19 Aug 2022
Owning and managing a Hawai’i vacation rental can be exciting… and overwhelming. The vocabulary alone can leave you lost in translation!
As the demand for vacation rentals in Hawai’i continues to increase, understanding the basic industry terms will give you a competitive edge, helping you maximize your returns. To help you get familiar with the terms you need to know if you are a Hawai’i vacation rental owner, we’ve created this glossary of vacation rental vocabulary just for you!
A feature in a vacation rental home that makes it more comfortable and desirable to guests. Air conditioning, beachfront locations, a hot tub, pool, and ocean views are among the most popular amenities.
The extra amount guests are charged for access to certain amenities to cover the cost of maintenance. This may include the pool or golf course.
As a vacation rental owner, you need to keep track of income and expenses for tax purposes. For the duration of the Hawai’i property management contract, Hawai’i Life will handle accounting for your rental property.
Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
The ohana, mother-in-law suite, or apartment that is attached to a primary residence and used for short-term rentals.
A portion of the total rent that your guest is charged prior to their arrival. Typically, the remaining balance is charged at a later point.
The price per night that potential guests see under a rental property’s rates.
The online calendar that appears on a vacation rental’s page and shows up-to-date availability.
The number of nights that a vacation rental is available for bookings throughout the year. “Night Available” and “Night Unavailable” are usually indicated by a certain symbol, color, or both on the availability calendar.
Average Daily Rate (ADR)
ADR is the average revenue that your vacation rental earns when occupied and is a helpful way to track your rental’s performance. The ADR can be calculated by dividing total revenue earned by number of nights booked.
Average Length of Stay (ALOS)
ALOS is the average number of nights that a guest stays at your rental. Typically, this is determined by dividing the total number of booked nights by the number of different guests that booked your rental.
When the day of one guest’s arrival is the same day as the previous guest’s departure.
Also called a “reservation,” this is when a guest has reserved your vacation rental.
The notification that the rental owner sends to a guest immediately after the booking request has been confirmed. Generally, the booking confirmation includes a booking number, check-in and check-out dates, the total price, and a receipt with payment details. The confirmation can also include a simple message saying “Thanks for booking” and reminding the guest that they will receive more details about their stay 7 days prior to arrival via email.
The fee that Hawai’i Life charges guests for booking through our platform.
The terms and conditions concerning cancellations, damage deposits, payments, and other items.
A booking method requiring that a homeowner first approve a potential guest’s request to stay at the vacation rental before they book a stay.
A service provided to guests by Hawai’i Life. Our professional reservations team immediately responds to all guest inquiries and handles all bookings.
The period of time between when the guest makes a booking and when they check-in. This metric can help owners track how fast or far in advance guests tend to book.
Also referred to as owner holds, blackout dates are specific dates when your home is unavailable for bookings.
A set of terms or rules the rental owner establishes that describe how a guest can cancel, and any fees or deadlines associated with a guest cancellation. At Hawai’i Life, our policy is that when any cancellation is made within 60 days of the arrival date, the initial deposit is non-refundable. For any change of dates or cancellations within 60 days of arrival, rent and taxes will be forfeited.
Any website where hosts can list their vacation rentals, and travelers can search for and book rentals. To increase exposure and bookings, Hawai’i Life has built strong relationships in the vacation and visitor industry with top channels such as Airbnb, Booking.com, FlipKey, Tripadvisor, and Vrbo.
A company or software that manages your listings, bookings, and communications across multiple channels in one place. You’ll get all this and more with Hawai’i Life’s vacation rental channel marketing strategies.
The time the reservation officially starts. To allow housekeepers ample time to clean the rental after a previous guest checks out, standard check-in time is 4 pm. In general, a guest can arrive anytime after that.
The time the reservation officially ends. To allow housekeepers enough time to prepare the rental before the arrival of new guests, standard check out time is 10 am. Since housekeepers are on a tight schedule, delays in departure incur additional fees for guests.
The one-time fee a rental owner charges the guest to cover the cost of cleaning the unit upon a guest’s check-out. At Hawai’i Life, the fee is mandatory and in some cases, a mid-stay cleaning may be required every seven days at the guest’s expense.
A service provided by Hawai’i Life. Our professional team hires and supervises housekeepers, as well as coordinates yard maintenance, repairs, septic tank inspection, window washing, and carpet cleaning.
Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)
A report on similar rental homes in an area that is used to identify the value of a specific home.
Also referred to as a compset, this is a set of vacation rental properties that you deem as direct competitors to your rental. The compset can be similar in location, style, price, or target demographic. By examining your compset and reading associate guest reviews, you can identify ways to stand out among your competition.
The percentage of potential guests who made a reservation at your Hawai’i vacation rental out of all those who viewed it online.
Also referred to as a security deposit, this is the amount of money that a guest prepays 60 days prior to arrival to cover any potential damages to the rental property. If there are no damages or missing items reported, the money will be refunded to the guest 14 days after their departure. Hawai’i Life requires that guests pay a damage deposit, along with damage insurance.
Insurance that a guest generally purchases at the time of booking to cover any potential damages to a vacation rental.
Also known as overbooking, this refers to two or more reservations being made for the same property on the same nights and may occur if homeowners advertise their rental on multiple channels that are not synced. To help you keep all your calendars synced and avoid double bookings, Hawai’i Life can manage your listings and bookings across multiple channels.
Adjusting a vacation rental’s nightly pricing based on changes in competition, demand, weather, and market trends. This includes lowering rates during the low season or pricing higher during an event or peak season.
Bringing exposure to your vacation rental by sending emails to past, current, and potential guests in our massive client database. Content can include e-newsletters or promotions intended to invite recipients to book a stay. At Hawai’i Life, we send multiple targeted emails a month using customer data.
Any costs paid by a vacation rental owner to operate and maintain the property. Marketing, cleaning, repairs, and insurance are a few of the vacation rental expenses, and are tax deductible.
An open-ended term used primarily in the hospitality industry to convey the overall experience of a guest. The guest experience usually emcompasses everything from booking and their stay to the communications they receive after departure.
Any fee paid by guests that covers more than the nightly rate, such as a cleaning fee or pet fee.
Also referred to as security screening, guest screening evaluates potential guests before enabling them to book a stay. Hawai’i Life conducts extensive guest screening for all of our vacation homes. This can include confirming guests’ identities and flagging suspicious behavior.
Gross Booking Revenue
The total vacation rental revenue earned by a homeowner from charges such as rent and amenity fees.
Also called “house rules,” the house manual is a step-by-step guide to the vacation rental home. The rules will explain what is and isn’t allowed on the property, as well as any actions and fines that will be taken if these rules are not adhered to. These guidelines also provide guests WiFi information, remind them about appliance usage (such as the washer/dryer), and communicate what is expected of guests during their stay, such as taking out the trash.
A message from a potential guest with questions about a vacation rental. Hawai’i Life immediately responds to and handles all guest inquiries for homeowners.
A way for guests who are checking in to access the property without using physical keys, usually by providing them a code for use on a keypad or smart lock.
Length of Stay (LOS) Pricing
A pricing strategy that offers discounts or other benefits to guests if they book longer stays. LOS encourages guests to book for longer than the typical 7-day stay.
Any stay that exceeds 30+ days. Long-term rental properties are generally rented by the month instead of by the week.
The profile of your vacation home within a channel. A listing generally includes a title, a description of your property, professional photos, pricing, availability, and location information.
A secure case outside of the vacation rental that contains the keys to your property for guests checking in. Accessible by code, lockboxes are typically attached to a wall near the door or to the front door handle.
Also called off-peak season, this is the time of year when travel isn’t as common in a certain area. During the low season, dynamic pricing may occur as rental owners drop their nightly rates to attract more guests.
Proven marketing strategies bring exposure to your vacation home. At Hawai’i Life, we invest in targeted pay-per-click marketing, sponsored advertising, and strategic organic keyword placement. In addition to our increased traffic strategies, we've developed strong relationships within the vacation and visitor industry, so your Hawai’i vacation home has a higher likelihood of increased bookings.
Active research that Hawai’i Life conducts on the habits of a customer base and what is available for rent in certain areas.
And stay that exceeds 30+ days but is less than 365 days.
The lowest amount of money that a homeowner will accept for any booking. Setting a minimum rate is a poor practice, as it can lower visibility and earning potential.
The minimum number of nights that a vacation homeowner allows a guest to book a property for.
A single calendar used to avoid double-bookings by showing all of a listing’s bookings across different channels.
Exposing your vacation rental to as many guests as possible by advertising and synching the property’s details across multiple platforms.
The total earnings that you make after paying costs such as a vacation rental management commission or channel fees.
The entire state of Hawai’i has a noise ordinance that begins at 9:30pm and ends at 7am, so all guests are asked to keep their volume down during that time. If there are complaints regarding noise, guests will be contacted immediately and are responsible for the cost of any neighborhood warnings or fines. For vacation rentals with an outdoor space, it’s recommended that guests bring all conversations and gatherings indoors by 9:30pm to keep noise to a minimum.
Also referred to as low season, this is the time of year when travel is slowest. Rates should be adjusted for the off-season to prevent a decrease in bookings
An integrated approach to marketing that uses blogs, digital ads, email marketing, social media, and other channels to engage with potential guests.
All the aspects involved in managing a Hawai’i vacation rental. From marketing and cleaning to preventative maintenance and concierge services, a full-service property management company, like Hawai’i Life, manages it all for homeowners to protect your investment while maximizing your returns.
The ratio of nights booked to the total number of nights available.
A period when there are a few unbooked nights in between bookings. There may be a few days in between week-long bookings as a result of minimum night requirements.
Any exterior feature of your property that may attract bookings and improve guest satisfaction, such as a pool, hot tub, lanai with an ocean view, or barbeque.
A locked closet or room where the vacation rental owner can store extra toiletries, cleaning products, other essentials, and personal items that you don’t want guests to have access to.
For owners who outsource their property management, this is a dashboard for viewing how your property is performing. At Hawai’i Life, owners can view reservations and statements, and add travel dates using our online owner’s portal.
Party Prevention Device
Typically, a device that senses noise levels and alerts the rental homeowner if predetermined levels are exceeded. This device may also monitor movement, humidity, and temperature, without ever compromising your guest’s privacy.
Also known as high season, this is an area’s busiest time of year for tourism and it is generally when Hawai’i vacation rentals have the potential to command the highest rates.
A property that accepts guests with pets for an additional fee. At Hawai’i Life, we do not permit pets on any of our luxury properties, with the exception of registered service animals, which will be permitted with proper documentation.
A way for homeowners to communicate with guests who send a listing inquiry and make them aware that it is available.
Price Per Guest
A pricing rule that is based on the number of guests included when the reservation is made.
The part of your listing where your vacation rental is described in detail. When writing a property description, include amenities that guests are looking for, attributes that make your rental unique, features that convince a guest to book, what guests should expect, and what they can look forward to when staying at your rental.
An individual hired by the homeowner to manage the listing’s daily and routine tasks.
Property Management Fees
The fee a property manager charges, which can range from 25% to 35% of the gross monthly rent, depending on the rental home’s location and the current market in Hawai’i.
Property Management Services
Property managers may perform a wide range of services, including inspecting every property before each guest's arrival and after their departure, greeting guests upon check-in, and making themselves available to meet every guest’s needs throughout their stay. On top of these services, Hawai’i Life also arranges and supervises independent contractors such as housekeepers, yard maintenance, repair technicians, gas delivery, septic tank inspection, window washing, and carpet cleaning.
Property Management System
Or PMS for short. This is software that synchronizes your listing calendars.
Property Protection Program
A program that reimburses certain costs for accidental damage to your property during the rental occupancy. At Hawai’i Life, we participate in a Property Protection Program, which means that guests are charged a non-refundable, administrative fee to defer our costs for program participation. If a guest or member of the guest’s party unintentionally cause any damage to property during occupancy, the guest must notify property management immediately. When reported immediately, the program covers the registered guest against any accidental damage for up to $1,500.
Rules that are specific to where a listing is located. The amount of rental days per year that is considered a short-term vacation rental is an example of this. In Hawai’i regulations may vary by county.
A document that details the vacation rental owner’s rules for guests, as well as any penalties for failing to adhere to them.
Also called revenue, this is the total amount of money that each stay generates, and includes nightly rates and fees.
Guests who book a stay at the same property, year after year.
This is the practice of encouraging guests to leave reviews after their stay, and immediately responding to bad reviews in an effort to earn trust and secure future bookings.
Return on Investment
Also known as ROI, a measure of performance that identifies the profitability of a homeowner’s rental property, after expenses. Typically, ROI is shown as a percentage of the cost of investment and is calculated with this formula: (Net revenue - Cost of investment)/Cost of investment = ROI.
Public feedback that a guest leaves about a vacation rental for other potential guests to read when browsing listings. Homeowners should check their property’s reviews frequently and address any negative feedback immediately to help prevent low ratings, encourage repeat guests, and attract new guests.
Revenue per Available Rental
Also referred to as RevPAR, this is a way to measure your revenue to determine if it is trending up or down over a given period. Vacation rental owners can learn whether or not your efforts have effectively impacted your bottom line by tracking your RevPAR daily, monthly, or annually.
A process used by rental homeowners and channels to pre-check a guest's background before approving a vacation rental. At Hawai’i Life, we conduct extensive guest screening on behalf of our owners.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Strategies that improve your rankings on search engine result pages, such as Google, to attract organic visitors to a website. Since most travelers start their search for Hawai’i lodging on Google, higher rankings mean more eyes on your vacation rental, which in turn leads to more bookings. Our website, HawaiiLife.com, is the state’s most trafficked real estate and rental property website. To stay at the top of all search rankings, we continue to invest in organic SEO, Google AdWords, and other proven promotion strategies.
Also called contactless check-in, this is a process that enables the guest to check in without meeting the homeowner or property manager in person. At Hawai’i Life, we streamline the process by using the GLAD App, which enables guests to have detailed property information before they arrive, including when to arrive, where to park, auto-generated check-in info, and lock codes.
Rented for vacations, this is a property that can only be rented for 30 days or less at one time.
Short-Term Rental Insurance
Separate from home insurance, this insurance specifically covers properties rented out as short-term rentals.
The period of time between a destination’s off-season and its peak season.
A WiFi or Bluetooth-enabled lock that allows guests to enter a vacation rental using a code instead of a key. Smart locks can be linked to the internet with a smart lock hub. This tool will also enable you to automate the lock.
The income that a rental owner earns from a short-term rental is taxable under Form 1040, unless the non-taxable rental exception applies.
Transient Occupancy Tax
Otherwise known as TOT or lodging tax, this is the tax a guest pays to the county or city where the vacation rental is located. The taxes usually go towards environmental preservation, public parks, libraries, transportation projects, and other improvement projects in the destination.
A property that is rented out for short-term stays (30 days or less).
Features that are unique to a property and valuable enough that guests will pay more for a rental with these features.
Vacation Rental Contract
The rental agreement between the homeowner and the guest. At Hawai’i Life, the guest must sign the vacation rental contract to confirm their reservation. Once signed, the guest will automatically receive a copy of the signed contract and their initial deposit will be charged. Until signed, the reservation is not confirmed.
Vacation Rental Management Fee
The set fee that a vacation rental manager or management company charges a homeowner for overseeing their property.
Vacation Rental Property Manager
A specialist hired to take care of some or all aspects of running your vacation rental. Hawai’i Life’s property managers handle everything from marketing your property to bookings and guest departures.
Specific to the weekend, these nightly rates are usually higher since demand for rentals is higher on weekends.
Welcome Book or Letter
This is used to welcome guests to a vacation property, answer common questions, and provide local recommendations. Homeowners can leave something as brief as a letter or as comprehensive as a house manual.
A variable pricing strategy that is based on demand, competition, and other market factors. Dynamic pricing, which adjusts a vacation rental’s rates based on market changes and trends, is an effective yield management strategy.
The Hawai’i vacation rental market is as competitive as ever and our local team is here to do more than just make you an expert in vacation rental lingo! We’re ready to assess your goals and revenue potential, and assist you with your rental property needs.