How to make money on a vacation rental property


As the leading professional vacation rental management company in North America, we know firsthand the kind of income you can earn when your second home is truly working for you.

We host over two million guests every year in over 35,000 vacation homes. We’re sharing insights from our revenue and analytics team designed to help drive revenue for your property—whether you’ve rented out your second home for decades, or you’re preparing to join the fast-growing industry of vacation rentals.

Getting started

1. Buy the right vacation home

If you haven’t purchased your home yet, review our resources on buying a vacation home. Long story short, we’ve seen new vacation rental homeowners succeed most when they consider:

  • Location. Homes with immediate access to a nearby attraction (the ski slopes, the beach, the water, the theme park, the city center) are the most obvious choice for an investment property.
  • Seasonal appeal. You’ll see better financial results if you choose a location that is accessible and desirable year-round. This could be because of weather (like Hawaii or the Gulf Coast) or because of seasonal activities (for example, Lake Tahoe or Telluride, both excellent markets for winter and summer vacations).
  • Size. The more bedrooms and bathrooms, the more you can typically charge per night.
  • Regulations. Check on local city, county, and HOA (homeowner association) ordinances about vacation rentals, or ask your local Vacasa representative for insight. Some regulations can make it more difficult to rent your second home short-term by limiting the number of guests, imposing strict parking restrictions, or simply outlawing rental activity altogether. (We believe in being good neighbors and citizens, so you’ll only find Vacasa homes where it’s legal for us to operate.)

Need help finding the right vacation rental?

Get in touch with one of our real estate partners >

2. Decorate and furnish

Creating a beautiful space for guests is one of the easiest ways to make money on your vacation rental. Not only does this make for a better guest experience, but it’s also key for good marketing—if your guests are posting images of themselves in your home on Instagram, then you’re doing it right.

There are a few simple ways to upgrade your home’s appeal:

  • Fluff up the bed. We always opt for hotel-quality linens and recommend a minimum of four pillows per bed. Guests sleep better and your bedrooms photograph better!
  • Spruce up the kitchen. A big draw of vacation homes is the private kitchen, so make sure yours is stocked with measuring cups, mixing bowls, baking sheets and pans, and some nice table linens. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, consider painting the cabinets a fresh color or removing the doors to create open shelving.
  • Dress the windows. You’d be surprised how much curtains can add to a space. Choose something light and airy for rooms that get a lot of sun, and heavier drapes for bedrooms.

3. Optimize your listing

Draw potential guests into your Instagram-worthy getaway with the help of your home’s online profile.

  • Invest in professional photography. Your photos will make or break your home’s listing. We take professional HDR photographs for every home, complete with careful staging: open the curtains, close the toilet lids, hide the trash cans, and fluff the pillows.
  • Give your guest a tour. Virtual walkthroughs of a home can help a guest visualize their vacation, encouraging them to book. We invest in virtual 3D tours for every home because our data shows that homes with them see a 12% increase in bookings.
  • Write a short, accurate description. A description helps round out a guest’s expectations and can help highlight attributes that are hard to capture in a photograph. Keep the description short and sweet—scannable descriptions that supplement the photographs are more appealing than long-winded sagas.

See what goes into the perfect vacation rental listing >

4. Update your amenities

Guests search for a few specific amenities more than any other, so you’ll boost your home’s visibility by offering these top three perks:

  • Welcome dogs. Our data shows that Vacasa homeowners who allowed dogs earned an average of 10–15% more revenue than those who didn’t.
  • Add a hot tub. This is especially true for homes with incredible views or in colder climates. Our data shows that adding a hot tub can add lead to a 15–20% increase in revenue—and we make it easy with our hot tub installation program.
  • Provide WiFi. Internet access is a basic expectation of guests today, and you’ll miss out on bookings if you don’t provide it. (If your home is too secluded to offer WiFi, be upfront and make it clear in the description that it’s a lovely place to unplug.)

Maximize your vacation rental’s income potential

5. Determine your rates

You simply can’t rely on the old model of “set it and forget it”—with fixed nightly rates for weeknights or weekends, in high season or low season. As technology becomes more sophisticated, rates have become more dynamic and are now one of the most challenging parts of vacation rental management. In the current landscape, it pays to have a team behind you.

For example, Vacasa homeowners benefit from:

  • Machine learning. Our proprietary algorithm delivers optimized pricing in moments, based on over a billion data points.
  • Dynamic updates. Prices adjust multiple times per day, so our homes book for the best nightly rate—neither overpriced during peak booking windows nor underpriced too early.
  • Local expertise. We supplement our technology with regional revenue experts who know your market and monitor performance. They closely watch for unexpected fluctuations in demand—like rescheduled events or weather conditions—and adjust pricing accordingly in real time.
  • Constant innovation. A team of data scientists continually refines and hones our pricing tools.

If you want to optimize your rates on your own, you’ll need to invest a lot of time in monitoring and updating your pricing.

Learn more about dynamic pricing >

6. Manage your calendar

Your calendar can have a huge impact on your home’s profitability. Our revenue team recommends these tips for managing your calendar:

  • Avoid minimum stays. Applying aggressive minimum stay requirements may seem like a path to a premium booking, but likely causes potential guests to skip your home in favor of something easier. For example, forcing a guest to book a five- or seven-night stay during the Fourth of July (when the demand for the holiday is only three nights) could cause guests to turn away from your property. What could have been three nights of revenue is now worth zero.
  • Avoid minimum nightly rates. Similarly, minimum nightly rates can create an illusion of more revenue, but can lead to fewer bookings as the seasonality changes. A $400 minimum rate may satisfy the demand during peak season, but is likely too high to generate bookings in the off season when demand is much lower. Pricing your vacation home correctly during shoulder seasons is one of the quickest paths to higher overall performance.

7. Market your home

If you’re marketing your vacation home on your own, choosing the right listing site (or sites) for your property is key.

Own a home in a driveable destination with lots of vacation rentals? Choose Vrbo. Have an apartment in a city? Airbnb is likely your best bet. Is your rental unique, like a treehouse or a houseboat? Consider a specialty site like Glamping Hub. (Every Vacasa home is listed on multiple channels, depending on its location and appeal.)

As with rates, working with the pros can increase your revenue stream by getting your home in front of as many potential guests as possible. Our digital marketing team accomplishes this through:

  • SEO (search engine optimization). Using the right keywords and the right signals to ensure your home is well represented on search engines.
  • PPC (pay-per-click) ads. These sponsored ads appear at the top of search results, targeted to appear when your guests search for precise keywords.
  • Display ads. You know those banner ads that follow you around the internet? We do those, too.
  • Facebook ads. When we know a guest is looking for homes in your area, we put a beautiful picture of your property right in their newsfeed.
  • Organic social. Our most stunning or unique homes are featured on our own social media profiles, reaching hundreds of thousands of interested travelers.

Discover more on marketing >

Welcoming guests

8. Love the good reviews

You use reviews to determine how you spend our money on Amazon, where you choose to eat on Yelp, and where you apply for jobs on Glassdoor. In the vacation rental industry, good reviews mean:

  • More bookings. Guests care immensely about reviews, and are more likely to book a property with multiple positive reviews.
  • Better visibility. Listing sites usually rank homes with positive reviews higher in their search results than those with negative or few reviews.
  • Repeat guests. Guests who wrote you a good review to begin with are likely to return, and to share their positive experiences with others.

9. Learn from bad reviews

Negative reviews can often be a blessing in disguise. Negative reviews are an opportunity to:

  • Make improvements. Some of our most successful homeowners are those that take feedback to heart and make small improvements regularly. (And our local property managers are always happy to help arrange contractors or deliveries.)
  • Build trust. If you take the time to correct the issue, you demonstrate care and consideration for your guests and their experience. You may even win them back.

10. Hire a vacation rental management company

We may be biased, but making money on your vacation rental property is so much easier when you have a comprehensive management company by your side. A good manager will take care of all the details so you can spend more time enjoying the extra income you make.

That’s where Vacasa comes in. We’re the one-stop shop for vacation rentals, bringing you all the tools you need to maximize your vacation rental’s income potential.

Our end-to-end vacation rental management services include:

  • Dedicated local property managers, housekeepers, and maintenance techs caring for your home
  • 24/7 guest support
  • Dynamic pricing platform
  • Professional marketing
  • 3D virtual walkthrough tour and professional photography
  • Listing on top booking sites including Vrbo, Airbnb, and
  • Filing lodging taxes and assisting with permitting and licensing

Earning more money on your vacation rental property doesn’t have to be a second job. In fact, with the right tools and the right management company, it can be quite rewarding.

Making money on a vacation rental FAQ

Capturing the best rate for every booking requires more than just adjusting for weekdays versus weekends or high season versus low season. Consider other factors that impact how desirable your home is at any given time. Demand for your vacation home can change based on weather, market patterns, local events, and regional competition.

At Vacasa, we use dynamic pricing (leveraging proprietary technology and regional experts and analysts) to set the optimal rate for each of our homes. Changes in demand can happen in real time. So, your rates are updated daily to reflect the current demand for your home.

Learn more about dynamic pricing for vacation homes >

Managing calendars—as well as bookings, profiles, and requests—on multiple vacation home sites can quickly become one of your most tedious responsibilities. There are a couple of solutions, including paying for a channel management software that will manage your bookings across multiple booking sites.

Even better (and easier) is to work with a full-service property management company with experts dedicated to channel marketing. At Vacasa, not only do we manage all of our homes’ availability, rates, and bookings across the most popular channels, but we also optimize listings for peak performance on each one.

See how Vacasa manages multiple booking calendars >

Today’s travelers have high standards for vacation homes. They expect all the vital essentials for a pleasant stay (think a smart TV, microwave, and cleaning supplies). Yet, they also appreciate delightful extras that make their getaways exceptional—such as an outdoor barbecue, kid-friendly and pet-friendly amenities, and a laptop safe.

Shopping and stocking your vacation home, especially at the beginning, can be an overwhelming process. Download our ultimate inventory checklist for vacation rentals for an easy, complete room-by-room guide.

Let's get started

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You've got questions. We've got answers.

Call 844-518-0967 to speak with a Homeowner Consultant, who can answer preliminary questions and see if we’d be a good fit for you.

If you'd like to move forward, we’ll put you in touch with our market expert in your neighborhood to explore the financial potential of your home, outline our management fee, and introduce your local team.


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California licenses
Vacasa Seasonals Inc.
California DRE #02160171

Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc.
California DRE #01523013

Vacasa offers property management and other real estate services directly through Vacasa LLC and through Vacasa LLC's licensed subsidiaries. Click here for more information about Vacasa's licensed real estate brokerage/property manager in your state. Vacasa’s licensed real estate brokerages/property managers include: Vacasa Alabama LLC; Vacasa Arizona LLC; Vacasa of Arkansas LLC; Vacasa Colorado LLC (Micah Victory); Vacasa Delaware LLC, 302-541-8999; Vacasa Florida LLC; Vacasa Illinois LLC 481.014072, Micah Victory Managing Broker Lic# 471.021837; Vacasa Louisiana LLC, Dana MacCord, Principal Broker, ph 504.252.0155 (Licensed in LA); Vacasa Michigan LLC, 602-330-9934; Vacasa Missouri LLC, Vicki Lyn Brown, Designated Broker; Vacasa Nevada LLC; Vacasa New Hampshire LLC,45 NH-25, Meredith, NH 03253, Susan Scanlon, Broker of Record; Vacasa Minnesota, Broker: Micah Victory, license #40877637; Vacasa New Mexico LLC, 503-345-9399; Vacasa New York LLC, 888-433-0068, Susan Scanlon, Real Estate Broker; Vacasa North Carolina LLC; Vacasa Oregon LLC; Vacasa Pennsylvania LLC; Vacation Palm Springs Real Estate, Inc., California DRE #01523013, Mark Graham, California DRE #00700720; Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Texas, Debra Brock, Designated Broker); Vacasa Real Estate LLC (licensed in Washington, Robert Brush, Designated Broker); Vacasa Seasonals Inc., California DRE #02160171, Lisa Renee Stevens, California DRE #01485234; Vacasa South Carolina LLC; Vacasa South Dakota LLC; Vacasa Tennessee LLC; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Hawaii LLC, 69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr. Ste. #2F17, Waikoloa, HI 96738; Vacasa Vacation Rentals of Montana LLC, Terah M. Young, Licensed Property Manager; Vacasa Virginia LLC; Vacasa Wisconsin LLC; Vacasa Wyoming LLC. In Canada, this advertisement is provided by Vacasa Canada ULC, CPBC lic. number 75826, 172 Asher Rd. V1X 3H6 Kelowna, BC.