Tips & Education for Airbnb Hosts
You’re a busy host. You know it and we know it. Getting (and staying) organized is less of a suggestion and more of a necessity.
This article is courtesy of MaidThis Cleaning. MaidThis is a California-based cleaning service specializing in vacation rental cleaning and services the greater Los Angeles (Venice, Hollywood, etc.), Orange County, and San Francisco areas.
When it comes to how you manage your Airbnb listing, the best possible thing you can do for yourself is to hire a trusted, vetted cleaning team to help you turn over your vacation rental between guests. The next thing you should do is systemize everything.
And we do mean everything.
“If you’re not on board with those “crazy list-making people,” you’d do well to take a leaf from their books.”
Creating systems for your vacation rental business is a sure-fire way to give yourself (and, in the end, your guests) peace of mind. Every booking, from start to finish to turnover, is better managed when you have tried-and-true systems working in the background.
Here are our 4 recommendations on how best to systematize your Airbnb business and taking your hosting game to the next level.
Create a Turnover To-Do Checklist
Checklists. Are. Everything.
If you’re not on board with those “crazy list-making people,” you’d do well to take a leaf from their books.
A solid checklist helps you stay organized and manage your overall productivity: They’re the ultimate way to ensure everything on your to-do list is truly checked off and completed. If you don’t have a list to keep tabs, how else can you be certain everything has been done?
There are a number of ways that using checklists can help you coordinate your Airbnb business. You might find that a “daily checklist” isn’t right for you, but that a “guest-to-guest” checklist, “check-out checklist,” or even a monthly or seasonal checklist works wonders.
Here are a few things to track using an Airbnb checklist:
- Turnover cleaning checklist: A clean vacation rental is the first requirement for positive reviews. Check out our example checklist for what should be on your cleaning to-dos.
- Communication with current guests due to check out: Staying in contact with your guests is imperative. Quick, consistent communication leads to positive reviews. The day before they’re set to leave, remind your guests of check-out time, where to leave keys, and any small, last tasks you request of them (more on that below). Set reminders for yourself so you don’t forget to check in before guests finally check out.
Give Your Guests a Little Homework
We also recommend enlisting your guests to help with the turnover process: Give them a check-out checklist! This keeps your guests accountable – if they want positive reviews, they’ll need to follow your house rules – while helping you get a few simple tasks covered for the upcoming guests.
You can ask guests checking out to:
- Remove trash bags and place them in appropriate bins outside your vacation rental.
- Replace any moved furniture or items that “walked” away from their original place.
- Wash all dishes that have been used.
- Leave dirty towels in the bathroom or another collection place.
Simple tasks like these may seem like no-brainers, but enlisting your guests to take on a few of these things will, ultimately, give you a little leg up in the turnover process.
Restocking Supplies, Reporting Damages, and Preparing for Emergencies
As a host, you need to be sure you’re dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s, so to speak. A top-notch Airbnb cleaning service should have a system for replacing everyday items when they complete a turnover cleaning, including replacing toilet paper in the bathrooms, replenishing paper towels in the kitchen, and so on.
It’s important, however, for that team to also alert you when the “behind the scenes” supplies are running low. The sooner you know you need to replenish your stock of tissue boxes, the better prepared you’ll be for a turnover cleaning and avoid any hiccups.
Here are the things you should be prepared for:
- Replenishing basic supplies: Have your cleaning team report low supplies like paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper, and have someone on the ready to replenish these kinds of items. PRO TIP: If you don’t have someone handy who can make a supply run and drop-off, have an Amazon shipping cart ready with all items to replenish or set up a subscription for items you know you’ll go through quickly.
- Seasonal deep cleaning: Some things don’t need a go-over every time guests check out. However, they do need some attention every few months. Make a list for spring or fall heavy-cleaning periods and set a reminder to schedule a deep cleaning with your cleaning team every quarter so grime doesn’t build up.
- Making friends with a good plumber. Have a plumber and handyman’s number saved in case of issues discovered during a turnover. Go to Yelp to find a plumber and make sure they are able to do same day jobs. What’s the point in hiring someone who can’t help you right away?
- Installing a backup lockbox. In case previous guests misplace a key or take it with them, always be prepared with a backup. This will save you a trip to the vacation rental to hand one over in person and save you a negative review.
- On a side note, if a key is missing from your usual lockbox, make a reminder to have it replaced when your new guests check out so you don’t forget.
- Identifying areas most likely to be damaged. When you choose your vacation rental cleaning team, be sure to do a walk-through with them before they execute their first cleaning. Take this opportunity to point out anything in particular that you have concerns about being damaged. They should already have a plan in place for spotting damages to other general items around the house.
No matter how you choose to organize your checklists or how often you use them, they will help you systematize your business in a way nothing else can.
These don’t need to be complicated or expensive, either. Set up a Google Form with your to-dos and fill it out every time you’re running through a checklist. Alternatively, use a system like TickTick to help you organize tasks across multiple to-do categories.
Software & Automation Tools
Hosting is a full-time job, especially if you’re managing more than one property. To alleviate some of your hosting pain points as well as save some time, it makes sense to automate your turnovers as much as you can.
“Staying in contact with your guests is imperative. Quick, consistent communication leads to positive reviews.”
Here are a few recommendations on software tools and services you can use to automate your turnover program plus a quick description of what they do for hosts.
Tech-Savvy Vacation Rental Cleaners
Perhaps our simplest recommendation is to work directly with tech-enabled cleaners. These teams will already be set up to send you automated calendar invites for turnover jobs and be able to send you the info you need seamlessly.
When you work with a cleaning company that specializes in vacation rental cleaning, chances are they already have a system set up that integrates and syncs directly with your preferred calendar system. They’ll know how to take pictures of the cleaning and report damages/low supplies in a seamless way, so its super easy for you.
Finding a cleaning company that is already set up to be tech-friendly will save you a few headaches a lot money along the way.
iGMS (formerly AirGMS) is the ultimate management tool if your listing is active on multiple sites, like VBRO or HomeAway, and/or if you have multiple vacation rental listings.
iGMS has some incredible tools to help you keep your business organized and systematized, including an integrative calendar; “canned” automated responses to guest messages; a handy team management option; task lists (i.e. checklist maker!); and so much more.
The best thing about the task list is that it allows you to specifically streamline your turnover cleaning. You can assign tasks or work orders to specific team members and track progress all within the platform.
No matter how many vacation rental listings you have and no matter how many different platforms they’re listed on, it’s worth checking out iGMS. The service is free for up to 4 properties.
Like iGMS, Guesty is a property management tool specifically for short term rentals. It’s a little less robust than iGMS, but it’s equally effective. You can easily manage all your listings across multiple platforms – Airbnb, Booking.com, and more – in one place with one inbox and one big task list.
Guesty of integrates with all kinds of awesome third-party applications. The platform has its own internal “marketplace” that lists dozens of partners including Safely, insurance for short-term property rentals; Breezeway, an operations platform to help streamline tasks and turnovers; and NoiseAware (see below).
Perhaps our favorite part about Guesty’s marketplace is their partnership with PointCentral. While PointCentral is a tool used by property managers in both short- and long-term rental capacities, its integration with Guesty is fantastic. Read more on the Guest blog to learn how it works.
No doubt about it, Guesty is a great tool. Pricing is not listed on the company’s website so to learn more about how the platform can work for you, schedule a demo with their team.
This might seem like an odd thing to “automate”, but it’ll definitely save you a ton of potential headache and make sure your turnovers go smoothly.
All too often, hosts are disappointed to learn that their guests planned a party at their vacation rental without their consent or, worse, guests didn’t pre-plan but a noisy ruckus breaks out nonetheless. Complaining neighbors, police reports, and potentially expensive damages almost always follow these unfortunate events – not to mention a potential horrendous mess to clean up in the aftermath that will have you waving your automated turnover cleaning process goodbye.
Keep tabs on guests’ behavior (read: noise and party-mess level) with NoiseAware. By installing a noise sensor in your Airbnb, you can always be on the alert when sounds reach beyond a level you’ve preset. You get real-time updates when a noise level setting has been breached and can alert your guests right away.
We’re in the middle of our 3-part series about how to perfect your turnover cleaning operations. In part one of our series, we gave you 4 actionable tips to find and vet a great team of Airbnb turnover cleaners. Here, in part 2, we’ve shown you how tasks on the back end – the part that really matters – is where your hard work will pay off. In part 3, we’re going to be talking about how to get those coveted 5-star reviews by implementing thoughtful finishing touches. Don’t miss the last installment of our series: Stay tuned to the LearnAirbnb blog.
Systematizing takes time and effort on the front end, there’s no question about that. Whether you’re just getting started putting systems into place or you’re a veteran looking to improve what you’ve already created, systems will keep you organized and running on all cylinders in your business.
Download MaidThis’ Cleaning checklist!
The Airbnb Hosting post Systemize: Automate Your Airbnb Turnover Operations appeared first on LearnBNB.com (formerly LearnAirbnb) – Hosting Advice, Tips, & Resources.