Did you know that once upon a time, bowling alleys would pay people to stand at the end of the lanes and pick up the pins after each roll? Probably not. But I’ll bet you do remember a time when you had to fish change out of your pocket before crossing a bridge in order to pay the toll booth employee.
The world has come a long way in a short amount of time, and many tedious tasks have been delegated to technology. Property management is an intricate and complex process, one that definitely requires lots of human touch, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for technological assistance. With so much to do in so little time, anything that can help remove some of the burden is most welcome.
Want to dominate? Time to Automate!
That’s One Long To-Do List
“So much to do” might actually be an understatement. As a property manager, you know that the tasks have a tendency to pile up high, and that ignoring even one could make the whole thing come toppling down. With the right automation tools for your property management business, you never have to worry about jobs getting left undone.
Communication Is Key
In order to please homeowners, you’ve got to get bookings, and in order to get bookings, you’ve got to please potential guests.
Not responding to enquiries about your listings soon enough can mean the difference between a reservation and a big, fat vacancy. Communication is key, and with so many competitors out there in the short-term rental universe, timing is everything.
Automating your guest responses means that whenever someone asks about your listing, they will receive a customized reply, letting them know you’ve received their enquiry and will be in touch shortly. Keep them from booking elsewhere simply because they are impatient.
You can also arrange for automated messages to be sent to guests once the booking has been finalized. These messages can inform travelers of your checkin and checkout times and provide them with any information you think they might want in advance of their stay.
Automation tools can also help you keep in touch with your guests throughout their stay. Whether they’re looking for nearby dining options or simply want to know where some extra toilet paper might be found, guests can reach out to you and receive an instant response, letting them know that you’ve received their message and will send them details shortly. This makes guests feel heard and makes them more likely to rave about you to other travelers.
It Never Hurts to Ask
Another critical way to encourage bookings is through guest reviews, which will not only assure travelers that they’ll enjoy your accommodations, but will also increase your listings’ SEO rankings so they get more visibility. The most straightforward method of earning yourself some reviews is by simply asking guests to leave them following their stay. This can be done via a quick and polite email offering your sincere hope that the recipients were satisfied with the rental and then requesting their feedback on your listing’s page. Automating this process means you won’t have to spend time writing each of these emails and ensures that you’ll never forget to, either! When every review counts, you don’t want a single one to fall through the cracks.
What Goes Around Comes Around
Another, less direct way of pursuing reviews is to write some of your own. In addition to giving your name and listings more exposure, it also incentivizes guests to return the favor. Ideally, all of your guests will be clean and polite so this is yet another task you can automate by creating a template. You can always intercept the review before it is posted should you feel disinclined to leave feedback for a particular guest.
Sometimes, it Is About the Pricetag
As a player in the vacation-rental sector, you’re no stranger to the bookings decline that comes around every year. We call it low-season and it generally hits around November and lingers through March. One of the many ways to keep reservations up during this time is making adjustments to your prices so they’ll be too attractive to resist, even if travelers will be spending most of their trip underneath umbrellas. With automated pricing tools, you can leave the calculations and the actual adjustments to the software and know that there is sophisticated technology working to optimize your pricing to encourage as many bookings as possible.
This doesn’t just work for low-season; it’s a great feature to have all year-round for whenever guest interest dips or spikes.
Cleanup on Aisle 6
It isn’t just the homeowners and the guests you’ve got to communicate with. As a property manager, you’ve got a team of cleaning, maintenance and receptionist personnel all waiting on your word. Constantly staying on top of who needs to be where at what time can be time-consuming and dizzying. But you’re in luck, because there are automation tools for that too; tools that can tell Marsha to do a post-checkout cleaning of the condo on Bay Street, and instruct Louis to be there three hours later to greet an incoming family of four. By automating your task assignments, you guarantee that the appropriate personnel will be contacted with all the relevant information each time a new guest is scheduled to arrive.
The goal of most short-term property rental managers is to manage more rentals, but the more rentals you manage, the less time you have to dedicate to each one. Automation tools take over the repetitive time-sucking jobs, so you can spend more of your day focussing on expanding your business and promoting your brand. It’s 2018, people – time to stop picking up bowling pins.