Deciding on a property manager is the single most important factor in determining the success of your short-term rental cabin.
There are a number of high-profile management companies available in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area. When picking a company that suits your needs, it’s important to understand the differences between their service offerings and ours.
The bottom line is your cabin is a major investment and you need to make sure that it’s taken care of properly while making you the most money possible.
There are 4 primary areas you need to focus on: Revenue and Fees, Marketing and Pricing, Guest Services and Maintenance.
Revenue and Fees
|Avada||Evolve Vacation Rentals||Vacasa||Turnkey Vacation Rentals|
* While Evolve claims a 10% management fee, their “all in” price including fees puts it in the 15-18% range.
Based on the numbers alone, it’s pretty clear who’s the winner here. However, you need to dig a little deeper into these numbers to find the hidden fees and charges. This table gives you an accurate fee/commission structure.
|Avada||Evolve Vacation Rentals||Vacasa||Turnkey Vacation Rentals|
|Advertised Commission Rate||20%||15%||35%||18%|
|Property Damage Fee||$0||$0||$270||$0|
|Guest Supplies||$0||$225/month||$90 “hot tub fee”||$90/month|
For our average 1-bedroom cabin in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg we’ll bring in $60,000 at 92% occupancy. The area average for 1BR cabins is only $38,124 at 51% occupancy. In other words, we come out ahead without even taking into account the fees.
Marketing and Pricing
All management companies make sure your cabin gets posted to multiple sites and booking networks. These include top sites such as: Airbnb, Vrbo / HomeAway, Tripadvisor, Expedia and Hotels.com. Your management company may advertise you all the way down to more niche sites like the various HomeAway country sites as well.
So what makes Avada different? Well, there are a few key factors to having a successful listing that really set us apart from the other property managers:
1. Market Research: We’ve built software that monitors the big local cabin managers like Cabins For You, CabinsUSA and American Patriot Getaways. We track their pricing and availability to make sure we’re in line with local trends. We have also built additional tools to do the same thing across both Airbnb and Vrbo/HomeAway.
We have the ability to see increases in demand so that we can raise prices, or get ahead of the curve by lowering prices as we did during the initial COVID-19 outbreak. *Our listings stayed 75% booked while the entire area was below 10%.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The software team behind Avada built industry-leading SEO tools that have been used by tens of thousands of marketers worldwide.
We’ve expanded and extended our technology into the short-term rental space to get your cabin maximum exposure and dollars. Because of our SEO experience, we know how to get the most revenue for your cabin.
3. Pricing: Our pricing tools work hand in hand with our market research tools to provide you the best results. We constantly monitor occupancy and booking rates, adjusting pricing on a daily basis.
We automatically raise the rates in order to capture the most revenue while lowering rates for “last minute” stays that would otherwise go empty. Heads in beds is what makes you the most money and we obsess over it.
To put this into concrete performance terms, one of our owners made $7961.33 on his beautiful 3 bedroom Gatlinburg cabin from January 1 to May 1 using Evolve Vacation Rentals.
This was through both the slow season (Jan/Feb) as well as COVID lock down (April/May). During that same time period we made $11,066.59 on one of our one-bedroom cabins.
We are a small property management company that CARES. Your cabin is our cabin. And we know when the prices aren’t right and the vacant nights stack up, it hurts. This is why we’re so invested in monitoring the area’s activity, rates, etc. We don’t want you to feel that hurt.
As cabin managers, we are very much in the service business. Our cabins help make memories for couples, families, and groups every single stay. We take that responsibility very seriously.
We have a multi-part system designed to streamline visits, which leads to happy guests, great reviews and repeat business. Here’s what we provide:
- Orientation emails that walk the guest all the way from learning the house rules to finding cool local businesses to frequent. We touch base at every step of the bookings from reservation time to post-checkout messages to insure that your guests know what to expect and never feel left out.
- “On the ground” staff to handle any emergencies that may arise. Our team can handle everything from AC repairs to hot tubs to HDMI cables. They’re dedicated to rescuing our guests’ vacations when inevitable issues arise.
- Mid-stay trash pickups and cleanings can also be accommodated.
- Concierge services: personal shopping, local recommendations/connections, etc. Guests love this!
This is a very high touch service where we shine and can’t really be broken down into a table. Take a few moments to read what guests say in their own words about each of the vendors:
- Turnkey Vacation Rentals
- Evolve Vacation Rentals doesn’t offer “on the ground” support and leaves that up to you.
- Avada Properties
Avada Properties Reviews
Taking care of your cabin is critical to protecting your investment. Keeping your cabin in pristine condition and great working order assures you make the most money possible every month. It also allows you to sell for top dollar when that time rolls around.
All of our cleaning crews go through a very specific checklist to proactively spot problems before they happen. We’ll catch everything from a sagging floor to bug infestations to aging decks so that small issues can be taken care of before they become big ones.
Fixing minor issues before they develop into huge problems not only saves you money, but it also prevents your guests from being the ones who discover hazards.
|Small maintenance such as light bulbs and batteries||Medium items such as a broken remotes or toilet seats||Large items like deck repair, AC out or plumbing backup|
|Avada||No charge||Materials charge only, no labor||Labor and materials charges passed through without markup|
|TurnkeyVR||Materials charge only, no labor||Labor and materials||Labor and materials with markup|
|Vacasa||Materials charge only, no labor||Labor and materials||Labor and materials with markup|
|Evolve||Requires you to do the maintenance||Requires you to do the maintenance||Requires you to do the maintenance|
1. We’re small, we care and we treat your cabin like we do our own cabins. You can rest assured that you’re not only getting high quality professional care, but you’re also getting a group of individuals that treat you as more than a random cabin owner.
2. Big companies handle hundreds or thousands of cabins and just can’t give that personal touch like we do. Chances are if you sign up with a larger company like Airbnb, you might feel as if your cabin gets “lost in the mix”. Because we’re a small team of dedicated individuals, you’ll never feel like you’re just another paycheck to us.
3. Our fees are lower and we require no long-term commitment.
- We believe that we have to prove ourselves every month to earn your business.
- We want our owners/clients to be 100% satisfied with the level of care and dedication they receive. This is why we allow you to cancel at any time.
4. We encourage both potential and current renters to talk with us as well as our happy customers. We don’t believe in keeping ourselves or our other renters “hidden” from you. We want you to trust in our methods as much as we trust in them and feel safe about your investment.
- Speaking of investments, yours is in amazing hands with us. As we’ve said before, we treat your cabin as if it was ours. We want to make sure that you make (and keep) the most money possible on your cabin.
- We don’t believe in nickel and diming you for things that should be included in property management fees. This is why you won’t receive a bill from us every time we replace a light bulb or change remote batteries.
- We believe that your primary focus should be on enjoying your profits and cabin. You shouldn’t have to worry about issues, market trends, etc.; let us handle that!