David and Goliath: How Should Owners Choose a Property Manager?

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At many ski resorts in Vermont, the company that owns the mountain is king. They not only own the resort, but also manage a large portion of the vacation rental properties in the surrounding areas. In some cases, owners may not even be aware that there are other options besides renting their property through the resort. This is purposeful and sets the resort up to be able to charge enormous fees for the brand recognition they provide.

The truth is that while some areas such as Stowe and Killington have their share of obvious competition, other less known resorts such as Sugarbush and Okemo do not. As a property owner in a resort area, what is the difference between listing through the resort versus through a smaller, private property manager? As previously mentioned, the primary difference is cost to the property owner. To list with the resort, the owner will pay anywhere between 40-60% commission on every rental. On top of that, the resort usually charges separately for marketing fees, credit card fees, and cleaning charges. In the end, the owner may only walk away with less than half of the revenue earned on their property. Many non-resort property managers will offer a lower commission rate and will also cover the marketing and credit card fees. Also, guests are usually charged for cleaning in this scenario, not owners.

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