With over 6 million active listings on Airbnb alone this year, short-term rental owners need to stay ahead of the curve to drive business. As vacation rental popularity continues to grow (the US industry is set to hit nearly $20 billion in revenue by 2025), property managers find themselves under increasing pressure to keep up with the competition. 

Running a short-term rental business is an exciting venture with the ability to generate large amounts of profit, but the industry has its own share of challenges too. A property manager’s work is never done; from cleaning and maintaining rentals to optimizing listings, communicating with guests and avoiding those dreaded double bookings, there’s always something to do - and understandably, it can feel overwhelming. 

Here are just five common challenges short-term rental property managers face.

1. Keeping on top of guest communication

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: guest communication is key. Responsive, positive and proactive guest interactions are crucial to generating those all-important five-star reviews - but providing flawless communication isn’t easy. 

Today, guests expect flexibility and convenience; they want information at their fingertips and a host who’s ready to respond. Officially, Airbnb hosts are allowed 24 hours to approve or decline a reservation request; however, 50% or more of these requests are approved within just one hour. If you’re not responding quickly, you’re simply losing business. 

The short-term rental industry is fast-paced, and guests want immediate answers. Prompt and efficient guest communication is one of the biggest challenges faced by property managers - but that’s not all. To run a successful short-term rental business, every corner needs to be watertight; this means communicating efficiently with staff and utilizing automation to streamline communication. 

2. Establishing short-term rental prices

Short-term rental pricing is an art of balance: price too high, and people will scroll past; price too low, and guests will wonder what the catch is. There are a number of factors that can affect the pricing of a rental, from seasonality and local occupancy rates to accommodation type and amenities. What was a fair price last week may not be acceptable today, so it’s crucial for short-term rental managers to quickly adapt their pricing strategies and stay on the ball.

Establishing rental prices can feel like a full-time job, particularly when trying to keep up with the competition. A common obstacle for property managers is developing a reliable, reactive pricing strategy that reflects current conditions.

3. Managing vacation property cleaning and maintenance

Even equipped with a solid short-term rental cleaning checklist, coordinating property maintenance and cleanliness is a challenge for property managers. Today, hygiene and safety are a bigger concern than ever. Unsurprisingly, many travelers feel more comfortable staying at accommodation that follows the enhanced cleaning protocol introduced by Airbnb in the wake of the pandemic. With this in mind, there is more pressure than ever to get properties spotless between guests, using the most stringent hygiene practices. 

Finding a reliable cleaning company to handle the physical turnover of properties is only half the challenge. Coordinating a cleaning schedule and managing maintenance is a huge task for property managers; one wrong date in the calendar can be the difference between guests turning up at a gleaming property or arriving at substandard accommodation. 

4. Dealing with double bookings

Double booking a vacation rental is every property manager’s nightmare. This can happen for many reasons - but one thing’s for sure: it’s inconvenient, unprofessional, and it’s certainly not going to drive positive reviews. Whether it’s down to poor organization or a mix-up of dates (we’re all human - it happens), double bookings are frustrating, to say the least. 

While most double booking happens during the high-demand season, it can also occur at any time and is incredibly damaging for business. No one wants their stay canceled at the last minute, and no one is going to risk re-booking with the same rental. 

Manually managing and tracking bookings is a huge challenge for property managers, and one of the main reasons they switch to using a property management system

5. Optimizing short-term rental listings

With so many listing platforms available today - from Airbnb to Booking.com - using just one platform to showcase listings is hugely limiting. Increased visibility across multiple channels leads to increased bookings - so it’s no surprise property managers are keen to upload listings on every platform. However, doing so comes with its own challenges. 

Optimizing listings can generate more reservations, but finding the time to do so can be difficult - particularly when 20-40 verified photos are recommended. Each listing should showcase the very best of a property, with professional photos, a detailed description, and localized keywords to drive traffic - and listings should be optimized on every single channel. 

Uplisting: the ultimate property management solution 

Uplisting is a short-term rental property and channel management software specifically built to help managers scale their business. We believe short-term rentals should be working for you, not the other way round, which is why we’ve developed an all-in-one easy-to-use platform (that never double books). 

Features include automated guest messaging, cleaning scheduler, multi-calendar, channel manager, booking syncing and more - so you can focus on driving business while Uplisting takes care of your challenges. 

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