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How to put your Airbnb on autopilot

Managing properties for short-term rentals means you’ve (hopefully) got a consistent stream of guests checking in and out of your listings. This can keep you impossibly busy, but there are some very effective methods of minimizing your work while keeping both guests and homeowners happy.

Automating your tasks will take a bit of setup, but most of the tools you implement will only need to be slightly greased going forward, which means you’ll be free to expand your business and keep growing the number of listings you manage.

9 Ways to Delegate Your Vacation Rental Management Tasks

Maintain an Optimized Listing

Maintaining an optimized listing will increase your conversion rate and decrease the number of questions you get right from the start. Remember to re-optimize at least semi-annually.

Setup Guesty or PMS Software

Guesty offers a collection of useful features that save you time by automating various aspects of the management process, including up to 90% of guest communication. Their software also allows you to create messages that will automatically be sent to cleaning and check in personnel, updating them regarding any new, altered, or cancelled reservations.

Additionally, Guesty will leave a positive review for each guest based on one of many templates you provide.

After initial setup, this tool will require infrequent maintenance.

Setup Hostfully

This is crucial. Providing you guests with an electronic guidebook to help them make the most of their stay will save you time and make you appear more professional. As with Guesty, this resource will not need much upkeep. You can arrange for your guidebook to be sent to your guest via Guesty four days before check-in.

Setup NoiseAware

You must keep your neighbors happy. This neat little gadget tells you when the noise level in your home has increased to a point at which it might start disturbing neighbors. By intercepting this issue early, you will save yourself time and money in the long run. After initial setup, your time will only be required to send a message or make a phone call to the guest on the rare occasion that you receive an alert.

Setup PriceLabs

If your goal is to maximize occupancy and nightly rates, you need a smart pricing tool. There are many quality providers out there, but I prefer PriceLabs. They automatically update your calendar, plus allow for many customizations like enabling a guest to make a one-night booking or increasing your nightly minimum for reservations far into the future. After initial setup, I recommend monitoring this resource on a weekly basis, which takes about one minute.

Install an Electronic Lock

There might be more electronic lock options than Airbnb listings, so you’ve got plenty to choose from. Companies like Slickspaces and VitrualKEY provide keyless entry that makes guest access hassle-free and removes the need to coordinate key exchanges between parties. The locks are easy to install, and require virtually no maintenance once they’ve been set up. Each guest will receive a unique code that will give them access to the rental, and the code will expire upon checkout, so that the property remains completely secure.

Hire a Cleaner

But not just any cleaner. This will be the hardest part of the entire setup process and will significantly impact your business’ prognosis. You need a quality, responsible, timely cleaner, who will take over the entire process and involve you as little as possible. This means acquiring bed linens, purchasing and restocking consumables and disposable amenities. Do not hire a budget cleaner. Their job is extremely tough, so you should pay them accordingly A budget cleaner will lead to subpar reviews and guest complaints due to the following:

  • Low-quality cleaning
  • Late or missed cleanings
  • Use of stained or mismatched linens
  • Lack of attention to details, like folded towels and presentation
  • Failure to complete essential tasks specific to vacation rentals like restocking supplies, checking for damage, and opening windows so your guest can enter to natural light.

All of these will result in a drain on your time and your business.

Get an Emergency Contact

However rare, there may be occasions on which you will not be able to carry out your regular management responsibilities. For those instances, you’ll be glad to have provided guests with an emergency contact, Ideally, this will be the cleaner or someone who is already familiar with the property. Doing this in advance, with each and every guest, will save you the stress and hassle of having to find a temporary replacement when something does come up.

Hire a Repairs and Maintenance Team

No matter how diligent you are with your properties, things have a tendency to deteriorate or break. You don’t have to secure a team in advance, but it’s a good idea. If you’re hosting a business traveler who isn’t getting hot water in the morning, you want to be able to dispatch your contact right away. You may have to work out a deal with them in order to be able to summon them during off hours, weekends, and urgent issues, but it’s worth it to avoid a bad guest experience. Hire local, always, so you know they’ll be able to respond promptly. You could go with a general handyman who can do almost anything, but there will come a time when you need a specialist. Here is a list of common problems and who to call when they arise:

  • Issues with Wi-Fi or cable– Emergency contact or handyman (After you’ve already done some troubleshooting and assured everything is properly plugged in).
  • Issues with heating or A/C – HVAC repairman
  • No hot water – plumber
  • Clogged drains – plumber
  • No light – electrician
  • Lock issues – locksmith

Final Note

Managing properties is hard, but rewarding work that most definitely demands a lot of human touch. Property managers cannot be replaced by technology, but there are tools out there that can assist them with their many responsibilities and remove a good chunk of the burden. Taking advantage of these resources will give you the time you need to take on even more listings and to help your business grow.

Danny Rusteen runs where he has made it his mission to help Airbnb hosts do the the best job possible. His specialty is helping hosts get high search rankings for their listings. He also provides strategy around Airbnb automation, guest experience, interior design, revenue management and more. Visit his blog for weekly posts.

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