When you first purchase a vacation rental property, it’s possible you’ll be able to do every task yourself. But as your business grows and becomes more successful, the work will start to pile up, and it may become nearly impossible to continue doing everything on your own. That’s where automation comes in.
Automation refers to a variety of technologies and processes that can cut back on the time and effort needed on your part to run your vacation rental business. The goal of automation is simply to reduce the time and resources spent on repetitive tasks. When you automate various processes, it opens up your schedule so that you can focus on other things, like improving the guest experience or even growing your portfolio.
In this article, we’ll cover a variety of ways that you can automate tasks associated with your vacation rental. If you’re tired of manually replying to every message you get from potential guests, there are plenty of solutions available to you! You can automate many different processes, including check-in and check-out, your cleaning schedule, and spreadsheet updates.
Property Management Systems
A property management system, or PMS, is a computerized system that facilitates the management of a property. A PMS can be extremely helpful for vacation rental property owners. Most property management systems list your property across multiple platforms, display your bookings in one cohesive calendar, automatically respond to messages from guests, and keep track of various financial information, such as your earnings and expenses.
There are multiple different property management systems out there, so be sure to check out a few to see which one best fits your needs. If you only have one vacation rental property, you may be able to get away with a simpler PMS. But if you’re juggling multiple properties, a more advanced option may provide the help you need.
You can use a PMS to send messages to your guests at relevant times. For instance, you could write up a message regarding the check-in process that is automatically sent out to guests two hours before their expected arrival. You could also automate a nice thank you message with a request for a review after your guests have checked out. In addition, a PMS can auto-populate various spreadsheets and reports so that you can stay on top of finances and your overall success with your rental property.
A few popular PMS options include CiiRUS Marketplace, Kigo Marketplace, YourPorter, Smoobu, Guesty, and Lodgify. To learn more about the best vacation rental management software, check out this article.
Other Types of Software
Aside from property management systems, you can also look into various software to automate processes like setting prices. Setting your nightly rate can be a complex and confusing task at times. If you’re doing all of your own market research, it can be easy to spend hours determining the best price for your property.
One notable piece of software that can make a big difference in setting prices is AirDNA. (Take a look at our article on AirDNA here.) What’s great about this software is that it provides tons of different reports and analyses regarding the price you should charge for a nightly stay at your property. Its MarketMinder tool offers deep insights into properties listed on popular hosting websites, and you can even look at interactive maps to get an idea of what properties in the area are charging for their nightly rates. AirDNA offers real-time dynamic pricing so that you can easily determine the best price for your property at any given time.
PriceLabs is another piece of software that’s similar to AirDNA. It provides dynamic pricing based on minimum, base, and maximum prices that you set yourself. PriceLabs will actually set your nightly rate for you and can sync with your property management system. It also works directly with some hosting sites.
Stripe and Paypal
We’ve discussed automating the process of setting a nightly rate, but what about processing the payments themselves? That’s where third-party systems like Stripe and Paypal come into play. Both of these systems are popular and reliable, and they even have the same pricing system: 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. By using Stripe and Paypal, you can easily charge guests’ credit cards and transfer the money into your bank account.
TurnoverBnB automates the cleaning process for you. If you don’t clean your property yourself and have hired a cleaning service, this software can be extremely helpful. All you have to do is input your cleaning staff’s information, and you can quickly and easily take care of scheduling and payouts. TurnoverBnB even has a handy app that you can download so that its features are readily available for you to use.
Home Automation Smart Locks, Lights, Sensors, and Thermostats
“Smart” features can automate various processes in your vacation rental. For example, smart locks enable your guests to check in and check out without you having to meet them at the property. You can simply set an automated message including information about check-in procedures to your guests when they’re due to arrive at the rental property.
Smart locks also make your vacation rental much more secure since they typically require a specific passcode to get in. Some smart locks will even alert you if someone enters your property when you’re not expecting them to. Check-in and check-out can become time-consuming processes, so automating these through the use of smart locks can potentially free up a large chunk of time in your schedule.
Meanwhile, smart lights are also a great addition to vacation rental properties. They can be set to turn on and off at set times when the property is empty to deter thieves. Lights with sensors can be set to turn off automatically when rooms aren’t being used. This can lower your electric bill and overall expenses associated with your rental property.
Finally, smart thermostats can be set to remain at a certain temperature when the house is vacant. You could even set the air conditioning or heat to kick on a few hours before your guests’ arrival. This is another way to save on utilities and overall expenses.
Not everyone has a flair for words, and there are plenty of people out there who simply don’t enjoy writing. If you’re one of them, you might want to consider hiring a freelancer to write up a well-structured, high-quality listing for your vacation rental property.
You can easily find reasonably priced freelancers on websites like Fiverr and Upwork, and many freelance copywriters have a focus on vacation rental listings. This means they know what prospective guests are looking for and what is most important to mention in the listing. Plus, those who write property descriptions for a living tend to have a way with words and can structure your listing for easy readability.
Before hiring a freelancer, take a look at any reviews other rental owners have left for them to ensure they have a positive track record. Once you’ve hired a freelancer, provide them with plenty of information about the property so that they don’t miss any essential details.
You’ve probably heard of using a welcome letter or binder to share important information with your guests, but what about a welcome app? This techy alternative is sure to be appreciated by younger generations, and it makes it simple and convenient to access any needed information about your property.
There are plenty of options for creating your welcome app. One of these is TouchStay, and the best thing about this option is that you can just send over a link to your guests–there’s no need for them to download an app themselves. It also has the option of downloading your online welcome information as a PDF, which you can then print and keep a hard copy of at your property for less technologically-inclined guests.
YourWelcome is another welcome app option that allows you to upsell guests on various features and services while they’re staying at your vacation rental. With YourWelcome, you can customize the appearance of the welcome app and choose your own colors and design scheme.
Automating your vacation rental tasks is a great way to ensure that you’re spending your time and energy on the things that are most important to you. Here’s a quick overview of the information we covered in this article:
- A property management system has almost endless capabilities when it comes to automating various tasks like listing your properties, messaging guests, updating spreadsheets, and keeping track of bookings.
- Other types of software like AirDNA and PriceLabs can automate the price-setting process, while Paypal and Stripe make processing payments a breeze. The TurnoverBnB app is a great way to automate the cleaning process between guests.
- Home Automation Smart locks, lights, sensors, and thermostats can automate the check-in and check-out processes and save you money on utilities.
- Choosing to hire a freelance copywriter to write up your property’s description takes the responsibility off your hands and ensures a high-quality result.
- Creating a welcome app rather than a welcome binder is a simple and convenient way to share important information with your guests.
If you are trying to automate your vacation rental tasks for long but aren’t finding a way, this video will help: