Remote Vacation Rental Management: Tips and Tricks for Multiple Properties
A seven-step guide to managing multiple vacation rentals remotely and efficiently using smart home technology.
January 11, 2024
Legendary rapper The Notorious B.I.G may not have been referring to vacation rentals when he wrote “mo’ money, mo’ problems”—but he might as well have been.
Yes, multiple rentals mean more income. But they also mean more maintenance, more guest questions, more cleaning coordination, extra entry needs, and more sites than you can physically manage alone.
Because what worked for two properties won’t work for 20 or 200. That’s where automation technology comes in.
With one powerful tech stack, you can efficiently manage guest communication, coordinate cleaning, schedule maintenance, ensure security, enforce your house rules, stop damage, and avoid having to hire an expensive team—whether you live across the street, state, or country.
No more wasting time traveling from site to site (or paying someone else to do it.) No more worrying about missed cleans or lost keys. No more stress over juggling reservations manually, or waking up at 3am wondering if you forgot to schedule a cleaner, or if your guests are partying the night away.
What’s more, setting up automated systems now will lay the foundation for a scalable business that gets more efficient the more you grow.
Ready to manage multiple properties with minimal stress, maximum success? Here’s how.
Tips for remotely managing multiple vacation rental properties
Follow our seven-step plan to set up your automation technology, and start managing multiple vacation rental properties remotely today.
1. Automate guest messaging
The more guests you have checking in and out, the more questions you’ll get, at all hours of the day.
But with automated messages, guests are never left without the crucial information they need. You can automatically send them directions, keycode details, parking information, and even instructions for how to use the hot tub or coffee machine. You can also include local recommendations for restaurants or must-see sites (see point 7 below.)
Automated messages impress guests too, because you’re anticipating their needs without them having to ask. No more stress worrying that you forgot to send important instructions or wasting hours typing out the same information to every single new guest.
Even if you have more reservations that you can keep up with—or an urgent, last-minute booking—you and your team can rest easy knowing guests have all the information they need for a great stay.
2. Automate task management with digital checklists
When you’re not able to be on-site to check everything, keeping on top of maintenance manually is almost impossible. Enter the risk of missed cleans and maintenance issues (cue guests showing up to a dirty rental with blown light bulbs and stained furniture).
Automating task management eliminates these issues overnight, as you can set up regular cleaning services and maintenance for all your short-term rentals, and create checklists for staff so everything is done consistently.
From cleaning the floors to changing sheets and towels, topping up coffee machines, checking toilet paper supplies, refilling soap, fitting light bulbs, fixing the TV, or even carrying out the quarterly hot tub service—with automation you can ensure it all happens automatically, on time, and to a high standard.
Automatically assign tasks to your team, send them notifications, and create to-do checklists so they know exactly what needs to be done, and when. Ensure they do a great job, never run out of cleaning products, and get it done on time. You can even have them send you photos to prove it.
So you know your guests will never show up to anything less than a sparkling, quality rental every time.
3. Contactless check-in/keyless entry
Coordinating key handovers can be a nightmare, especially in the event of travel delays, last-minute cleanings or check-ins, or unreliable lockboxes. Plus, keys can be lost, stolen, or copied—presenting a major security risk.
Cue contactless, automated self check-in and keyless entry. Managing smart door locks remotely ensures only authorized people can access your property, at the exact right time. You can lock or open your property at any time, grant new codes to new guests, and never risk the nightmare of someone being locked out, or losing their key.
Security is much tighter too. You can revoke access at the end of each stay, change the code every time someone checks out, and there’s no way to ‘steal’ the code (unlike with physical keys.)
There’s no more need for time-consuming, in-person handovers, and no stress for the guest if they’re delayed. You can send them the access details in advance, so you can ensure whoever needs to can get in whenever they’re ready—from wherever you are.
4. Implement noise monitoring and occupancy monitoring
Did you know that the average cost of rental property damage after an unauthorized party is $1,620? That’s an expensive risk, especially if you have multiple properties.
Loud music and unauthorized parties that disturb the neighbors and cause damage are daily risks for rental hosts. Automated noise and occupancy monitors solve this issue (without infringing on privacy).
Noise monitoring keeps track of decibels over time. You can set them up to automatically send alerts to guests (and to you and your team) if noise gets too loud for too long. For example, they won’t pick up on an accidentally slammed door, but they will know if banging music is played or a loud fight lasts for more than five minutes (or however long you specify.)
Pro tip: Use Minut to automate a message that asks guests to keep the noise down and receive automated notifications to keep you up to date if the problem persists. Learn More
Occupancy monitoring achieves a similar task by tracking the number of wireless devices at the property to tell if a crowd is gathering.
A specialist monitor and property management company like Minut can connect its smart noise, occupancy, and cigarette smoke detectors to your property management account, so you can see real-time information on one single dashboard.
In addition to its monitoring and automation software, Minut’s Call Assist and Guard Assist services provide teams of trained staff to manage guests by phone or in person on your behalf.
That way, you keep track of what’s going on at your vacation homes, ensure guests stick to your house rules, and reduce the risk of expensive damage—even if you’re managing multiple sites from miles away.
5. Implement cigarette smoke detection
Making sure that guests stick to your house rules and avoid damaging your property is more of a challenge the more properties you run. That’s why smart cigarette smoke detection is a must for remote vacation rental property managers.
Minut uses AI technology to identify when there’s cigarette smoke in one of your units. You’ll then be immediately alerted while guests receive an automated message to make them aware of the issue.
However, in most cases, if your guests know you have installed smoke detection technology, that’s enough of a deterrent to ensure your portfolio is protected from the risks of smoking.
7. Enhance your guest experience with a digital guidebook
Providing guests with a digital guide before check-in helps them be autonomous throughout their stay, enhances the guest experience, and reduces your workload.
Your guidebook can anticipate the most common questions—such as where to park, how to get in, the WiFi code, or where to eat—giving them all the insights they need for an excellent stay.
Here’s a rundown of what to include:
Access details (note that Minut will automatically share your smart lock codes)
WiFi password and instructions
Amenity instructions, including instructions for kitchen devices and entertainment systems
Safety information and emergency numbers
A digital guest book is also more convenient than a paper version. You can update it any time, without having to print new versions or figure out how to replace a book at a property miles away. You can also add new answers as you learn what guests want to know.
All you have to do is share it via a website link, which you can automate with Minut, so guests have it accessible on their smartphone before, during, and after their stay.
Automation tech: Helping you manage multiple properties with ease
A rapidly growing vacation rental company can quickly become unmanageable if you’re trying to do everything manually. But vacation rental management software can make everything much easier and streamlined, fast.
You can send guest messages and a super-helpful digital guestbook automatically, saving you from being tied to your phone.
You can automatically assign cleaners and maintenance staff tasks, so your rentals are always in perfect condition, no matter when guests book or arrive. Also, you can grant and revoke access with keyless entry so no one ever gets locked out, and security is never compromised.
And you can protect your portfolio with Minut’s monitoring and automation technology. Homeowners want to know their properties are safe, and you need to know you’re not going to have to deal with a neighbor’s complaint in the middle of the night. With Minut, you can.
There’s no better way to keep an eye and ear on your multiple properties, even if you’re miles away. Mo’ money, mo’ problems? Not with this tech stack.
Frequently asked questions about managing vacation rental property remotely
What is smart home technology?
‘Smart home technology’ is the term given to devices that help you to run your home (or any property) remotely and digitally, instead of manually or on-site. Smart home devices include smart locks, lights, thermostats, and noise and occupancy monitors that let you know what’s going on at the property even if you’re not there. Smart home technology is particularly powerful for vacation rental hosts who run several properties remotely, as they can monitor and manage them even if they’re not there in person.
How can I avoid parties in a vacation rental property?
You can avoid parties by stating upfront in your rental listing that they are not authorized and include ‘no parties’ in your house rules (which guests must agree to when they book). You can enforce this further with a sensor like Minut, which monitors noise and occupancy, detects cigarette smoke, and automates guest messaging.