Vacation rental cleaning and maintenance are business-critical activities: housekeeping needs to be top-notch and any oversight can spur a major customer service incident.
This makes good communication with your vendors essential - but it also creates a lot of administrative overhead, not the least of which is coordinating schedules with employees, vendors, and contractors to make sure jobs get finished on time.
Fortunately, these routines are driven by tasks that can be captured in repeatable processes. And repeatable processes lend themselves to automation.
Automation uses logic to leverage technology: if or when x happens, y should follow. Property managers use autoresponders to keep communication with guests running in a smooth and timely way.
That same consistency is what automation can bring to your cleaning and maintenance routines, providing:
- More granular control over the jobs routinely needed at each site
- Less need for hands-on day-to-day administration for each property
- Processes that can be easily scaled by applying them to other units
Here are five things you can automate to streamline your vacation rental management and help improve communication with your on-site service providers.
1. Schedule cleanings as soon as there’s a new booking
Every new vacation rental booking sets off a cascade of activity, from the payment processing, to the rental agreement, to all of the setup that needs to happen before check-in. Ensuring timely and fail-safe scheduling of cleaners is important - especially when the timing will be tight.
With automation tools, you set “triggers” that prompt follow-up actions. For example, a confirmed booking could trigger an email with the check-in and check-out dates to your cleaning company to schedule the appropriate services.
Another benefit to automating this part of the process? You can quickly identify potential issues by keeping an eye on your job confirmations.
2. Close the communication loop by tracking confirmations
Getting a message to the cleaners is only half of the transaction: you also need to confirm that they can meet your timeline.
But you’re busy and so are your vendors - it can be hard to close the communication loop, but following up also eats up a lot of time.
With automation tools, you can assign a job to someone and see when they accept it. Being able to monitor responses means you can eliminate the usual back-and-forth and focus on troubleshooting instead.
3. Use templates and prioritization to improve standards and consistency
A cleaning checklist can be an effective way to help ensure the level of cleaning meets your standards. It also boosts efficiency and reduces the possibility of mistakes by making sure everyone is working off the same page or checklist.
Consider creating a message template that automatically attaches a reusable checklist and cleaning guide for every new cleaning job you assign to make this process even smoother. You can even create custom checklists for each property or unit.
Even better? Prioritize the to-do list for your housekeeping team. When it comes to vacation rental maintenance and cleaning, not all jobs are equal: certain tasks may be a priority only if the previous guest had pets or service animals, for example; or you might need to distinguish between things that must be done for every guest and maintenance items that can be done less frequently.
When you prioritize the to-do list for your vendors, you help optimize their time and improve the quality of their work.
Templates and prioritization can be particularly helpful if your cleaning company has a lot of turnover: it speeds up onboarding anytime you need to work with someone new and improves consistency from one person to the next.
4. Set reminders for tasks and appointments
Much like confirmations, reminders are gentle nudges that help ensure things run on schedule.
You can use automation tools not just to book vendor services up front, but also to follow through with built-in email reminders when those tasks and appointments are due.
5. Use triggers to keep a global schedule up-to-date
Vacation rentals have a lot of moving pieces, from ongoing cleaning to periodic maintenance and renovations. When service providers and reservations are tied to the same global schedule, it’s easier for you to stay informed and on top of everything.
For example, confirming a week-long maintenance project with a vendor could automatically create a calendar event that blocks off the property’s calendar and prevents reservations during that period of time.
Or you could create a series of triggers to collate every job - such as cleaning, maintenance and repairs — into one calendar to give you more transparency and oversight into all of the activities scheduled for your properties.
MyVR’s new Cleaners and Maintenance feature allows you to optimize your time by streamlining your property operations through automation!
From one centralized dashboard, you can manage all of your cleaning and maintenance tasks: from the five automation best practices shared above, to tracking the progress of ongoing jobs, to assigning new jobs to team members and beyond.