Those doing short-term vacation rentals will rapidly find that they have a complex business on their hands. Even with one property or even rooms to rent, they may have a need for marketing it on multiple websites. With more properties and platforms the amount of hassle increases significantly. The automation is not questioned anymore for a range of processes.
There are a number of vacation rental software systems out there but what should you look for? This article will give you a good idea on how to check out the sales pitches you see when you Google the term.
You don’t need to send an email in person at every stage of the process. Many emails will be very similar eventually and if you have 20 different customers this can bog you down. Automated messaging systems can really smooth the process and done right, can give a personal touch even when a piece of software is sending that message and not a human being. According to Tech.co article on automation, “Powerful Airbnb management software suitable for your business will enable creation of automated messages that are “triggered” at pre-set times, ferrying a message of your choice off to your guests at a date/time of your choosing.”
While the computer handles the process side of bookings you still can handle the human side, talking to customers about their individual needs and requests.
Synchronization of calendars from several platforms
Airbnb isn’t the only site out there that will be advertising your properties. You could be on a range of local, national and international sites. One major faux pas is the ‘double booking’ where one calendar says the room is empty and another full on a given date. This can lead to bad reviews and lost customers. A good vacation rental software management system will talk to all the booking calendars you’re using and when you get a booking on one, all will be updated.
You will have at least two even if you are only on Airbnb – one on your office machine and the other on the Airbnb site – and even in this situation you can end up with a double booking. A decent management system will prevent the problem from occurring.
Dashboard – one interface to manage the most day-to-day activities and bookings
Centralizing your management system means that you will have one screen from which you will be able to access all the strands of your business, be it calendars, accounting or team management. A good dashboard will be user-friendly and shouldn’t take more than 2-3 clicks to access any particular part of your business.
One important aspect of the dashboard should be the ability to coordinate your cleaning team seamlessly with your guests. Ideally within an hour or so of the property being vacated your cleaners will be getting it ready for the next guests. This means that your cleaners also need to have access to the software and the check-in/check-out information in particular. This will save a significant amount of time for instructing cleaners and improve guests’ satisfaction.
Automated guest reviews
Airbnb encourages reviews from guests, yet only one in five customers actually write reviews. “Give and you shall receive” – if you review them first the likelihood that they will review your property in return will increase. As many hosts know, a big number of good reviews help to boost listing’s ranking on the Airbnb system. It is possible to automate sending and receiving your reviews through a good vacation rental software and let the smart technology do the repetitive tasks for you.
While much of management is down to personality and traits that no computer will ever be able to emulate, the day-to-day team management can be run with the help of technology. Work orders are a classic example of this – a maintenance person or cleaner will be given a set of tasks to perform with the help of software. Once these are completed changing the task status in the dashboard will immediately update the information for all of the team members. That leaves almost no room for human mistakes. And vacation rental managers can focus on the things that the computer cannot do.
Price updated within the system
Your prices will change seasonally, weekly and sometimes even daily. Prices highly depend on special events in your city, competitors’ strategy and so on. Sometimes you may find that you have spaces in your calendar in a peak season and may wish to fill those up with a special rate. You definitely need a software that will allow you to chang Airbnb pricing right from your software dashboard without logging in and out different platforms and accounts. Doing so reduces your administrative workload, yet may increase your revenues significantly.
You should always try to respond to messages from customers within an hour. For this purpose your vacation rental software system should be equipped with popup notifications. They will let you know of messages even while you are working on other tasks. This keeps you on the ball and enables you to manage your customers quickly and efficiently. At the end of the day great customer service ultimately improves the way people perceive you and your business.
The more tasks you automate the more time you can spend on growing your short-term vacation rental business. While lucrative as a business sector, you will work hard to succeed, and the less time spent on simple tasks the more you can profit from your venture.