Automation Tips for Airbnb Hosts

automationAt The Casual Capitalist we are fanatical about automation and processes. Although it doesn’t sound sexy, it’s a great way to increase your income and maximize productivity.

Business automation is not reserved solely for corporate giants. As an Airbnb host, you are a small business owner, and there are a number of options out there to help with automating your Airbnb business. As you will see with the following Airbnb tips, sharing economy automation is a fast growing industry.

Today I want to give the good folks at Short Term Stays a hand to break this topic down for you.

What do we mean by Airbnb automation? According to the Casual Capitalist dictionary (not a real thing!), Airbnb automation is the action of taking a task that a host normally completes, such as taking emails, adjusting pricing, engaging with guests, etc., and implementing an automatic and repetitive sequence that removes the need for host involvement.

Here are some of our tips to help you with Airbnb automation.

  1. Airbnb Email Auto-Responder

If you’re like me, I have a separate email for my Airbnb business. This keeps things neat and tidy. This also allows me to isolate all of my Airbnb-related correspondence.

This isolation also allows me to set up an auto-responder. Most email service providers such as Google and Microsoft have an auto-response feature. As do most email software such as Outlook.

Basically, the email auto-responder serves two purposes. First, within seconds, it informs your guest that you are aware of their concern and will respond in the near future. This type of responsiveness does wonders for your ratings.

Secondly, the email can contain all of the FAQs that you normally get. These can include key exchange instructions, directions, TV channel options, internet passwords, cleaning policy, and more.

For example: “Hi! Thank you so much for deciding to stay at Chez [insert awesome Airbnb home name here]. This is to let you know I’ve received your email and will respond within 24 hours. In the meantime, here are some of the most frequently asked questions I get about Carter Estates…” And so on.

Consider Sandra, a Casual Capitalist from Toronto who implemented the above strategy. Her auto-response email is complete with her home guide, FAQs, directions to and from the airport and train station, links to nearby tourist attractions, and other useful material.

“Nine times out of ten I get an immediate response to my email saying the guests’ question is answered, thanking me for my rapid response. It’s such a good feeling!” Sandra tells me via email.

Think about whether or not this strategy could work for you. Now, let’s move on.

  1. Smart Airbnb Key Exchange

One of the easiest ways to facilitate Airbnb guest access is using a smart lock. Smart locks are extremely easy to install and allow you to seamlessly provide access to your property.

We recommend two in particular. These, we feel, are the best smart locks for Airbnb hosts.

First, the most popular is the Schlage Camelot Keypad Deadbolt. The main reason we like this is because codes are easily changed on the keypad after each guest leaves. It’s also reasonably priced at $99.

Another popular smart lock is the Kwikset SmartCode Electronic Deadbolt. It is like the above lock but cheaper and easier to install. Although code selection is more limited, it does have an automatic locking function you can program, which automatically locks the door after 30 seconds.

For an in-depth discussion on Airbnb key exchange, check out this post.

  1. Automate Airbnb Pricing

There are several services out there that will help you automate your Airbnb pricing based on a number of local factors.

With these services, of which Short Term Stays is included, you link up your Airbnb account to the service dashboard where you’ll be able to manage your pricing and calendar.

After analyzing your listing based on your neighborhood, seasonality, local demand, and more, these providers will recommend a pricing structure for your listing.

If you agree with the pricing, you can choose to sync the service to change your pricing automatically. Now, you don’t have to manually increase your prices the next time Bieber comes to town!

According to recent research, users of automated pricing services earn up to 40% in additional booking revenue. Not too shabby!

All of these extra tools give you the data you need to succeed in the Airbnb hosting business.

  1. Consider Airbnb Management and Cleaning Services

If you want to go full automation, then consider an Airbnb management company like Short Term Stays. If you have the cash-flow, and need to spend your time doing other things, you likely need a property manager to do all your day-to-day home-sharing tasks.

  1. Automate Your Environment

There are two home-based automation tools that many in the Casual Capitalist community have been experimenting with. The most successful of the two, is the Nest thermostat.

Nest is an amazing tool that can automate your heating and cooling. It has auto-scheduling features so you can adjust temperatures based on a number of environmental factors.

It has an auto-away feature which adjusts the temperature after you leave your home. It also comes with a Nest app that allows you to remotely change the temperature, and check your usage history.

The second automation option is the product line called Philips Hue lighting.

This smart lighting kit allows you to control lighting from a smartphone, turning it on and off remotely. It also allows for voice control, timers, and alarms.

With over 16 million color options, you can sync your lighting to your decor. You can even sync the lighting to the movie you’re watching or music you’re listening too. It’s really cool, trust me!

As an aside, I like the dimming options because it allows you to gradually wake up as the lights get brighter.

Airbnb Automation: Why Not Free Up Some Time?

The point here is to automate repetitive tasks that don’t really need your ongoing attention. We are not suggesting totally removing yourself as a host. Indeed, one of the best parts of Airbnb hosting is guest interaction and being social.

But, the above tools can help you to automate parts of your Airbnb hosting that aren’t appealing to you. Always responding to the same email questions can get frustrating. Or, having the options to let in guests remotely when you’re busy is great flexibility.

Or, maybe you don’t enjoy cleaning your property after a guest departs. All of these things can automated.

Pick one tool above and see if it’s right for you.

Happy hosting!

Glenn Carter – The Casual Capitalist

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