August 31, 2015

How to Manage Your Airbnb Remotely

August 31, 2015

How to Manage Your Airbnb Remotely

Nearly one quarter of all vacation rental homes are owned by people residing in another state. This means that both the owner and the guests are relying even more on the system of trust and communication built into the vacation rental platforms, while flying virtually blind. Yet, it all seems to work. But how? 

What Do Guests Expect from a Vacation Rental? 

Guests expect the basics: a home that is clean, well-appointed, accurately portrayed, an easy check-in process, and someone they can ask questions to. Regardless of where you actually are, owners need to respond and attend to each guest and all of their requests, which naturally becomes more difficult remotely. Your guests don't care if you're three states away (or halfway around the world) as long as their needs are taken care of. 

How to Manage Your Airbnb from Another State

If you're trying to manage a home while living in another state, the most important aspect is ensuring your vendors are in place and prepared to respond to your requests at all times of the day. You should have the following vendors on speed-dial:

  • Cleaning crew
  • Back up cleaning crew
  • Plumber (with kitchen appliance expertise) 
  • Handyman (with AV expertise) 
  • Electrician
  • HVAC repair
  • Landscape
  • Pool/Spa (if applicable)
  • Pest Control 

Backed up toilets always seem to happen at the worst possible time (11pm the day before a holiday, usually), and guests will expect a response right away. It might be easy to shrug off an issue with your own home, but imagine the kind of reviews you'd be leaving if that happened to you on your vacation, and you'll be scrambling to get it fixed immediately. 

Lastly having the home cleaned as though it were a hotel room is something you will have to ensure. Guests are pickier with a vacation rental than they are with a hotel room because they know they're staying in someone else's house (even if it's mainly a vacation house), and also because we've become accustomed to calling the front lobby when anything is out of place. There can't be dust on the shelf or remnants on the silverware or hair in the shower or your cleanliness rating will fall. Your cleaners should be experienced in vacation rental cleaning, not just residential cleaning, because cleaning for a home the same people live in and use is much different than cleaning for a rotating carousel of guests. When you don't actually live there and can't see to this yourself, you'll have to find someone you trust. This can be a cleaning person you've worked with for years and know personally, a nearby friend or family member who can check on the house before a guest arrives, or a hired vacation rental concierge who knows what to look for (and has a vested interest in your success).

The great thing is that if you can handle this all from another state you're already set for success. The downside is that this can take 10-12 hours of your own time per booking (not including time spent being "on call" or worrying if you've missed a guest emergency). Managing an Airbnb remotely takes dedication, and it's certainly not for everyone. That said, it's done all the time and can be a very successful venture for those who take the time and effort to do it right. 

How do you manage your Airbnb listing from another state? Do you work with a management company or ask a friend for help? We'd love to hear your stories!

Tagged: airbnb, vacation rental tips, property management