There are many investors who purchase a home and turn it into a vacation rental in hopes of making some amazing “passive” income. The issue is that to be a well-reviewed, highly sought-after vacation rental with consistent bookings, it’s not passive at all. It’s a lot of extra time spent on clerical work, guest relations, and home upkeep and repair.
Most vacation rental owners find out the hard way that instead of a leisurely life where they can rent out their home as a truly passive revenue stream– they’ve actually become full-time landlords. Running a truly successful vacation rental business means sustaining a high level of property maintenance and guest management. And let’s not kid ourselves: catering to a revolving door of different guests and keeping your rental clean and desirable takes no small amount of hours and effort.
So what do you do? Are you stuck with your new job as an AirBnB landlord? You don’t have to be. By working with a co-host you can offload the grunt work of your vacation rental. The good news for you is that it also means when you work with a co-host, you can truly make your vacation rental an actual passive income business.
In this article, we’re going to show you why working with a co-host will be the absolute best decision you’ve made since deciding to get into the vacation rental industry in the first place.
What is a Co-Host?
A co-host is a qualified person, company, or team that helps you take care of all of the aspects of keeping your vacation rental running smoothly. They charge a percentage of your rental income as a fee, so you only pay for your co-host when you actually have a booking.
Co-hosts have a fantastic reputation for taking the pressure off of the vacation rental owner and handling all of the aspects that stop the business from truly being a source of passive income.
Co-hosting is officially approved and formally supported by AirBnB, so having a co-host is absolutely within the rules.
The official way to add a co-host on the AirBnB platform is to:
- Go the the ‘Manage Listings’ section
- Click ‘Manage Listing and Calendar’
- Hover your mouse on the lefthand page, and a new menu will open
- Click ‘Co-hosts’ and follow the instructions from there.
Most vacation rental owners find that once they hire the right co-host, they find that their listings improve, their revenue goes up, and they build a stronger reputation by garnering reviews.
So what can a co-host do? There are many things, and it’s important to remember that when you work with a co-host that the responsibilities and duties are clearly defined and agreed upon by both sides.
For ease of use we’re going to divide up our list into two categories: clerical aspects, and maintenance and upkeep.
Now let’s see what a co-host can do to alleviate your hosting headaches, and free up more of your time.
Co-Hosting: Clerical Services
There are many clerical components to running a successful vacation rental business. If you’re not careful, any one of these important things can fall through the cracks. Managing the nuts and bolts of the clerical details is also time-consuming and demanding. Here are some of the things that a co-host can help you with on the clerical side:
Optimize Your Listing: If you choose the right co-host, they’ll have a wealth of knowledge that they can use to improve your listing. From updating photos to overhauling your descriptions, titles, and other aspects of your listing, you’ll benefit from a professional touch.
Manage Bookings and Pricing: With how busy the market is, it can be challenging to keep up with your listing availability, and to accept or decline trip requests in a timely fashion. It can also be difficult to keep your price point exactly where it needs to be in the peak season, the shoulder season, and the off-season (not to mention during any special events like local conferences, festivals, or concerts). Having someone do this for you in a full-time capacity will almost always increase your revenue and get you more bookings.
Guest Communication: With all of the other responsibilities you have, it can be tough keeping up with guest messages. Guests are expecting you to reply to their questions and comments in a reasonable amount of time. By having a co-host handle guest communication, you won’t have to worry about the finer details of coordinating arrival and departure, answering questions, or other guest interactions.
Be a Guest Liaison: A co-host can be at your vacation rental to greet guests in person and answer any questions they may have and give them a tour of the home. Additionally, if your guests have questions during their stay, your co-host can answer quickly. Finally, if any issues should arise, the co-host is on call to rectify it (typically 24/7). This will keep you from getting messages in the evening that the wifi isn’t working, or late at night that someone’s locked out of the rental.
Manage Reviews: Reviews are the lifeblood of any vacation rental and are crucial to getting future bookings. When you use the right co-host, they’ll be able to write guest reviews promptly and give them the attention they deserve. Additionally, your co-host can keep an eye on your reviews to ensure that you can address any negative ones quickly.
Contact AirBnB if Necessary: While it’s not as common, situations may arise where you need to contact AirBnB support directly to resolve more complex guest, reservation, or other issues. While co-hosts cannot fully manage or open resolution center requests, they can be the point of contact on existing issues once you open one. This can be a huge time saver, and help you avoid any red tape.
Co-Hosting: Maintenance and Upkeep Services
It seems like there’s always something to do to keep a vacation rental house in good shape. There are ongoing chores (such as keeping the lawn cut and the pool clean), and then there are things that will suffer from wear and tear, or break entirely. Here are some things that a co-host can help you with regarding maintenance and upkeep.
Residential Cleaning: You need to make sure your vacation rental is clean and up to AirBnB’s new sanitation standards. By having a cleaning service, you’re offloading the backbreaking work of cleaning your rental top to bottom after each booking.
Landscaping Services: In Southwest Florida, you know how quickly lawns grow in the peak season– not to mention any other plants or trees that need constant attention. Save yourself the time and sunburnt neck. When you find the right co-host, they’ll have access to quality landscaping for an affordable price.
Pool Maintenance: No matter what kind of pool you have, your guests are expecting it to be crystal clear and shimmering. If you have a lanai pool, it can be a bit easier, but pool upkeep is still a major hassle overall. A co-host will have access to a skilled pool maintenance team that won’t over-chlorinate your beautiful water– and they won’t let it get dingy and unappealing either.
Grill Cleaning: Cleaning a grill is messy work. Between the grease (and in some cases ashes), it’s grimy labor. Remembering to clean the grill is also really easy to miss on your cleaning checklist. Having a clean grill is critical for fire safety since older food and grease can cake onto grates in layers and is highly flammable. Don’t find yourself scrubbing with a grill brush between bookings. Let your co-host handle that for you.
Maintenance Services: While the price of maintenance service varies depending on the repair, the crucial thing to consider is that your co-host will have a list of trusted companies that they can call on. When your home needs maintenance, the last thing you want is to find yourself doing is scrambling to find a service provider, and taking a gamble on their quality of service. Having a co-host means having a trusted home maintenance team at your fingertips.
Co-Hosting: Marketing Services
In addition to clerical and maintenance work, a good co-host also understands that they work on commission, and will excel at marketing your vacation rental. They’ll know the best ways to increase bookings and get the most revenue possible per booking.
An unmarketed listing can do fine in the Southwest Florida market, but a listing that is being marketed properly can increase its revenue greatly. Find a co-host that has AirBnB marketing experience, and simply put, you’ll both make more money.
Choosing the Right Cohost: Sunshine Cohosting
So you’re ready to make your vacation rental home a true passive income business, and you’re going to work with a co-host. How in the world do you choose one?
Be warned: don’t choose the wrong co-host, or you’ll be in a worse position than if you didn’t have one in the first place.
One of the biggest missteps we’ve seen is getting a family member or close friend to co-host. Why? Because unless it’s their full-time job, they won’t have the amount of time and attention needed to truly do the job well. Additionally, most of them may be able to handle most of the clerical aspects of the work, they typically don’t have a maintenance network or marketing experience.
Sunshine Cohosting is the area’s premier AirBnB vacation rental management company. We’re owner-focused, professional, and offer all of the services listed in this article– and more. We thrive on serving the beautiful Cape Coral, Florida area with our co-hosting services.
Let’s talk about how we can automate your rental income with a truly passive business model for you. Call us now.