If you have ever considered managing an Airbnb, chances are that you have looked into purchasing Airbnb properties in areas outside of where you live.
Managing an Airbnb remotely gives you the opportunity to tap into profitable tourism markets without having to live in these locations yourself. However, remote Airbnb management also comes with its own unique challenges, such as finding high-quality maintenance, guest check-in, and cleaning services.
In this article, we will take you through our top 6 tips for managing an Airbnb remotely, including:
- Setting Up Self-Check-In
- Investing in Vacation Rental Software
- Working with an Airbnb Management Company
- Finding an Airbnb Cleaning Service
- Utilizing 24/7 Airbnb Maintenance
- Creating a Detailed Airbnb Guestbook
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about remote Airbnb management!
Tip #1: Set Up Self-Check-In & Make It Fool-Proof
One of the top considerations for remotely managing an Airbnb is your check-in process.
For your guests’ check-in to go as smoothly as possible, it is essential to set up a self-check-in system. In this type of system, you will either store a key for them to access or use an electronic lock pad that your guest will enter an entry code into.
There are pros and cons to both types of check-in, so it is important to weigh your options and decide which is best for your Airbnb.
Here is a breakdown of the self-check-in options to choose between:
Airbnb Smart Lock
Smart locks are the newest trend in the Airbnb world, as they allow guests to enter and exit a property without requiring the use of a key. This is a great advantage, as you will not need to worry about getting keys or locks replaced if a guest accidentally (or purposefully) takes a key with them.
There are a few different types of smart locks to choose from, including:
- Keypad Smart Locks: Keypad smart locks are the most basic type of smart lock to choose from. These electronically-powered locks will come in the form of either a door knob with a keypad or a keypad device that you attach to your deadbolt. It is critical to give your guests clear instructions on how to unlock a keypad smart lock so that they don’t trigger security protocols.
- WiFi Smart Locks: A WiFi smart lock is a type of lock that utilizes your WiFi service to lock and unlock a door. This can work in a variety of ways but typically involves a code that you enter on a mobile app or website to unlock the door. These locks offer the added advantage of being able to track your opening and closing history to let you know if anyone ever accesses your property without permission.
- Bluetooth Smart Locks: A Bluetooth smart lock will function very similarly to a WiFi smart lock. The key difference between these locks is that a Bluetooth smart lock can be accessed and connected to directly using any Bluetooth-enabled device, rather than having to access it through a mobile app or website.
With any of these electronically powered locks, it is important to keep in mind how that lock is powered and made functional. If the lock battery dies or loses access to its power source (WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.), you will need to have an alternative key option available for your guest to use.
You can reserve this alternative option only for emergencies.
In some cases, you may either not offer WiFi service or not have a good enough electrical system to support a smart lock. Additionally, you may need to include a backup lock in case your electronic smart lock system fails to work.
If this fits your situation, then your next best option is to use a traditional lockbox. These types of locks are hollow on the inside and can hold a key. To access the key, you must enter a specific code that unlocks the box.
While a lockbox offers a greater amount of simplicity than a smart lock, it is also more vulnerable to break-ins. As such, it is a smart idea to have both a smart lock and a lockbox in place, with the lockbox in a more hidden location.
Airbnb Key Management Services
If you are not comfortable using a smart lock or lockbox, your other alternative is to use a professional key management service.
With this type of service, you will be assigned a greeter whose job is to greet your guests, give them the key to the property, and make them feel welcomed.
The main benefit of a key management service is that your property key is handed directly to your guest on their arrival, rather than having to store the key somewhere on the exterior of the property. However, there are also additional fees associated with these services, so you will need to ensure you have the budgetary flexibility to make use of such a service.
Tip #2: Invest in Vacation Rental Software
When you own and operate an Airbnb, there are many administrative tasks you must keep up with.
Vacation rental software refers to digital applications that can use to track and manage a variety of different administrative tasks, including:
- Calendar Tools: Having a reliable calendar where you can keep track of all your bookings is essential. This will help you not only to plan for your next guest but also ensure you never double-book your property. Plus, calendar tools can help you mark off specific dates when the property is not available.
- Inbox Organization: For many vacation rental owners, Airbnb is not the only place where they list their property. With vacation management software, you can connect all your various platforms and professional rental email addresses to one central inbox. In turn, you can respond to guest inquiries, reservations, and more all from one inbox that is well-organized and easy to search through.
- Accounting: Accounting can feel like a real hassle when you own an Airbnb, as there are many different costs, fees, and other considerations to account for. Vacation rental software makes it easier to keep up with your accounting tasks without feeling overwhelmed, and can even help you automate certain aspects of accounting such as calculating taxes.
- Automated Tasks: Automating certain tasks can be an incredibly helpful feature, especially for Airbnb owners who manage more than one property. With automation tools, you can write responses for specific questions or events that are sent to your guests through the Airbnb messaging app automatically when the right conditions are met. For example, whenever a guest books your property, you can set an automated message to send that includes check-in instructions and cancellation policies.
- Mobile Management: One of the best advantages of using vacation rental software is that most software providers will offer their platform in both a desktop and mobile app version. This means you can manage your property on the go from wherever you are.
Tip #3: Work With Airbnb Management Company
If you want to own and operate an Airbnb but are unsure if you have the time, resources, or knowledge to manage a property on your own, you can choose to work with an Airbnb management company.
Airbnb management companies will generally offer onsite personnel who can visit the property in-person to perform quality assurance checks, inspections, and more both before and after a guest’s visit. These management companies can offer a variety of different services, including:
- Guest Support: When you run an Airbnb, it is crucial to have local support on stand-by in case anything goes wrong with the property for guests (for example, if there is a power outage, your management company can handle contacting your electricity provider and sorting out a time to have the electricity fixed). This will also help to boost your ratings in the long-term, as your guests will feel taken care of and appreciated with strong guest support.
- Maintenance: Regular maintenance is a highly important part of owning an Airbnb. Whether it is semi-regular maintenance of property electric and plumbing systems or more regular maintenance that occurs after each stay, having a well-maintained property is essential. With the right management company, you can make sure your property is always looked after and in top-notch condition.
- Scheduling: Some management companies may go above and beyond by offering full management of booking and scheduling. With this type of service, all you need to worry about is receiving the right documentation from your management company — they will handle the rest. This can remove a lot of the stress associated with managing an Airbnb and make your experience as an Airbnb host a whole lot better.
- Bookkeeping: If you select a management company that helps with scheduling, you will likely also need assistance with your accounting. Companies that offer bookkeeping services are a great option for anyone looking to maintain a more hands-off approach to their Airbnb ownership.
If working with an Airbnb management company sounds like the best option for you, then why not have a look at the services we have to offer here at S&T properties.
Tip #4: Find an Airbnb Cleaning Service
Even if you do not need a full management service to help you remotely manage your Airbnb, you will need a cleaning service of some kind.
Airbnb and vacation rental cleaning companies can offer a wide range of services, including:
- Pre- & Post-Stay Cleanings: It is essential to not only clean your Airbnb after a guest has left but to also have the property spot cleaned and touched up before the next guest arrives. This is especially important if a large amount of time passes between reservations, as you will want to ensure all your surfaces are dusted and clean.
- Monthly & Annual Maintenance: Many Airbnbs will require monthly or annual maintenance of some kind. For example, if you offer a grill at your Airbnb, you will likely need it professionally cleaned at least once or twice a year. Additionally, you will need regular maintenance for certain components of the house, such as air ducts and gutters.
- Damage Inspections: Along with cleaning your property, you can also assign your cleaning service provider the responsibility to look for and document any damage to the property that occurs between stays. Having detailed and precise documentation is important if you plan on filing a claim with Airbnb about a particular guest.
- Incident Reports: On rare occasions, there may be dangerous incidents that occur at your property (lightning strikes, bear sightings, break-ins, etc.). After an incident occurs, it is important to have a cleaning service provider who can check the property out and take note of any resulting damage or changes to the property that can be attributed to the incident. Receiving an incident report can also help you if you plan on filing a claim with your insurance provider.
Tip #5: Utilize 24/7 Airbnb Maintenance
In more urban areas — and some more remote or rural areas — there are rental management companies that offer 24/7 maintenance services. This means that the company’s maintenance professionals or partners are available to contact and come to the property at any time of the day, all days of the week.
This is an incredibly useful service to utilize when managing an Airbnb remotely, as it ensures your guests will always have the support they need no matter how far away you are.
The types of 24/7 maintenance services you should look for include:
- HVAC repairs
- Pool cleaning
- Pest control
Finding this type of service provider will require you to research the local area your Airbnb is located in to discover what services are available in your Airbnb’s immediate location.
Having a partner like S&T Properties can help alleviate the headache of finding reputable local vendors.
Tip #6: Create A Detailed Airbnb Guestbook
A well-thought-out guestbook is the holy grail when it comes to managing an Airbnb remotely.
Not only does an Airbnb guestbook give you the best opportunity to provide clean-up instructions and house rules to your guests, but it also allows you to boost your guests’ experience with local recommendations for sightseeing, restaurants, and more.
While you can design and format your Airbnb guestbook however you like best, a good guestbook will generally include a:
- Welcome Page: To give your guest book a hospitable feel, it is important to start with a welcome page. On this welcome page, you can introduce yourselves as the hosts and provide your contact information. You should also include a table of contents that informs the guest of what information they can find in this guestbook and what page they can find it on.
- List of House Rules: Your very first page following your welcome page should be your house rules, including the potential penalties for breaking house rules. Although you can list your house rules on your Airbnb listing, having a physical copy handy for your guests to review can ensure no rule ends up overlooked.
- Check-Out Instructions: Always provide your guest with clear check-out instructions for when they end their stay. This can include where to leave trash, where they can wash laundry and dishes, and what to do with larger items like bed comforters or pillow throws.
- House Amenities & Passwords: It’s always a good idea to give your guests a thorough breakdown of all the amenities in the house and how to use them (dishwasher, oven, washer and dryer, etc.). Additionally, you should make sure to list out any relevant passwords, such as a WiFi password and network for your guest to use.
- House Map or Inventory List: To make your guest’s stay as easy and enjoyable as possible, it’s a good idea to include a house map or floor plan that includes an inventory list of all the household items available and where to find them. This may include perishable items, toiletries, towels, napkins, toilet paper, etc.
- Local Recommendations: As the owner of the Airbnb, your guests will likely turn to you first for recommendations on various local businesses and attractions. Even if you do not live in the area, it is important to have a base knowledge of the sightseeing, restaurants, shopping centers, and more that are available in the local area. A good place to start if you are unsure is with the local chamber of commerce.
- Emergency Services: To keep your guests safe, always include a full list of local emergency numbers and services. This can include phone numbers, street addresses, and websites for nearby hospitals, doctors, mechanics, and other service providers.
To get the most longevity possible out of your guestbook, laminate your pages and place them inside a hardcover binder. This will ensure that you can easily clean the pages and reuse the guestbook again and again for new guests.