The Biggest Communication Challenges in Short-Term Property Management
Running a short-term property management business , whether for vacation rentals or serviced apartments, is certainly not without its challenges, one of the largest centering around communication. Managing rentals necessitates communication with guests, staff, and homeowner – is an area that most property managers struggle with, unless they use an all-in-one property management software with a highly effective system in place.
Guests, whether they are booking a property directly through a vacation rental website or through a booking channel, are increasingly expecting the option to ‘instantly book’ – however with this facility comes the expectation of also having ‘instant’ answers to any questions that a guest may have. Being able to respond quickly, day or night, is no longer a ‘nice to have’ option for a property management company looking to grow their business. It’s now essential.
Towards the end of 2017, we surveyed close to 2,000 vacation and short-term rental property management companies and we asked them to tell us what their biggest communication challenges were. We wanted to dig deep into the issues that are impacting property management companies to find out what exactly are their key sticking points. The property management companies we surveyed were a diverse group of short-term rental companies, who are not Guesty users, operating in different locations across the world, and all managing between 5 and 500 properties.
Keeping communication organized, responding to guests in a timely fashion, and separating work from personal life, were all highlighted as the top challenges impacting day-to-day business operations.
The top 5 challenges in guest communication for property management companies
While property managers are clearly facing challenges with guest communications, they understand how important it is in terms of closing bookings, maximizing occupancy rates, and increasing revenue. For two thirds (64%) of the property management companies surveyed, over 90% of their bookings involved pre-booking inquiries that require direct communication with the guest. Nine in ten (91%) vacation and short-term rental managers believe that timely communications with guests have a positive impact on reviews. Eight in ten vacation rental managers (82%) feel that timely responses help them secure a reservation, while slow responses tend to deter guests from booking and give the guest time to find an alternative vacation rental.
When asked how property management companies could improve their communications, the main focus was on timely responses, especially for inquiries. A significant number also said that keeping their platforms of communication organized is also a priority. Unsurprisingly the vast majority were keen to learn more about improving this aspect of their business so that they could save precious time and resources better utilized to scale and expand.
It was clear from the survey results that many property managers underestimate the time and effort required to manage guests’ communication. As a manager grows his inventory, this aspect of operations only gets harder, never easier.
Top 5 ways how property management companies believe they could improve their communications
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Key points in communication can all be easily automated, such as review requests, payment reminders and check-in/check-out instructions, and with smart technology it can still be personal and hospitable. Using automation tools like those offered by Guesty, makes good sense for property management companies as it frees up much of their time to focus on their business goals while still providing their guests with great service.
This survey highlights the particular issues with guest communications, however many property management companies also face challenges when reporting and communicating with homeowners. Our recently developed Homeowner’s Portal has been created by Guesty’s in-house product team and has been carefully designed to streamline operations and solve these challenges, such as eliminating the need for time-consuming paper reports for homeowners. The Homeowner’s Portal allows managers to provide homeowners with a fully white-labeled, secure and customized dashboard showing only the data that is relevant and useful for their properties.
To find out more about our end-to-end solution for short-term rental companies and to help manage property management communications, see Guesty in action.
*Research was conducted in November 2017. Guesty surveyed short-term property management companies in different locations across the world. None of those surveyed were Guesty clients.
Guesty is a cloud-based platform designed to simplify property management companies’ operations and allow management of listings from multiple accounts like Airbnb, Booking.com, and other vacation rental booking channels. The company’s solution provides Property Management Software (PMS), Channel Management, Unified Inbox, Automation Tools, Payment Processing, Booking Website Creation, and 24/7 Guesty Communication Services all in a single package. Established in 2013 by Amiad Soto and Koby Soto,Guesty is backed by Magma Venture Partners, Buran Venture Capital, and AltaIR Capital and is an alumni of the prestigious startup accelerator, YCombinator.