When you're at home, you probably don't think twice about borrowing a cup of flour from your next-door neighbor or bringing a batch of cookies to a new resident. And while you may not get to visit your vacation home often or spend as much time there as you'd like, you can still develop relationships with neighbors at your vacation home.
In fact, you may even find you have more in common with your second-home neighbors than those at your permanent residence. After all, you're in the same business!
It's generally easy to find out who the other vacation rental owners are — you'll meet each other when you visit your properties. If your vacation home is part of an association, you can actually obtain a list of owners directly from the association. When the association holds its annual homeowners' meeting, take time to socialize with your fellow vacation rental owners. You should also try to find owners who live in your hometown. This can be especially helpful when you want to transport small items and supplies to your vacation rental property.
Here are some other reasons why the relationships with your vacation property's neighbors can be beneficial:
Managing your vacation rental from afar doesn't have to be hard when you have a strong network of neighbors to look to for recommendations of contractors. Who doesn't love a referral? It makes it easier for you to find a maintenance person
, housekeeper or contractor that you trust without having to do all the research on your own. Save Money
You might even be able to save money if several people hire the same person for routine services or one-time projects. For example, if you and a few neighbors hire the same housekeeper, he/she doesn't have to travel between cleanings, making the job that much easier. Even if your neighbors don't rent their homes, you might be able to share a landscaper or go in on a new fence just like you would with neighbors of your primary residence. Offer Help
If both you and your neighbors live far from your vacation homes, offer to check on their properties when you visit, and they can do the same when they're in town. This way, someone is checking on your home more often than you could do all by yourself. Plus, if multiple owners decide to have work done on their homes at the same time, someone can oversee the projects during a visit if everyone can't be there. Refer Bookings
If your vacation property neighbors also rent their homes, you can develop a referral system when you receive inquiries for dates that your property is already booked and vice versa. When you pass on your neighbor's contact information to a potential guest, they will likely return the favor sometime in the future. Travelers are usually more comfortable booking a recommended property, and you can help answer questions since you've probably seen your neighbors' homes. Book Groups
When you receive an inquiry from someone looking for neighboring properties for a large group, you can work with your neighbors to accommodate these requests. Even if you receive an inquiry from one family, they might still be interested in nearby homes so other families can join them for vacation. Being able to pass on a phone number might help you close the deal on large-group bookings.
So remember — while visiting your vacation property, don't be shy. If you see your neighbors, strike up a conversation. (If they aren't the vacation rental owners themselves, their renters may know how to reach them.)
Even if you can't get to your vacation home often, there are plenty of ways to get to know your neighbors. Get involved with your Homeowners Association or network over the Internet through e-mail, message boards, or owners groups on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Remember that your neighbors are not your competition; they are a great resource for reducing hassle, sharing ideas, and hopefully increasing bookings. So go ahead and whip up a batch of cookies — it's time to make friends with your neighbors.
© Copyright HomeAway, Inc. 2009
Updated: September 15, 2009