Being a host can be a lot of work. Between dealing with multiple bookings, arrivals and departures, as well as communicating with guests, you might find yourself with less free time on your hands. But running a vacation rental doesn’t have to be difficult and time-consuming. Thankfully, we live in an age of many technological advancements that can make managing your vacation rental property a smoother and more straightforward experience. We’ve compiled a list of 5 ways you can automate your vacation rental business, allowing you to achieve more with less while scaling your business even faster.
- Use technology to automate your vacation rental’s check-in and check-out process
- Make your vacation rental management more efficient by automating guest communication
- Keep your vacation rental in shape by enhancing your cleaning procedure
- Impress your guests with smart amenities and appliances in your vacation rental property
- Optimize your vacation rental business by using a channel manager
1. Use Technology to Automate Your Vacation Rental’s Check-in and Check-out Process
The check-in process is one of the biggest operational issues for rental properties. Many hosts face the challenge of having to be present at check-in and have to drive a distance to get to their property or hire someone to take over the check-in for them. Heavy traffic or late arrival of guests are just some of the issues that can arise. Nowadays, automated processes are even more popular amongst travelers and hosts, allowing them to avoid personal exchanges while still maintaining an efficient procedure. We recommend the following technology to simplify the management of your vacation rental.
Install a Smart Lock
Having a smart lock means you can open your vacation rental property with a smartphone or, in some cases, even a fingerprint. You can grant access to anybody you need to via email or SMS, whether it’s your guests or cleaning and maintenance staff. This eliminates the need for personal key exchanges or issues with guests checking in earlier or later than usual. Having a smart lock on your property means less work and greater safety for your holiday home as only authorized people can enter the property.
Use an Automated Check-in System
Automated check-in systems typically go a step further and cover all stages of the check-in process. Let’s take Vikey as an example! Founded in Italy, the company offers a 360° system designed to simplify the entire check-in process.
In their interview with us here, Vikey’s founders Luca Bernardoni (CEO) and Matteo Caruso (CTO), tell us how their system covers the two basic steps of every check-in – the bureaucratic part of collecting taxes and documents and the actual handover of the keys. Vikey’s system includes both a software where customers can upload important documents and a hardware, which is a kind of door opener to be installed in the home.
Guests are responsible for uploading necessary documents, meaning vacation rental owners are freed not only of the burden of having to be present for check-in but also of the bureaucratic work involved. The host’s job is done with one click or a short call.
2. Be More Efficient by Automating Guest Communication
Do you want to save time spent answering guests’ questions? Excellent communication is the key to offering a top-class guest experience and running a successful vacation rental business. However, messaging future and current guests can be exhausting and take up many hours of your day. Thankfully, there are many ways you can speed up communication, exceeding guest’s expectations and leaving them impressed with your short response time.
Schedule Your Messages
Scheduling messages is a great way to ensure you keep in frequent contact with your guests. This means planning messages for your guests that will be automatically triggered on a predefined date and time. You can use this to notify guests throughout various stages of the booking process – from reservation to arrival, departure, and even after their stay. You can also schedule messages with any important information that travelers need to know before or upon arrival, such as the Wi-Fi code or your vacation rental property’s full address.
Prepare Message Templates with Standard Answers
Look back through previous queries from travelers and identify recurring questions. Then prepare message templates with standard answers based on these questions. Make sure to save these for future use, perhaps in a Google doc or Excel sheet. Always personalize each message, adding the individual names of your guests and any other booking-specific information.
Set up Your Email Auto-responder
If you can’t reply to a guest straight away, set up your auto-responder to share a short message with them. You can use this to tell them when you expect to get back to them and also include important information that may already answer their query, such as check-in times, directions to your property, etc.
3. Keep Your Vacation Rental in Shape By Enhancing Your Cleaning Procedure
A clean, sanitized property is a key driver of positive reviews and, ultimately, bookings. Efficient vacation rental management means your rental is always swiftly cleaned and ready for the next booking. However, this can be one of the more unpleasant and time-consuming tasks. So, why not use some smart gadgets or organizational apps to help speed up this process?
Integrate Smart Cleaning Gadgets into Your Cleaning Routine
Invest in a robot vacuum cleaner or robot mop for your vacation rental. These could significantly reduce the time and effort needed to clean your property between stays. Robot vacuums and mops work off a predefined schedule and you can control them using apps. This means you can plan when you want them to clean your holiday home in advance. These robots learn to navigate through your rental and can even get into those hard-to-reach places. Plus, they are not limited to just one type of floor and work on carpet, wooden floors, tiles, etc.
Schedule Your Cleanings in Advance and Set Reminders
If you are using a professional cleaning service, don’t wait until after your guests have left to schedule your next cleaning. Set a reminder to contact your cleaning company after you receive a booking. Furthermore, try using a cleaning company that allows you to bulk organize all of your upcoming cleanings in advance, send messages, reschedule cleanings and submit payments in just a few clicks.
Keep Stock of Cleaning Products Using an App
Using an inventory app such as Sortly to keep track of cleaning products and toiletries in your property will greatly help you in managing your vacation rental. Having the necessary supplies available is an important part of ensuring guest satisfaction. While communicating with guests and preparing for arrivals, it is easy to slip up and forget to replace key items such as toilet paper and washing up liquid. Having an app where you can keep track of all your holiday home’s supplies will help you avoid this.
4. Impress Your Guests with Smart Amenities and Appliances
It is always a good idea to think about how you can make your vacation rental stand out from the crowd. Smart amenities will not only give your rental that high-tech feel but will also help you further optimize your vacation rental management, making you a happy host. You can try out some of the following appliances and amenities to streamline the running of your property.
Install Smart Lighting and Motion Sensors
Smart lighting is a bonus for both guests and homeowners. While it gives guests the feeling of staying in luxury, high-tech accommodation, it also benefits hosts. Smart lighting products, such as those from Philips Hue, let you control lights using an app, meaning you can switch off any that may have been left on by accident after a guest has gone out. Moreover, you can also set times for the lights to automatically switch on and off throughout the day. This is particularly advantageous during vacant periods as it gives the impression that somebody is home and may prevent burglaries.
Additionally, you can also install motion sensors to help reduce your electricity bill. Motion sensors can detect which rooms are not in use and will automatically turn off the lights.
Use a Smart Thermostat
Activate your thermostat before guests arrive at your holiday home. This means they won’t have to enter an overly cold or warm property, something they will surely appreciate. You can also use a smart thermostat to regulate the temperature and set restrictions. Guests may blast the air conditioning in summer or the heating in winter and forget to turn it off when they leave for the day. A smart thermostat, such as this popular one from Tado, alleviates this problem by using temperature automation and letting you control it remotely.
Invest in a Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistants are becoming more and more frequent within homes and these can also be great additions to your vacation rental. Turn your Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa into your guest’s own virtual assistant and let it act as their personal concierge service. A virtual assistant is particularly beneficial for homeowners who can’t be present for check-in, as you can program it to give certain pieces of information based on voice triggers and do a virtual tour of the property.
5. Optimize Your Vacation Rental Business by Using a Channel Manager
Using a channel manager like Bookiply can significantly simplify the management of your vacation rental. Not only will you be present on the most popular travel portals, but you will also have all your bookings in one synchronized calendar, reducing the likelihood of accidental double bookings and that extra manual work. At Bookiply, we also offer a multilingual customer service team that is available seven days a week. Our team facilitates communication between hosts and travelers, dealing with bookings, cancellations and further queries, and takes this task off your hands.
Working with a channel manager is an easy, all-in-one solution that will free you from the administrative work that comes with running a holiday home. This means you will spend less time dealing with guest communication, check-in questions and organizing your property’s calendar and have more time to focus on creating an excellent guest experience. And even better, you’ll also have extra time for other hobbies you may have had to skip in the past. So why not try using a vacation rental management software such as Bookiply today?
Now it’s your turn to simplify the management of your vacation rental by using automation. So go ahead and try some of our ideas! This will make the running of your holiday home a more straightforward experience while also freeing up more spare time for yourself and putting the fun back into hosting.