How to Optimize Your Property Management Business During COVID-19
The short-term rental industry is facing an ongoing, unprecedented challenge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The day-to-day for property managers has been re-shaped, and while the uncertainty is tough to handle, the downtime during this period also presents an opportunity to optimize your business.
With lockdown orders taking place around the world, we’ve seen a surge of personal improvement trends — people using time at home to exercise, meditate and learn new skills. We believe you can also try out this approach when it comes to your property management business.
Prioritize Health Above All
Nothing is more important than your health, that of your staff and of your guests. When it comes to your properties, this means using the slowdown to implement new, more stringent cleaning protocols, as well as keep up to date on local regulations for sanitation in light of coronavirus. Take the time to define what these new procedures should be and communicate them to your staff. Since bookings may be more spread out than usual, you might consider temporarily adopting a vacancy policy between guests to be extra safe.
Of course, being conscious of our own physical and mental health is also an essential part of overcoming these tough times. Personal well-being should not go overlooked. Exercise and other healthy practices can help take your mind off of the seemingly endless days of working from home. Likewise, socializing with friends and colleagues via Zoom or Google Hangouts will keep your mood up and your outlook optimistic.
Rethink Your Marketing Strategy
With more people at home and online, now is a good time to revise your marketing strategy to attract future guests dreaming of travel. Re-evaluate your listings to see what you can improve: perhaps take new, better photos of vacant properties, or maybe your descriptions could use a polish.
You can also spend time on “home improvement” so your listings really pop. Not sure where to start? Revisit past reviews to note the most common areas for improvement based on past guest suggestions — maybe it’s time for a deep clean, a bathroom remodel, or a garden makeover.
And if you haven’t paid enough attention to your social media strategy or your online ads, now is the time to become a digital marketing mastermind. Choose popular hashtags, create a posting schedule, use new photos and video tours of your property to inspire travelers to book with you as soon as regulations lift.
A New Outlook on Guest Communication
Show you care: Keep in mind that communication during challenging situations is all about empathy and flexibility. Helping guests with unique challenges, remaining sensitive to their concerns or anxieties and managing expectations are all critical. When you have fewer guests, you have a unique opportunity to be extra attentive and go above and beyond to ensure a positive experience. Plus, you can consider how to carry over the most effective guest communication strategies to busier times.
Automate everything: Automation is key to a successful, smoothly-run business. If you haven’t been able to set aside the time to automate guest communication, now is your chance to create a complete automation strategy and invest in the tools that will help you do so.
Remain flexible: As property management companies everywhere adapt to new requests for flexible cancellation policies and unusual requests from guests affected by COVID-19, you’re also gaining experience that can help you strategize for the months ahead. Don’t get caught off guard or feel backed into a corner, instead consider what you’ve learned so far and craft a “flex policy” for the uncharted waters ahead.
Remember to Stay Optimistic
If you find yourself worrying about what the future holds, remember that the most resilient companies are remaining productive by using this time as an opportunity to optimize their businesses. Using the right techniques to stay productive will keep you ahead of the competition as the industry recovers and ultimately, help you come out stronger.
For some more inspiration on how to navigate the challenges of COVID-19 as a property management company, visit our COVID-19 Infocenter.