Questions about listing and managing my first STR

4 Replies

I'm in the process of purchasing an SFH for the purpose of listing it as an STR. I'm interested in managing it myself after seeing the property management fees for these types of listings. Some questions I've had.

  • Do you list your property on all the big STR sites or just choose a few? If multiple, is it relatively easy to sync availability?
  • Any recommendations for remote check-in tools? 
  • Any good software for automating communications with guests? Canned check-in greetings, check-ups, and check-outs?
  • Any recommendations for analyzing current rates? I've just been using airbnb and looking at places near a property I'm analyzing at various times of the year, or considering purchasing airdna data. It's a pretty tedious process. It feels like there has to be a smarter way. 
  • Is there a good book on this? When I started flipping, I found The Flipping Blueprint invaluable. I can't find a similar brass-tacks book for short-term renting and management. Mostly just books trying to get me onboard with the idea (spoiler: I'm onboard!).
  • Instead of a property management company, some people use marketing companies (for a much smaller fee) and still self-manage. Has anyone found that to be worthwhile? Or is it relatively simple to market once you do it once? 

Thanks in advance. 

-Angelo

    I list on Vrbo and Airbnb. Most all of my bookings come from Vrbo.

    Some use smart locks. I have been using a lockbox for many years with no issues.

    Communications is built into Vrbo and Airbnb.

    Rates - just manually look at competition to get the best idea of what your rates should be.

    I have found no need to do much side marketing since Vrbo keeps my calendar full.

    I stick with Airbnb and VRBO, but am developing a direct booking site now. You’ll want to do this eventually.

    Sync with a channel manager. There are a million of them. I currently use Smartbnb. It also automates 95% of my messaging.

    You’ll want a good electronic door lock. I use Schlage encode, but there are others.

    Check out pricelabs for pricing. 

    • Do you list your property on all the big STR sites or just choose a few? If multiple, is it relatively easy to sync availability? We go with Airbnb and VRBO. It's easy to sync availability, here's an Airbnb article and a VRBO article that shows how.
    • Any recommendations for remote check-in tools? August is one but there are many others in the space.
    • Any good software for automating communications with guests? Canned check-in greetings, check-ups, and check-outs? Airbnb has a great tool built in to the product you can use. If you want to automate across multiple channels, Guesty works as well.
    • Any recommendations for analyzing current rates? I've just been using airbnb and looking at places near a property I'm analyzing at various times of the year, or considering purchasing airdna data. It's a pretty tedious process. It feels like there has to be a smarter way. The smarter way is cross-referencing Airdna, Rabbu, and your own research. You don't need to analyze rates, that's what the tools are for and will give you directional guidance as to a revenue forecast. Your research will help you figure out what amenities your competition offers so you know what to offer that's different and helps you stand out.
    • Is there a good book on this? When I started flipping, I found The Flipping Blueprint invaluable. I can't find a similar brass-tacks book for short-term renting and management. Mostly just books trying to get me onboard with the idea (spoiler: I'm onboard!). The forums have everything you need my friend. You'd be amazed how many people ask the same questions. I'd also recommend setting up a keyword alert for "airbnb" and following that to see great content.
    • Instead of a property management company, some people use marketing companies (for a much smaller fee) and still self-manage. Has anyone found that to be worthwhile? Or is it relatively simple to market once you do it once? Haven't found a need for a marketing company. Airbnb and VRBO (and all the rest) are incentivized to get bookings because that feeds their bottom line. Let their marketing machine work on your behalf! You can also create your own brand on social media and get influencers to post about your property in exchange for a free stay (mixed results personally, but worth a shot).

    Good luck and DM me if you have any other questions!

    Same as @Joshua Strickland

    SmartBnb has automated so much messaging for us and sends a text to our cleaner when we get a booking or canceled booking. 

    PriceLabs gave us so much more control over our calendar and rates. I think it has reduced orphan bookings to near 0. 

    Both of these combined cost less than $40 a month, and I am sure it has resulted in at least 1 additional day booked a month (probably more) and great reviews. 

    We use electronic door locks with a smart home hub. Kwikset 914 with Ezlo hub. I wouldn't say I rave about this setup. Our internet sucks and we lose connection a lot. With good internet, I think this would be a great solution.