More and more people are taking the leap and beginning their work-from-home journey. As this trend continues to rise, so do rental owners’ desires to manage their rentals remotely. The best news is that this is becoming more and more feasible with new technological advances. We’ll be sharing some of the best practices of remotely managing your properties and ensuring that you are able to offer your guests an incredible stay despite not being there on-site. We’ll also share the pros and cons of doing this yourself vs. hiring a property manager, so you can make an informed decision about what will work better for your business.
Key elements of vacation rental property management
Guest communication & messaging
There are several elements of running a quality vacation rental business. Perhaps one of the most important is communication. First, you want to ensure you have a good response rate for inquiries about your listings. Take too long and your potential customer may no longer be interested and go with a competitor who replied first. Once your guest arrives, you want to make sure you’re available if they have any questions. This will also positively impact your ratings when the guest checks out. Sending prompt messages will also help boost your listing rankings on various platforms.
Cleaning & maintenance
Cleaning and maintenance are another significant aspect of managing a vacation rental. To keep your guest happy and your rental in tip-top shape, you should have it cleaned between every stay. This is a no-brainer as cleanliness is the number 1 thing people look for when booking a stay. You should also ensure there are no broken or fragile items, and also make sure to check your A/Cs and washing machine before every check-in! These are imperative for a good guest experience.
Reservations & bookings
Updating your calendars on your booking sites regularly, using dynamic prices that adjust nightly, offering discounts, etc., help you to maximize your occupancy rate. This is a tedious task as it requires research on your part and some time behind your computer to make sure all the details match across the various booking platforms you use such as Airbnb, Vrbo and booking.com. Vacation rental software will help you automate this step with the OTAs the software are integrated with.
Checking in & checking out
Allowing for a smooth check-in and check-out process is another critical part of managing your vacation rental. Guests book vacation rentals because they feel different from hotels, so try to eat up as little of your guest’s vacation time as little. If going remote, you’ll need to automate the check-in & check-out process using either a lockbox, electronic key, or smart lock.
Marketing your rental
Another key aspect of managing a rental is marketing. It’s crucial to use many channels to distribute your listing and reach a wide target market of guests. It’s also important to use social media channels to enhance your branding and communications.
Benefits of managing a property remotely
While there are many aspects to managing a quality vacation rental, there are also many benefits to managing that rental remotely. You will be freeing up your work location restrictions (and time), enjoying the luxury of flexible working hours, and in a post-pandemic new normal, minimizing your COVID-19 risk (and also protecting your guest at the same time, as well).
Minimize risk (COVID-19)
As the pandemic continues, managing your rental remotely will allow you to alleviate any risk of transmission. Your focus on remote management will also show your guests that you value their safety and well-being. With COVID-19 a significant part of our world (and seems that it will continue to be so for a while), many vacationers prefer self-check-in anyway.
Work from anywhere in the world
One of the best parts of remote work is being able to work from anywhere in the world. With solid management systems and tools like the ones Hostfully offers plus a good strategy, you can comfortably manage your rental from a cruise ship or while at a ski chalet.
Flexible working hours
Along with flexible working locations, you also have the flexibility of unique working hours. You’ll have the ability to spend more time with your family, friends, and yourself. Just make sure that proper systems are in place so that things are still operating while you are away.
It’s also really important to have all your bases covered before settling into full-time remote rental management. The last thing you want is things going wrong and having a mountain of things to fix when you log-in after a while away. Hiring a property manager on-site can help mitigate these risks.
Should you manage it yourself or hire a property manager?
If you have decided that long-distance management is the best option for you, you now have another question to consider. Will you manage the rental yourself or would it be better to hire a property manager or a property management company? While this answer will be different for everyone, let’s break down this decision into pros and cons to help you better consider these options.
When you manage your own vacation home, there will be both positives and negatives to consider. As the property manager, you will bear the brunt of responsibility as well as the profit alone.
You will be completely independent when it comes to money. You will not need to pay anyone to manage your rental. You will also have more control over your rental in terms of guests and cleaning staff, etc. As the sole manager of your property, you will also have all of the control over its marketing and the narrative you create around it.
Unfortunately, this also means that managing your own property will create more work for you, as well as consume a lot of your time. You will need to constantly check in, manage marketing, book guests, and communicate with your guests, cleaning company, and contractors. If your rental is not your main job, it may feel a little overwhelming, especially at the start before you manage to streamline your operations.
Hiring a property manager
If you would prefer not to do the work of managing your rental yourself, you could hire someone to coordinate and take care of matters for you. While you would continue to own the property, this person would be in charge of operations to ensure that everything runs smoothly, and report to you daily or weekly. You’ll still have control over important decisions, of course.
There are many good reasons that vacation rental owners choose to have a property manager. First, this will give you the ability to focus more of your time on other business activities. Letting a remote property manager handle your listing can be the way to keep it rented and reduce your stress levels. You will also have more free time to enjoy hobbies and time with family. Since a property manager will take care of everything for you, they will also be available at all times for your guests. This will grant you, as well as your guests, significant peace of mind.
There are, however, some points you’ll want to seriously consider when deciding if hiring a property manager is the best choice for you. For one, a property manager is not free, and it will certainly cost more than if you managed the rental yourself. There may also be unexpected fees that can pile up over time. Finally, since someone else will be taking care of the work of managing, you will have less control over what happens in and around your property.
Why hiring a remote property manager may be better
Short-term rental owners can also benefit from the services of a property manager, especially if you own a particularly large property or have more than one in different locations. Having a property manager especially helps if you plan to go remote.
Working with the right person from a quality management company will help ensure that your property is managed well and grants you all the benefits of having someone else take care of the majority of a rental’s work. Let’s take a look at some key points that will help you choose the best person for the job.
Finding the right property management matters
One of the most important aspects of using a remote property management service is getting the right one. There aren’t that many of these services available, but there are plenty of people who claim they can manage your Airbnb rental from another location.
Don’t settle for someone you don’t know anything about or someone who doesn’t have the kind of experience and qualifications you’re looking for. Instead, work with a quality service that matches trained property managers with Airbnb and other short-term rental owners. That will help keep you and your valuable rental property safe and secure.
Hire a professional property manager with verified reviews
With CoHostMarket.com, you can get an Airbnb virtual assistant or property manager who will help you manage your properties more easily and efficiently. With property managers in more than 190 countries, there’s someone who can help you manage your Airbnb property today. You’ll be able to see reviews from their previous services, a little about their hosting style, services they offer, and even what they will change.
If you want to do it yourself
However, if you’d prefer to take this adventure alone, you may decide that managing your own property sounds like a better idea. Let’s take a look at some key aspects you should be aware of as you begin this journey.
Get vacation rental management software
One of the best things about today’s incredible information superhighway is that things like Hostfully’s Property Management Platform exist. If you are setting out to manage your own property remotely, a vacation rental app is indispensable. Without automation, your experience will be overwhelming.
Hostfully’s channel manager services will allow you to manage your distribution and integrate into one booking calendar, automate messaging, coordinate your cleaning, generate reports and more, all in one place. With it’s many integrations with popular tools, you’ll be able to automate almost every aspect of running your business.
Automate check-in & check out
Though automated self check-in is not a new concept, it is becoming even more popular in the age of COVID. With automated check-in, you do not need to be physically on a property to open the door for your guests. Instead, they will use a smart lock or keypad to enter your home. A digital guidebook is a great addition that will help you communicate and help your guest get the lay of the land in your rental.
Make a detailed guidebook
A welcome book is a handy, thoughtful way to provide an abundance of information for your guests. Hostfully offer digital guidebooks that are accessible on any device and create a seamless and enjoyable experience for your guests. Include check-in & check-out details, contact information, wifi codes, house rules, how-tos for appliances, extra services and local recommendations. Your guest will have all the information they need meaning they would not need to constantly reach out to you.
Home automation systems
Today’s market offers vacation rentals owners endless possibilities to manage their business without having to be present. You can automate lights, AC and heat, garage doors, and even install a noise monitoring device to ensure that your guests are not throwing illicit parties. These automation tools provide you with a sense of security that everything is turned off when it should be so that you don’t accrue unnecessary bills.
To help ensure that your property stays safe, install some home security features like a security camera, motion sensors, and burglar alarms. Today, these systems are all connected to your smart devices and computer. That way, you’ll know if something is amiss.
Communicate with your guests
Communication is very important when you are managing your rental remotely. It will help your guests understand that even if you aren’t physically in town, you are a phone call or message away. You should also provide them with a local emergency contact if they need immediate help. This could be a helpful friend or family member who lives close to your rental.
Keep a list of quality contractors
Every now and again, you’ll need something fixed. Find the best contractors in your area who are also reasonably priced, and keep a list of those folks. Reach out to these people in advance and ask if they can be your plumber/electrician/handyman if anything should go wrong in your rental. By doing this, you will always have a go-to person in case of an emergency.
Find a reliable housekeeper/cleaning service
This one has never been more important than it is now. If you are managing your property remotely, you’ll want to make sure that you have someone who can keep it clean between your rentals. Make sure you have someone you can really trust because nothing will tank your reviews quicker than a poorly cleaned rental.
Keep your listing/website up to date
As the one taking care of your property, you are also in charge of managing the listing. Make sure it stays up to date, so your guests know exactly who to expect when they make their choice. This will include the description, amenities, rules, photos, and other aspects of your listing that may have that need to be updated.
Check in with your team
You probably can’t do everything on your own. So, if that’s the case, you might want to get some help through a property management team. Be sure you check in with them regularly to make sure you know everything happening on their side of managing the property. You certainly don’t want any surprises here.
Whether you choose to go at it solo or hire a property manager from CoHostMarket, remotely managing a rental property has never been easier. And in the time of COVID, it is probably also safer. Whatever decision you make, Hostfully looks forward to offering digital guidebooks and a property management platform. These tools will be handy if you manage your property on your own or if you hire a property manager.
This article is written by Morgan Akchehirlian. She serves as the Director of Marketing and Sales with CoHostMarket. CoHostMarket is a robust platform that brings property managers and vacation rental owners together.