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Renting out vacation apartments successfully – We’ll tell you how

In this article, you will learn how to rent out your vacation apartment or holiday home as profitably as possible. And how to navigate potential pitfalls and problems.

Whether it’s a vacation apartment or holiday home – renting it out successfully requires learning. This is the ultimate guide for all vacation rental hosts.


  1. Market and Trends in Vacation Properties
  2. General tips for renting out a vacation apartment
  3. The most important questions about renting out
  4. You should definitely avoid these mistakes
  5. The tax office collects: Tax aspects
  6. What happens if something happens? Tips on insurance
  7. Here’s how you double your rental income

1. Market and Trends in Vacation Properties

The market is booming. Still. Analyses confirm a stable growth in the rental of vacation properties. After the downturn in the years 2020 to 2022, we are now back at the level of 2019 and even experiencing slight growth in Germany for 2023. And revenues will stabilize at this high level. Experts anticipate moderate but steady growth until 2027. In 2023, we expect global revenues of approximately €89 billion. And they will grow by about 13% by 2027.

The key factor driving growth is the increasing importance of online marketing, especially through online platforms like Airbnb or Booking.com, although these platforms do consume a significant portion of the market share themselves. With DiBooq, property owners now have the opportunity to use the online channel at much more favorable terms and pay only a fraction of what would otherwise flow to the major platform operators. Marketing your own vacation property becomes easier and – above all – cheaper. We’ll show you below how it all works.

The trend is moving away from the standard 08/15 hotel with small rooms and a sterile hotel atmosphere towards unique private accommodations that offer authentic travel experiences. This applies particularly to vacation apartments and holiday homes (see also https://www.kosmo.at/privatunterkunft-gewinnt-an-bedeutung-urlauber-haben-hotelpreise-satt/ or https://www.stern.de/reise/luxusreisen–der-trend–fuer-den-urlaub-das-konto-zu-pluendern-33542980.html). These are sometimes housed in historical buildings, sometimes they impress with their design quality, and yet others offer endless space. Vacation apartments have what people are looking for now: space, room to breathe, and an atmosphere to feel comfortable in. Of increasing importance to travelers from all over the world: climate protection and sustainability. (see also https://www.tn-deutschland.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Die-Zukunft-des-Reisens_final.pdf).

It’s also interesting that more and more business travelers are showing interest in vacation apartments. Those who stay longer in one place and demand more privacy even during business trips are increasingly choosing vacation apartments over business hotels.

What’s still important in this market is:


Everywhere, rental and marketing agencies offer to take on the tedious tasks for property owners and ensure continuous occupancy. The owner provides the property, and the agency takes care of the rest. A genuine win-win situation for both parties.

The regulatory challenges:

The booming market and the sometimes explosive proliferation of vacation rentals in the major cities of the world have led to stricter regulations. Many communities now limit the number of rental days for an apartment. Additionally, in many places, you must apply for a permit to rent out a vacation property, and local authorities are becoming increasingly restrictive in this regard.

So that you can rent vacation apartments even without years of experience, we have prepared a small checklist for you to download here.

Checklist (PDF for Download)

2. General Tips for Renting Out a Vacation Apartment

Tip 1: Use Your Location.

The location of a vacation property automatically brings its own unique advantages that need to be highlighted. If you want to market a vacation apartment in the midst of a bustling metropolis, you’re unlikely to emphasize peace, country air, and bird chirping. Instead, you’ll highlight the fact that you’re right in the midst of life. It’s important to describe the short distances, the proximity to exciting attractions around the corner, or the vibrant nightlife from which one can walk back to the vacation apartment. And if your vacation apartment is located on a secluded beach on some island, then it doesn’t make sense to focus on the distance to the nearest cultural highlight. Rather, it’s about peace, relaxation, and slowing down.

Tip 2: Good preparation is half the battle.

Make sure that everything works in your vacation apartment. The apartment should be tidy, clean, and lovingly decorated. All repairs should be completed before the first guest sets foot in your apartment. And importantly: Ensure the best possible technology. Lacking internet or poor cell phone reception are real annoyances today that can greatly deter guests. The beds should be comfortable without causing back pain, and a well-equipped kitchen should also be available. Yes, yes, guests’ expectations are rising with each passing year.

Tip 3: Just take great photos.

Don’t skimp on the wrong things. Avoid using underexposed photos of the apartment on a rainy day. The photo should captivate the potential guest at first glance and, if possible, also emotionally engage them. So use high-quality camera equipment or consider hiring a photographer for exceptional results. It’s worth it.

Tip 4: Inspire instead of describe.

The textual description of your vacation apartment should immediately play a movie in the reader’s mind. Be as specific and vivid as possible. Highlight the truly unique features and advantages of your vacation property. The breathtaking view over the rooftops of the city, the incredibly beautiful garden that feels like paradise, or the incredibly original neighborhood with clubs and ravers or horses and goats, depending on the location.

Tip 5: Price competitively. Set competitive prices.

If all vacation properties in your neighborhood are around 100 € per night, you must have very compelling reasons to demand 200 €. Don’t overprice. Inflated prices only lead to revenue losses. It’s better to have guests at the rate of 100 € than to earn 0 € because you’ve alienated all potential guests. Good prices attract good customers and generate good revenue.

Tip 6: Those who don’t advertise, die.

Market your vacation accommodation because it generally doesn’t market itself. Step out of your comfort zone and invest in the marketing of your vacation apartment because marketing comes before renting out. Create your own booking website. With DiBooq, it’s a breeze. You’ll get a clear, attractive, and fast booking website with an appealing layout and proven user experience. Use video content so that your potential guests can get a complete picture of your vacation apartment. You don’t need a big camera anymore for this; the video function in your smartphone is more than enough. Plus, the latest models have all the tools for image and video editing. You don’t need to be Steven Spielberg to make a cool video. With good texts, images, and video content, you can reach thousands through social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, or TikTok. And if you’re feeling generous, throw in a few content ads to initially drive traffic to your site.

But of course, you can also simply rely on the best rental platforms. Or you can build your own network with DiBooq and integrate your target audience directly into your calendar. Because this way, you have by far the best and most efficient price-performance ratio when it comes to marketing and renting out.

Tip 7: The better the service, the higher the chance that your guest will return or recommend you to others.

Take care of your guests, and if they are satisfied, ask them to write a positive review. Here is a checklist with the most important tips on how to get good reviews. Create as many positive experiences as possible. This includes short response times, quick responses to inquiries and booking requests. Make sure there is always someone available for the guest. Offer additional services such as airport transfers, providing bicycles, or a shopping and delivery service. And if you don’t want to handle all of this yourself, use the professional services of a rental agency.

Renting out a vacation apartment can be an extremely lucrative business if done correctly and if all marketing potentials are consistently utilized. Because nothing comes from nothing.

With the DiBooq app, this is very easy to do. Click on “Shares” and then on the blue plus sign at the bottom right to add a new agency. You just need to provide the email address of your contact person, and they will then receive access to your calendar through the DiBooq Property Management Software. In selected regions, we even offer exclusive agency partners that you can connect directly to. In this case, after clicking on the plus sign, a menu item “Premium Partner” will appear in the DiBooq app. Behind it is a list of the most successful agencies in your area, with which you can connect with just a few clicks.

Checklist Reviews (also available as a PDF Download)

3. The most important questions about renting out

Especially if you are getting into the marketing of your own vacation rental and intend to rent it out regularly, there are a lot of pressing questions to consider:

Question 1: How do I find potential tenants for my vacation rental?

Well, we’ve already talked about the usual rental platforms from Airbnb to booking.com. These platforms are effective but take a significant chunk of the pie, up to 20% of revenue. Apart from rental platforms and rental agencies, there are some other very interesting ways to attract potential tenants to your vacation rental. For example, you can set up your own blog on your website and ask your guests to write experience reports. In return, you can offer discounts or other benefits. Additionally, you have the opportunity to curate relevant content from other sites and provide useful tips and links for their stay.

Question 2: How do I determine the rental price for my vacation apartment?

Definitely do a little on-site research. Find out the prices being charged for vacation rentals in your neighborhood. And be sure to adjust your prices according to each season. Stay flexible and relaxed. It can be beneficial to offer special deals and time-limited discounts to attract more bookings during periods of low occupancy.

Question 3: How do I organize my bookings?

You can’t avoid an efficient booking system if you want to avoid double bookings, gaps in bookings, and a lot of hassle. With DiBooq, you can digitize your existing network of agencies, friends, family members, and regular guests who book your accommodation regularly, making you independent of the major portals. This saves you high commissions and allows you to receive all bookings conveniently via push notification on your phone. And if you don’t want to organize this yourself, it’s advisable to rely on a professional rental agency. The result: minimal vacancies, maximum rental income. And everything practically takes care of itself. By the way, DiBooq already supports you in Spain in finding the right agency. And this feature will soon be introduced in other countries as well. Go to the “Shares” section and click on the plus button at the bottom right and then on “Premium Channels” (if available in your area).

Question 4: How do I organize smooth cleaning and maintenance?

You can, of course, clean it yourself. And certainly, no one will clean as diligently and thoroughly as you. After all, it’s about your property. But if you honestly ask yourself whether you could use your time more profitably, you will quickly come to the right answer: It’s best to hire professional cleaning staff. And you have options:

You can either opt for a cleaning company. Then you have the assurance that there will be a replacement in case of illness or vacation (but this comes at a cost, and it’s quite expensive).

Or you hire an individual cleaner (either as a freelancer or on a permanent basis). This option is usually cheaper, but in the worst case scenario, they may not be available when you need them most.

In any case, it is important to personally get to know cleaning staff and caretakers, and remember that “trust is good, but control is better.” You must regularly conduct on-site inspections. This is the only way to detect potential problems early. Remember: cleanliness and the impeccable condition of the vacation rental are mandatory prerequisites for successful marketing and renting. Here are a few links to platforms where you can book professional cleaning staff and services.

In the DACH region:


But finding the gems among cleaning staff is even harder than finding real pearls.

Therefore, we have compiled a few tips for you here that will drastically improve your chances of finding a gem:

  • Clear communication is key. Define what you expect from your cleaning staff. Is it just cleaning, or cleaning, laundry, and shopping? Do you also need maintenance services? Or not? What language skills do you require? How many hours of work do you need per week? Will you provide cleaning supplies, or should they bring their own? Does the cleaner need a car to reach your vacation rental? Should they clean daily, weekly, or just after each check-out?
  • Pay better. Don’t skimp on your cleaning staff. Being stingy will cost you more in the long run than being a bit generous. Pay fairly and a little more than most owners around you. You’re in a fierce competition. And don’t just pay with money. Pay with respect and appreciation.
  • Get someone recommended to you. Ask friends, acquaintances, neighbors, or colleagues. Follow up on every lead. It’s a lot of effort, but it’s worth it.
  • Engage in personal conversations. Befriend your cleaning staff. Cleaning staff are people just like you and me. They have needs and want to be acknowledged. Small gestures of attention help maintain the friendship and don’t cost much.
  • If you are satisfied and your guests are too, then express that regularly. Learning how to praise is important. Start practicing praising now. It’s the master discipline in the race for the best cleaning staff.

Question 5: How do I handle complaints from my guests?

There will always be someone who complains, regardless of whether it is justified or not. In any case, you must respond quickly and without delay to a complaint. As mentioned earlier, reviews are absolutely vital in the vacation rental business. Even a guest whose complaints are unjustified can ruin your entire business. Therefore, you must respond immediately to every complaint. Never leave a bad review unaddressed. Instead, use complaints to demonstrate your interest and commitment. Make the guest feel important and valued. Never dismiss a complaint just because you think it’s unjustified. Use every complaint to show how dedicated you are to taking care of your guests. Because through engagement, respectful communication, and a friendly approach, a complaint can ultimately become a decisive argument in favor of you and your vacation rental. Assuming your guest feels valued and well-treated.

4. You should definitely avoid these mistakes.

We are all human. And as humans, we make mistakes. Unfortunately, this also applies to renting vacation apartments. We have listed the most serious blunders in the hope that you won’t make these mistakes:

  • Poor preparation First inform, then rent. Those who dive into the rental business without careful preparation quickly pay a hefty price. Whether it’s because they don’t comply with local regulations or because they don’t know the tax requirements.
  • Lack of understanding of the target audience You should know exactly who the people are to whom you are renting out your vacation rental. It’s best to imagine your typical tenant and describe them as you would describe a colleague or neighbor in conversation. The more specific, the better. You should have a clear picture in your mind. This way, you can better understand what your target audience likes and dislikes. If you don’t know your target audience and, for example, market to young couples when in reality, older travel groups are booking the accommodation, you have a classic mismatch. Not good for marketing.
  • Zero marketing Those who rely solely on the attractiveness of their holiday apartment are quickly left behind. As deserted as the holiday apartment that no one knows about. Before renting comes marketing. And that takes dedication, effort, and unfortunately, money. However, you can market your holiday apartment through DiBooq without excessive costs.
  • Lack of knowledge about local regulations Ignorance doesn’t protect against penalties. For instance, those who engage in rental activities without the necessary permits or exceed the allowed number of rental days may face significant fines. Some municipalities are quite strict in this regard.
  • Ignoring guest reviews If the reputation is ruined, living becomes completely uninhibited is a saying, but in the realm of vacation rental, it’s quite the opposite. A tarnished image is very difficult to repair, and the internet never forgets. So, keep an eye on guest reviews and respond promptly, consistently, and professionally. If managing this on your own becomes challenging, consider seeking professional help.
  • Missing liability insurance What happens if something happens? You need to ensure adequate insurance coverage before renting out. At the very least, you should have liability insurance. Yes, it costs money. But not having liability insurance can be extremely expensive if you have to pay seven figures due to personal injury and then file for bankruptcy.
  • Ignoring taxes Income from rental and leasing activities must be declared on your taxes. Failing to do so can lead to serious consequences if the tax authorities discover it after a few years, resulting in significant financial penalties. Tax officials can be incredibly strict about such matters.
  • Missing contracts or ambiguous contracts If you have to argue with your guest after the end of the rental period and both of you interpret a contract completely differently, it is too late. Download a sample contract and adjust it according to your requirements. Here is the link: https://vertragsfix.de/downloads/mietrecht/muster-mietvertrag-ferienwohnung-ferienhaus/
  • And if you want to be completely safe it’s best to hire a lawyer to prepare the contract.
  • Not including operating costs Sure, you receive rental income from your vacation property. It would be great if all of that went straight into your account, essentially as profit. But there are operating costs to consider. And those costs can add up significantly. Electricity, water, heating, waste disposal, garden maintenance, cleaning and maintenance, as well as potential caretaker services. These need to be calculated in the right amount from the start, or else the math won’t add up.

If you navigate around all these pitfalls skillfully, you should make good money from renting out your vacation property.

6. The tax office takes its share: Tax aspects

The most important aspect of renting out a holiday property is proving an intent to make a profit. Once the tax office suspects that you primarily use your holiday property for personal purposes and only want to deduct the costs from taxes, it classifies your holiday home as a hobby. Then, you cannot deduct any of the costs from your taxes. Here is further information on the theme: https://www.vlh.de/wohnen-vermieten/vermietung/ferienwohnung-vermieten-das-ist-steuerlich-zu-beachten.html

The other side of the coin: If you earn money and generate income with your holiday property, don’t forget to declare that to the tax office. Otherwise, you could face severe penalties. Inform yourself thoroughly about the local tax regulations before renting out your property.

7. What happens if something happens? Tips on insurance.

Just like everything in life, renting out vacation apartments comes with a certain level of risk. And of course, there is suitable insurance available for almost every risk. However, there is neither a 100% risk coverage nor is it sensible to insure even the smallest residual risk. Here’s a brief overview of the most important insurances:

Private liability insurance:

It covers damages that may occur to your guests, such as if a guest slips on a worn step in your vacation home and breaks their thigh. They require extensive treatment and incur significant costs due to their inability to work. This is covered by private liability insurance. An absolute must-have.

Business liability insurance and homeowners liability insurance:

You definitely need public liability insurance if you want to rent commercially and be classified as a hospitality business. The property owner’s liability insurance is especially suitable for owners of rented properties, especially if there are co-owners involved.

Building insurance:

Building insurance covers damages caused by fire, water, severe weather, or elemental events like earthquakes. So, if a faulty socket triggers a short circuit and subsequently starts a fire that engulfs the entire holiday apartment, the building insurance comes into play. Make sure that the insurance lists the holiday apartment as rented out at the time of signing the policy so that the damages are indeed covered.

Natural disasters insurance:

What the building insurance doesn’t cover, can be insured through natural disasters insurance. This includes floods, storm surges, landslides, storm damage, avalanches, and anything else you can imagine. So, if the sky falls on your holiday guests, at least you’re insured.

Legal expenses insurance:

If you are in a legal dispute with the neighbors of your vacation rental, need to collect rent through the court, want to dispute the amount of refunds, or generally like to go to court as a landlord, you should consider approving the costs for legal expenses insurance.

Loss of income insurance:

If you experience loss of income due to fire, storm, or a railway strike, this insurance covers both the fixed costs and the lost profits. However, it’s also clear that such comprehensive coverage comes with a cost.

Household insurance:

The household contents insurance covers damages to furniture, electrical appliances, and everything else inside the house. This can include damages from fire, water, storms, hail, or burglary. It’s highly recommended for landlords who furnish their vacation rentals with designer furniture or high-tech equipment.

Which of the many insurances you want to take out, you have to decide for yourself. The fact is: the more security, the higher the costs. Regularly review your insurance coverage to avoid underinsurance.

7. This way you can double your rental income

Renting holiday apartments and holiday homes can be a very lucrative business. However, it becomes even more profitable when you go beyond just renting and offer guests additional services.

  • Provide your guests with transportation options such as bicycles, e-bikes, scooters, or cars. Use specialized service providers for this purpose and earn a commission on the bookings.
  • Offer additional services such as daily cleaning, shopping services, guided tours, or restaurant recommendations at discounted rates, and benefit from the referrals. Additionally, you can charge an extra handling fee.
  • Use dynamic pricing strategies consistently. Adjust your prices based on season, demand, and day of the week. It may require some effort, but it’s worth it.
  • Use DiBooq to synchronize your calendar with all your target groups and avoid double bookings, vacant periods, and disgruntled customers.
  • Invest in marketing your vacation rental property, both online and offline. Collaborate with local event organizers, restaurants, tourism offices, and shops. Distribute your advertisements there and offer a small commission for sales generated through these partnerships.
  • Don’t just rent during the peak season; consider renting out your property throughout the year. Target audiences include not only private tenants but also business travelers who might occupy your accommodation for up to 6 months at a time.

If you follow our tips, renting out your vacation home will become a steady source of income for you, and your guests will be happy to return. So, create a win-win situation for all parties involved. DiBooq is here to support you in this endeavor.


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