As a new short-term rental investor, it can be really intimidating and overwhelming looking through all of the different pieces of technology and platforms that you may or may not even need to manage your short-term rental. Let’s go over the five core tools that you need to manage your short-term rental efficiently.
We are going to go through the software part of the list first. And the most important thing that you need to start with anyway to manage your short-term rental is your channel manager. For those of you who don’t know what a channel manager is, it’s a software solution that allows you to manage all of your listings on all of the different booking platforms in one dashboard. So it will allow you to manage your listings and synchronize them across all the platforms that you’re booking on. So Airbnb, VRBO, booking.com, all the places that you want your listing to go. You can edit in one dashboard and it will synchronize it across all of the platforms. It will also automate your guest communication that you can really customize all of your auto-responses to guests so that you’re hardly ever having to actually sit down and craft a response to a guest. Your auto responses will take care of a lot of that, so it will really, really streamline your process in terms of communication.
A good channel manager will also synchronize your cleaner’s calendar. It will automatically place an event on your cleaner’s calendar when a booking comes in from any platform, so you’re not having to coordinate your cleaning as well. Some of the most commonly used channel managers are IGMS, Your Porter, Hospitable, and OwnerRez These are great for smaller companies starting out. We personally use Streamline which is an enterprise software that allows us to do trust accounting, and also products all of guests advanced deposits we receive until there booking starts.
The second piece of software that you’re going to need to manage your short-term rental is your pricing manager. Your pricing manager will sync with your channel manager and it will analyze all kinds of historical as well as current booking data and prices for the market that you’re in, and it will suggest an optimized price per night for your property. You can increase you revenue easily by 20 to 30 percent optimizing your prices.
Some common pricing managers or the most common anyway that are used are PriceLabs, Beyond Pricing, and Wheelhouse. Pro Tip, do not use the Airbnb smart pricing feature. That is designed to give you the lowest price per night because Airbnb wants bookings, not optimized pricing. So make sure that you’re using a pricing tool that optimizes your pricing and doesn’t do the opposite.
Now we’re going to switch gears over to hardware that you need. And the first piece of hardware that you need to get for your short-term rental is a smart lock. Smart locks make remote short-term rental management so much easier than it ever was in the past. Obviously, a smart lock, it’s connected to the internet. It has a keypad rather than an actual key, or it may have a key in addition to a keypad, and you’re able to change the codes from wherever you are in the world.
You can set things up to automatically generate a new code for each guest, a new code for your cleaner, all done right from your smartphone. And you can also see from the app when each code was used. So if someone uses the code at a time that they’re not supposed to, anything weird happens, you’re able to see whose code it was and who came into the house at the time. A few that are most commonly used are the Schlage Encode, the Yale Plus Nest, and the August Smart Lock. The fourth tool that you’ll need, which is the second piece of hardware, is your smart thermostat. A smart thermostat is connected to the internet and it will allow you to change the temperature remotely from anywhere, and this is helpful so that you can turn the air down or up depending on if the property is rented or if it sits vacant for a few days in the time of year.
So it will really help you save on electricity costs from your air conditioner. A few of the commonly used smart thermostats are the Nest, the ecobee, and the Honeywell T9. I strongly recommend the Honeywell T9 because it is the easiest for guests to use. The less complicated it is, the less trouble they’re going to have and the less complaints that you’re going to have about your smart thermostat. The last tool that you’ll need to manage your short-term rental remotely is your smart camera. There are some rules regarding smart cameras and short-term rentals, so you want to make sure that you follow them. They can only be on the front exterior of the house facing the front. They can’t be in the interior of the house and they can’t be in the back facing any sort of pool or hot tub situation. I also don’t recommend monitoring your camera feed all day, every day. You’re going to drive yourself crazy.
Only look at your camera feed if an event has occurred that requires you to go back and look at what’s going on. Also, make sure you follow the rules when it comes to camera placement. Don’t be a creep. My recommendation for smart cameras is the Ring digital doorbell and floodlight cams. Really easy system to set up and really easy app to run right from your smartphone.
Managing vacation properties involves various expenses, including channel managers, pricing tools, and transforming your home into a smart property, all of which can add up significantly. Subscriptions alone can easily cost you hundreds of dollars per month, and when you’re overseeing five or more properties, these expenses can become quite substantial. Additionally, you’ll find yourself directly handling guest inquiries and issues, often receiving calls late at night, around 9 pm, with questions about how to use the property or reporting any maintenance problems. This means you need to have someone available 24/7.
This is where Sunny Vacation Rentals steps in to help. Instead of shouldering the burden of these monthly expenses, you can hire us for a small commission fee, and we’ll take care of everything for you. In many cases, our services end up being more cost-effective for our clients, and their guests enjoy a superior experience with a company that specializes in this field.”