I joined this forum last year when we purchased a property in Santa Fe, NM but have had a tenant with a lease since that time, so haven’t been very active here. My wife and I are making some improvements to the property and preparing it for short term rental starting in June.
It’s a pet-friendly property (more than half an acre of fenced property) so we’d like to invite people to bring their well-behaved, medium sized dogs. (Our two Cocker Spaniels do very well there. They’re both around 30 lbs.)
My wife and I both have very demanding jobs and the property is a 9 hour drive from our home, making direct day-to-day management impossible. I have sourced local cleaning, maintenance and repair professionals.
I have been courted by Evolve to help manage the property marketing. They offer great personal service and I’ve been chatting with them on an off for the past year.
They have been discussed in other posts but rather than send you searching, here are the highlights of their pitch (skip this part if you’re already familiar):
- Listings on all the major STR platforms
- Dynamic Pricing for the market
- $3,000 Damage Protection for each stay
- $1M in liability for each stay
- Management and scheduling of a cleaning team that you select
- Personal follow-ups with guests to encourage positive reviews and get feedback about the property
- 24/7 Level 1 guest support
- Professional Photography
- 25 year age limit for guests (obviously excluding their children)
- All guests for a booking must be listed and provide ID
- No fees. There’s a 10% commission for each booking, inclusive of any commissions paid to the platforms
So far, I think it sounds great.
Like many of you, I’m concerned about unsanctioned parties, more guests than should be staying, unruly guests, unruly pets, property damage, etc.
Based on information shared in this community and others, I’ve noticed that some hosts have been able to identify some possible red flags. For instance, last-minute bookings, guests who treat the property like a quick hotel stay, guests new to the platforms and guests who are locals, to name a few.
Yesterday, during an onboarding call with Evolve, I was informed (for the first time) about a few of their policies:
- They will only allow instant bookings - no host pre-approvals
- There is no software in place to limit bookings based on local zip codes
- I cannot limit the size of the dog (This is an AirBnB requirement that I did not know about. It’s my fault for not knowing this - I should have been paying closer attention.) and they won’t allow me to include our requirements in the description of the listing.
If you’ve read this far, thank you.
Do I simply accept the terms I don’t like in exchange for the bundled service or should I manage the property using one of the major SaaS platforms? (Lodgify, iGMS, etc.)
I have significant experience as a business owner/operator and consider myself relatively competent in most facets of management (especially software and automation), but it would still be more work for me.
The damage protection and liability insurance are a huge added value and would protect me (somewhat) from the above issues, but I feel the odds of experiencing some of the issues noted above will be higher than if I could set some requirements.
I know you’re all busy and experienced hosts and I thank you in advance for your input.