As your short-term rental business grows, manual processes become less and less sustainable. Tasks that were a breeze with one or two properties become impossible with 10 or 20.
But there are managers out there handling hundreds of properties. The burning question is how do they do it?
The key to scaling your Airbnb business is implementing property management software to automate all your key operations and tasks. These tools handle important areas of your work for you so your processes become faster and more consistent.
Our article looks at the tools you need to automate key management processes, including:
- Property care
- Guest communication
- Protection and guest screening
Want to expand your portfolio without the growing pains?
How to automate your short-term rental operations
While short-term rental (STR) management businesses have different needs, the following types of software are essential for scaling.
Property reservation manager
A property management system (PMS) is a must-have for scaling your business. Once you list on multiple channels, they save you time by automatically updating your calendar and availability, and letting guests book online.
Managers usually combine a PMS with a channel manager which syncs all your online listings and lets you manage them in one place. If you edit property information on the main dashboard, the system updates them elsewhere. That way you can be confident your listings are up to date and consistent without having to constantly check.
The best property management software not only offers these automation tools but also streamlines how you manage your tech stack. They let you integrate with other essential software on our list so you can seamlessly move between tools and view information in one central location.
Property care and task scheduling
Managing property care includes syncing task management and team communication with your latest booking information, overseeing regular maintenance, and being responsive to issues as they arise. It’s also one of the most important areas of your operations, as it’s something both guests and homeowners will assess you on.
So, a dedicated property care platform like Breezeway plays an essential role in your business. You can use it to automate:
- Cleaning schedules: Automated scheduling works by connecting your property care platform with your PMS. Then, with every booking, a new cleaning schedule is generated based on property, reservation, and guest data.
So, no more missed cleans, and since the schedules are a hands-off solution that communicate details with your housekeepers in the app, you can even start taking on more last-minute bookings.
- Maintenance: Besides turnovers, you also need to schedule regular deep cleans, preventative maintenance, and inspections, all of which you can automate with a comprehensive platform like Breezeway.
That way, you keep rentals in pristine condition for each stay, reduce costs by helping ensure furniture and appliances last longer, and avoid risks like a wobbly step or faulty outdoor light leading to an accident.
- Quality assurance: Once you have a few properties, it’s impossible to check them all in person. However, mishaps like a poorly made bed or unclean crockery are a sure way to spoil your guest’s stay. You can help housekeepers meet your standards with digital cleaning checklists.
With Breezeway, you can include representative photos for cleaners to check their work against, and require cleaners to upload photos so you can carry out remote inspections.
- Inventory monitoring: You have to track your inventory to keep properties clean, well maintained, and fully stocked. But without a simple process for recording this information, problems quickly occur. Inventory tracking tools keep count for you, tracking stock as it’s used, and notifying you when you’re running low.
Property management care software like Breezeway helps you streamline even the tiniest details, like keeping track of toiletries.
The top property care management software saves you time and facilitates sustainable, scalable processes. Breezeway customer, Kristi Campbell of Vanwaw Corporate Rentals, says, “Breezeway has drastically saved us from missing cleans, equating to hundreds of dollars saved monthly. Before Breezeway, we had no clear way of scheduling tasks for cleaners.”
Want to expand your portfolio without the growing pains?
As your business grows, so does the number of guest questions and requests—which is a massive drain on your time and energy. So, you need a solution that reduces guest messaging, saves you all that manual work, and yet doesn’t negatively impact the guest experience.
You can automate most aspects of your guest communication with:
- Templates and triggers: When a guest makes a reservation, the software automatically fills in empty fields in an email with their reservation data. Then it sends these messages at strategic points in the guest journey like three days before check-in or on the day of check-out.
- ‘Gap night’ messages: If you have an empty night between stays, automation tools can upsell those dates to guests to drive extra revenue.
- Dashboard: Messages get sent to a unified inbox where you manage all your communications, so it’s easy for any member of staff to check through and respond as and when necessary.
- Digital guides: Welcome books give guests a better stay, answer their frequently asked questions, and reduce your guest messaging.
Automated messaging can eliminate hours of unnecessary guest communication time.
One of our customers says Breezeway’s automation tools reduced guest calls by 58%. She adds that this hasn’t compromised the guest experience as, “Many times, a great experience simply means getting guests the information they need when they need it.”
When you have multiple properties and fluctuating demand, finding the optimal price to drive occupancy and revenue is an enormous challenge—but it’s absolutely fundamental to your business success.
This is where dynamic pricing tools come to the rescue—they analyze hundreds of data points in real-time, like demand, seasonality, and competitor rates, to calculate the best price point for each rental. Not only does this help optimize your nightly rates, but it saves you hours of work.
There are a few dynamic pricing tools worth considering:
All these integrate with your PMS so they can access your booking, guest, and property data to effectively calculate and apply the best prices.
Insurance and guest screening
Managing insurance and vetting each guest also limits your ability to focus on other areas of your business. But if you don’t do these tasks thoroughly, you can increase the risk of experiencing property and contents damage.
Automated insurance and guest screening software like Autohost, Safely, and SUPERHOG provide invaluable support. These tools perform background checks, identity verification, and risk assessments on guests for every stay and allow you to easily manage deposits, waivers, and insurance.
Key insights for Airbnb scaling
When it comes to scaling your Airbnb business, automation works best alongside a robust strategy. Here are some of the key ideas to bear in mind.
Diversify listing sites
Relying solely on Airbnb listings to market your business could limit your growth—why list on only one online travel agency (OTA) when your target market probably uses a variety of platforms when researching where to stay?
Using a channel manager, you can list your rental properties on popular sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, and booking.com, as well as smaller niche sites. This allows you to expand your reach and protect yourself against the possibility of an OTA’s algorithm causing you to drop in their search rankings.
Guest reviews are key to growth
Quality service plays a vital role in maintaining high occupancy rates and attracting new property owners. A record of 5-star reviews acts as social proof that gives guests and owners the confidence to choose your services over others.
Property care is at the heart of quality service. If guests find stains or missing toiletries, they’ll feel unvalued or lose faith in your ability to look after them. That’s why you need a clear view across all your properties, so you can be sure your guests are always arriving to a clean, well-maintained vacation home.
Professional guest communication is also key. While automating messages helps you stay responsive, you can also craft a warm, helpful tone for your templates, and make sure you’ve covered every common question in your digital welcome book.
By not only making sure your guests have the information they need on directions, parking, property access, and WiFi access, but also making them feel special and welcome with your tone of voice, you can increase your number of top-rated reviews.
Look after your team
If you’re looking to grow your business, positive team morale should be a priority so you can retain your best staff and keep them motivated and productive.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Strong internal communication: Confused messaging can be costly and causes individuals to feel unappreciated. You can reduce their stress with a streamlined work coordination tool that centralizes all your communication and lets you comment directly on assigned tasks.
- Employee recognition: Acknowledging good work and rewarding loyalty helps teams feel engaged and more committed to their jobs.
- Efficient processes: Staff don’t enjoy performing repetitive mundane tasks like counting stock or answering calls about the WiFi any more than you do. So, use automation to speed up boring tasks and, where possible, eliminate them altogether.
- Competitive pay: The cost of replacing a fantastic cleaner or manager will usually far outweigh what it would have cost to pay them more competitively in the first place—so take this into account when planning out compensation across the team.
Effective processes keep both guests and employees happy at your business.
Overcome barriers to growth with automation
When you’re performing tasks manually, there’s only so far your short-term rental business can grow. Your workload increases with each new property and it becomes a fight to stay on top of the properties you already manage.
Automating key aspects of your business, including your booking processes, cleaning operations, and guest messaging, empowers you to break through these limitations.
That way, you can add properties to your portfolio without it impacting your workflows or efficiency. You can simply replicate the processes you already use for existing rentals across your new ones. Then you’re freer to focus on big-picture ventures like a new marketing strategy or scaling your inventory even more.
Want to expand your portfolio without the growing pains?
Frequently asked questions about scaling your Airbnb business
Is Airbnb still a lucrative business?
Yes, Airbnb still offers fantastic business potential. While success depends on various factors like property location and amenities, many hosts continue to generate significant profit from their vacation rental businesses and successfully scale their operations.
How much do Airbnb owners make?
The amount that Airbnb owners make varies widely according to factors such as their location, property type, and target guests. Conducting thorough market research and using tools like property care software for high-quality, efficient operations, and dynamic pricing tools for optimized rates, can increase your occupancy and result in consistent revenue throughout the year.