Remote AirBNB Management Guide [free checklists]

Vacation Rental
Published on:
March 27, 2024
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The hospitality industry has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 15,000 BCE with the French Lascaux caves, developed and used to accommodate members of visiting tribes. The industry saw massive changes as large hotel brands developed and modern travel like trains and planes became not only more accessible, but commonplace. 

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In 2008 the hospitality market changed once again with the introduction of Airbed and Breakfast, which quickly received a name change in 2009 introducing the brand that many people know and love as Airbnb. The popularity of short-term rentals had an almost immediate impact on the industry. No longer did individuals only have the option of booking with expensive hotels and expansive, corporate rental companies when seeking accommodations.

Airbnb History Timeline
Airbnb History Timeline

With short-term rentals, more cost-effective options were introduced to the market, many focusing on different types of travel and highlighting immersive local experiences. 

With the rise of these short-term rentals made suddenly more accessible via evolving technology, computers and mobile applications, not only did modern travelers have more accommodation options that prioritized different kinds of travel experiences—rental hosts also had a new, simpler means of offering their accommodations and, as the technology continued to improved, operating these properties remotely. 

Benefits of an Airbnb vs Hotel

Today, around 600,000 households in America alone have accessed online platforms like Airbnb to rent out accommodations of short-term rentals to guests across the globe. Airbnb currently has over 5.6 million active listings worldwide, over 150 million users, and hosts more than half a billion guests per year. With numbers like these, it’s safe to say that short-term rental options aren’t going anywhere anytime soon—but even with modern technological advancements, managing and operating these properties from afar can still be a challenge. 

To continue your learning about improving hospitality operations, check out our comprehensive Hotel Operations Management Guide.

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How to Manage an Airbnb Remotely

Because of the simplicity of overall management that platforms like Airbnb provide their hosts, many renters have opted to manage their properties remotely, working or living in a different location than that of their rental property. Airbnb provides users with a variety of tools to book their property, manage direct communication with guests, and track guest stays. These solutions make it easy to start building a thriving rental property, sure—but when it comes to managing the details of cleaning, maintenance, and inventory, these platforms aren’t enough on their own. 

While digital rental platforms have provided some solutions that allow users to gain more freedom around how they host, the included tools don’t include ways to maintain consistent quality across maintenance and housekeeping tasks. They also don’t typically feature centralized ways to communicate with those working on your property or helping you to manage its operations—so while you can easily reach guests, it might be more challenging keeping up with your own employees, especially when you’re not nearby. 

To efficiently and successfully remotely run your Airbnb or short-term rental, you’ll need to establish standard operating procedures, identify reliable and consistent communication methods with contractors, companies, and employees, and maintain asset health and functionality across properties. And that’s only the beginning of all the things that could come up for you as a remote property manager! 

That’s why we put together this remote Airbnb management guide: to help you operate your short-term rental like a pro, no matter where you are in relation to your property or properties. 

Strategically Grow Your Airbnb Property Portfolio 

Maybe you’re operating one rental property out of your own second home and you just use it as a means of supplemental income to your day job—but if your Airbnb operations are your primary source of income, you’re likely looking to be strategic about how you grow and market your portfolio of properties. Not only do you have to consider the types of properties and locations you’re adding to your portfolio, but you’ll also need to think about the process of adding new properties in regards to your management operations. 

Traits of a Successful Airbnb Property
Traits of a Successful Airbnb Property

If you’re actively acquiring new properties, look for centrally-located homes. This helps to maximize nights booked and increase revenue per night. It also increases the likelihood of positive guest experiences, since everything the guest could need or want—i.e. groceries, shopping, local attractions and experiences, etc.—is accessible and nearby. Additionally, finding centrally-located properties makes it easier to access local management help and services for proper upkeep, such as housekeeping services and maintenance companies. 

To streamline management on newly-acquired properties, create a new property onboarding checklist ahead of time. An onboarding checklist includes everything you need to set up or accomplish prior to listing the property to ensure the location is ready for guests. A good new property onboarding checklist will include things like: 

  • Finding local labor
  • Assigning responsibilities
  • Identifying local attractions and amenities 
  • Determining cleaning and maintenance schedules
  • Installing lock boxes or keypads 
  • Stocking the property 
  • Setting up access codes
  • Listing the property 
  • Final touches 

Ideally, once you’ve put together a new property onboarding checklist you’ll be able to use that checklist for any new properties you add. If your operation grows too large to manage remotely by yourself, you may consider adding a local co-host at some properties to help you manage your operations and to have someone nearby and available to guests on an as-needed basis. A co-host can help make local recommendations, provide your guests with directions, drop off supplies or handle last-minute maintenance scheduling, and more. 

Airbnb Remote Inventory Management

One of the next important aspects of Airbnb management you should consider is inventory. To ensure your property remains in top condition for every guest, employing hospitality maintenance solutions designed specifically for small hotels and rental properties can dramatically improve your operational efficiency and guest satisfaction. Tracking and maintaining your property’s inventory is crucial in providing the best guest experiences. Things like toiletries, supplies, provided guestbooks, and more should be provided and supply levels should be monitored for optimal guest satisfaction.

Airbnb Inventory for Happy Guests
Airbnb Inventory for Happy Guests

One of the easiest ways to track inventory is to create an inventory checklist your housekeepers can work through when cleaning and inspecting the property. The checklist should include all inventory items that are necessary for smooth guest stays and the appropriate levels each item should be at prior to guest stays. This checklist will likely include items such as: 

  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels 
  • Hand soap 
  • Bath products: shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.
  • Kitchen supplies: dish soap, detergent, paper plates, etc. 
  • Coffee 
  • Laundry supplies: detergent, softener, etc. 
  • Informational goods: pamphlets, guestbooks, local guides, etc. 

Creating and working through inventory checklists not only helps maintain supply levels but also helps you to understand what cadence you’ll need for regular restocking. Once you create a schedule for replenishing inventory, you can find local labor to shop and restock property supplies based on supply levels reported via your inventory checklist. Or you can schedule regular supply deliveries and have your housekeeper restock items upon delivery. 

Airbnb Remote Guest Management

Streamlining guest management for your Airbnb primarily has to do with automation. Automating communication for bookings, check in procedures, and other regular touchpoints ensures you can provide guests with attentive and efficient care from afar. You can create automated booking confirmations to provide guests with information about the location, the property, local amenities and attractions, and other important or relevant information. 

You can also create scheduled check-in messages to provide guests with crucial check in information such as property access information, rules and regulations, local events, and more. Additionally, you can utilize self-check-in features such as digital keys or coded locks to provide guests with everything they need to settle into their accommodations on their own. 

Airbnb Contactless Management Systems
Airbnb Contactless Management Systems

Other automated messages or touchpoints can be included based on your need and your process. Some hosts like to provide the guests with many informational touchpoints and reminders while other hosts provide a more hands-off experience. This can also depend on what kind of experience guests at your property are looking for. Some guests like to receive regular communications from hosts, while others prefer to be left alone as much as possible during their stay. An example of a typical Airbnb message flow might be something like: 

  1. An automatic booking confirmation message thanking the guest for booking a stay at your property and providing any early information they should know about you, the location, and/or the property itself. 
  2. A scheduled, automatic pre-check-in message prior to the day of check in, reminding guests about check in times, procedures, addresses or access codes, and more. 
  3. A scheduled, automatic check-in message a few hours prior to check in to remind the guest about their upcoming check in, provide access codes, and refresh the guest on house rules or requirements. 
  4. A scheduled check-up message about halfway through the guest’s stay, inquiring about their stay so far and offering assistance with any guest needs. 
  5. A scheduled, automated check-out message reminding guests about check-out times, procedures, requirements, and rules, and thanking the guest for staying with you. 
  6. A scheduled, automated post-check-out message after the guest checks out, thanking them for their stay and asking for reviews or feedback to help you continuously improve. 
  7. A scheduled, automated review-reminder message to encourage the guest to leave feedback about their stay if they have not. 
  8. An optional, automated discount message, thanking the guest for their patronage and offering a discount code or special offer for a future stay. 

To ensure the best experience for both you and your guests, you should clearly communicate house rules early on and remind them of any important requirements during regular touchpoints. Information about house rules should be included in your automated booking message and/or your check-in communications so that they’re easy to find and constantly top-of-mind. Ensure to point out damage risks and consequences of property damage while staying at your Airbnb. To help streamline inspections, create an inspection checklist for the housekeeper to use after each stay.

Regularly collect feedback from guests to make improvements or anticipate questions that future guests might pose. As you collect feedback and analyze guest stays, you can create a log of frequently asked questions to support future guests. You can include this log via your automated communications and/or in your guestbook on the property to help guests find answers to commonly-asked questions quickly. 

Housekeeping Management

When it comes to tracking and maintaining housekeeping operations as a remote Airbnb manager, it’s important to first establish standard procedures. Utilizing SOP apps can greatly aid in creating and enforcing these procedures, ensuring that your cleaning and maintenance standards are met consistently across your properties. Create a cleaning checklist that includes all steps for cleaning the property to your expectations. We also recommend creating an inspection checklist your housekeeper can use to assess any damage and track property asset health so you stay informed on necessary maintenance. 

To find the right housekeeper, you can approach local housekeeping or cleaning companies. Select a couple that you like so that you have a primary cleaning company as well as a backup in case something falls through with one of your options. If you’re hiring individual housekeepers or independent contractors, conduct a thorough interview process and background check, and maybe even consider doing a trial run to assess efficiency and skill.

You can always outsource services such as cleaning or laundry management. There are great vendors for tasks such as this Airbnb Laundry Service that can ensure your property is clean and ready for the next guest, every time!

To ensure quality, require photos for failed inspection items or reported damage and ask for copies or digital proof of checklist completion. If you use a digital operations management system such as Xenia, you’ll be able to easily view and track checklists at any time to uphold accountability and monitor procedures and progress. Digital systems like this also allow you to have a centralized place for communication and audit trails, which helps you maintain adequate oversight of your property and maintain quality control from a distance.

Maintenance Management

Just like with your housekeeping processes—you should start your maintenance management by establishing standard procedures. Inspection software is invaluable in streamlining these processes, offering detailed checklists and reports that help you maintain a high standard of property care. Create an inspections checklist for quarterly or annual maintenance inspections geared specifically toward understanding asset health and quality and maintaining functionality across appliances. We also recommend creating a directory of local vendors for each of your properties, so you have contacts on hand if something breaks down or a last-minute fix is needed. Your list should include professionals like: 

  • Plumbers 
  • General handymen 
  • Electricians 
  • HVAC specialists 
  • Landscapers 
  • Pool & spa specialists 
  • Pest control agencies 

Establish a relationship with individuals who can help you to maintain functionality and efficiency across your property assets. Much like managing housekeeping, it can go a long way toward accountability to require photo and checklist proof of work for quality control. If you decide to hire an independent local maintenance contractor, consider conducting a thorough interview process, running a background check, and potentially doing a trial or run-through to assess knowledge and competency. 

Utilize a centralized means of communication to keep in touch and address questions quickly so maintenance tasks stay on track. If you utilize a digital property management solution like Xenia, you’ll be able to communicate with everyone who helps run your property, all in one place. So you can create group chats with both your housekeeping team and maintenance techs or start individual messages to address one-off problems or specific concerns. 

Benefits of digital Airbnb Management Software

While Airbnb and other vacation rental brands and applications offer some included digital tools to help managers effectively run their properties, these platforms generally aren’t enough on their own to remotely operate your property or portfolio efficiently. Airbnb management software provides a comprehensive solution, encompassing communication, scheduling, inventory management, and more, to streamline the management of your Airbnb. Ideally, you should also find and utilize a digital property management solution that has centralized communication abilities, an accessible vendor directory, customizable checklists, and more. 

Top digital operations solutions will also include things like analytics reports, asset tracking, and automatic logs for storing historical information and details for later analysis. Our all-in-one digital management solution Xenia contains each of these features and more—all completely customizable, user-friendly, and accessible via desktop and mobile device. Not only does Xenia have centralized individual and group messaging, an accessible staff and vendor directory, and flexible checklist features, but the solution also houses a robust analytics suite, detailed asset tracking features, and simple staff assignment tools that help you clarify accountability and ensure every task is completed appropriately. 

With Xenia, no matter where you are, your housekeepers and maintenance techs will be able to reach you in one easy-to-use platform, and they can even include pictures, attachments, and invoices directly in messages or on checklist items for streamlined tracking. Checklists, inspections, and documents are all able to be found in a single location, making onboarding and information sharing easier than ever. And you can use Xenia’s digital reports to spot maintenance, inspections, or asset patterns to anticipate replacements or fixes for better budget and preventative maintenance planning

Want to learn more about how Xenia can help you manage your remote Airbnb operations like a pro? Visit our website and schedule a free demo any time. Our team is ready to help you take the stress out of remotely managing your short-term rentals. 

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