Managing your property on Airbnb takes up to a day per week of rental. You need to manage your listing, respond to enquiries, change and wash sheets and towels, check guests in and out (often at unusual times), and deal with general admin.
In some countries, you even have to register your property as a short-term rental business, issue invoices and/or report guests’ identities to comply with local regulations.
What starts out as a way to gain some easy cash quickly turns into a full-time job. Due to all this work, it’s estimated that 40-50% of new hosts leave the market within the first year.
Defining your values and goals from the outset will help you choose how to manage your properties, where to invest your time and money for maximum benefit, and what you can cut back on to save time or money. So be clear whether you want some extra cash for a period, whether you want to transition into the short-term rentals business full-time etc.
Here are five steps to help maximise your short-term property value without it taking over your life:
Outsource time-consuming tasks
Tasks you will likely want to outsource include cleaning and laundry. These are the most time-consuming tasks and the easiest to outsource, with lots of companies built around managing these aspects for short-term lets. Just make sure you find a reputable company who will treat your property with the care it needs.
You could also consider outsourcing the management of the property to professionals, such as Airsorted and Hostmaker. This will leave you more time to add and manage additional properties in your portfolio, further increasing your income.
Use multiple listings
Don’t get me wrong, Airbnb is a great site, but there are lots of other reputable sites out there for listing your short-term let. By listing on multiple websites, such as Booking.com and Homeaway.com, you ensure that you can maximise the rental time on your property.
Each has different rates and features, so it pays to check out the terms and conditions on each site. Trying different sites will allow you to find the right site for you as well as keeping the property occupied as much as possible.
A big challenge of listing on multiple sites is managing the additional bookings quickly and easily. With more bookings coming in from a number of different websites, you need a good booking system to manage everything. Failing to offer instant bookings or neglecting to respond to requests in a timely fashion will cost you in rental fees and reputation.
A channel manager is software, usually available as a web app, that centralises your booking calendar and allows for instant bookings on each major platform where your property is listed. With easy management tools, you can control every aspect of your rental property from a single online dashboard which distributes the information instantly to all of your platform listings.
Channel Managers, such as Guesty, allow for near-instant confirmation without the possibility of overbooking your property, helping you to maintain your positive reviews. Given the number of hosts who now offer instant booking, it’s important to provide your guests with quick, if not instant, booking confirmation.
Expanding your portfolio
As you get more experienced with running your Airbnb business, you may find yourself wanting to expand your property portfolio. More properties mean a greater income and help you build up your real estate empire.
When you have a portfolio of properties, however, the work going into managing them can no longer be sorted with just spreadsheets and email exchanges, you need to have a centralised system that will allow you to efficiently manage your operation. A Property Management System (PMS), such as Cloudbeds & VReasy, comes at a cost but it will greatly help you take control of your bookings and the day-to-day running of the business.
Features you should look out for in a good PMS system include the ability manage your bookings in your calendar, keeping track of service and housekeeping, tracking revenue and reporting, leveraging the rates and offers to maximise occupation, a customer database, and of course, an integrated channel manager for dealing with multiple booking sites.
Use smart access
One of the biggest challenges for hosts is providing access to your property. One option is to meet your guests and hand over the keys, which involves a lot of travelling and waiting around for late guests, not to mention the unusual and out-of-hours check-in times.
The other option is to leave your key under a plant pot or in a coded box at the front door, posing all sorts of potential security issues.
Smart locks can save hosts a lot of time, allowing them to provide access to your guests, whatever time they arrive. The guest simply checks themselves in without you having to meet them with the key, making your property instantly feel like home and putting your guests at ease.
Better yet is a smart lock that connects to your bookings via your channel manager. Solutions like Homeit provide you with secure access control to allow guests, cleaners or your laundry company into the property. The right solution will be secure, easy-to-use, plug into your channel manager and can be operated from anywhere in the world. It will also make it very easy to share access with guests, including explaining how the system works, especially for more senior guests who may have trouble with complex technology.
Appeal to business customers
There is a big market for business people staying in short-term lets instead of hotels. The costs are often a lot lower and they get some home comforts, such as a kitchen and living space.
With a few small tweaks to your property and listing, you can make sure it appeals to business customers. Features such as an iron and board may make little impression on tourists, but for people on a business trip, they can be a necessity to help them look sharp for meetings.
Other features, such as high-speed internet, will appeal to all guests but can be essential for business customers. Take a few moments to write down a list of things business customers could benefit from and try and adapt your property and profile to match their needs. It will get you some great new, low-hassle customers.