Challenges of Managing Rural vs. Urban Vacation Rentals

Guest Screening, Property Manager Tips, Short-Term Rental Insurance
Challenges of Managing Rural vs. Urban Vacation Rentals

No matter what style of properties you have in your portfolio, where they are located, or which audience you cater to, managing rentals can be a tough job. However, each type of rental property brings unique challenges, and it’s important to know what you are up against if you want your portfolio to thrive. 

With that in mind, the Safely team will be breaking down two of the biggest categories of short-term properties: rural vs. urban vacation rentals. We’ll unpack the differences between these property types and run down the hurdles you’ll face with each one.  

Key Differences Between Rural vs. Urban Vacation Rentals

Before getting into the challenges of managing rural vs. urban vacation rentals, it’s beneficial to explore the three main differences between these types of properties: location, access to amenities, and target audience.

Location

Rural properties are typically located in remote or countryside locations, offering your guests seclusion away from the typical hustle and bustle of daily life. In contrast, urban properties are situated in densely populated cities and are usually near tourist hotspots or popular attractions. 

Rural properties may also be further away from emergency services providers, including fire stations. With that in mind, it’s important to have a great short-term rental insurance policy

Fortunately, Safely makes it easy to find a policy that aligns with the needs of your portfolio. We offer robust protection and customizable coverages to create a policy that makes sense for your rental property portfolio. Get a free quote today. 

Access to Amenities

Rural properties may have limited access to amenities, which means you’ll need to provide your guests with basics or warn them ahead of time so they can adequately prepare. Additionally, finding someone to care for your rural rentals may prove difficult, as there might not be many service providers nearby.

Conversely, urban vacation rentals provide easy access to amenities, shops, service providers, and pretty much anything else you’ll need to take care of the property. Your guests will also benefit from readily available supplies. 

Target Audience 

One of the primary differences between rural vs. urban vacation rentals is your target audience. Individuals interested in a rural vacation typically favor solitude, natural beauty, and the outdoors. Therefore, it’s important to tailor your amenities and design offerings to these hobbies.

On the flip side, urban vacation rentals appeal to a wide range of travelers, including tourists, business renters, and city explorers looking for a convenient place to stay. You need to create a space that is welcoming to all sorts of renters. That way, you can appeal to as many guests as possible and maximize your rental revenue. 

Common Challenges of Managing Urban Properties

There are several hurdles associated with managing urban properties. Some of the most common challenges include the following:

Competition and Saturation

Urban markets are sometimes saturated with vacation rental properties. This competition can lead to pricing wars and negatively impact profitability. In response, you should differentiate your listing by offering unique amenities and great rates. Also, it can be helpful to engage in targeted marketing to stand out from the crowd. 

You should also thoroughly research the market before investing in a rental property there. Look at what’s currently available and ask yourself, “What would make a renter choose my property over all these other options?” If you can confidently answer that question, you’ll be well on your way toward short-term rental success. 

Property Maintenance and Upkeep

All vacation rentals require regular maintenance and upkeep to meet the expectations of guests accustomed to urban living standards. However, you may face added maintenance costs in the urban setting due to a high demand for these services. 

In general, urban homes can be more expensive. Everything from your utility bill to property taxes and your mortgage may cost more than a rural home of a similar size. You’ll need to account for these variations when deciding whether an investment is a good fit for your portfolio. 

Local Regulations

Keep in mind that urban rental properties, especially those regulated by a homeowner’s association (HOA), can be subject to strict rules. Many HOAs prohibit or limit your ability to engage in short-term rental agreements. If you are thinking about purchasing a property in an HOA community, make sure to carefully review the bylaws first. 

It’s important to remember, too, that an HOA can change its rules. Just because an association currently allows short-term rentals doesn’t mean they will continue doing so in the future. Generally, then, it’s best to avoid HOA communities altogether if you can. 

Common Challenges of Managing Rural Properties

Getting away from the daily grind of urban living can be quite appealing. With the right strategy, your rural vacation rental properties can become some of your best revenue-generating tools as long as you can overcome these hurdles first:

Accessibility

Accessibility represents one of the biggest challenges of managing rural properties. Homes in remote locations may lack proper road infrastructure, which could make it difficult for some guests to even reach the rental. 

Visibility

You might have a tough time marketing your rural rental property. However, you can work to maximize visibility through a targeted marketing strategy. 

You should also identify and focus on a specific niche audience. For instance, if you own a log cabin in the mountains of Tennessee, it’s a good idea to offer amenities that promote a luxurious “mountain lifestyle,” such as a fire pit, hot tub overlooking the valley, etc.

Seasonal Demand

Rural vacation rentals often experience seasonal demand changes, with peak seasons coinciding with nicer weather. It’s important to research the area where your rental is located and use flexible strategies to maximize rental rates outside of peak seasons. This may involve adjusting prices, offering discounts, or ramping up marketing efforts. 

Rural vs. Urban Vacation Rentals: Which Is Right for You?

The rural vs. urban vacation rentals debate doesn’t have a clear winner or loser. Instead, it’s about what type of short-term rental property fits best in your current portfolio of assets. Regardless of the type of property you are managing, you’ll need to adopt a proactive and research-oriented approach to overcome these common challenges and maximize your return on investment.  

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Grace is the Chief of Staff at Safely and a licensed insurance agent. She began her journey at the company over a year ago in the Customer Happiness department, where she learned the ins and outs of the customer experience, getting to know Safely’s customer base and exploring Safely’s value proposition in the market. Grace was asked to step into the Chief of Staff role in 2023 and spends her time working on company-wide initiatives including investor relations, compliance, and expansion. Outside of working hours, you can find her trying new restaurants with her husband, walking her dog along the river, and exploring the city of Atlanta.

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