Let me first say - if you are complaining about supply and demand being off and bookings being down - YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. You need to treat this like a business, because it is.
Ya'll. I am SO over early check in and late check out.
Managing a multitude of rentals - I see people asking ALL DAY LONG for an early check in and a late check out. Can I drop off my luggage, can you cleaner clean faster, can I stay late - I woke up late. NO.
Since in the past we have used restaurants as an example.... let's keep on the trend.
You work in a Mexican restaurant that serves plain jane margarita's for $3.99. But for an extra $3 you can upgrade your tequila and have a better quality alcohol with less chance of being completely stupid and you won't hate yourself the next day. EVERY good server knows the importance of upgrading the margarita. The higher the check cost - the higher the tip percentage.
It's time for you to start looking at your rental as a product. Yes - you might be a mom and pop shop, but you are still a place attempting to make money to keep the lights on everyday, right? Right.
When you have guests asking for early arrival and late check out - you are basically giving them more hours in Disneyworld that they didn't pay for. Not to mention the fact that you put your cleaner in a real bind working in a smaller window to properly handle your space. Below I will list out several things you can do to help eliminate those early/late check in/outs and turn it into profit. And if you like what I have to say be sure to give this a like, a share or leave me a comment!
*During major events in the city its important to give your cleaning team the most amount of time to prepare the space. It's ALWAYS the guests who ask for something that have a complaint about something in their review.
If you know you will be pressed for time because of a larger event in town like SXSW or the Super bowl - cut to the chase and inform them that "While we would love to accommodate your reservation earlier than planned, we need a proper amount of time to prepare the space for your arrival. We highly suggest reaching out to us the day of to see if we may be able to accommodate your request. If we are not we HIGHLY suggest looking into Bounce Luggage Storage. It's a luggage storage company specifically for rentals who charge about $5 to hold your luggage for the day in their offices."
(If you are smart you might contact Bounce and see if you can set up some sort of partnership asking if they give you a referral fee for every 10 customers you refer to use their service....)
PS - they are all over the country and there are more like them out there that will store luggage for a minimal price. Its GENIUS.
*So your guests plan arrives at 9AM in the morning and they want to check in immediately. If you have the space available - sure you may offer it, but you could let them know that they can GURANTEE the space for an early morning arrival by booking it for an additional day ahead of their arrival. That ensures the space is ready and cleaned and empty for their arrival. Give them a discount for the night (hey it's money in the bank for an empty space that you just got a guaranteed booking) and suggest the additional day. You can even preface it with the fact that they may want to get a nap and be ready to explore and having that guarantee can give them the time to come in, take a nap, get ready and enjoy the city.
*Your guest has a late flight / delayed flight / unable to leave the city - offer them a discount on an additional night. And make sure you contact your cleaner to let them know that you did this so they dont show up at 11AM trying to get them out.
*Your guests don't need an additional day but they would really like to stay for a few extra hours - offer them a deal to have late check outs. Hell, if your smart you might completely turn Airbnb on its side and offer check in at 2pm and check out at 6pm. There are MANY cleaners who prefer to clean rentals at night and knowing that you may get some more funds from offering a later check out on those days that stay unbooked means more money in the bank.
*If you don't manage your property - talk to your manager about "orphan days". An orphan day is when your rental doesn't have a booking immediately after a booking and it has some leeway on when a guest can leave. I have trained my management team to send an auto email to each guest when there is an orphan day following their booking. (If you are using something like hospitable you can set it to an If/When feature so that you have messages preprogrammed to send IF the rental is open, When can you book till. )
This advertisement goes out before your check out instructions. Send it around 7/8PM. I promise you that YOU WILL see people reach out that they actually don't have to get on the road immediately and a discounted room for an additional night doesn't sound so bad.
CAPITALIZE on your opportunities.
Just because the restaurant is slow doesn't mean you can't offer them a premium service with all the fixtures. The rental is JUST the beginning of the income that you could be bringing in the door.
You could easily introduce a gift basket with a price tag (that says please enjoy for the price of $ and we will send you a payment request after you leave).
Partner with a local chef and offer a home cooked meal with a pro, have a local boating company take your guests on a tour and collect a small fee for making it happen. Work with local uber drivers to share opportunities.
I have a million more suggestions but those are for another day. For now - digest everything I said above. Stop giving away the house and start upselling your property.
And I promise your guests AND your cleaners will appreciate the opportunities.
-Not just another cleaner - C
By now Im sure you have figured out that I have spent a LOT of hours cleaning, setting up, managing, decorating and handling Short Term Rentals. Partnered with the fact that I come directly from the hospitality industry and hotel life - I know the importance of setting yourself apart from others but also not assuming you have the best product because your mom told you so. I want to help step your rental game up.
Ive been asked a lot to help fix rentals that are not working. Ive spent countless hours looking at rentals all over Austin AND all over the USA. I look at those listings as a guest... I think outside the box. So Im going to show you a few things and I apologize now if this is your listing (and if it is feel free to reach out to me for help). This is the stuff that set you apart from the rest.
*Why in the hell does everyone have their main profile photo of the living room???
While Im sure your couch is lovely - and the pillows are super soft... GIVE ME SOMETHING different. Seriously. I just searched East Austin - and this is what I got. Other than a few pops of color - what makes me WANT to click the listing. Thats the first step - giving something enticing to the "guest" that they feel enticed to click your listing.
*What does your listing say about the space? All three of the listings above state that it is a home or townhouse in Austin. So you have stated the obvious. If I am searching for a home in Austin - I already know its in Austin. You are wasting the characters you can use in your listing. Have you thought about including where you are located in town? What are you close to in town? Does your rental have a catchy nickname? Does it have a unique feature? PUT IT in the title. Grab their attention. Because you aren't standing apart when you are "Home in Austin". Please see below for for more stand out title grabbers.
*Seriously - what is up with the pictures of couches? If you are questioning why you are not booking - why don't you look at you direct competition? How about just changing your photo with another photo that isn't just like everyone else.... And if you don't have professional photos of your listing and you think your I-Phone photos are cutting it - you are SADLY mistaken. Also - why is your photographer taking photos of your rental with the blinds closed? Is it THAT bad outside that the blinds need to be closed? Give me some of that natural light. It DOES make a difference. Look at the two below photos and tell me if you see it.
Now look at the image below. Which one looks more inviting?
** If you are finding yourself struggling to bring in the bookings you want and even need - shoot me a message. Let's look at your listing and see how we can turn it around. What do you have to lose?