Are You Cut Out For Home-Sharing?

The most popular home-sharing business has reached a valuation in the billions, vacation rentals are still booming, and the ecosystem surrounding home-sharing is constantly increasing; your friend Franz rakes in $10,000 a month renting his Berlin flat and ditched his engineering job to practice yoga in Bali.

If you’re toying with the idea of renting out your college-bound daughter’s room to travelers to make a bit of income on the side, you’ve come to the right place.

While the dream of kicking back and relaxing as the cash flows into your bank account can be a reality, it’s not as passive as it sounds. Hosting takes work and effort like anything else, and even requires a disposition that is compatible with the industry — ours is hospitality.

Do you think you’re cut out for hosting? Ask yourself these 7 questions before you take the leap.

1) Do you like meeting new people?

All of your guests are essentially strangers in the beginning. Part of your job is to welcome them into your home. Home-sharing is about sharing — your space, your possessions, and a bit of yourself. If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of introducing yourself and your home, perhaps this isn’t for you.

2) Are you comfortable having guests in your home when you’re not there?

Inviting strangers into your house is one thing when you are home. But it is a given that your guests want, need, and most importantly, are paying for their accommodation. This should go without saying that guests will want to spend their own time at your home. Therefore if you see yourself becoming anxious or uncomfortable at the thought of people you don’t know being there while you’re at work, shopping, the gym, or on even on your own vacation, you may not be ready to take the leap.

3) Are you comfortable having to clean up after strangers?

As a host, you’ve entered the realm of the hospitality business. This means you’re responsible for cleaning and organizing before and after guests stay at your place. You can write in the listing description that you expect guests to clean up after themselves, which might save you some work. But you will still have to clean or hire a cleaner to ensure the place is spic and span before every check-in.

4) Are you able to invest in the potential set-up costs required for hosting?

You should purchase new and extra sheets, towels, and soaps for guests — at the bare minimum. Also consider investing in some home decor for staging or house paint to spruce up the look of your space. Costs such as hiring a cleaner or advanced technology for your home (smart locks, etc) should also be considered, although your hosting revenue should cover them eventually. Do you have the disposable funds to start off with fresh supplies?

5) Do you have the time to manage your rental?

Remember, a lot goes into hosting outside of making sure your guests sleep snugly at night. You’ll have to take the time to communicate with them before, during, and after their stay. You’ll spend time managing your booking schedule and juggling reservations. You will also need to ensure your home is spotless and well-stocked with each and every guest check-in.

Other operations such as the key exchange and check-in itself can turn out to be time consuming. You should have a flexible attitude as well as the time to account for anything that does not go according to plan.

6) Are you able to rent your space legally?

This is a no-brainer. Check and double check local laws (and your lease agreement if renting) around home-sharing. You do not want this to happen to you.


If you answered answered “No” to two or more questions, think carefully before you embark on a home-sharing endeavor. These questions offer a preview of some of the work you’ll be putting into you hosting, although they hardly touch on the joys and fulfillment that comes with welcoming travelers from around the world into your home.

If you answered YES and are ready to start hosting now, let us help you start off on the right foot: Managing your turnovers with peace of mind with Properly’s visual checklists!

Download Properly right here.

Do you have any questions or would you like advice on hosting from bonafide hosts and Superhosts? Ask us in the comments, we’d love to share our tips and knowledge!


Visit Properly’s website to download the free app and become an even better host when you manage turnovers effortlessly! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more home-share and vacation rental updates.

*Photo credit: The Stocks.Im — Breather

Pro[perly] Tip for Hosts on the Go

1-rr7ux91kvvy9haby88z0ew

We’re super excited to offer a great host tool that’s part of Airbnb’s Host Assist program. Properly’s visual checklist lets you convey all your turnover and hospitality instructions to the people (e.g. service professionals) you hire to ensure your place is in tip-top condition for your guest check-ins.

As a busy host who has experience managing check-ins remotely or onsite, you’ve already invested a lot of time writing your ideal turnover checklist. We know the leap from written instructions to visual ones might seem daunting. After all, changes are not easy.

But trust us, this transition is worth it! To help hosts like you through this process, we’ve come up with a pro tip that allows you to hit the ground running so you can manage your turnovers effortlessly.

One of Properly’s advantages is that you are in control of how intricate or simple you want your checklist to be. You can create a job with 100 photos — each describing a complex, detailed task (like how to clean and refill your deluxe home espresso machine) — or you can use Properly just to confirm your service pro’s arrival at your property and that your job is started on time.

Want the app now? Download Properly right here.

In this post, we’ll cover the quick and simple job and describe how to create a Properly job in less than five minutes using only 4 photos.

What do you get from this type of job? Plenty because Properly:

  1. Lets you know when your service pro arrived and started the job.
  2. Shows and tells your service pro exactly how you want your house before your guests arrive.
  3. Gives you photographic proof that your property was organized precisely the way you specified.
  4. Offers your service pro a direct way to communicate with you should any problems arise.
  5. Communicates all the necessary information about access your property, wifi, garbage, and parking information directly to your service pro.

So, how can you do all of this in just 5 minutes? Easy peasey! Just follow these steps:

  1. Preload your Property with your booking and album info by connecting your Airbnb account to Properly.
  2. Go to the Property that you want to create a job for, and let’s assume you’ve already filled out all of your Property Details.
  3. Tap the Jobs section. Then add a new job by tapping (+).
  4. Scroll down to the Finish section and tap the camera icon. We add photos in this section to convey final touches to a service pro (e.g. stock refrigerator with champagne, leave welcome note on guest table, etc). It rounds out the last part of the visual checklist, so we’ll just add photos here.
  5. Choose 4 photos that depict how you want your property to look after a cleaning. We’ve chosen how we want the beds, towels, and living room set for the guests’ arrival. After you add each frame, tap the photo to add a task pin.
  6. Then tap, hold, and drag the “Look” pin from the lower dashboard to add this task pin to your frame.
  7. Set “Ask for a Photo ” for each photo by tapping the bubble on the top of the photo. During the job, your service pro will be prompted to take a photo of each completed task. You can view these verification photos on the Jobs tab while it’s still going on in Active or after it’s finished in History.

1. The Living Room

livingroom

2. Bedroom I

bedroom1

3. Bedroom II

bedroom2

4. Bathroom (towels)

bathroom

When the service pro arrives, they will tap Start Job and you can see exactly what time they began, view all of your required photos, and manage your check-in confident that your property is ready for a great guest experience.

Don’t feel like reading about it? Watch it below!

Visit Properly’s website to download the free app and become an even better host by managing turnovers effortlessly! You can also follow us on Twitterand Facebook for more home-share and vacation rental updates!

Register for a Live Demo of Properly

1-2cpryu1vgigbs6abmbezjg

Things are abuzz in the orange Properly office as we roll out our webinar sessions for hosts and homeowners.

Each week we’re hosting at least five live demos online. Tuning in to a demo is a fantastic way for new users to learn the nuts and bolts of our visual checklist tool in less than an hour.

In each session, a cheerful team member will guide guests through:

  • Adding your property(ies)
  • Creating visual checklist jobs
  • Adding Contacts and sending the job(s) to any cleaning or service pro

…and will answer any questions live!


In just a few weeks, Properly has already made its way into the hands of hosts and homeowners in 46 countries.

With our robust international community in mind, we’re offering webinars in several global timezones to make sure everyone has an opportunity to learn at a time that is convenient for them.

Click this link to register for a webinar in your time zone.

Upcoming times are:

  • Dec 09, 2015 — 5:00 PM PST
  • Dec 10, 2015–6:00 AM PST
  • Dec 10, 2015–7:00 AM PST
  • Dec 14, 2015–3:00 PM PST
  • Dec 15, 2015–12:00 PM PST
  • Dec 16, 2015–1:00 PM PST
  • Dec 17, 2015–7:00 AM PST
  • Dec 19, 2015–12:00 PM PST
  • Dec 21, 2015–3:00 PM PST

We hope to see you online soon and happy hosting!

If you need any help, want to let us know what you think about the tool, or would like to reach out to the Properly team, find us on Twitter @GetProperly, like us on Facebook, or shoot us an email: support@getproperly.com

How to Create Your Visual Checklist

The second step to manage turnovers effortlessly with Properly is to build a visual checklist with photos of your property and descriptive task pins.

The combination of your photos and task pins will fill out a thorough job that you can send, resend, customize, and duplicate. The person you hire to complete your turnover cleanings will receive the checklist with a date, time, and any notes you add. While they’re at your property, they check off your tasks as they move through the job.

How to create a Job:

1. Add your property and fill out your Property Details.
2. Tap Jobs. Then find the (+) and tap it. Name your Job and add a description that will give your cleaning or service pro an idea of what this job entails. For example: This is a standard turnover cleaning for 4-guests and has some hospitality touches to focus on at the end.

Jobs are divided into 4 sections to give your cleaning pro a sequential order for cleaning and turnover tasks. In each section, you add photos and task pins. The 4 sections are here to guide and inspire you, but ultimately you can use each section however you prefer.

Orientation

What someone needs to know to orient themselves in the space. Add photos to describe where a cleaning pro can find supply closets, cleaning supplies, lockbox information, and so on.

1-kco6jvqawpa4lqp2iizgia

Preparation

This section may contain photos of time-consuming tasks that are best to begin a job with. For example, starting the laundry or setting the dishwasher.

Cleaning

This section is a place to convey your special cleaning instructions such as using a specific type of soap or cleaning fluid on certain surfaces.

Finish

The finish section can hold all of your hospitality touches or final tasks that round out a turnover cleaning. Tasks such as setting the welcome basket, putting the champagne in the fridge, or turning the thermostat to a certain temperature would work well here.

3. Add frames (frames = photos) to each section. Tap ‘Add Frames’. Then tap on the photos you wish to add— they are highlighted with a number, but you can always reorder your frames by holding the photo down and dragging it where you want it to go.

4. Edit frames with titles and task pins. Inside the section, tap the photo you wish to edit. Add a title so that your cleaning pro gets a strong sense of what this task entails. Then add a task pin from the dashboard. If the dashboard does not automatically appear, simply tap the photo and it will come up. To add a task pin: touch, hold, and drag the pin from the dashboard onto the photo.

When editing your photos, you have the option to receive visual proof for any task by tapping the “Photo Required” button on the frame. This prompts the cleaning pro to take a photo of the task. You can view your photos under the tab titled Verification Photos in the History section of your Activity Tab.

5. Continue to add photos to each section and edit each photo with task pins until you have created a thorough checklist. Your cleaning pro will receive the checklist and swipe through the photos, tap the pins for detail, and then check off the tasks as they work through the job.

6. Send the job to a cleaning contact by tapping the bright orange Send Job button on the bottom of the job. With Properly, you can send a job to as many contacts as you choose. The first contact to accept your job will have access to the checklist.

7. Fill out the time, date, and duration of the job. Tap Send Job Request.

Want to know how your cleaning pro accesses and works through your checklist? Watch the video below!

8. Sit back and relax. On the date of your job, your cleaning contact will access the checklist and you’ll be notified when they start and finish, as well as be alerted if there are any problems onsite.

1-jtznlonk6aj72tjspltska

Your Activity Tab tells you everything you need to know about your Jobs:

  • (Airbnb) Bookings — If you’ve connected your account to Airbnb, your bookings will appear here with friendly reminders to send turnover checklists before and after check-ins.
  • Requests — Jobs that you have sent out to your cleaning professionals. Jobs in Requests are Pending if your cleaning pro has yet to accept or decline it, Accepted if they have accepted, and Declined if your cleaning pro has declined the Job.
  • Active — Jobs that are currently in progress. Here you can watch your tasks being completed in real time.
  • History — Jobs that have already been completed. Here you can view your what time a cleaning pro actually started the job, all the tasks they completed, all of your required photos, any problems the pro reported, and any incomplete tasks.

Didn’t feel like reading about it? Watch how to create a job instead!


Visit Properly’s website to download the free app and become an even better host by managing turnovers effortlessly! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more home-share and vacation rental updates!

How to Add Your Property on Properly

1-686cmvd-m-9los6tyzen5q

To build a visual checklist and create a job using Properly you first need a place to do it — that is your Property. Your property is the physical location and all the accompanying details of your listing.

Fortunately, our Airbnb integration imports some of your Property information for you which takes about 60% of your work (yay!).

Otherwise you can manually set all of your Property information yourself. Property information stays on your property so you won’t have to change it every time you create or send a new job*.

Let’s get started!

1-c-dhbbjoywdqkkwb3_fcyg

Head to your Properties tab

  1. Locate the (+) sign on your screen and tap it once.
  2. Add a featured photo for your property by following the directions on the screen.
  3. Add the address by tapping on the address line and Tap Save.
  4. Select your property type, the # of: bedrooms, beds, and bathrooms. Tap Save.

The Property Profile Summary view will appear. You will see Jobs, Property Details, Photos, Address.

Property Details

Give your cleaning/hospitality pro the necessary property information to complete a job at your place.

  1. Tap the Property Details section.
  2. Tap Edit to write your details.
  3. Tap Save when you’re done.

This is also permanent so it will correspond to any job you send to your Contacts. You can always edit it in the Properties section.*If you edit your Property Details after you send a job to a Contact, they will not be able to see your edits. You’ll have to cancel the job and resend it with the amended Property Details.

•Access — Explain how your pro can gain to access and entry to your space. You can add the locations and codes of the lockboxes or where to find keys to get in. If you have an intricate entry with multiple gates and doors, explain that to your pro. (Note: Your service pro only gets this information once they have accepted the job you send to them).

•Garbage — Explain where your garbage, compost, and recycling bins are and if you have special instructions for what goes in them.

•Parking — Explain where your service pro can park at your property. If there is no parking, let them know.

•WiFi — Explain how to access your WiFi so your pro can connect to Properly.

•Important Information — Explain what your pro must know, do, or not do when working on your property. Because this information applies to all of the jobs connected to this property, you can add a note that you would otherwise have to add to every job. For example, “Always lock the back door when you leave.”

Add your Property Photos

Back on the main page of your Property, tap Photos under Profile Sections. If you connected using Airbnb, all of your listings’ photos will automatically sync up to your Property Photos page. You can always add more photos manually.

  1. Locate the (+) sign on your screen and tap it.
  2. Choose from the menu: Take a photo (to take it on the spot) or ‘Choose an existing photo’ from your phone’s photo albums.
  3. Import all of the photos you will be using to build your visual checklist. You can always add more as you go along. If you want to delete any photos from your Property Photos, tap the pencil icon and select the photos to delete from there.

And that is how you set up your Property! Once you complete this stage, you can build as many jobs as you’d like that correspond to this listing. For example, you can create a quick turnover job with one set of directions, an in-depth job with another set of directions, and a guest-owner changover job that is a combination of the two — all for one property!

Don’t feel like reading? Watch how to add your property below.


We’d love to hear from you. Shoot us an email at support@getproperly.com, like us on Facebook, and Tweet us! Or visit our website at www.getproperly.com.

Properly Visual Checklist Tool Soft Launches

After more than a year of non-stop development and private trials, Properly is proud to announce our soft launch to hosts and homeowners everywhere.

Now everyone can download our visual checklist app that gives hosts peace of mind their details were taken care of and their house properly cleaned before guest check-ins.

Download Properly Here

1-99gytwwsvm7lfl8tstqjsq
Properly also launches straight out of the gates with an Airbnb integration.
1-n_heqfe5reuxdyfwvvhkzw

By using Properly’s “Connect with Airbnb” feature hosts can automatically import their Airbnb listing information, property photos, and bookings within our app. This seamless integration saves about 60% of the work of creating your property (which is the first step to build your first visual checklist). When you get a new booking, Properly reminds hosts to schedule cleanings before and after guest stay and send a checklist along with the job.

Properly’s visual checklists can also be used by hosts listing on any platforms such as HomeAway, VRBO, etc.


What is Properly?

Properly is a visual checklist app designed to give any cleaner a host’s specific needs in preparing, setting up, and even staging a home or listing before and after guest check-ins.

Hosts create checklists using photos of their listing and drag and drop task pins to convey turnover instructions and hospitality tasks. These photos and tasks make up a checklist that hosts send as a “Job” with a date and time for the turnover to the pro they hire in between bookings. The pro sees all the photos in a checklist by tapping on the task pins and swiping through the photos.

This way, each service pro knows exactly what their clients expect in a job and how a listing needs to be set up before check-ins. Properly also lets service pros contact their client directly in the app with questions or damage reports. With Properly, hosts receive notifications when their pros start and finish the job, as well as any required photos they set beforehand.

Clear communication is the foundation of our tool. Starting today, Properly supports many world languages including Spanish, Italian, French, and German. We’ll continue to add more languages over the next year.


How It All Started

Properly was created by San Francisco Superhost, Alex Nigg, who needed to remotely manage his guest turnovers when he traveled between his second property in New Zealand, his hometown in northern Italy, and the United States.

While on the road, Alex tested out different way to manage guest operations, maintain his 5-star reviews, and know when his housekeeper arrived and started cleaning before the check-in. Incessant calls and texts to his cleaners were not only expensive but also slowed them down and proved to be an obstacle to getting the job done. Paper checklists never guaranteed the his cleaning pros understood his expectations or what things should look like when they’re done with the job.

So he combined the power of visual communication with the efficiency of checklists to make sure all of his details were taken care of and stay in the loop as his cleaners worked on his property, properly.

For hosts who:

  • Are dedicated to providing a delightful comfortable experience for guests (even from afar).
  • Are very detailed about how their listing is staged and set up before guest check-ins.
  • Want to have a schedule in one place for their turnover cleanings and need assurance their cleaner has confirmed on their side.
  • Want to know that their cleaners or housekeepers showed up and cleaned and prepared the house on time.
  • Need visual proof their personalized hospitality touches were taken care of correctly.
  • Want to audit damage and track the supplies at their property.

— Properly is the perfect tool.

It is currently free and available for download on iOS and Android smart phones. Once you download, watch our tutorials here: Properly Video Tutorials or browse through our Getting Started Guides!

If you need any help, want to let us know what you think about the tool, or would like to reach out to the Properly team, find us on Twitter @GetProperly, like us on Facebook, or shoot us an email: support@getproperly.com

Simple Ways To Ensure Your Guests Give Great Reviews

Reviews are vital to your home-share listing’s success and boost your visibility on sites like Airbnb, but getting people to sit down and write them can be your biggest hurdle.

Just because your guests enjoyed themselves at your place in your city doesn’t guarantee they will convey that on your listing’s profile, especially if they are new to renting on home-sharing sites and don’t realize the weight a review holds for you as a host.

Here are some tactics to increase your reviews both in quality and number that are simple, effective, and instantly applicable. Many of them are so simple in fact, that they boil down to awareness and [minimal] effort.

Meet all the expectations you built into your listing’s profile, and then exceed them in practice. Even the smallest personal touches often make an appearance in reviews.

When you go even an inch beyond what you promised, guest feel taken care of in a way they wouldn’t if they had just booked and stayed in a hotel. It can take only five minutes worth of effort to add customized touches to each guest’s stay yet result in five stars’ worth of reviews.

Consider these examples.

  • Your guests are in town for a conference. Offer them the shoe polishing kit you keep in the guest cupboard — assuming you’ve already purchased a shoe polish kit for business guests (which is a great home-sharing tip because it comes in handy for business travellers).
  • If you have an apple tree in your backyard, offer freshly picked apples from your own tree to the guests during their stay. If your town is renowned for a local delicacy, keep some on hand at your home for guests’ use.
  • If they mention they are gluten free — either in their profile or in pre check-in communication, stock your welcome basket with gluten free treats.
  • If you find out they are professional dancers, let them know about the best places to cut a rug in the neighborhood.

That shoe polish, those backyard apples, the gluten free goodies et.al. will appear as unique highlights in your review, among the other luminous things your guests have to say about you.


Probe for feedback and suggestions mid-stay to let your guests know you are invested in their positive experience.

If your guests offer feedback or have any problems during their stay, it is paramount that you address it. Regardless of whether guests have anything to say, just giving them the opportunity to tell you if anything is wrong without being obtrusive is key.

The fact that you reached out will most likely inspire them to recall your attentiveness in the review. If you’re there, chat in person. But even if you’re remote you can simply send off a quick text. A good format is:

Hi,
I’m just checking in to see if everything is OK during your stay. If there’s anything I can do, let me know. No need to reply if all is well. Enjoy!

These simple, actionable ideas can beef up the beauty of your reviews, now you need to make sure guests actually follow through and put pen to paper, so to speak.

Your greatest chance of securing a review is to simply ask for one.

Let your guests know how important reviews are to your success as a host, and politely ask them to leave you one after leaving. Seal the deal by telling them you will also review them, if you’re home-sharing platform allows for this.

It’s simple, honest, and just takes some tact but usually results in a review.

You can earn extra points as a diligent host by commenting on your guests’ reviews. Let them know it was a pleasure to host them and thank them for their stay.

Commenting on your reviews also gives you a chance to clear up any confusion that generated a negative review. Take a few minutes to acknowledge and apologize for any of the inconveniences your guests experienced, and try to offer a solution. It’s powerful damage control that portrays you as the caring and professional host you aim to be.

Hosts and Superhosts, how do you get your guests leave reviews when they stay with you?

Visit Properly’s website to become an even better host with our tool for managing turnovers effortlessly and follow us on Twitter for more home-share and vacation rental updates!

Credit: Ed Gregory via Pexels.com

Feedback & Pro Tips from Properly’s Trial Members

We’re developing the perfect tool to simplify guest turnovers. It’s a visual checklist app that utilizes the power of photos and the ease of drag and drop task pins to convey cleaning instructions and unique touches of hospitality to cleaners.

For the past several months, we’ve been running a trial with select hosts and property managers around the world to test our app, Properly.

Along the way our trial members themselves have come up with great tips that they have shared with us, so our intent is to share back by publishing our own tips to get the most out of the tool.

Superhost trial members like Tammi S. have given us feedback that makes all our hard work worthwhile.

Tammi rents her Seattle home on Airbnb, but travels frequently. When she’s off-site she depends on others to clean and prepare her home for guests.

Because the window of time between check-out to check-in and the availability of her contacts varies, she alternates between hiring cleaners and relying on the kindness of friends to help her set up her home.

After using the app for a few months, Tammi told us how Properly has changed her remote turnover experience,

“Guest experience is extremely important to me and I’m very particular about the setup of my home. When I travel, I am not able to manage turnovers myself and I used to worry that the quality would suffer.
Properly offers me simplicity and ease in what used to be a stressful situation. Even when I managed my turnovers on-site I would sometimes spend 30 minutes after the cleaner left to rearrange my home. Now I don’t.
I also love that I can be just as detailed and ensure guest satisfaction even when I’m not there. It’s great quality control.”

The cleaners who have tested the app with their clients reach out to let us know they like it too. Katia N. is a cleaning professional and has used Properly with two different clients who rent out their properties on home-sharing sites.

After one of Katia’s clients invited her to join the Properly trial to share instructions for a hospitality turnover, she was hired by another client who is a Properly trial member as well. When asked what using Properly during cleaning jobs meant to her, Katia told us,

“It’s not that I don’t know how to clean, I do, but I really like that it reminds me of all the tasks that need to be done. A final checklist is helpful for my job.
It’s also great that now I have proof I was actually there on time and finished when I was supposed to before the new guests came. Plus I was 100% sure I did my job exactly the way my client wanted.”

During this period, we’ve also collected a few creative tips from trial and team members to make the most out of the app’s features. In this post, we’ll share the first ones with you and roll out more later.

Pro Tip #1: Duplicate Jobs To Add Customized Tasks

Properly was developed to save hosts time explaining their intricate tasks to every cleaner who comes to their listing, and to offer cleaners unparalleled clarity of what their clients want during a job.

We’ve learned that many hosts and property managers spend years crafting the perfect pre-clean emails that describe all the specific hospitality touches, cleaning instructions, and supply locations any cleaner would need to know every time they came to that client’s property.

1-v3ubb2rzz-ujkwxkup-log

At different points in the year, some hosts would modify the list to incorporate compliance tasks like deep cleaning the oven every three months or changing the batteries on the smoke detectors every six months.

These periodic chores inspired the ‘duplicate job’ feature on Properly which allows hosts to copy an entire job and modify it with particular frames.

Hosts who want to build different customized jobs within the same property can duplicate the base job and add specific frames conveying the unique tasks for that particular cleaning.

Pro tip #2: Browse Previous Jobs & Verification Photos to Compare Cleaners’ Work

With the surge of on-demand cleaners flooding the housecleaning industry, it’s a reality that not all cleaners uphold a professional standard of work. Properly aims to equalize and elevate the quality of cleaning for every host who hires a cleaner for turnovers. Our tip is aimed at hosts who have used Properly with a number of cleaners.

Here’s what to do:

Browse through old jobs and verification photos to compare each cleaners’ quality of work visually. Then you can decide for yourself which cleaner you prefer to work with.

For example swipe through all the different verification photos for your task “Prepare a welcome basket with fruit and a bottle of wine,” and see which cleaner’s work you prefer. Using concrete visual proof to make a well-informed decision is just another way we want to create peace of mind for our hosts.

Pro Tip #3: Manually Prompt Cleaners to Report Damage

One group of property managers in San Francisco employs a third-party team of cleaning professionals to clean their listings during guest turnovers. To emphasize the ‘report a problem’ feature on the top right of the cleaner’s screen, the team devised a creative way that ensures cleaners are aware of and use the feature.

This type activity and feedback from our trial members makes the wheels in our brains turn. It inspires us to develop our tool better for the people using it. While we work on building a better version, we learned a new tip in the meantime.

1-bck12venmxjzr3w9givysq

The property manager imported descriptive photos entitled “Report Problems” in the Finish section of her workflow and added a task pin which cleaners would have to swipe through and check off during the job.

Here’s how to do it:

1-nd_8dnkpbebyfabdhvdv9q

  • Google a picture of ‘spilled red wine on a white carpet’ (or any other photo that conveys damage)
  • Google a picture of ‘report a problem.’ The universal sign is the triangle.
  • Upload them to the camera roll.
  • Create a new frame in the job that you want to add this to.
  • Import the the ‘spilled wine image’ as the focus for the frame.
  • Tap, hold, and drag a ‘Look’ icon up to the top right corner, so that it’s near the cleaner’s ‘report a problem’ button.
  • Press the edit pencil and add the following text: “If you want to report a problem, please tap this button on the top-right of your screen.”
  • Then add the ‘report a problem’ photo into the task note, for extra measure.
All of Properly’s text can be translated to any language! This is what a Spanish-speaking cleaner would see.
All of Properly’s text can be translated to any language! This is what a Spanish-speaking cleaner would see.

With these tips Properly hosts can:

  • Add intermittent compliance tasks and create customized jobs with very little effort.
  • Visually compare cleaners’ to decide whom you prefer to work with.
  • Emphasize to cleaners the importance of reporting damage for inventory tracking and auditing.

Visit Properly’s website to become an even better host with our tool for managing turnovers effortlessly, and follow us on Twitter for more home-share and vacation rental updates!

How to Manage Your Vacation Rental Remotely

Can hosts manage vacation rentals remotely without hiring a property manager?

Absolutely.

As seasoned hosts, we know much more goes into renting out rooms than simply offering guests a place to sleep. There are full pre and post-booking operations, different tools to market and price the listing, and special hospitality touches to consider.

When hosting on-site or in the same city, you have (almost) complete control over these things.

But coordinating the turnover, cleaning, and small challenges of access without the safety net of being on-site if anything goes wrong can lead to headaches and gasp, bad reviews. Through years of experience, we’ve acquired tips, tools, and software that make remotely managing a listing possible, and if we’re being bold, simple! In the spirit of home-sharing we’ve provided them for you below.

Check in Before The Check-In

Check-in is your guest’s first impression of both you and your space, regardless of whether they meet you or not.

Begin the discussion online before they arrive. Introduce yourself to explain you won’t be on-site and ask for arrival information (ie. flight numbers or itineraries). If their plane or train is delayed, you’ll know beforehand and can modify your key exchange plans if you have to.

Learning a little about your guests also gives you the opportunity to delight them, even in small ways from afar. That’s what hospitality is all about. If they’re visiting to explore your region’s epic natural wonders, guide them toward the sights off the beaten path that only a local would be privy to. Or let them know they’re more than welcome to peruse the guide you already have sitting in your bookcase.

Use A Foolproof Key Exchange Strategy

You want to have a plan in place that allows for seamless key handoffs and easy access to your home.

If you’re renting out an entire home you should consider installing smartdigital locks that grant access from anywhere in the world.

Smart locks are electronically activated deadbolts installed directly onto the door and controlled through a smartphone. As the master key holder, you create unlimited virtual keys on your mobile device and send them to whomever you have granted entry to your property.

A digital lock is a great key solution for remote hosts because it eliminates the possibility of guests losing physical keys and makes granting access not only possible from anywhere, but also secure and fast. Much like a hotel, a host can also choose the exact window for how long a key is valid, and hosts can give every guest their own key. Consider August, Goji, and KwicksetKevo Plus.

For listings in multi-unit buildings or densely populated urban areas take advantage of third-party services like KeyCafe who partner with local cafes to store keys and hand them off to guests.

Storing keys in a lockbox is also a great option to allow access to the building. A lockbox can also work as a backup plan key exchange plan for guests (10% percent) who do not have smartphones and/or your digital lock fails.

Install More Smart Tech

Another piece of technology that serves remote hosts well is the NestThermostat (and all accompanying Nest products). It lets you to control the temperature settings of your home from your smartphone.

The smart thermostat detects movement and adjusts accordingly, so if no one is in the house for a week it’ll automate a temperature that is cost effective and energy saving that you control through with an app. Other smart thermostats to consider are Ecobee3 and Honeywell.

Utilize Apps for Cleaning and Turnovers

Being off-site makes turnover cleanings the most difficult aspect of remote hosting.

It’s rare to hire the same cleaner for every every turnover especially if you have instant bookings or unpredictable schedules. On-demand services like Handy help with the immediate need of getting someone to clean your listing quickly.

Once you’ve booked the cleaner, though, you have to confirm whether they arrived your property at all. You’re often left wondering whether they could even get into your home and if they’ll be finished in time for the next check in. Fortunately, you’ve already figured out how to grant them remote access (see above).

A tool like Properly is extremely helpful for remotely managing your turnover. It’s a visual checklist app designed for hosts to convey clear instructions to cleaning professionals in between guest stays.

Want the app now? Download Properly right here.

Properly app
Properly app

Instead of writing a wordy email to the cleaner explaining all of the specific hospitality details or special cleaning instructions, you can just upload photos of your property and swipe, drag, and drop annotated task pins to build a customized cleaning job.

Then you send it to the cleaner through the app and they can preview the job before they accept it.

Properly sends messages when the cleaner arrives and finishes and allows full access to track progress of the job.

Cleaners already know how to clean. They don’t need clients to tell them to mop the floors. But experience with home-sharing teaches you the valuable differences between hospitality cleanings and residential cleanings.

Hospitality cleanings require unusual tasks such as emptying the refrigerator of all the food the previous guests had or refilling soap dispensers and ice cube trays.


We also run into problems communicating our needs to cleaning professionals who don’t speak the same language as us. The app has a translation feature that cleaners and hosts can set to any language.

It also has an option to set a verification photo on any picture. When the cleaner checks off that task, the app prompts them to take a photo of it.

If you prefer the ten pillows on the guest bed arranged a specific way, you can convey it with a picture and then receive a photo proving it was done. Same goes with the empty dishwasher, the curtains, the dimmed lights, and so on.

Check Out After Check-Out

Even though you never met your guests, you can still show you care about their experience.

Send a follow-up message once your guests have checked out. Ask for feedback on what worked or didn’t work in your listing, what they enjoyed about the city, and if they have any suggestions for you or your place.

Showing that you are invested in their experience means a lot to guests and usually results in a review. More often than not, a positive one!

If they do leave a review, comment on it and invite them to stay at your place again or even offer a discount code for future stays.

Remote Quality Control

After the guests leave you have to track damage and refill inventory.

Once again the Properly app is helpful because it has a feature that cleaners can use to report any damage they encounter to you in real time. If a vase is broken in between two turnovers you’re able to figure out which guest (or cleaner) you can withold your deposit from. You can also figure out what toiletries, linens, and supplies need to be refilled with the app too.


Admittedly, remotely managing your listing is no easy feat, but hopefully you’ve got a stronger sense of how attainable operations can actually be when you use the right tactics and tools. You already know the rewards! Do you remote hosts have any more tips and gadgets to add to the lists? Let us know.

Visit Properly’s website to become an even better host with our tool for managing turnovers effortlessly, and follow us on Twitter for more home-share and vacation rental updates!

* Background photo credit : Vita Vilcina via Thestocks.im

7 Key Exchange Ideas For Hosts in Urban Areas and Multi-Unit Homes

You’ve priced your Airbnb listing to its maximum revenue generating point. Dates are booked. Pre-guest communication is fluid. Everything is running like a well oiled machine, and you think to yourself, I could really make a business out of this!

EXCEPT: The guests’ flights get delayed and you’ve already skipped town. Your neighbor doesn’t want to wait all day or night to hand over your keys. How do you let your guests check in without a hitch and still earn a coveted 5-star review?

Your neighbor does not want to wait for your guests to arrive to give them the keys. Source: Pexels.com
Your neighbor does not want to wait for your guests to arrive to give them the keys. Source: Pexels.com

The scramble to secure a smooth key exchange is stressful if you don’t live in a single family home and can’t install a smart lock or hide a key under your mat (don’t do that). At this point in your hosting career, you want to nail down the tactics that ensure a great first impression and ultimately a wonderful experience for your guests. Below are options for remote hosts seeking smart key exchanges when their unit is situated in a densely populated area.
Source: Key Cafe
Source: Key Cafe

Keycafe provides safe hassle-free key exchanges at cafes in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, Vancouver, Toronto and London. Keys get a unique electronic ID on a fob — a small keychain — and are stored at a staffed cafe until the guest comes to retrieve them. With PIN and phone number on hand, pickup is easy for guests. Key owners are able to assign access remotely and receive updates when the keys are dropped off and picked up. In partnering with local businesses, Keycafe not only makes key exchanging easy for travelers but it also supports the local economy by increasing foot traffic to small businesses.

Guesty & Pillow are property management services for home-sharing listings. They will take care of your key exchange (most likely by using either Keycafe or a hired hand), and also list your space on Airbnb, hire cleaners, and provide 24-hour customer support to your guests.

City Co-Pilot is currently operational in NYC and serves as the doorman you never had. With the third-party service anyone can store and exchange keys, luggage, and packages in a supervised location.

People pay TaskRabbits and Postmates to do just about anything! Ordering an on-demand hand to deliver your keys to guests is an option but you’ll need to come up with a price for the handoff.

Image via www.lockboxforkeys.com
Image via www.lockboxforkeys.com

A Lockbox is a simple secure way to allow access to your home without being there. You can buy a dial or punch code lockbox and hook it onto your gate or front door with the keys locked inside. It works well with single family homes, but finding a unique space to hook it on in densely populated area may prove difficult.

The trick below might work well for multi-unit buildings.

Ringo & Lockbox Combo: Ringo solves the apartment buzzer problem by “adding access codes and linking your intercom to a phone,” according to the website. Easily enough, guests buzz your apartment and receive a code to punch into the intercom. From there they have access to the building and can get your keys with a traditional lockbox affixed to your door as described above.

Rocklock is a smartphone-controlled lockbox that has not officially come on the market yet but should “this summer,” the website says. Combining tried and true hardware with tech, “The Rocklock lets hosts send virtual access to RockLock’s lockbox which guests can open to retrieve the keys inside.” This means guests also must have a smartphone.

Whether you want to employ a third-party service or install simple hardware onto your front door, you’ve got enough options to make your future key exchanges smooth and hassle free. So Hosts, what tactics, tech, and crafty combinations have you used for great guest check-ins?

Visit Properly’s website to become an even better host with our free tool for managing turnovers effortlessly and follow us on Twitter for more home-share and vacation rental updates!

Source: Karolina Grabowska via Pexels.com

4 Dynamic Pricing Tools Airbnb Hosts Should Use to Rake in More Cash

The ‘Big Bang’ of home-sharing in 2008 (the year Airbnb launched) created a cozy environment for complimentary services to sprout and prosper. Property management companies, key exchanges, and on-demand cleaning services paved the way for non professional hosts to run their home-shares like a business.

The only element lacking was dynamic pricing for profit. Hotels and airlines have used this technology for decades and now anyone has access to it.

Dynamic pricing is the method of changing a nightly rental price based on factors that include but are not limited to: local hotel occupancy, seasonality, supply and demand shifts, and nearby events that affect travel volume .

Interestingly dynamic pricing tools can achieve more than one objective: maximize yield or maximize profit. With dynamic competitive pricing , a host can book more rooms by changing the nightly rate relative to how far in advance it stays unbooked.

Or hosts, like those who live in San Francisco and have a limit of 90 days a year to rent out vacation homes, can generate the highest possible revenue within a set timeframe using this precious data.

The companies below use different variables to analyze and update prices, but all of them report 10–40% increased profit margin for their users.

blog1-1
Image via Airbnb

In fact, Airbnb itself integrated a dynamic pricing tips tool into its platform this June. The home-sharing giant should have the best data of all the services, since it has visibility and control of both supply and demand, but it only provides suggestions so hosts will still need to manually update their prices.

Price Method

blog1-2

Price Method is compatible with three home sharing sites, Airbnb, VRBO, and Homeaway — which is perfect for people listing short and longterm rentals on different platforms.

Hosts view a customized calendar with popups that explain the factors (crunched by data scientists) that go into a listing’s suggested price. According to Price Method:

“Every day, we collect hundreds of millions of data points on peer-to-peer rentals, hotels, airlines, local events, and more. Our team of PhD data scientists uses this data, as well as details about your unique listing, to price each night of your calendar perfectly.”

blog1-3

Price Method operates in more than 60 cities around the USA (I tested it out with success on a listing in the Florida Keys which is an area not mentioned on the instant demo feature), and just added London with more cities in Europe to come soon.

The automatic pricing service is completely free. The pricing feature itself always will be free, co-founder Andrew Kitchell told us, but the company will eventually charge a ‘low monthly fee to users who want to fully automate their pricing.’

Everbooked

blog1-4

Everbooked was the first pricing tool on the scene exclusively for Airbnb units. And membership has increased tenfold in the past few months co-founder, Doug Ross, said in an interview.

In addition to the nightly pricing tool, Everbooked unveiled a new comps tool for users. Ross said,

“The comps tool identifies and ranks properties relative to a reference Airbnb listing based on similarity. It shows historical average prices, future booking rates, and organizes all of it in a handy display with links to all these listings.”

blog1-5
Image via Everbooked

Everybooked’s comps tool adds a unique edge to the pricing algorithm:

“Not only does Everbooked look at the factors that [competitors] do, but we also look directly at who is booked around you and how much their property is like yours and weight it accordingly. If 80% of the closest comps around you are booked, your price should go up.”

Right now Everbooked offers a 1-month free trial, after which a user pays 1% of total gross earnings.

Beyond Pricing

blog1-6
Beyond Pricing’s regional scope is by far the widest. It calculates dynamic pricing for Airbnb listings in select cities across the USA, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. Since three out of four of Airbnb’s largest markets are cities outside of the USA, this tool makes it possible for international hosts to price competitively and have it automated.

blog1-7
Image via Beyond Pricing

Once your account is linked up, the calendar shows a Health Score for each day along with a detailed pricing breakdown for seasonality, day of the week, and events. This service also offers a 1-month free trial and a 1% charge of your booking earnings afterward.

Similar tools like Price Labs, Smart Host, and Brite Yield exist but have yet to offer full packages like those listed above.

Cheat Sheet

There’s a competitive pricing tool for everyone to get the most money out of their unit. Choosing the right one is just a mater of connecting the dots. So which one is best for you?

Airbnb’s Price Tips: Great for hosts with listings outside the USA and/or don’t mind putting in extra effort.

+ Unique and deep data.

+ FREE

– Must check for daily updates and change prices manually.

Price Method: Great for hosts with listings on different platforms.

+ Compatible with: Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway.

+FREE

+ 2 Ph. D’s on the team.

Everbooked: Great for USA Airbnb hosts who are looking for a competitive edge.

+ Comps tool shows neighbors’ prices & occupancy.

+ FREE for 1-month, 1% charge of bookings after.

Beyond Pricing: Great for hosts who list inside or outside the USA.

+ Available in 40+ international cities.

+ FREE for 1-month, 1% charge of bookings after.

Hosts, Superhosts, and future hosts: What pricing tools are you using (or will use)?

Visit Properly’s website to become an even better host with our free tool for managing turnovers effortlessly, and follow us on Twitter for more home-share and vacation rental updates!

* Background photo credit : Tuğba Yüksel via Unsplash