Remote Inspection for Vacation Rental Managers

Posted By: Astrid Lindstrom

In an ideal world, every vacation rental manager would inspect every single property after every single turnover.

We have partners who do this. It works wonders for them. They rarely get complaints. They almost never have to refund cleaning fees.

But it’s also a huge expense.

What if you could get all the great benefits of an after-turnover inspection – without the cost?

That’s what Properly’s new Remote Inspection service can do for you.

Learn More About Remote Inspection

Why Inspect After a Turnover At All?

Simply put: your cleaners are human beings, and human beings make mistakes.

Even the most professional cleaner can have an “off” day. It’s easy to forget tasks that aren’t immediately visible, such as:

  • Emptying and cleaning the refrigerator of the previous guest’s leftovers
  • Emptying and cleaning the dishwasher after it runs
  • Checking in dresser drawers and under furniture for left-behind items
  • Refilling soap and restocking amenities
  • Making sure promised amenities like hair dryers and ironing boards are in place
  • Checking to be sure electronics and lights are functioning correctly

The most commonly forgotten task is also the simplest one: making sure the entry method works. Most people slip into autopilot mode when they finish a job, so it’s easy to forget to leave the keys in the lockbox or to enter a new code on the keyless entry.

When mistakes like these happen, you’re certain to get a guest complaint. What you may not realize is that you’re also going to incur a costly penalty.

How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Guest Complaint?

Let’s say you have a property with an average booking of 4 nights at $150/night. The cleaning fee is $100 for the booking. You receive $700 for this booking, and you pay $75 of the cleaning fee to your cleaner, keeping $25 to cover ongoing costs like maintenance. We’ll disregard overhead such as salaries to keep our math simple.

You’ll earn $600 on this booking if there are no guest complaints and no issues that need to be resolved. 

What happens if your cleaner forgets to leave the keys in the lockbox?

If the guest arrives at 4:00 pm, you can probably fix this problem relatively quickly. Your cleaner isn’t done for the day yet, and she drops the keys off on her way home. Since it was her mistake, you might not even have to pay for the time it takes her to return the keys. You comp the guest $50 or buy them a gift certificate to make up for the inconvenience.

Now you’re not making $600 on this booking. You’re making $550. 

If the guest arrives at midnight, however, you’re going to have a much bigger – and more expensive – problem on your hands.

The guest can’t get into the property, and they can’t reach you or anyone else because it’s very late at night. The guest has to book a hotel room so that they won’t be sleeping on the streets. In the morning, they demand that you refund the first night’s stay (since they weren’t able to stay at the property) and that you pay for the cost of their hotel room.

You might be able to negotiate down from paying for both, but you’re very likely going to pay for at least the first night’s stay.

You’re going to be out $150-$400 – all because no one double-checked to be sure the guest could get into the property.

You’re no longer making $600 on this booking. You could be making as little as $200. 

Some complaints cost less, some cost more. Very few complaints cost less than $25 to resolve.

How Often Do Costly Complaints Occur?

Properly helps property managers ensure perfect turnovers every time, so we’ve had a lot of time to look at bookings before and after implementing measures to ensure no tasks are missed.

Using Properly as a tool to check off essential tasks, cleaners only forget critical issues 8% of the time. That’s a low number, but let’s use it as a best-case scenario.

If your property gets 35 bookings a year, that means 3 of those bookings are going to have a critical issue.

Let’s take another best-case scenario and assume that your issues only cost an average of $100 to resolve. Maybe you had two issues that only cost $25 each, and one costly issue like the above example that cost you $250. On average, your 3 issues cost you $100 apiece.

$300 for one property isn’t so bad. That’s about $8.50 per booking. Losing $8.50 per booking isn’t going to break the bank.

But that’s assuming your costs begin and end with the real cost of fixing the issue.

And in an industry that lives and dies with online reviews, that’s never the case.

What’s the Cost of a Negative Review?

Negative reviews can plummet your earning potential on any property. This is especially true if you aren’t able to get a 5-star review that immediately follows the negative one.

Best-case scenario: you’ll lose out on at least one booking you would otherwise have gotten that year.

Worst-case scenario: we’ve seen vacation rental managers have to pull properties entirely because they never recovered from the 1-star review that pulled their ranking down to page 22 on the listing sites.

Negative reviews, in other words, don’t just lose you bookings – though they definitely do that.

They can also cost you clients.

Guests often have high expectations for the property’s preparedness, so negative reviews are hard to avoid. If they find so much as a single mistake, they’re primed to look for others.

The only way to avoid negative reviews is to ensure that your guests never spot a mistake.

We’re not suggesting that your cleaners can become perfect automatons who never make a mistake. Even with great tools like the Properly app, mistakes will happen. Your cleaners are only human.

The trick isn’t in avoiding mistakes. It’s in making sure your guests never see them. 

Eliminate the Cost of Human Error

We work with a handful of large vacation rental managers who aren’t willing to risk their guests finding costly mistakes. To make sure everything is ready for the guest’s arrival, they have someone on their team perform a post-turnover inspection after every cleaning.

Most vacation rental managers can’t afford that. Which means they’ll keep paying to resolve their mistakes rather than prevent them.

We know how valuable post-turnover inspections can be. So we invented a service that delivers the same result – at a fraction of the cost.

Properly’s Remote Inspection double-checks all your essential turnover tasks in real time

If you’re already using Properly, you know that our app offers the option to have your cleaner take a verification photo of any task.

Our team of professionals compares those photos to a list of criteria you select to be absolutely certain that everything is in place.

If your cleaner forgets to check that the hair dryer is in place or the keys are in the lockbox, we’ll ping them while they’re still at the property – so they can fix the problem before they leave.

No more calling someone out to fix the problem. No more costly complaints when guests arrive to trash cans that weren’t emptied or hair in the shower drain.

Just the absolute certainty that every task has been checked – and double-checked – before the guest arrives.

Oh, and if the guest complains about an unclean property? You’ve got the photos to prove that complaint isn’t founded.

Remote Inspection doesn’t just have your cleaner’s back – it has yours. 

Learn More About Remote Inspection

You’ll never eliminate human error altogether. But with Remote Inspection, the problem gets fixed long before check-in time arrives. And the guest? Well, mistakes they never knew about won’t hurt them.

Those mistakes won’t hurt your business, either. Not anymore.[:]

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