Now that you’ve gotten your property cleaned, decorated, and posted on Airbnb, it’s time to decide who’s going to manage your vacation rental.
Many first-time Airbnb hosts assume management begins and ends with arranging bookings, meeting guests and coordinating housecleaning, but there are quite a few more factors to consider – the first and foremost of which is your time investment.
Many owners choose to self-manage their properties, which is a good option for those who intend to make running their Airbnb rental a part-time job. If you expect to be profitable, managing your own property could easily take 10-20 hours per week. For owners who don’t live in the same city or state as their rental, self-management isn’t always an option.
We’ll cover what your management solution will need to include, and give you an overview of the available management options so you can determine which one might work best for you and your schedule.
What Airbnb Rental Management Involves
- Marketing and Advertising. You will first need to have an effective way to market and advertise your home to potential guests. One cost-effective option is to promote your home on major listing websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. These sites advertise on your behalf to attract a wide audience of travelers, leaving you with the job of optimizing your listing to perform well within each site. Each website is different and has it’s own methods to optimize your listing effectively on that platform.
- Responding to Inquiries. Travelers will frequently attempt to contact you before making a booking to ask questions about your property, such as whether it’s near certain local attractions or if you have a microwave in the room, etc. You will need to be capable of answering these inquiries quickly and professionally before potential guests move on to the next property. Most homeowners who work full-time jobs aren’t able to respond to inquiries within minutes at all times of the day, and may not be able to respond to emails promptly. When selecting a management solution, be sure “prompt response” is at the top of your list of requirements. When potential guests are considering your home, they expect a quick response before they move on and contact someone else.
- Screening Potential Guests. Websites like Airbnb provide a great online marketplace to search for lodging in residential properties. Unfortunately, they also attract and provide a playground for many scammers and unsavory types. You’ll need a fool-proof method for screening potential guests to ensure not only your own personal safety, but to also make sure you’re not scammed in the process of attempting to rent your property.
- Guest Support. Happy guests leave good reviews, and we’ve found that good reviews are one of the most influential elements that attract bookings in the future. Your management solution needs to be capable of supporting guests 24/7 during their stay and handling any complaints that arise promptly. If you live locally and have the availability, you can manage guest support yourself. If you need someone else to help with guest management, you have two options: you can hire someone whom you will call in the case of a guest complaining to you directly, or you can skip being the middleman and have a property management service field complaints on your behalf.
- Cleaning Coordination. If you choose to clean your own property, you’ll need to create a calendar system to ensure you have enough time to perform each cleaning between bookings. Cleaning is almost always provided by third parties, so the big consideration for you is this: who will be in charge of letting the cleaning service know about new guests, changes in booking dates, and quick turnarounds? People who self-manage will need to be able to do this themselves, while those who hire property managers should ask how the manager will ensure that no cleanings are missed.
- Property Maintenance. Your property will need to receive both regular and emergency maintenance. Regular maintenance and property upkeep is your responsibility as an owner. Emergency maintenance is necessary whenever something goes wrong while guests are visiting your home. Self-managers should have a few reliable service people available who can address maintenance issues on short notice. If you plan to outsource your property management, be sure to ask prospective managers how they handle emergency maintenance issues while guests are in the residence.
As you can see, Airbnb rental management involves wearing a lot of hats! It’s also not consistent work. There will be some weeks where it’s possible to put in more than 20 hours a week, but in the slow season you might only need to work a few minutes each day.
Let’s take a look at the three main management options to help you decide which fits best with your lifestyle.
Management Options For Your Airbnb Rental
Doing everything yourself is very time-consuming, but it definitely saves money (or at least most people THINK it saves them money.) When you self-manage, you’ll save money on management fees (which can range from 20-40% of your income) and become an expert on every aspect of running your vacation rental, from when the smoke alarm batteries need to be replaced to what types of pillows guests like. Most people who self-manage eventually feel like managing their Airbnb rental is just like having a part-time job because of the amount of time they have to invest in order to make it profitable.
The downside of self-management is that it usually COSTS you money, instead of saving you money. First off, by self-managing, you’ll need to be an expert on everything. You’ll need to be able to write a great property description, choose the best pictures to give your home the most exposure. You’ll need to learn the ins and outs of screening potential guests.
You’ll also need to be an expert on dynamic pricing in order to maximize your earnings. Most homeowners who self-manage usually earn only half as much rental income because they no clue how to price and manage their property effectively. Your nightly rental rates should never stay the same, if you intend to make the most money for your property. They should fluctuate up and down as the demand for your area changes. Isn’t that how hotels charge you? When major events come to down, hotels raise their rates. So should you.
If you’re open to becoming a vacation rental expert and you don’t mind responding to inquiries and providing guest support 24 hours a day, self-management can be a great option for you! If your property is struggling to get enough bookings, however, we do recommend looking into outsourcing the managing aspect of your business to a professional. By working with expert management company who specializes in Airbnb properties, you should easily double the amount of revenue your property brings in.
Traditional Property Managers
Local property managers have existed for decades because they remove the burden of time from your shoulders when managing rental property. They’ll show your home to potential tenants, screen tenants for you, promote your property, coordinate lease signings with new tenants, collect rent every month, and even handle those late night emergencies and evictions when needed.
Here’s the problem: Renting your home to a traditional tenant who signs a 12 month lease to stay in your home, rents a U-Haul truck and moves all their belongings into your home for a certain amount of rent each month is totally different than renting your home to a person from Airbnb who’s only staying for a few days.
The entire managing process is different. The tasks that must be completed each day are different. In fact, most property managers who specialize in “traditional” property management for rental homes have no clue how to effectively manage Airbnb properties.
Lifestyle Management Group
As a management company specializing in Airbnb rentals, we help our clients generate the maximum income from their Airbnb rental properties. Whether it’s a private room or the entire home, we take care of property listings, guest reservations, looking after our client’s homes, and everything in between.
Our company was founded by a team of real estate agents who’ve worked in the Atlanta real estate market for the past 16 years. We are focused on building the best experience for Airbnb hosts. Just hand us the keys and we do everything else.
One of our core benefits is our data and rent optimizations. After managing thousands of reservations in town, we have a complete and thorough schedule of all the events, conferences, concerts, and sporting games and understand how to price your property effectively. We also update pricing daily to ensure you always have the lowest possible vacancy.
We provide low management fees, amazing marketing and booking support, and unrivaled flexibility for owners.
With us, everything surrounding marketing, advertising, and booking is handled for you – we’ll create a professional listing for you, promote it on all the major vacation rental marketplaces, respond to every traveler inquiry, confirm bookings, process payments, handle guest check-ins and check-outs, plus handle all pre- and post-stay guest communication.
And, as a full service real estate team, when the time comes for you to buy or sell your property, we can handle that too.
If you’d ever like a free consultation to discuss the income potential of your property or to learn more about our management services, visit us at RentThisProperty.net