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How to run your Airbnb business and still have some spare time

By André Roque, Homeit

If you have a property listed on Airbnb you probably started with the idea of make some additional money.  Then you may have realised that managing your property takes up to a day per week of rental. You have to manage your listing, respond to enquiries, change and wash sheets and towels, check guests in and out (often at unusual times), and deal with general admin. 

In some countries, you even have to register your property as a short-term rental business, issue invoices and/or report guests’ identities to comply with local regulations.

If your Airbnb starts feeling like a full-time job you need to make some changes.

The first thing any potential host should do is define your goals based on what you value. Is it the money? Is it your time? Is it striking the right balance between time and money? Is it to grow your portfolio of properties? Or do you want to progressively transition from your current job into the short-term rentals business full-time? 

Defining your values and goals from the outset will help you choose how to manage your properties, where to invest your time and money for maximum benefit, and what you can cut back on to save time or money.

With that in mind, how can you make short-term letting work for you so you can stop being a slave to Airbnb?

Here are five steps to help maximise your short-term property value, make money and still have some free time.

Share the work by outsourcing

To get you those 5-star ratings, there are lots of tasks that need completing so your property is always in perfect condition. 

There’s no shame in outsourcing some of this work and you can benefit from the expertise of veterans used to getting properties ready for rent.

You may want outsource tasks like cleaning and laundry. There are lots of companies managing these aspects for short-term lets. Just make sure you find a reputable company who will treat your property with the care it needs.

You could also consider outsourcing the management of the property to professionals, such as Airsorted and Hostmaker. This will leave you more time to add and manage additional properties in your portfolio, further increasing your income.

Manage multiple listings easily

Don’t get me wrong, Airbnb is a great site, but there are other reputable options. By listing on multiple websites, such as Booking.com and Homeaway.com, you can maximise the rental time on your property. Trying different sites will allow you to find the right site for you as well as keeping the property occupied as much as possible (just make sure you check the differing terms and conditions).

With more bookings coming in from a number of different websites, you need a good booking system to manage everything. 

A channel manager is software, usually available as a web app that centralises your booking calendar and allows for instant bookings on each major platform where your property is listed. With easy management tools, you can control every aspect of your rental property from a single online dashboard which distributes the information instantly to all of your platform listings. 

Channel Managers, such as Guesty, allow for near-instant confirmation without the possibility of overbooking your property. Given the number of hosts who now offer instant booking, it’s important to provide your guests with quick, if not instant, booking confirmation. 

Manage additional properties

As you get more experienced with running your Airbnb business, you may find yourself wanting to expand your property portfolio. 

This means managing can no longer be sorted with spreadsheets and email exchanges. You’ll need a centralised system that will allow you to efficiently manage your operation. A Property Management System (PMS), such as Cloudbeds & VReasy, comes at a cost but it will greatly help you take control of your bookings and the day-to-day running of the business.

Features you should look out for in a good PMS system include the ability manage your bookings in your calendar, keeping track of service and housekeeping, tracking revenue and reporting, leveraging the rates and offers to maximise occupation, a customer database, and of course, an integrated channel manager for dealing with multiple booking sites.

Get smart access

One of the biggest challenges for hosts is providing access to your property. One option is to meet your guests and hand over the keys, which involves a lot of travelling and waiting around for late guests, not to mention the unusual and out-of-hours check-in times. 

The other option is to leave your key under a plant pot or in a coded box at the front door, posing all sorts of potential security issues.

Smart locks can save hosts a lot of time, allowing them to provide access to your guests, whatever time they arrive. The guest simply checks themselves in without you having to meet them with the key, making your property instantly feel like home and putting your guests at ease.

Better yet is a smart lock that connects to your bookings via your channel manager. Solutions like Homeit provide you with secure access control to allow guests, cleaners or your laundry company into the property. The right solution will be secure, easy-to-use, plug into your channel manager and can be operated from anywhere in the world. It will also make it very easy to share access with guests, including explaining how the system works, especially for more senior guests who may have trouble with complex technology.

Become a home from home for business customers

There is a big market for business people staying in short-term lets. The costs are often a lot lower than hotels and they get some home comforts.

With a few small tweaks to your property and listing, you can make sure it appeals to business customers. For example, an iron and board may be a necessity to help them look their best for meetings.

Other features, such as high-speed internet, will appeal to all guests but can be essential for business customers. As a business person take some time to imagine staying in your property and list everything that a business person will appreciate.  You can then adapt your property and profile to show you are providing what they need.  You should find yourself attracting many more low-hassle bookings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

André Roque is founder of Homeit, a smart access technology for the sharing economy’s short-term rental properties booked online on platforms like Airbnb or Booking.com.  Homeit enables hosts to rent properties without delivering keys to guests or service providers, and enables guests to check-in at any time of day. It removes the need for copied keys (and therefore the possibility of lost keys), and the system works with every door, internal and external, whatever the physical lock, and integrates with the property’s booking calendar. Guests have instant access to the property, and hosts have transparency, and therefore peace of mind. They know who’s coming in, who’s going out (whether it’s cleaners, workers or guests), and when.

https://homeit.io/

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https://www.seedrs.com/homeit2

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