Vacation rental management isn’t easy. Even with a budget of millions, and hundreds of employees, there always seems to be something that requires an extra pair of hands. It’s even harder at the other end of the scale, as smaller property management firms in particular often find their resources stretched. After all, many rental properties are run by just one or two people. Maybe it’s even a family business or a part-time interest for someone with other commitments to juggle.
With all the different jobs that property management entails, it can be difficult to know how to prioritise your work. Creating your property listing, marketing it appropriately, receiving and managing bookings, preparing the property, welcoming guests, cleaning, maintenance and chasing reviews can all be full time jobs in themselves. That’s not even counting the every-day online management tasks like updating digital calendars and adjusting prices!
How to manage your vacation rental business more effectively
To help make your vacation rental business run smoothly, it’s important to cut out as much unnecessary work as possible. An effective Channel Manager like Your.Rentals can be used to publish your property on dozens of rental websites, and instantly update them everywhere whenever you change listing details, photos or prices. You can also use it to update your calendars on every site whenever you receive a booking, all from one single platform. This frees up time for you to spend on the practicalities of running an effective rental property, like making sure you’re offering the best possible experience for your guests.
A mistake made by many people when managing rental properties is taking on too much responsibility. Especially in smaller companies, it can be easy to cross the line between being “hands-on” and spreading yourself too thin. This is particularly true if you’re the owner of the property in question. It’s your baby after all. It can be difficult to trust the important tasks to other people.
Not every property management company can afford to have hundreds of employees all responsible for different aspects of the business. It’s inevitable that you’ll have to wear multiple hats from time to time. Even the CEO might find themselves greeting guests or scrubbing toilets if the need arises!
Share the workload
But one key thing we’ve learned from our time in the vacation rentals industry is the importance of Collaboration. Working effectively with a team of trusted individuals can make life a hundred times easier and more productive than trying to micro-manage everything yourself.
This is a principle that works no matter the size of your company. For example, one of the most time-consuming (yet necessary) tasks involves keeping everyone who needs to know up to date on a property’s booking situation. Receptionists, cleaners and maintenance teams need to know when guests will be checking in and out. Accountants need to know when to expect payment. Booking agents need to know if they can accept a booking enquiry for certain dates. In a larger company, these may all be different people. In smaller property management firms, maybe it’s just one person responsible for all these things!
The key to solving this problem is clear, timely communication. By making important information instantly available, you save yourself the time and effort of trying to brief everyone whenever things change.
Collaboration is key
For example, in Your.Rentals you can invite Collaborators. This means that you can allow colleagues to view a property’s calendar, so they know when it’s available. This is especially useful if you’re managing a property on behalf of an owner, who may want to know when the property is available for their own use.
You can also allow Collaborators to help you manage your calendar. This means they can add bookings and block dates. You might allow the property owner to block the dates that they’re planning on visiting, or you might assign calendar management responsibilities to a colleague. You can do this without allowing them to adjust the listing details or prices if you prefer to maintain overall responsibility!
Other tips for better property management
Define your responsibilities
As with any business, your team will work better if everyone knows exactly what work they are responsible for. Note down all the typical tasks your business has to carry out, then assign a name to all of them. Even if you don’t stick to this completely, it’s a great exercise to help you understand exactly what happens in your business and how the workload is generally distributed.
Set clear procedures
When a certain situation arises, does everybody know what to do? If you receive a last-minute booking, how do you process that effectively? Do your team know who they should report to when something happens? Can your team deal effectively with most situations without management supervision? By defining a few clear standard procedures and sharing these with your team you can help streamline the process and reduce unnecessary work.
Make technology your friend
Centralising your online property management can be one of the biggest time savers. This means that you should invest in software that allows you to do as much as possible from one place. Rather than having multiple accounts for each sales channel, or separate services for managing calendars, bookings and payments, find a software that can handle all of these tasks.
The key to a good vacation rental business is to make sure all your moving parts fit together and are doing their jobs effectively. To do this, keep in mind “The Three Ss”:
You should aim to simplify processes as much as possible, set clear procedures and share the workload.
By doing this, you can eliminate unnecessary friction and help transform those moving parts into a well-oiled machine!
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