By André Roque, Homeit
Whether you want to rent out a room or a whole flat or house on Airbnb the idea of earning some extra cash is appealing. However it can be surprising time consuming. It’s not just cleaning and washing but responding to enquiries, checking guests in and out and handling other administration.
And, in some countries, you have to register your property as a short-term rental business, issue invoices and/or report guests’ identities to comply with local regulations.
So here are my tips to help you make money from you property while also having time for your main business and your family.
Start by clarifying your goals
Define your goals based on what you value. The money? Your time? Is it to grow your portfolio of properties? Or transition into the short-term rentals business full-time?
Defining your goals will help you choose how to manage your properties and where to invest your time and money for maximum benefit.
Outsource where possible
Tasks you might want to outsource include cleaning and laundry. There are companies which manage these aspects for short-term lets. Just make sure you find a reputable company who will treat your property with care.
You could also consider outsourcing the management of the property to professionals, such as Hostmaker and Airsorted.
Go for multiple listings
There are lots of other reputable sites, in addition to Airbnb, for listing your short-term let including Booking.com and Homeaway.com.
Check the terms and conditions as each site has different rates and features. Trying different sites means you’ll find the right site for you and keep the property occupied.
The challenge of listing on multiple sites means you’ll need a good booking system. A channel manager is software, usually available as a web app, will centralise your booking calendar and allow for instant bookings on each major platform where your property is listed. Channel Managers, such as Guesty, allow for near-instant confirmation without the possibility of overbooking your property.
Use technology for smart access
A big challenge for many hosts is providing access to your property, especially if it means waiting around to handover keys. With the help of a good locksmith you can get smart locks installed at your places and make it much more easier for guests.
Smart locks can save a lot of time, providing access to your guests, whatever time of day or night they arrive. Even better 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.
Appeal to business travellers
With a few small tweaks to your property and listing, you can make sure it appeals to business customers. Features such as an iron and board may make little impression on tourists, but for people on a business trip, they can be a necessity to help them look sharp for meetings.
Other features, such as high-speed internet, will appeal to all guests but can be essential for business customers. It’s a good idea to take a few moments to write down a list of things business customers could benefit from and try and adapt your property and profile to match their needs. It will get you some great new, low-hassle customers.
Handling a portfolio
As you get more experienced you may find yourself wanting to expand your property portfolio.
When you have a portfolio of properties, however, you won’t be able to manage them with spreadsheets and email exchanges. You’ll need a centralised system to manage your operation efficiently. 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.
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.