If someone tells you to go to a place where you can find a precious treasure, but there are many challenges you should deal with in order to get there, will you go without even asking what those challenges are? The same thing goes on with property management. Whether you have started your job as a short-term rental manager or are in the middle of the path, you should know that there are some common property management problems that each and every person in the industry shares.
If you’re still an amateur, good for you as this blog post is the result of the experiences of REAL property managers who have been in the industry for some time.
Moreover, if you’re familiar with the industry, there’s a good chance you already know these problems. But, still, reading the article is to your benefit because we do not just give a list of the challengers you know and leave you there, but we’ve introduced some innovative solutions that you’ll absolutely find practical.
Problem 1: Guests Trashing Your Properties
Just Google the term “Airbnb guest trash house” and find a long list of articles of desperate property managers and landlords sharing their experiences of their guests leaving their houses in unbelievably catastrophic situations.
While one of the benefits of managing short-term rentals is that you can keep track of your property’s condition more and maintain it much better, there are guests who don’t care about your property at all as they may be there for a couple of days. After all, they’ll leave and you’re the one left with a trashed apartment/house.
If you ask any property manager, this is the first common property management problem most of them will tell. It is even so exasperating that some property managers think about quitting their job over such a problem.
Well, now you might think that security deposits are a good solution, but sometimes, especially now that the mid– to longer-term stays have been so popular, damages that are caused by guests who have stayed in your property for a month are too many that the security deposit you’ve collected in the first place is not enough at all.
Solution: Screen Your Guests Before Handing Your Property to Them
During the off-seasons or at the beginning of your job as a property manager, you might get so excited whenever a booking comes in that you totally forget this common property management problem.
What you should not forget under any circumstances is to screen your guests carefully and approve them before handing them the key to your main investment, your property.
First of all, don’t forget to collect the payments through safe methods that’ll approximately eliminate the risk of getting chargebacks. If you’re interested in knowing more about handling payments securely, here you can find some useful information.
Do not EVER forget collecting the security deposit. Even if your guest wants to stay for more than a week, still it is better than not having anything in hand.
Ask them to provide their contact details and ID documents.
Moreover, regarding the PMS (Property Management System) and channel manager you use for your business, you can benefit from a booking process that does all these steps for you. This way, whether a booking comes from a channel or your direct booking website, you can be sure everything is taken care of, and your property is handed over only to those who are capable of ticking all the boxes.
If you want to know about this solution in more detail, you’ll find this page helpful.
Problem 2: The Constant Need for Enhancing Guest Experience
According to the UK Parliament, the number of short-term rentals in England has increased enormously during the recent years due to “the development and growth of ‘sharing economy’ or ’peer-to-peer’ accommodation services.”
Airbnb reports that 223,200 active listings were posted between July 2017 and July 2018, 58% of which were for an entire property.
One look at the above-mentioned numbers and information proves to any reader how highly-competitive this market is. With this data in mind, can you claim worrying constantly about improving your guest experience is not the second common property management problem you face?
If you do not try to boost the quality of the service(s) you provide your guests with, someone else will win your potential or even previous guests.
Solution: The More You Automate and Personalise the Process, the Happier Your Guests Will Be
In the previous section, we talked about the necessity of collecting your guests’ contact details and some important information through the booking process.
Even though your booking process should be so accurate, it should be as streamlined as possible. Complex booking processes repel every guest. Even if your property is fantabulous, they’ll easily forget it and go for another one.
Also, the more automated your business is, the easier your job is. You can simply set some automated emails, trigger points for them to be sent out, and sit back and relax because you know everything is sent to your guest at the right time.
Moreover, if your booking process is designed in a way that you can collect your guests’ real email addresses, you can be in contact with them in the future and build loyalty by staying in touch and giving them the most personalised experience based on their preferences.
Problem 3: Getting More Direct Bookings
No one can deny the exposure that Airbnb, Booking.com, Vrbo, and many other channels and OTAs bring to your business in the very beginning.
As long as they exist, it’s somehow impossible to name even a single successful property manager that started their business without the help of these booking platforms.
But the fact is that this exposure comes at a cost, which is increasing year by year and lessening your income from every booking.
We don’t want to get to the discussion of comparing OTAs and direct bookings as we’ve talked about the advantages and disadvantages of each of them in a separate blog post.
To eliminate the 15-30% of your net profit that you should pay to Online Travel Agencies, you’ve got no other choice but to get more direct bookings.
Again, let’s get back to this fact: managing short-term lets is becoming a more and more competitive industry. So, what’s your plan to stand out in the crowd?
Solution: Expand Your Online Presence as Much as Possible
Getting more direct bookings is one of the most difficult common property management problems to overcome, both for the professionals and the amateurs.
However, the ever-growing popularity of online businesses paves the way to some extent. What does it mean?
It means with over 50% of consumers searching for businesses online, there’s a huge number of potential guests to whom you can showcase your properties if only you have the right tools:
· A Direct Booking Website
That’s the first and foremost platform you must have in order to get more direct bookings. If you boast an SEO-friendly website, you can publish interesting blog posts and get the attention of searchers in addition to showcasing your properties.
· Social Media Platforms
If you’re still underestimating the power of social media and the exposure it brings to your business, now it’s the time to change your mind. Otherwise, you’ll definitely fall behind the competition.
· Google My Business
Did you know that 75% of the people who search for businesses online are on Google? GMB (Google My Business) is a free and easy-to-use online platform that’ll provide you with a lot of opportunities. Moreover, if you don’t have our first solution, a direct booking website, it offers you a website too.
Well, it’s not a very professional one, but at least it’s a good platform to direct your potential guests to.
Problem 4: Operations Management
If you manage only one property, you have probably not faced this struggle yet. However, managing the many necessary operations is another common property management problem that the ones who run multiple properties experience a lot.
As a short-term rental manager, you’re in charge of filling the properties all year around, and you have to do most of the job remotely.
This means, without being able to visit the properties frequently, you need to make sure the maintenance issues are taken care of, they’re clean after and before each booking and keep track of all the other tasks you should take care of.
Even if you decide to expand your company and hire more staff, you also need to pay more money. So, there must be a way to take control of everything like a pro without having to bear more difficulties.
Solution: Find Ways to Automate Different Aspects of Your Business
If you’re serious about eliminating this barrier, there’s no way for you to use a proper property management system. Handling everything manually or expecting your staff to do so, just takes up the precious time that can be devoted to the expansion of your business.
Moreover, while choosing an adequate property management software, you’re sure that you’re minimising human errors by allocating most of the work to a system.
Imagine all the operations from one central login, where you can communicate with all your staff, including your cleaners, manage check-ins and check-outs, keep track of housekeeping and maintenance tasks, get a grasp of your listings’ rates and availability, and so on.
This is what your PMS should enable you to do. If you’re still looking for the right PMS, here you can find some useful tips you’d better bear in mind while choosing the best one.
Problem 5: Overbookings
As you might not be in the place where you can totally depend on the direct bookings you get and forget about channels and OTAs, you should probably know one of the most famous, common property management problems everybody has: overbookings.
If you’re determined to increase your reach, you probably have listed your short-term rentals in more than one channel. But making sure that your rates and availability status is updated on all these platforms is a highly time-consuming, burdensome task.
In addition to the time and energy it takes away from you, it can simply ruin your brand’s good name, which you’ve tried too hard to build up.
Solution: Using Channel Managers
Here’s where channel managers come to your rescue. In fact, it is impossible to run a business in the hospitality industry without the help of a channel manager.
We suggest that you pay special attention to this feature when choosing your channel manager because when your channel manager supports API integration and is synced to the channels that are the same, the possibility of overbookings is totally eliminated.
Last-word About Common Property Management Problems
The challenges that we’ve mentioned in this blog post were only some of the most common property management problems we’ve gathered from talking to people in the industry. However, if you’ve faced any other problem, just share it in the comments. They might be others who have faced the same struggles as well and may be able to share their experience with you. And if we know the answer, we’ll be more than happy to help!