Vacation Rental Management With Hostaway | Which Tasks to Automate First

November 1, 2021 | BY wheelhouse

There is no doubt the vacation rental business requires ongoing effort. It involves a variety of vacation rental tasks daily. And as it grows, the process of managing your vacation rental can be overwhelming but at the same satisfying when it is done right.

With that said, automating your vacation rental management helps each aspect of your business by allowing vacation rental managers to spend less time on daily routine operations and more time on scaling your portfolio, improve the guest experience and build new revenue streams while being a great host.

What is Vacation Rental Management?

Vacation rental management is overseeing the day-to-day operations of vacation rental properties ideally on behalf of the property’s owner, extending it from the guest experience to arranging cleaning and maintenance, to distribution and marketing, and managing bookings.

Before starting as a vacation rental property manager, it is vital to understand these key areas: 


With that said, whether it is a Do-It-Yourself host or outsource a professional property manager, it is crucial to take into account a few considerations such as time and availability in delivering a great experience to your guests as well as ensuring a good flow of running a vacation rental business.

How does Vacation Rental Management work?

Over the past years, the vacation rental industry has grown vastly and most property owners opt for vacation rental management companies especially when managing several properties at hand or leading a busy life. Managing a property does not only focus on coordinating house cleaning, maintenance, and arranging bookings but goes far beyond what is initially expected. So how does vacation rental management work? Well, let’s take a deep dive into the daily management process:

And with that said, hosts often choose to manage their vacation rental themselves. The daily tasks and operations can be challenging and as a host, you must be able to meet the tasks head-on! The best approach is to outsource our partner Hostaway, a vacation rental software for tasks and operations that you don’t enjoy or have the time to do; resulting in easier management of your property.

Why Automate Your Vacation Rental Management?

Running a vacation rental business, especially one that is profitable and increases revenue, can be difficult these days, especially when dealing with increased operational costs. However, thanks to the new and variety of technology on offer, property managers can ease the workload while being efficient and growing your business.

Automation is the way forward and a necessity. Not only does automation transform the vacation rental market, but it also allows hosts to do more with less and scale their business faster than ever before. Therefore, what’s stopping you from using automation for your vacation rental management?

By implementing automation, it offers many benefits for your vacation rental business in allowing you to:

Furthermore, automation can be valuable to you personally. For example, lessen energy bills and improve security which is considered a solution to an essential element in effective vacation rental management. The best part of automation is it does not matter whether you have one or more listings, you can still gain its benefits while boosting your vacation rental business. Interested? Let’s take it one step further!

Top 9 Automation Solutions for your Vacation Rental Management

Vacation Rental Software

Establishing and running a successful vacation rental, especially when you have more than one property, requires a lot of tedious tasks and operations daily which requires the need of vacation rental software.

With that said, Hostaway is an all-in-one solution which will help you to handle all of your vacation rental management tasks. It allows you to keep track of bookings and properties in real-time and saves you loads of time by automating repetitive tasks.

Hostaway offers a host of features such as:

Dynamic Rates Management

By integrating with our partner Hostaway, we can effectively make frequent or automated changes in adjusting discounts, special offers, daily rates based on data insights and market demand. 

Not to mention, it allows you to set up check-in/check-out dates with fast and easy bulk edits in maximizing revenues on both high and low peak seasons. With that said, Wheelhouse helps find the best rates throughout the year, hence increasing profits while lessening the time spent in adjusting prices.

Related Article: How we measure our Pricing Engine: Methodology Write-up

Automate Guest Communication

Schedule your Messages.

For frequent communication with guests, ensure to schedule messages by planning messages that will automatically trigger on a set date and time. By doing so, guests can be informed throughout the booking process, from reservations to arrival, departure, and even after their stay. More importantly, before or on the arrival of guests, you can schedule messages with any important information such as property address or WiFi password.

Prepare Message Templates with Standard Answers

By going through past queries and frequent questions, prepare message templates with standard answers based on these questions. It is also a great addition to add personalization to each message, adding the individual names of your guests and other booking-specific information. More importantly, with the use of Google Docs or Excel Sheet, make sure to save these templates for future use. 

Set up your Email Auto-Responder

To respond quickly to a guest inquiry, use your email auto-responder to share a short message with them. Moreover, you have the option to customize your message by telling guests when you expect to respond to them, and also include important information to their query such as check-in time, directions, etc.

Electronic Contract & Signature

By automating electronic contracts and signatures, saves time and reduces the amount of paperwork required to be signed by the guest and the owner/property manager. Furthermore, e-signatures will help send secure and legally binding documents to the guest’s inbox.

Automate Check-in/Check-out

Without a doubt, when granting access to your property remotely, setting up automated check-in and check-out can eliminate the difficulties that come along with it. Such as there is no need to wait for guests to arrive nor the hassle of personal key exchanges. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a locksmith or drive across in the middle of the night to hand over duplicated keys due to lost keys. Here are a few options to choose from:

Smart Locks

Firstly, choose a smart lock that is easy for guests and efficient. Having a smart lock means you can open your vacation rental through a smartphone, granting access to guests or cleaning/maintenance staff via SMS or email. By doing so, this eliminates issues for guest check-in too early or late as well as the need for key exchange.

Furthermore, smart locks enable you to monitor access to your property which means less work and safety for your vacation rental property. Recommendations are: Operto, Nuki, Mondise, Omnitec, Akiles, TTLock, and Assa Abloy

Key Lock Box

It is a durable and small storage lockbox designed to safely and securely store rental keys. All you have to do is simply, pop the keys inside the lockbox, set the combination, and let the guests know where to find the lock box with its safety code in opening it. Learn more on Airbnb Lockbox: How to provide self-check-in to your guests

Electronic Lock 

An electronic lock eliminates security concerns or lost keys. It is simple and easy just by installing, setting a code for one set of guests, and changing the code before the next guest arrives.

Automated Self-Check-In Platforms and Services

Other options that are worth looking at are KeyCafe and Vikey. KeyCafe offers 24/7 customer support and real-time notifications. Therefore, rest assured guests can easily access your vacation rental property without any hassle.

On the other hand, Vikey offers a 360-degree system designed to simplify the check-in process. The system includes software where guests can upload their documents and hardware which is a kind of door opener installed at the vacation rental property. It covers two steps- the administrative part of collecting taxes and documents and the handover of the keys.

Use of Smart Technology

To further enhance your vacation rental, why not go the extra mile and add smart gadgets? Guests will surely appreciate the extra mile with smart amenities and give that feeling of staying at a luxurious and smart-tech property.

With automation, it can help you save time, money, attract guests and encourage positive reviews. Here are some smart amenities worth installing:

Invest in Smart Lighting and Motion Sensors

There are many smart lighting options available in the market that allow you to control lights using an app. Moreover, throughout the day, you can set times for the lights to automatically switch on and off which are beneficial to hosts as it prevents home invasion if no one is around.

Apart from that, you can add smart sensors that detect which rooms are not in use and automatically shut down the lights. This is a great way to save on your utility bills.

Smart Thermostat

No guests will appreciate turning up to a property that is overly cold or warm. Hence, a smart thermostat eases this problem by using temperature automation and allowing you to remotely control it. Moreover, you can set restrictions as guests may leave or forget to turn off the air conditioning in the summer or heating in the winter for the entire day while they are away.

These devices are quite costly however it reduces energy bills and are quite compatible with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistance that can be easily controlled by voice commands via an app.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa are great additions to your vacation rental. It can act as a guest’s concierge service and more importantly, it is beneficial for property managers/homeowners who are not able to be physically present for check-ins, as it can deliver useful information to guests. Furthermore, virtual assistants can be programmed with several actions that can be triggered by voice.

Digital Welcome Book

Why not go the extra mile in your vacation rental management and enhance the guest experience? Well, a welcome book is a necessity, and with technology advancing vastly, providing a digital guide book before guest arrival will be a great investment towards a 5-star review.

A digital guidebook provides all information in just the palm of your hands. It is easily accessible to guests via phones, tablets, etc. Furthermore, it can act as their tour guide showcasing the local areas and property.

Automate cleaning and maintenance

When building an online reputation and driving positive reviews while increasing bookings, top-notch cleanliness is expected by guests. However, some hosts do find the task time-consuming and unpleasant. So, why not automate cleaning tasks and use smart gadgets in speeding up the process?

Integrate Smart Cleaning Gadgets into your Cleaning Routine

Smart devices can be costly however it saves loads of time and effort in cleaning your vacation rental property between guest stays. So, why not invest on:

Robot vacuums and mops – navigates through your short-term rental via an app. It’s the perfect solution for not just one type of floor and carpet but wooden floors and tiles. It is also great for reaching into those hard-to-reach places.

Robot window cleaner – a device that comes with remote control, leaving you without risks in cleaning a few windows outside.

Keep Track of your Cleaning Supplies via App

In keeping track of your home amenities, there are useful home inventory apps you can consider such as Sortly, Memento Database, etc. These apps are specially designed to keep track and offer a variety of features like sort items by room, add photographs, and so forth.

Enhance your Cleaning Process through Hostaway

If you are thinking of stepping up your vacation rental cleaning, consider using Hostaway’s cleaning management integrations to organize, automate, and perfect your cleaning processes and teams from start to finish:

For vacation rental cleaning tips, check out: Vacation Rental Cleaning: Tips and Tricks

Accounting Solutions

In business, saving more is earning. Therefore, having accurate accounting and reporting is a necessity for creating budgets and forecasts which leads to tracking expenditures. Accounting automation solutions lead to better vacation rental management and will help minimize operational costs, save more money while avoiding making human errors.

Furthermore, using tools like Quickbooks or Mint will allow you to automatically download transactions like important receipts and invoices from your dashboard. And apart from that, business transactions are automatically organized, ready for your next tax preparations.

Automate Guest Reviews to Top Search Ranking

With automation software, you can send automated template emails or SMS messages to ask for positive guest reviews. And while it is important to reply to every review, it is also important to notify guests that you have reviewed them. 

More importantly, real-time feedback shared by guests allows you to respond to the need and fix the issue before it becomes a bad experience. Furthermore, to improve your SEO vacation rental listings, compiling reviews is a great way to ensure a better reach and accessibility.