Nothing is more enjoyable for a vacation rental manager than a jam-packed booking calendar and an extremely high occupancy rate. However, everyone knows that managing housekeepers with a busy booking calendar is no easy job.
Be it with local housekeepers or by contracting it out to cleaning services, scheduling vacation rental cleanings entails a lot of sending back-and-forth messages to your cleaners. Besides, with so many back-to-back bookings, keeping your staff members updated with the constantly changing schedule can be arduous.
Peak seasons are tiresome and stressful days for your staff, especially your on-site service providers. They already receive excessive work and pressure, with awkward situations and new tasks constantly popping up here and there. And yes, unexpected disorders in your housekeepers’ plans can easily drive them crazy.
On the other hand, your guests expect a spotless home or room when they arrive. Cleanliness is one of the leading causes of most of their negative reviews during the busy season. As a result, your housekeeping needs to be immaculate. Otherwise, a busy season can become a nightmare. A few weeks of a fully-booked calendar may not justify the severe harm done to your reputation! After all, reviews are both a short-term and long-term investment for your hospitality business.
So, how do vacation rental managers handle their housekeeping tasks while having a busy booking calendar? Let’s review the most common solutions and weigh their effectiveness.
1. Sharing Your Calendar with Your Cleaners
Trying to keep your cleaners informed of each check-in and check-out and any changes in the bookings is a constant headache for an extremely occupied vacation rental manager. Besides, it would be easy to make mistakes, cause confusion or forget the whole thing. Therefore, sharing your booking calendar with your cleaning staff sounds like a smart idea.
There are two ways to share your calendar with your housekeepers:
a. Making Your Housekeepers Co-hosts on Your Airbnb Account
Adding your cleaners as co-hosts on Airbnb allows them to access the booking calendar from their own Airbnb account. They can also view all the essential details they need for their job. As cleaners get notified of cancellations and booking changes, communications with them will be minimised, thus optimised.
However, your staff members will access a lot more than just the calendar and what they need for their cleaning tasks. They can see your earnings, guest data, other cleaners’ workload and additional private information. They can also communicate with guests and write reviews.
You can just add three Airbnb co-hosts for each listing. So, this can get a little complicated if you work with multiple cleaners for the same listing or already have co-hosts.
b. Sharing Your Calendar with Your Cleaners through iCal
Your Airbnb calendar can be synchronised with your other calendars through “iCal” links. You can send the ‘iCal’ links to your cleaning staff, and they can add them to an external calendar.
Google Calendar is the most commonly used calendar. It is easy to share on different platforms and features many helpful functionalities like sending reminders and invitations and tracking RSVPs.
Calendar importing with Airbnb is a little bit more work, but it allows you to share your booking calendar with your cleaning team and set email reminders. This may seem like an easy solution to manage your housekeepers while having a busy booking calendar. As you just share the calendar with your cleaning staff, they don’t have access to all the other info that co-hosts do.
Nevertheless, in the first place, your cleaners must know how to work with Google Calendar. In addition, you can only share the date and time your property is occupied and can’t tell your cleaners when you would like the listing to get cleaned. Moreover, you can’t assign specific tasks to cleaners.
What about using multiple cleaning services? Your housekeepers don’t have access to the information they need like the number of guests or the bed preparation details.
If you receive bookings from multiple channels like Booking.com and Vrbo, for each platform, you must share your booking calendar separately with your cleaning staff. Multiple cleaners, multiple properties, and multiple calendars to keep track of! A real headache for you and your cleaners.
2. Using a Property Management System Featuring Cleaning Management
The two methods outlined above can’t completely take the hassle out of managing housekeepers with a busy booking calendar. So, a more professional solution is, indeed, required. Luckily, technology and automation offer a perfect solution for this need.
A Property Management System (PMS) equipped with a cleaning management feature is all a vacation rental manager needs. It helps them put their cleaning management on autopilot and rest assured, knowing that their properties are always kept sparkling clean.
How Can a PMS with a Cleaning Management Feature Help You?
A PMS can automate many aspects of your vacation rental management, including the whole cleaning management process. As a result, it minimises the need for day-to-day hands-on management, streamlines your team communication, and saves you tons of time and headaches.
Your PMS pulls your calendar from Airbnb, Vrbo, your direct booking website, and any other booking platforms you might have and synchronises them into one calendar. Your housekeepers must be able to log into the system and see the calendar with the details related to their job.
Many PMSes like Zeevou provide property managers with a Multi-Unit Calendar equipped with all the essential tools required for managing all the tasks of a busy booking calendar related to multiple properties.
This user-friendly calendar allows you to scroll infinitely to see all the past, current and upcoming bookings. You can create bookings, block dates and apply advanced modifications directly from the Booking Calendar. Bookings can be dragged and dropped between units, modified, extended or split. Besides, different colours and labels enable you to quickly understand a booking’s state, the booking source channel and the cleaning status in real-time. This way, you can quickly notice dirty or maintenance-required units and mark them as cleaned or resolved when your cleaning staff’s job is over.
The cleaning management feature can automatically generate check-out and mid-stay housekeeping tasks. It also assigns each task to a housekeeper based on the priority you have set for each staff member in the system and their availability throughout the week. Additionally, you can manually change the cleaners assigned to a task.
Many PMSes offer a mobile app designed for housekeeping management through which your housekeepers get notified of their allocation. They will also receive automated reminders anytime you want to before the task time.
At the same time, they will get notified of any cancellations and changes in the schedule and receive the latest updates through the housekeeping app. Therefore, there’s no need for any back-and-forth messages between you and your staff.
The cleaning management app can also capture the housekeepers’ start time, location, and the time they are done with a task. You might also want to ask them to take photos of the cleaned property on the app for your quality control. In addition, the hosts can share their cleaning checklists through this app, and the cleaners can upload photos of any property damage.
Every vacation rental booking is a list of responsibilities for a vacation rental manager, from answering enquiries and guest vetting to payment processing and preparing a listing for the next stay. Now imagine a host managing multiple properties and multiple teams in multiple locations.
Furthermore, bookings constantly change and get cancelled, as do the schedules. It is almost impossible for hosts to survive without getting help from automation tools like property management software.
These tools can give vacation rental managers the peace of mind that their tasks are flawlessly scheduled, and their staff will always be notified at the right time when they must perform a task.
One of the most significant benefits of using a PMS is scheduling your cleanings in a completely hands-off way. This feature can manage your housekeepers with a busy booking calendar and keep your rental sparkling clean. So, it’s essential to choose a PMS that can completely automate your cleaning management and make it a breeze.