Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work was trending upward in a big way.
Roughly seven million people in the U.S. worked remotely prior to March 2020. That number had spiked 44% in five years, and now that remote work is as much a necessity as it is a luxury, we can expect those data points to continue climbing (and new remote-work trends to keep emerging).
For property managers and short-term vacation rental owners, working remotely isn’t exactly a novel concept. There are many professionals in our industry who already manage vacation rentals remotely, and a large subset of those folks manage properties out of state—or even outside the country.
Maybe you’re one of those long-distance property managers and you’re here to gather some tips on how to manage vacation rentals remotely. If so, great!
Maybe, though, you’re new to the scene in one way or another, and you’re learning not only how to manage rental properties, but how to do so from a distance. Even better!
The vacation rental industry is rapidly growing, and with that growth, new technologies and platforms have emerged to make your life as a property manager more efficient. There are many tools out there designed to help you run your rentals efficiently, even if you’re not physically on-site or within driving distance.
Let’s explore five key aspects of managing short-term rental properties, along with the corresponding strategies for completing each task from a distance to effectively manage vacation rentals remotely.
Clear communication before, during, and after a stay is critical to the guest experience. It establishes you as a caring and trustworthy host, but also, it ensures visitors are free to kick back without being bogged down by questions and concerns. Your ability to communicate openly and produce helpful messaging leads to positive experiences, which lead to positive reviews, which drive your success on online travel sites. And ‘round and ‘round we go.
Be upfront: make sure your guests know that even though you don’t live in the area, you are still easy to get in touch with should they run into problems or aren’t satisfied for some reason. When they reach out to you, respond promptly.
But wait—are you interested in going above and beyond the baseline requirements? Excellent! There are other ways to communicate with your guests even though you aren’t on the property. A “Welcome Book,” for instance, is always a pleasant greeting. You can include technical stuff, such as house rules, but you can also fill it with fun information like things to do and see in the neighborhood.
Cleanliness has always been important, and now, a stringent cleaning protocol is the top thing travelers are looking for during COVID-19. Pandemic or not, your properties need to be cleaned between stays, and when something breaks, it needs to be fixed.
Hire reliable cleaning professionals and contractors. That sounds like a pretty straightforward undertaking, but do your homework: if the upkeep of your rentals isn’t going to be in your hands, you have to fully trust the hands you put it in. Check out our collection of vacation rental cleaning tips to learn more.
Though it’s not necessarily “maintenance,” your rentals’ security should also be a priority. That’s why it’s a good idea to install security systems, which will protect your investments and put your mind at ease. Beyond that, you can also utilize technology like NoiseAware, which monitors noise levels, and home automation systems, which allow you to manage temperature, lighting, and more right from your smartphone.
If there’s one goal all short-term rental owners have in common, it’s this: keep those booking calendars full! When you’re maximizing your occupancy rate, chances are, you’re maximizing your revenue. And, well, isn’t that the whole point?
Keep your calendars up-to-date on any OTAs (online travel agencies) you’ve opted into. Aside from that, you can also experiment with vacation rental promotions for property managers while utilizing discounts, specials, and other tools designed to help you improve the performance of your listing.
Travelers expect a smooth check-in, check-out experience the same way they expect your rentals to be clean when they arrive. It’s supposed to be a simple, borderline automatic task, and even though it doesn’t necessarily “make” a stay, it can certainly break a stay—especially if guests don’t feel safe, such as during the pandemic.
It’s best to automate your check-in, check-out procedures if you can. And obviously, contactless check-ins and check-outs have been more popular than ever the past two years. There are numerous ways to automate this part of a stay, including technology like EveryDoor. This keyless self check-in service allows you to schedule and control things remotely, and guests can only access your property by making a call on their phone or inputting a unique pin code.
You already know the short-term vacation rental market is extremely competitive. So that begs the question: how do you make your rentals stand out? Travelers have to see your property before they can book it, which means you have to separate yourself from your competition. If you can deploy marketing strategies on various channels, that’s even more effective.
Your listings are your most effective marketing tool, so keeping those up-to-date is critical. If you are offering new rates, advertise them in your headings; if you recently renovated part of your rental, show off those updates in your photos and videos. When it comes to written descriptions, you can also curate your copy for your target audience. For instance, if one of your properties is perfect for kids and pets, make sure to write your description with families in mind!
Flawless listings on online travel sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com are a powerful way to market your rental. When you’re ready to expand your marketing game, though, there’s plenty of room to do so through social media, personal blogs, email campaigns, and even your own website.
Clearly, managing vacation-rental properties from a distance is feasible. But it does require a great deal of dedication. If you have the time and the resolve, though, you can run a successful rental business from across the street or across the world—especially if you utilize the technology and tools available today. Effectively managing your vacation rentals remotely means:
On the flip side, though: managing your rentals remotely is a lot of work! The daily repetition of tasks that comes with owning a vacation-property business can definitely become a grind.
A full-service distribution company like VacayHome Connect bridges that gap, allowing you to own a prosperous rental business remotely without having to dedicate every waking second to its day-to-day operations. Our Channel Manager Plus features a multilingual 24/7 contact center (based in the U.S.), full content optimization, and partnerships with all the major online travel sites—including exclusive private channels you can’t access anywhere else.
If you’d like to learn more about what VacayHome Connect can do for your business, click here and let us know what you’re looking to accomplish!