While the thought of remotely managing an Airbnb might scare you, it’s easier than it seems.
In my experience, managing an Airbnb property remotely is almost no different than managing in your own neighborhood. Whether here or there, you must follow the same steps in order to build a successful rental business.
Because you are not able to manage your rental in person, it is necessary to find ways to automate most processes and delegate tasks to your team.
How to Manage Airbnb Remotely
Build your team on the ground
Under no circumstances must you get into the rental industry thinking you can do it all yourself.
In order to manage an Airbnb, especially remotely, you must have a trusted team of people you can call on if anything goes awry. The right people will calm your nerves and aid you in running your business smoothly and successfully.
Choose your Housekeeping wisely
If you took away one key thing from this article, it would be to hire the right housekeeper!
Make sure to spend time interviewing multiple candidates before you finalize your choice.The housekeeper you hire can and will dictate the success or failure of your airbnb business. Do not settle!
A good housekeeper is the single most important person you need to hire. Your housekeeper will become your most trusted team member, as they are your eyes and ears on the ground; Communication is key!
In addition to cleaning your space, your housekeeper will notify you when something has been broken, been stolen, or simply needs replacing.
If you find the right housekeeper, they will respect and care for your property as their own, providing the excellent guest experience you are striving for.
Short-term rentals can see hundreds of people come through them in very short periods of time, causing more than usual wear and tear on your property.
A handyman should be capable of fixing general household issues as they come up, as well as performing tasks that are more in line with keeping the property running smoothly.
The perfect handyman will be a sort of jack-of-all-trades, able to meet problems head-on with a “how can I fix this?” attitude.
When you’re on vacation, the last thing you want is for the toilet not to work. Instant killjoy.
For minor plumbing issues, such as a clogged sink or toilet, your handyman should be able to remedy the problem. If the issues call for a more professional hand, make sure to have a skilled plumber who you can call.
In my experience, having a plumber who can make it to your rental day-of, or even the next day, makes a considerable difference to your guests. If you are on a septic tank, make sure to hire a plumber who has experience working with septic.
Electrician and HVAC (Heat, Ventilation, Air Conditioning)
While you won’t be needing these team members on a daily basis, they play a vital role in keeping your property running.
Maintenance of your HVAC is key to keeping your space warm in the winter and cool in the summer. If this is not properly taken care of, you better believe you’ll be hearing about it via bad reviews.
An electrician is also important, as they will fix any electrical issues that may come up or install new products that you add to the home, for example outdoor security cameras and lighting.
Understand your property and follow best practices
The best way to care for your rental is to truly know your rental. My best advice is to take the time to spend a few days living there if you are able.
Sleep in all the beds, use the kitchen, test the plumbing, play the games and watch the TV or movies that you are providing.
Take note of how you feel as you stay there. Take your experience into account when deciding what experience you are hoping to provide for your guests.
Next, get to know the inner workings of your rental. If you are managing an entire home, make note of how to maintain and care for the systems that keep that home running, for example the systems that run the HVAC, the water, and the plumbing.
Do your research and have a clear understanding of how to keep these important systems running smoothly in order to extend their longevity. You could ask your plumber or HVAC contact to give you this overview along with the best practices.
Be sure to keep note of how old your appliances are and monitor how well they work on a regular basis. Do all the heating elements work on the stove? Does one of your sinks drain slower than the rest?
Prevention is key when it comes to big expenses related to broken appliances and systems, and it is much easier (and cheaper!) to maintain regularly than to replace and mitigate a disaster.
Make a list of things that needs to be replenished often and stay on top of it
One of the fun parts of running an Airbnb is choosing the goodies that you will provide for your guests.
It is pretty common to find airbnbs that provide basics such as coffee, tea, and sugar, while others stand out by providing special treats such as candy, granola bars, hot cocoa, etc.
Depending on the housekeeper you find to work with, there are different ways you can manage to keep these and other household supplies in-stock.
Some housekeepers will provide household items such as toilet paper and soap, while others will expect you to order these for your rental.
Some easy ways of ordering these supplies and treats are through Amazon for a direct delivery option, or to work with the pick-up options at stores in your area, such as Walmart or grocery stores.
In both these options, you are paying for the supplies yourself and your housekeeper is simply bringing them to your rental.
Another option is for your housekeeper to keep a list of all the needed supplies and to bill you whenever they need to purchase something that is out.
I prefer the first two options as they allow me to be involved in the daily management of the cabin and provides reassurance that everything is running smoothly.
Doing a little extra while being afar
One of the reasons people tend to avoid remote management of an Airbnb is that they think it’s impossible to provide a service that will truly stand out from the rest. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
I personally like to ask my guests what brings them into town: celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, etc. I then like to set the theme of our home accordingly with decorations and goodies to follow.
Even if you don’t do much, most guests really love the extra effort and thought you put in to their stay with you.
Again, do note that your housekeeping would play the key part here. You could make all the plans you want but they won’t materialize until your housekeeper is on board.
Therefore, I encourage you to set these expectations upfront when you are interviewing.
Outdoor motion sensor camera to keep intruders away
Another simple way to ease your mind as a remote host is to install outdoor cameras on your property.
Depending on what type of Airbnb you own, you will need different forms of security. Personally, I like to add a camera at any entry point to the home, for example front doors, driveways, back doors, porch, etc.
Many security cameras can send a live feed right to your phone, giving you immediate access to viewing your property wherever you may be.
In addition to security, recording any movement detected on your cameras may provide you with evidence of items being stolen or questionable activity taking place on your property.
Ask for feedback from guests
While it may seem daunting, receiving guest feedback is truly one of the best ways to know how your rental is working.
Because you are working remotely, there is no way to really know how a guest experiences your rental except from their honest feedback, whether it be good or bad.
This does not necessarily mean that you should wait for a bad review to know that something isn’t working well. Rather, take the initiative to personally ask your guests for feedback through mid-stay messages or in your check-out emails.
The criticism you receive from guests is exactly what will teach you where your weaknesses lie and what you can improve upon to get that 5-star rating.
Email Sequences and Welcome Guide
Something that will save you a lot of time in the long-run is to create formats for all the basic email sequences that you will be sending out to your guests throughout the booking and reservation process.
Some key emails you will want to have on hand will be a “thank-you” email upon booking, a “welcome” email, a “check-in” email, a “check-out” email, and an “exit” email.
These emails should provide important information to your guest that will significantly decrease the amount of questions you will receive from them.
For example, your check-in email should provide your check-in/check-out times, the keycode or key location for entry, directions to your rental, the WiFi and password, and any important information they should be aware of before arriving to your rental.
In addition to these email formats, a Welcome Guide is essential to keep in your home. This guide should provide all the same information that your emails do, with additional information about the local area, your food and entertainment recommendations, and your house rules.
While this may sound basic, having a nice Welcome Guide shows your guests that you put in the effort to provide an enjoyable experience, while reinforcing specific rules or expectations you have for your guests to follow during their stay.
A Final Note – Understand that you are in the hospitality business
When managing a short-term rental, it is important to remember that you are not only running a business but providing an experience.
Communication is key when managing an Airbnb and should not be avoided.
Try to respond to your guests as quickly as you can and provide solutions to their problems, even if that means repeating yourself a few dozens times or providing detailed instructions on how to work the microwave. You are here to help your guests, don’t forget that!
With the technology we have right now, there is no reason your hospitality should suffer from remote management.
From my experience, I have seen many local property managers performing poorly, while remote, self-managed Airbnb’s are killing it in the business. The quality of the service you provide will always matter more than your proximity to your rental.
I hope this guide has been helpful and informative and now the ball is in your court! Do not let distance stop you from starting the Airbnb business you’ve always wanted!
- Next Read – Host Diaries