How I Host Affordable Surfside Beach Vacations
How to Host

How I Host Affordable Surfside Beach Family Vacations

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When I started hosting Surfside Beach house rentals in 2022, my goal was to be able to offer affordable beachfront vacation rentals for large families and groups.

However, I immediately noticed 2 huge problems, so I went out and found 3 essential tools to solve those problems 🙂

Problem #1: Renting Surfside Beach Airbnbs is Expensive!

diagram of surfside beach booking costs with airbnb and vrbo fees

We’ve all seen complaint posts on Facebook from guests who see trip costs explode upwards when they go to the checkout page.

Obviously, as a new host, it’s very important to initially list your property on Airbnb to bring in guests quickly and get your costs covered.

However, Airbnb and VRBO add 18-27% in extra booking fees that do not go to the host, a substantial cost that continues growing every year.

Problem #2: Hosting in Surfside Beach is expensive!

Like many vacation spots, Surfside Beach is highly seasonal. Most of the revenue for hosts in Surfside Beach is made in the summer months.

Ironically, most of the high-ticket costs are paid in the winter months, when storms cause the most damage and the slow season provides the best opportunities for scheduling major repairs.

Even though most guests choose to visit in the summer, new bookings happen all year long, as many guests plan and book their summer trips during the winter and spring.

Unfortunately, Airbnb and VRBO both hold onto those booking payments until 24 hours after the guest has checked in for their stay, depriving the Surfside Beach host of that revenue for months – right when they need it the most.

graph of surfside beach direct booking revenue by month

Solution: Direct Booking Vacation Rentals in Surfside Beach

Direct booking solves these two problems!

When booking directly, a guest can make a deposit payment with the host to book the trip, and avoid 17-25% of extra Airbnb/VRBO fees. Everybody wins, right?

The only remaining problem is trust – guests are wary of avoiding Airbnb scams, and so they are reluctant to trust a direct booking website with a host they do not know.

So in February, when we were getting rave reviews from our guests and inquiries about repeat bookings, I set out to spread the word to everyone who visits our little slice of Texas beach.

3 Essential Tools for Direct Bookings

Step 1: Set up a direct booking website

Set up a reservation management system that:

✅ Collects guest contact info from Airbnb
✅ Automatically sends helpful information
✅ Keeps all calendars in sync
✅ Hosts a direct booking website for you
✅ Is compatible with dynamic pricing

I use GuestyForHosts for all of the above 🙂

Step 2: Connect with all your guests (not just the one who booked)

I decided to try out a service called StayFi, a way to:

✅ Offer guests fast, reliable internet
✅ Collect names, emails and phone numbers
✅ Collect public reviews outside of Airbnb/VRBO
✅ Send them opportunities to book directly in the future

StayFi cost me:

💲 $200 per house to set up (for the router)
💲 $10/month per house for the StayFi service

I use 1 Ubiquity long-range wifi access point in each of my two Surfside Beach oceanfront vacation rentals.

I used StayFi’s 50% discount for new customers, I’ll add a button with the link below:

stayfi surfside beach vacation rentals

Step 3: Bring Guests back with Dynamic Pricing

Ultimately, the key to hosting affordable vacation rentals is pricing.

As a host, you want to be able to:

✅ Offer fair market rates
✅ Automatically increase with demand
✅ Automatically decrease when slow
✅ Offer discounts for long stays
✅ Offer last-minute discounts
✅ Offer discounts for stays that fill gaps
✅ Keep prices in sync across platforms
✅ Shows you other hosts’ prices

PriceLabs is essential to my business and keeps my properties booked 70+% of nights.

PriceLabs paid for over a year’s worth of it’s cost within the first 7 days. I’ll leave a link to their free 30-day trial here.

My Results (so far)

Over the first 9 months, my contact list of prior guests grew to about 450

…and I use StayFi’s automated emails to initially email welcome guides, collect reviews via text, and thank them for visiting after they leave. Months down the road, I have found that prior guests like when I use their contact information to stay in touch and send them helpful news about Surfside Beach and local events.

The results are in: over 30% of my guests are now booking directly. My goal for this 2024 is to get to over 50% direct bookings, so stay tuned!

If you’d like to try StayFi, you can use this link to get 50% off your first three months.

Kourtney has hosted over 3,000 guests and has an average review rating of 4.9 stars.Kourtney is a Superhost on Airbnb and a Preferred Host on VRBO Superhosts are experienced, highly-rated hosts who are committed to providing great stays for guests.All of Kourtney's Airbnb properties have been specially endorsed by Airbnb as "Guest Favorites" Guest Favorites are a collection of the 2 million most-loved homes on Airbnb based on ratings, reviews, and reliability data from over half a billion trips.Kourtney is born and raised in Texas. She is a beach lover and mom of four littles :)

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