded phone call? What will the company repair on its own without your involvement? The last thing you want is a manager calling you every few days to get your permission to change a lightbulb and then you get a charge for $20 for each trip they take to your property.
At Padre Escapes we handle the coordination of all maintenance & repairs and there is no labor cost on quick fix issues, such as, light bulbs, replacing toilet seats, AC filters, etc. Don’t expect a phone for every little thing that comes up. We will reach out to you if it’s something big, that’s over $200 but otherwise you pay us to manage your property and that is what we’ll do.
For major repairs we work with reputable and insured vendors that we use in our own homes. All repairs are billed to the owner at the cost submitted by the vendor, service orders can be viewed in the Owner Web and copies of all repair invoices will be included with monthly statements.
Who pays the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT)? What about federal taxes?
You better make sure the management company you choose knows the correct rate and who to pay it to.
There are two parts to Hotel Occupancy Tax, state (9%) and local (6%) and each one needs to get paid in a timely manner. The guest actually pays the tax but it is up to your property management company to pay each entity on your behalf.
Padre Escapes handles HOT for every stay at your property except stays of 30+ days which are not required to pay it. At the end of the year you will receive 1099 as well as a end-of-year breakdown of your income and expenses. CPAs typically love us for making their lives easier.
What's the estimated occupancy rate and rental income for your property?
Not all companies can give you this information because it requires a lot of data and market knowledge. A management company needs to have a very high level of understanding of their market to provide you with accurate data. Booking trends, seasons, owner use, how updated the property is, how good is the view, these are all factors that should be considered when you ask for a pro forma based on like-type properties.
Padre Escapes is a data-driven company. We use data to help us make decisions and we would be happy to tap into the data to help you make a decision on which property to buy or which property management company to choose. While we won’t share a specific owner’s income, we can give you averages based on the rental history of like-type properties.
Once you purchase the property, we can also provide data to help you make decisions on occupancy, bed size and much more. Something else to keep in mind is when (what time of year) your property hits the market. This will also have an effect on your rental income, especially that first year. Coming on in October or November could mean you have a couple months without a lot of prospective customers coming to the area. Even if your property looks great many guests will shy away until they can read other people’s reviews and see if it is truly as good as it looks. After that first year of building up reviews and repeat customers things tend to snowball. Your property will generate value to guests, that value is leveraged for higher nightly rates, then your rental property will start to see an increase in bookings and rates year after year.
How and when do you receive rental income?
You not only need to know how you get paid, but when you’ll get it. It’s common for you to only receive income after the guests stay but how long after their stay. Some companies pay within seven to ten business days of the end of the month. What takes them so long to pay you what you’ve earned?
With Padre Escapes your rental funds, along with an easy to read monthly owner’s statement, will go out to you by the 5th of the month. The statement will reflect your property’s activity for the month and copies of any bills associated with your property will be included.
You can receive payments by check or setup direct deposit payments directly to your bank account. At the end of the year, we will send you a 1099 and a summary of income and expenses to help make filing federal taxes easy. Padre Escapes also handles the collection and payment of state and local Hotel Occupancy Taxes.
We also know how important it is to pay vendors quickly too. Timely payment leads to happy vendors and happy vendors will do quality work for our owners and guests.
How are reservations made?
If a management company does not offer multiple ways to book don't expect your property to book very well. Most guests will book online but they still want to ask questions to a live person. Your off season customers, particularly winter Texans, will never book online, they prefer to book in person or over the phone.
Reservations will be made through our online reservation system which is integrated with our website, distribution websites and Owner Web. Guests can book online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This reservation system creates accurate records and prevents overbooking and confusion. We are also available 7 days a week for guests calling or walking in to make reservations. Having a local office where our reservations team is readily available to speak with someone face-to-face or show them a property is crucial in getting those offseason winter Texan rentals.
Please explain ALL of the fees guests will be charged.
Extra guest fees are a part of the vacation rental industry nowadays. These fees are paid by the guest and this is where you will find a lot of management companies make-up for a discounted management fee. Go onto a company’s website and see for yourself what fees are charged when you go to make a booking. Expect a cleaning fee, reservation fee or damage waiver, and HOT tax. Those are pretty common. But what else do they add on?
We want our fees to owners and guests to be transparent and easy to understand. A cleaning fee, reservation fee/damage waiver, and HOT tax are what you will see charged on every guest stay booked with Padre Escapes. For a complete breakdown of al owner and guest fees, tax, and what they go towards check-out our What We Offer page.
Do you collect a security deposit?
This is a big part of your guest's experience and your security. Security deposits are a thing of the past due to issues with refunding them, getting the funds with credit card disputes happen, and much more
Instead of collecting a security deposit we collect a Damage Waiver, which we call a Reservation Fee. This fee provides your property with $1,500 worth of unintentional damage protection. This fee covers items such as a broken lamp or ripped couch. It does not cover normal wear and tear. In addition to the Reservation Fee we also keep a credit card on file for any damage that does not fall under the Reservation Fee coverage.
Is a damage waiver offered per stay?
Stay insurance or a damage waiver (we call it a reservation fee; everyone has different names for it though) for a guest stay is typically required nowadays too. These will usually cover accidental damage up to a certain amount, ask for details or examples of what is covered and what is not covered. Also ask how much it costs each guest.
Padre Escapes damage waiver covers up to $1500 of accidental damage. The cost for each stay varies from $49-99 depending on property size and time of year the stay is going to occur. The damage waiver has covered accidentally broken lamps, stains, holes in walls from a suitcase and other types of accidental damage.
Wear and tear is not covered by the damage waiver, for example worn out carpet in a high traffic area is not covered. If someone goes in and throws a party and does a bunch of damage to your property that is not covered by the damage waiver, instead that would be charged to the credit card we have on file for that stay.
What is your communication process with guests?
Your property manager should have a process and plan for communicating with guests. They should have a way of communicating check in information such as the wifi info, parking spot numbers, and door codes and much more.
Padre Escapes sends check-in details, parking information, and door codes via text and email. Wifi information, area to-dos, and much more is posted in the property as well. We also have an app where guests can go and find this information.
Are you available 24/7 and how quickly do you respond to guests?
You never know when something may come up at your property. Maybe a leak from the property above yours, or the power is out or someone is locked out, or locked in. You want to make sure your property manager has boots on the ground to handle these things. Someone sitting in a call center in another part of the country is not going to be able to help the guest who has water coming through the ceiling. They need to have a locally-based team of guest service and maintenance personnel to address these issues as they come up.
We are available to address guest issues 24/7, 365 days a year. We have local staff ready and available to address emergencies at all hours of the night. We also have a local team of maintenance personnel who live close-by and can be there anytime something comes up. If your AC goes out at midnight on 4th of July we have HVAC techs that will go out and get it figured out.