The most common questions I get when people find out I’m a Superhost with listings on a different continent are related to the mechanics involved in achieving this. This post aims to dive into the 5 pillars of being a remote Superhost, with an emphasis on being as hands off as possible.
The top 5 things you need in order to be a remote, hands off superhost:
- Property Management Software (PMS)
- Housekeeping team
- Boots on the ground
- Virtual assistant (VA)
Workflow for the win
My number one weapon is having a carefully thought out workflow as it relates to the hosting cycle & the property itself.
You will need to think through the guest lifecycle, the cleaning cycle, the restocking of supplies, maintenance and then you’ll need to document these and implement systems around them to ensure they happen like clockwork.
Examples of one of the lifecycles: the guest
- Communication: there are a number of standard messages that need to be sent during the lifecycle, from pre-booking, to arrival to checkout.
- Check in/out: by far the most time consuming and thus self check in is a must.
- Damage claims: you will need some rules and processes to handle this, so that it’s fair and efficient.
- Reviews: you will need to set a template and automate this.
- Incident management: problems happen – those experienced by and caused by your guest. Both need processes.
Finally, you’ll want to automate as much of these workflows as you can, which leads us to our next pillar: the PMS.
Property management software (pms) for Superhosts
A good PMS is worth its weight in gold. I’ve only been using one for the past 4 years and it’s been a gamechanger and more than justifies the cost.
A PMS will give your superpowers in the following areas:
- The entire guest lifecycle communication can be automated so that you never have to send another check in message or Wifi password.
- Communication with Cleaning Team
- Your housekeeping team will receive reminders, access to custom calendars and much more so you don’t have to manage them on a daily basis.
- Calendar management & sync
- Whether you have one or multiple listings, all your calendars will sync across multiple listing sites so you have one central view to set availability and pricing.
- Leaving reviews will be a thing of the past. Set the template and forget about it. If an issue arises, you can disable the auto review of a specific guest with one click.
- Ranking booster
- A good Superhost knows how to boost rankings on Airbnb. A good PMS will do it for you on autopilot.
- Reporting and analytics
- Monthly accounting and performance management becomes a breeze.
I’ve reviewed a few over the years and the one that I currently use and highly recommend is Guesty for Hosts. (Not to be confused with Guesty, their parent product for large scale hosts). At the time of writing, it costs me $27 per listing per month. It probably saves me around 8 hours per week per listing, which makes the cost a no-brainer.
Your housekeeper or cleaning company is the cornerstone of any good hosting operation, so it’s important to find someone who is reliable, honest and hardworking. And when you do, treat them like gold – personally and financially. I pay my housekeeper an above average rate because she’s my eyes and ears on the ground & she takes her job just as seriously as I take my hosting. If your housekeeper (or one of their family members) can do minor maintenance, then you’ve just hit the jackpot.
If you cannot find a good person, then opt for a cleaning company. I’d recommend interviewing at least 3 companies and giving each one a trial run and test them on following simple and more complicated instructions. It’s important that they (or your housekeeper) is proactive in solving problems and informing you of issues as they arise so that you can sort them out in a timely manner.
A good housekeeping team will make your hosting life 10x easier, so don’t skimp on this step.
Boots on the ground
Whether you’re 5min away from your listing or on different continents, it’s good to have a backup in place if someone needs to go on site.
Issues will arise that require physical presence, such as:
- Noise complaints that do not resolve once you’ve addressed it via text
- Assisting a guest with something that they cannot sort out themselves and is urgent
- Minor maintenance for which you don’t want to use a contractor
- Managing contractors when they do need to come out to perform work (that housekeeping cannot manage)
If you have friends or family in the area, it would be best to start here. Make sure to pay them to keep it fair. Otherwise, there are many co-hosts and others that would be willing to assist for a fee. Make sure your workflow is structured in such a way to minimise the necessity for physical presence as far as possible.
Virtual assistant (VA)
This has been a new addition to my Superhost arsenal and I cannot believe I waited this long to get a second pair of hands on deck. I’m at the point of getting a second VA so that I can cover the late evenings and early mornings. Issues rarely arise during these times, but it would be great to have it all covered so I can focus on other things.
A good VA is proactive and takes care of all ad hoc guest messaging, damage claims, housekeeping communication that arises and finally the management of general contractors – both scheduling and communication.
Once you start your hosting journey, start documenting everything. Just start small and build up processes for things you do every day. Then hand those over to a VA and scale from there. Trust me – it will change your life.
It is entirely possible to host from a different continent, be hands off and still offer Superhost service to your guests. If I moved in next door to one of my listings tomorrow, I would still keep the exact same setup I described above since it frees up all my time whilst still remaining extremely lucrative.
There are many benefits from becoming an Airbnb host and I’d argue that the automation and outsourcing possibilities are chief among them. I hope you found some value that can help propel you to a more hands off hosting journey.
Until next time!
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