Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips: Manage Your Property Like A Boss!

If you want to become an Airbnb host, these Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips for hosts can come handy.

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips 1 – Create a Marketing Plan

The first of our Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips is to create a marketing plan. But don’t worry, this plan is simple. Just answer these three questions:

  • Who you want to rent to?
  • How much you will charge?
  • How to market the property?

Your main goal is to make money and avoid Vacation Rental Mistakes.

Check VRBO and Airbnb

Visit VRBO and Airbnb and check for house rentals in your area. You want a property listing on these sites. Make sure your ad can compete vs other top rentals in your area.

What’s Great About The Property?

You know your property more than anybody else. So, create a list of the best things about it The things why you bought it.

These questions can help:

  • Is there a great view?
  • Any nearby attractions?
  • Outdoor extras such as balconies, decks, or a pool?
  • Modern furnishings, appliances, and technology?
  • Home size?
  • Do you show everything good about the property in the pictures?
  • What makes the property different from others?


Nothing is perfect, including your property. So check for improvements related to:

  • Dated decoration
  • Old appliances and electronics
  • Poor maintenance

Think about it this way: if you don’t like something, other people may feel the same! Also, encourage feedback from guests. And, don’t hide anything. If you have old appliances, for example, show them in the pictures.

Plus, state the real distance to the beach. And have free bikes or scooters available. Don’t confuse guests. Always be honest! The reason? You want the best online reviews!

Prices And Why?

Why did you choose the current price of your home rental? Think from the point of view of the guest. And, considering the price, why should someone choose your property?

Check out other rentals in the area. Go to HomeAway and Airbnb and see prices and reviews. Also, consider the seasons: summer is expensive, winter is cheaper. Don’t charge too much. Charge what’s right, so you can rent more, even during the low season.

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips 2 – Great Guest Experience

The second of our Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips is to offer the best guest experience… You want to make them happy. Period. Don’t think about what is good for you as the owner of a rental property.

Think about what guests want. Make people feel important. If you do, they’ll come back again and again. Now, your rental property is part of the local hospitality industry. This means competition. So make it a mission of satisfying people… 

Contact guests before they arrive and check what they want. Focus on the small details, take care of problems immediately, and build a good relationship with the guest. Do daily property maintenance. And also do an annual deep clean. Now, this is a list of what guests want and expect to find at your property:

  • Great service from the host
  • An easy booking process
  • A clean property
  • Modern appliances and electronics

Phases of Guest Experience

There are four phases of guest experience:

  • 1-Browse listings: Someone checks online.
  • 2-Choosing property: The person is ready to pick a property.
  • 3-Booking: The person does the booking.
  • 4-Vacation and post Vacation: The guest travels to the property. Have a good or bad experience, and returns home. At this point, he can give you a positive or negative review.

Guest Types

Is your property for any type of guest? Or do you have some preferences Can you host a large family? Or do you prefer retired people, or couples, for example?

Different Guest Types:

  • Bargain shopper: They like discounts. If your prices are fair, don’t focus on this type of guest. Leave the bargains for the low season!
  • Researcher: They ask a lot. So, create a list of FAQs for quick answers. Also, include everything that’s available at the property. A picture of the floor plan is also a good idea. And encourage extra questions!
  • Convenience shopper: Keep things easy! No check-in or check out. Easy online booking. Use an on-site property manager. Deliver the keys at the property. No paperwork, do everything online. That’s how you keep this type of guest happy.
  • Service shopper: They crave a connection with the owner. They want to feel like home. If you make them feel special, they will come back.

Make Your House Rental Attractive

Your property must look modern. But you don’t have to spend a lot. With a few key purchases, you can make the difference. Here are some ideas:

  • Lighting: Avoid halogen bulbs. Add LED lighting instead. And also add modern lampshades.
  • Bedding: And use thick pillows with shams and fleece blankets for a luxury touch.
  • Wall art: You don’t have to buy expensive pictures. Pick a few with attractive designs.
  • Cut the clutter: Keep it modern and well equipped, but don’t add unnecessary stuff.
  • Home Entertainment: Old TV sets must go. Add a couple of flat panel screens instead. Netflix, Blu-Ray, PlayStation, and high-speed Wi-Fi: And these can make the difference!
  • Furniture: Everything old also must go. Focus on modern chairs and tables, and comfortable sofas.
  • Kitchen: Stainless-steel kitchen and fridge: These are very popular. How about the recipe for the perfect Costa Rican Gallo Pinto Recipe?

Remember: it’s good that you like the property, but if others don’t, there’s no business.

Arrival of Guests

Envision the perfect arrival of guests to one of your vacation rental homes. Here are two scenarios:

Good Arrival Scenario:

The property manager opens the gate and welcomes guests. The exterior of the property looks neat. The AC’s and all the lights are on. Everything inside is clean. And there are general supplies in the kitchen. There’s also a brochure with instructions and tips. And a FREE bottle of wine next to it. Excellent!

Bad Arrival Scenario:

The manager is not there. And guests have to wait almost an hour in their car outside the property. When they enter the home, everything is dark, and there’s an odd smell. No good at all…

Emotional Connection With The Property

You want guests to feel your property is their place too. Ask people about their likes before they arrive. You also want to suggest local activities and tours. For example, create the perfect honeymoon experience. Or a great surfing trip, for example.

Remember: An emotional connection to the property creates returning guests!

Guest Reviews

Great guest experience equals excellent online property reviews. And online guest reviews for vacation house rentals are crucial for good results. 

Now, don’t write fake reviews. People can tell the difference. Instead, help people create some unforgettable memories. And they’ll be happy to extend a review.

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips 3 –  Attract Online Guests

The third of our Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips is dedicated to attracting online guests… People want to get the most for their money. They want good experiences and good deals.

Start with great photos. High-resolution, professional pictures. You can take these, or pay a photographer for a day of work. Now, sites like HomeAway and Airbnb have filters. Including price range.

Many people have budgets. And they filter the price to get a good deal. So, keep your online prices fair, to brings traffic to your listing. Use an attractive main image for the online listing. It’s all about what makes you different. Show the exteriors. Also, use an informative title. Try to say more with fewer words. Focus on what makes your home unique.

An Outstanding Property Listing

You want your listing to stand out. What are people looking for in your vacation rental property? As the owner of the property, you are in the “EXPERIENCE BUSINESS.”

Remember that guests want unforgettable memories, in a good sense. What’s like to be there? You want people to picture themselves doing things inside and around the property. Now, don’t rush your listing. Take the time to get it ready. Especially if you have a few vacation home rentals.

Pictures of the Rental Property

EXCELLENT-QUALITY Pictures are free, so take as many as you can, from all angles of the property. It’s all about staging the property with the right things. Setup the table for a great family dinner. Turn on the main room TV and light up some candles. You can also put a delicious drink on a coffee table outside while the sun is shining. And then shoot some pictures.

Day and night shots are also a good idea.

And don’t forget to capture the setting around your property as best as possible. And take pictures of nearby attractions!

Property Pictures: Yourself or Going Pro?

A professional photographer can take one full session of high-quality pictures for you. But then it’s your job to take pictures of the property during different seasons. And also pictures of renovations.

So, get a nice digital camera. Or at least a phone with a good one.

Property Listing Text

You want attractive rental listing headlines. The top paragraph of your listing must be engaging. Try to tell as much as you can in as few words as possible. Tell guests what they want to hear, but don’t lie to them. Make them feel that you are serving them, and not the other way around.

You want guests to feel that your vacation rental is THEIR home. The second paragraph should focus on amenities, no more than three. If you have done renovations, add that information here. In the third paragraph, you can talk about nearby attractions. This includes beaches, the mountain, restaurants, golf courses, etc.

Once ready, do some editing, until it’s perfect. Remember the keyword: EXPERIENCE. The final step is to get some critics. Ask two or three people what they think about it. Be open to suggestions. And do the necessary changes to get the perfect listing.

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips 4 –  Your Online Listings & Website

The fourth of our Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips is about working with online listings and creating your own property site. You can promote your home using online property listings, and a website.

Online Property Listings

You want people to find your web listing. So use paid plans from VRBO and Airbnb. They will help you get your property on top of other house rentals.

And you want this if your property is in a crowded area. If you’re on top of the web listings, you can also attract last-minute travelers. So, a paid plan can help you stay booked year-round.

You can choose a free plan. But your listing won’t get many views. And you won’t book your property online as much. Also, remember that people want to pay online.

So, make sure to accept credit cards. And always ask for an online review!

Email From Paid Plan

If you have a paid plan, VRBO and Airbnb can use your property in an email campaign. So they’ll send an email to people interested in vacation properties in your area. If the email contains your property, your listing gets many views. And you get to book more, and faster.

Your Own Website

You also want a website to show your home. Here you can display everything that’s great about your property. Make it attractive to the eye. A nice design, with easy navigation. And lots of content!

Also, make it Google-friendly, so hire an SEO to optimize your site to rank high, making it visible to the top searches for rentals in your area. Keep the same prices on both your online listings and the website, and add some testimonials for more credibility.

5 Easy Steps to Create Your Property Website

You can create a website in 5 easy steps:

  • Step 1 – Pick a Domain: Get one with good keywords.
  • Step 2 – Decide what pages you need to add to the site.
  • Step 3 – Choose all the pictures.
  • Step 4 – Add the written content.
  • Step 5 – Launch the site!

Remember: It’s all about GUEST EXPERIENCE!

Owners Page

Allow people to know you. Let them know who you are, and why they should rent from you. You can also add a family picture. This makes your property inviting to other families.

Rates Page

You can include a rates page. Don’t add too much text here. Add a nice table with all the rates for the year.

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips 5 –  From Inquiry, To Conversion

The fifth of our Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips is about going from an inquiry, to get people to stay at your property.

Property Inquiry Responses

Be professional. Keep your emails interesting, and welcoming. Say more with fewer words. Be informative, but not boring. Add pictures to emails.

Show that you care about their trip. Be friendly, and respond fast. Create an email response to connect to people.

Use these elements:

  • Banner: Use a nice picture of the property as a top banner.
  • Pictures: Add at least five pictures. And a link to a website to see more.
  • Appreciation: Be friendly. And thank the person for contacting you.
  • Be Direct: Go straight to the point. Answer all questions in the first paragraph of the email.
  • Website: Invite the person to visit your site for more pictures and information.
  • Highlight Amenities: Add a list of the best stuff on the property.
  • Be Helpful: Tell people what they need to bring. Recommend apps like Glad to Have You.
  • Clear Prices: Offer a final price, including taxes.
  • Be Encouraging: Let people know that you’re happy to answer their questions.

What Property Guests Are Telling You

Pay attention to the real message. Examples:

  • Example 1: If someone says your property is too large, they want an offer. If this happens during the low season, offer a discount! It’s a win-win.
  • Example 2: “We’re interested in Jan/February 2017.” Men are brief. And this type of email is from men. So be as brief with your response to connect.
  • Example 3: “Please reply with confirmation dates and cost.” This sounds like a generic reply to many property owners. So, go to the point. Explain what you have to offer. Keep it simple and informative.

Giving Discounts

You can use discounts to get the bookings you want. Avoid offers during peak season. But make exceptions for returning guests. Instead of cash discounts, you can offer an extra night. For example, stay 5 nights, pay only 4.

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips 6 –  Easy Reservation

The sixth of our Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips is about reservations… Make it easy for guests to stay at your property. So do all reservations ONLINE. If you get contacted over the phone, do the reservation for the guest yourself. Also, charge minimal fees. And show prices including the fees.

Property Rental Agreement

Create a simple rental agreement that includes:

  • Occupancy Rules
  • Cancellation Policies
  • Partying Rules
  • Personal Property Rules
  • Booking Steps for Property Rental

Booking shouldn’t take more than 4 steps:

  • 1-Enter Reservation Information
  • 2-Deposit Payment
  • 3-Accept Rental Agreement
  • 4-Receive Confirmation

Security Deposit

To secure a deposit, use credit card authorizations. This way, the funds remain on hold. If you need to, you can process them. You can also use PayPal. After an inspection, if everything’s Ok, you can refund the cash. In most cases, people will leave your property in perfect shape. But, knowing there is a charge for damages also helps.

Welcome Email

Send a welcome email with rental and area information. You can include:

  • Code for Keyless Entry
  • Wi-Fi Password
  • Instructions for Electronics and Appliances
  • Lists of Books and Table Games Available
  • Outdoor Activities
  • Nearby Attractions
  • Restaurant Recommendations
  • Local Map
  • What to Bring
  • Contact Details
Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips 7 – Manager / Maintenance

The seventh of our Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips is about managers and maintenance… Get a good manager for your property rentals. Someone you can trust. This is important. Because this person represents you.

You want a proactive person that gets along with the locals. Now, housekeeping is all about attention to detail. So hire a person that can follow your instructions. You want someone friendly who can live on-site. So, if you don’t have a property manager, reliable helpers can be one of the secrets to your success…

costa rica vacation rental tips 8 money management

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips: Are You Paying Too Much For It?

Vacation Rental Management fees can be confusing.  These fees can go as high as 50% while others can go as little as 10% for booking. Now, what’s the big difference? what are you really getting for your cash?

Most property managers operate with a commission, or booking fee structure. And they take a percentage based on the bookings they’re able to secure for you. Now, here’s a breakdown of what those management fees cover:

Marketing services

You can get a custom listing for your property, and this way, your home will be more appealing to travelers. And they will also be able to find your property easier on those sites. The management company will create a listing that comes with great photos, professional-level photos. And this will allow you to make the amazing first impression that can give you an edge over similar properties in your area.


Your listing most clearly should be included in websites where your prospective guests can find you. This goes beyond popular websites such as… And this is because the management company will also include your property on their own website, on local tourism board pages, and more…

Nightly rates

Also, depending on how sophisticated your rental property is, you can work with a basic rate table or dynamic pricing. There are some clear advantages to working with these dynamic pricing rates. For example, you can increase or decrease the rate depending on the season, or the current demand.

Communication with guests

And of course, the management company will also be communicating with your guests. They will be sending the confirmation details and the check-in instructions. They will also provide a guest contact person.

This is someone who will greet the guest, hand over the keys, and provide any necessary assistance during their stay. This is really a priceless service that will give you, as the owner, a lot of peace of mind.

Now, if the property management company you’re considering working with doesn’t offer you all of these great alternatives, you should truly reevaluate your final choice.


Another service that these companies provide is cleaning. Now, make sure not to go overboard with your vacation rental cleaning fees because this can lead to people avoiding your property. With that said, these cleaning fees are not fixed, and they really depend on each guest and the kind of work the company needs to provide.

Keeping your fees low

Sure running this business is very lucrative but it also involves a lot of work. And for this reason, a lot of people just turn to the first management company they can find. The solution you pick will actually depend on different things, like time constraints, and budget, and your final rental income goals.

So what’s really important to you?

What you want is a company that can do everything, and that can leave you with fewer decisions in your hands. And of course, you want to pay the least you can for these amazing services. We hope you enjoyed this article on management, come back for more tips, ideas, and lists to have the best experience in the country!

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips: Top Things To Do

Experts agree that guests want life-changing, unforgettable memories… They want to follow some sort of schedule they could boast about when they get home… So, create a FUN-TO-WATCH quick local entertainment and help guide…

Include info on:

  • Best restaurants and express food: Some of the best eateries the area has to offer.
  • Include your favorite dish in a restaurant and similar personalized notes.
  • Best local thriving spots
  • Best tours: Including professional photography tours, romantic experiences
  • Local trusted transportation
  • Local police and health facilities
  • Activities

Here’s a link to our article on the Top Things To Do in Costa Rica

Don’t forget to offer relaxing activities to cheer guests, and make them feel good. Here’s a list of ideas:

  • Offer to book-swap
  • Have bikes
  • Yoga
  • Have books
  • Local massages
  • Cooking
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Gardening
  • Swimming
  • Bike-riding
  • Playing tennis
  • Painting
  • Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Fishing
  • Surfing
  • Mountain climbing
  • Shopping
  • Parties

And here’s an added feature: offer the boutique experience, where you sell stuff like local art and souvenirs… As you can see, you must defeat your fear of failure, celebrate life, start believing in yourself, and of course, use the tips we’re offering here…

Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips: Key Factors

Before you get started, there are a few key factors you need to understand:

Get ready to invest some time

Even if you’re going to work with a real estate property manager, you’ll need to commit some time to get set up. And beyond that, you’ll also be in charge of tackling property hiccups, and the different guest challenges that will arise during future stays.

Now, if you’re not willing to commit some of your time, or you really can’t do it, you’ll definitely need a property manager. So make sure that this person or company is someone that can take care of everything.

This includes:

  • Taking the website pictures
  • Do the check-in and check-out for the guests
  • Handling repairs
  • And everything in between
  • Let your neighbors know that you’re renting your property

If you’re renting from someone yourself, you need to let your landlord know that you’re going to make money with your condo or apartment. You can also contact your neighbors and let them know who’s in charge of the property.

You can even provide your phone number and other important contact details. And if you want to keep your neighbors happy and satisfied, then you can set house rules or regulations for your guests.


You will face some risks.

The main reason is that a guest may hurt your property. so you should consider getting liability insurance to help offset the financial risks, among other rental mistakes.

Get familiarized with the local laws

You also may want to take some time to review the local laws because these may affect your rental business. In some countries, you can choose to rent your property for free, but in other ones, you’ll need to pay taxes according to the local laws.

Go beyond Airbnb

Although Airbnb is the top website where you can promote your property, there are other top sites like HomeAway and Panda Bed that you can use to promote your site. So, don’t forget to create accounts and stay active on each one of them!

Research prices

Location is the top factor that you can use to price your property, but it is not the only one… There are other factors like:

  • The number of bathrooms
  • The amenities
  • The parking
  • If there’s any public transportation nearby
  • The nightlife around the property
  • And similar attractions

You also need to go online to the aforementioned websites and do some research for similar properties to see how much hosts are charging. This can give you an idea of how much you can charge for your property, allowing you to remain competitive.

We hope you enjoyed our page with the best Costa Rica Vacation Rental Tips, visit our Costa Rica Travel Advice section for more!