Increasing numbers of Australian property investors are considering the use of short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb to increase their returns above long-term tenancies.
However directly managing a short-term rental property is much more time consuming and difficult compared to finding a tenant who will typically stay for 12 months or more on a long term lease.
In this article, we explain the key services provided by companies that manage short-term rentals on behalf of property investors, and why it’s worth considering using a professional service to receive the benefits of both worlds: higher returns with much less hands-on work.
Property marketing and listing set up
The first step to renting your property as a short-term rental is to get it listed on the major booking platforms. Airbnb is the largest and most popular in Australia, however some management companies will also list on other major sites such as Stayz, Homeaway and Booking.com to maximise occupancy rates and earnings.
When choosing a short-term rental manager, it's worthwhile asking if they list on multiple sites, or just Airbnb.
During the onboarding and setup phase of their service, the company will perform an initial assessment of your property to understand its best features and write a listing that will appeal to your target guest audience.
They will then take professional photos of the property and key spaces such as living areas, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen facilities and outdoor areas if applicable. There is often a considerable impact on a property's likelihood to be booked when it is marketing with professional, well-lit and thoughtfully staged photos.
Guest communication and check-in coordination
Professional Airbnb managers will handle all communication with guests who book your property, including check-in instructions, answering pre-reservation questions and creating a guide for your property to make their stay seamless and easy.
Depending on the size and capabilities of the company, Airbnb managers can generally offer a higher level of support to guests compared to a single self-managed host. For example, the below support features are provided by MadeComfy as part of their standard property management service.
MadeComfy's dedicated support team is on standby to reply to guests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer booking platform messages and reservation requests.
As a multi-lingual team, MadeComfy are able to communicate with international guests in five different languages: English, Chinese, German, French and Spanish.
Cleaning and guest turnover
The standard of your property’s cleaning service is one of the most important factors to your guest’s experience.
Self-managed Airbnb hosts must either clean the property themselves or hire contract cleaners each time a guest checks out of the property. One challenge of hiring independent cleaners is ensuring their availability between all guest stays, and it is often necessary to have at least a few different cleaners on call in case one is unable to clean the property on a specific date.
In addition, an Airbnb cleaning routine must also include taking care of details such as changing linens and re-stocking essential items.
Short-term rental management companies handle the guest turnover and cleaning process on your behalf, ensuring you will always have reliable and experienced cleaners between bookings.
For example, a routine clean by MadeComfy at minimum consists of:
- Vacuum or mop of floors
- Removing rubbish and emptying bins
- Wiping down of surfaces
- Changing towels and linen
- Restocking essential items
- Cleaning dishes and cooking utensils
- Making beds
When considering an Airbnb management company, it's also useful to enquire about their cleaner quality assurance processes or if the cleaning is solely managed by individually cleaners. For example, MadeComfy cleaners will photograph individual areas to be checked and verified by a quality assurance team to ensure consistency of standards.
Finally, some Airbnb management or cleaning companies are unable to manage same day guest turnovers depending on the size and sophistication of their cleaning operations. It's advisable to check whether the Airbnb management company you are considering can offer this service as it allow your property to be made available and booked more frequently, and maximise your earnings.
Pricing and revenue management
While possible to ‘set and forget’ a listing once it’s up on Airbnb and other booking platforms, the property would likely lose significant revenue without active pricing management.
There are many ways to manage a property’s nightly pricing and in general the more data you have available, the better you will understand your local market to maximise your occupancy and average daily rates.
For example, data-driven pricing management is so important to maximising a property's earnings that MadeComfy has a dedicated in-house team to analyse rates from nearby properties, adjust pricing to seasonal trends and track local events that drive up demand.
As Airbnb management companies usually charge a management fee in proportion to your booking revenue, they will be incentivised to maximise your earnings and continually keep on top of price optimisation opportunities.
Ensuring your property is properly maintained with issues addressed promptly is crucial to the guest experience, and different Airbnb property management companies may offer varying levels of support from simply notifying you when an issue needs to be resolved, to proactive maintenance and directly fixing problems on your behalf.
For example, all MadeComfy properties are inspected regularly as part of a preventative maintenance schedule by an in-house maintenance manager. This ensures any repair work can be carried out with minimal disruption between guest bookings.
Common areas checked include:
- Air-conditioning units
- Appliances such as fridges, ovens, stoves and dishwashers
- Leaky taps and plumbing issues
- Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors
- Lighting and electrical
In addition to specific maintenance inspections, most visibly apparent issues will be picked up by cleaners between stays. This means that Airbnb managed properties are in practice inspected and checked much more regularly than long term rentals.
Want to find out more about using a short-term rental management company?
MadeComfy is a property management and hospitality company specialising in short-term rentals. We offer a complete end-to-end service package that includes marketing of the property, managing the rental process, coordinating cleaning and linen change-over, and acting as the primary contact for guests. To know more about us, visit our homepage: https://madecomfy.com.au/