Are you looking to turn your property into a vacation rental success? 

Before you hand over the keys to your slice of paradise, make sure you’re partnering with the perfect property manager. 

Like a seasoned captain navigating uncharted waters, here are ten must-ask questions for your vacation property manager to ensure smooth sailing and maximum returns on your investment.

1. Pro Forma Production

Pro forma production is not just a component but a cornerstone in financial planning, especially in real estate and investment analysis. It involves projecting future financial performance based on various assumptions and factors, giving you a clear picture of your property’s potential. 

Analysts typically construct a pro forma using a combination of historical data, market research, industry benchmarks, and economic forecasts. Analysts can use these comparisons and data points to estimate revenues, expenses, cash flows, and overall profitability over a specific period. 

While pro forma projections provide valuable insights into potential performance, they are inherently speculative and subject to change based on evolving market conditions. Historical actuals, or past financial data, serve as a crucial benchmark for validating the accuracy of pro-forma projections and refining future forecasts. Access to historical actuals allows stakeholders to assess the reliability of pro forma estimates and make informed decisions regarding investment strategies and financial planning.

It’s crucial to understand which data they’re using in pro formas so that you can make accurate decisions.

Sundial C407 with a loft

2. Revenue Management Tools

It’s crucial to inquire about the revenue management tools utilized by vacation rental managers as they directly impact the financial success of your property. 

Understanding their approach to pricing optimization and demand forecasting can make a significant difference in maximizing your rental income. 

Additionally, probing into whether their team operates locally is equally vital. Local knowledge allows managers to grasp the nuanced dynamics of different neighborhoods, enabling them to set competitive yet profitable rental rates. 

This local expertise ensures that your property’s pricing strategy aligns with market trends and yields optimal returns, making it a key factor in selecting the right property manager for your vacation rental.

3. Rates and Pace Evaluation

Inquiring about the frequency of rate evaluations and the approach to seasonal rate strategies is pivotal when selecting a vacation rental manager. 

Understanding how often their revenue management team assesses rates and monitors booking pace provides insights into their proactive approach to optimizing rental income. 

Seasonal variations, especially between summer and winter, require distinct rate strategies tailored to fluctuations in demand and market dynamics. 

By delving into their strategies for different seasons, homeowners can ensure that their property is competitively priced year-round, maximizing occupancy and revenue potential

Thus, asking about rate evaluations and seasonal rate strategies is essential in aligning expectations and fostering a successful partnership with a vacation rental manager.

Sundial B512

4. Fees

Inquiring about additional fees, such as linens, credit card processing, and guest fees not shared with the owner, is crucial to understanding the complete financial picture of renting out your property. 

These fees can significantly impact your bottom line, affecting the overall profitability of your vacation rental investment. By clarifying these costs upfront with the property manager, homeowners can accurately assess their net earnings and make informed pricing and financial planning decisions. 

Moreover, transparency regarding such fees fosters trust and ensures a mutually beneficial relationship between homeowners and property managers, laying the groundwork for a successful and transparent partnership.

5. Housekeeping Fees

Homeowners must inquire about housekeeping fees and the amenities provided in the rental unit, such as paper supplies and kitchen basics, to understand the true costs associated with the vacation rental manager. 

Understanding the scope of housekeeping services and the inventory of amenities ensures that guests have a comfortable and hassle-free stay, leading to positive reviews and repeat bookings. 

Moreover, clarifying who is responsible for replenishing amenities when they run out—whether it’s the homeowner or the property manager—helps manage expectations and avoid misunderstandings. 

And most importantly, it’s important to understand who pays for the the cleaning. Is it the guest, the property management company, or the owner? 

By addressing these details upfront, homeowners can maintain the quality of their property and ensure guest satisfaction, ultimately contributing to the success of their vacation rental venture.

Payday Condos private hot tub

6. Maintenance Rates

Asking about maintenance rates and what’s included, along with specific protocols for snow removal and hot tub maintenance, is essential for homeowners entrusting their property to vacation rental managers. 

Understanding the scope of maintenance services and associated costs helps ensure that the property is well-maintained and in top condition for guests. 

Snow removal procedures are particularly crucial in areas prone to winter weather, as prompt and effective snow clearance is vital for guest safety and accessibility. 

Additionally, it is essential to clarify the maintenance and servicing of amenities like hot tubs, including who bears the costs. 

By addressing these concerns upfront, homeowners can maintain the overall integrity of their property and provide a positive experience for guests, leading to repeat bookings and positive reviews.

7. Staff

For homeowners seeking a reliable vacation rental manager, it is crucial to inquire about the size of the local staff and whether housekeeping and maintenance teams are internal or outsourced. 

The number of local staff members directly impacts the level of service and responsiveness provided to guests and homeowners alike. Understanding whether these teams are internal or outsourced, further clarifies accountability and quality control measures. 

Internal teams often imply greater oversight and consistency, while outsourced arrangements may offer cost efficiencies but could compromise quality. 

By asking these questions, homeowners can gauge the property manager’s ability to uphold cleanliness, maintenance, and guest satisfaction standards, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable experience for all parties involved.

8. Guest Service

Inquiring about the guest service team is crucial for homeowners entrusting their property to a vacation rental manager. 

Knowing who to contact in case of problems or emergencies and understanding the accessibility and responsiveness of the guest service team are essential for ensuring a positive guest experience. 

Questions about the guest service team’s location and the expected timeframe for addressing issues provide insight into their ability to provide timely assistance. 

Homeowners can assess the manager’s commitment to guest satisfaction and the efficiency of their service delivery. 

By clarifying these details upfront, homeowners can instill confidence in guests and maintain the reputation and success of their vacation rental property.

Ski-in/ski-out access at Lift Park City in Canyons Village (snowboarding)

9. Owner Stays

Asking about how the vacation rental manager handles owner stays is vital for homeowners seeking clarity and flexibility in their property usage. 

Understanding any limits, such as maximum stay durations or blackout dates, ensures that owners can effectively plan their personal use of the property. 

Additionally, knowing the notice required for owner stays enables homeowners to coordinate their plans with the property manager and avoid scheduling conflicts. 

Clear communication regarding owner stays fosters transparency and a mutually beneficial relationship between homeowners and vacation rental managers, ultimately contributing to a positive experience for all parties involved.

10. Owner Portal

Inquiring about an owner portal is crucial for homeowners entrusting their property to a vacation rental manager. 

A comprehensive owner portal provides transparency and convenience, allowing homeowners to access essential information and manage their property remotely. Functions such as:

  • Booking and editing owner stays
  • Viewing guest bookings
  • Financials
  • Work orders
  • and more. 

Features like this empower homeowners to stay informed and engaged in the management process. 

By offering these tools, vacation rental managers demonstrate their commitment to transparency and efficiency, fostering trust and collaboration between homeowners and property management teams. 

Access to an owner portal streamlines communication and enhances the overall experience for homeowners, contributing to the success of their vacation rental investment.


Selecting the right vacation rental manager requires thorough consideration of various factors, from revenue management strategies to guest service protocols and owner amenities. 

By asking pertinent questions about these aspects, homeowners can make informed decisions and establish a successful partnership with a property manager that aligns with their goals and expectations. 

Clear communication and transparency are key to fostering trust and ensuring a seamless experience for both homeowners and guests, ultimately contributing to the success of the vacation rental venture.