Automated Self-Hosting vs Rental Management: Which is More Profitable?

Automation vs property management

By The Hospitable Team

When the World Health Organization classified “burnout” as “an occupational syndrome” that comes from chronic workplace stress in 2019, we didn’t think they were talking about short-term rental hosts…but frankly, they could’ve been.

You started your short-term vacation rental business because you wanted to please guests and provide excellent experiences… but overwork and mundane, repetitive tasks have fast turned it into a recipe for burnout and resentment.

We get it. And while we understand why you might be considering hiring a property management company to help, before you take the plunge (and the big investment), it’s worth considering other options first.

Have you considered that automating 95% of your property tasks would make things way easier, without you having to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to an outside company?

Using an automation system for hosts such as enables you to automate most of your tasks, leaving you time to actually, well, host, without totally burning out or losing a chunk of your profits in the process.

Here’s how to decide if it’s really time for your business to hire a property manager, or whether you can keep things simple, easy, and cost-effective (not to mention getting your life back) by automating everything instead.

In this post, we’ll look at:

  • Why hosts hire property management companies in the first place (and how you can do everything they do yourself)
  • Why self-management plus Airbnb automation is a winning formula
  • How automation saves money, time, stress, and beats hosting fatigue
  • How automation actually makes your business more efficient with less work
  • And why automation improves your relationship with guests, rather than damaging it

You shouldn’t have to give 25% of your STR earnings to a property management company.

By automating your operations with a tool like, you can get your life back and save money for your next investment.

Why do hosts hire property management companies?

Hosts typically hire property management companies because they’re finding they can no longer cope with the demands of running their business alone. Put simply, they’re burned out, and the way they’ve been doing business is no longer sustainable.

Sound familiar? 

Often, hosts get stuck on repetitive, manual tasks that keep them chained to their laptop or phone—such as check-in confirmation, arrival details, house rules, and answering the same questions about Wi-Fi, parking, or check-out times over and over again.

This leaves them feeling like their work-life balance is way off, and they forget why they started hosting in the first place (usually because they like people and travel, and wanted to share that passion with others!).

In fact, Airbnb retention is usually around three years, with hosts burning out and having to close their listings after becoming completely exhausted by running everything themselves.

One host we spoke to told us: “It was becoming so tedious that at one point I stopped responding to messages altogether. I couldn’t care less about saying ‘Hello’ or ‘How are you?’”.  

But, even though many owners and hosts might be tempted to enlist property management companies as a “solution”, they may soon find that this isn’t the silver bullet they thought. 

Not only do they end up needing to interact with the property management company—thereby replacing one set of obligations for another—a good host will also want to maintain some level of control, involvement, and relationship building with their guests, so will still need to communicate with them in one way or another anyway.

Very quickly, what starts off sounding like “simple outsourcing” can soon turn into a distanced, complex, management mess.

The solution is to cut out the middle guy (the property management company!), and automate as much as you can while still retaining self-management control. 

“If the machine can do it for me and the guest doesn’t know it’s an automated message, then that’s perfect. I can do something else in the meantime,” the same host said. 

The benefits of self-management combined with automation

Combining self-management with automation ultimately frees you from repetitive, manual tasks (see yet more proof in our guide to DIY Airbnb hosting vs property management).

This means that you no longer need to be attached to your laptop or phone 24/7—while still allowing you that crucial involvement and guest relationship building that attracted you to hospitality in the first place. 

But saving time is not the only advantage. It will also:

Maximize profits and save money

One of the major advantages of self-management is that you can save a ton of your hard-earned revenue, and no longer need to hand an extra percentage over to someone else.

If you’re wondering how much property managers charge—well, it’s enough to make a significant dent in your earnings.

For example, if your revenue per month is $10,000, you could easily need to give 25% ($2,500) of that to a full-service property management company.

However, if you choose to self-manage and automate your operations using a platform such as, you would pay about 100x less! 

Even with additional costs, such as cleaning and maintenance, using a dynamic pricing tool (for example, Price Labs dynamic pricing starts at $19.99 per month), paying channel commissions (Airbnb takes at least 3% commission per booking)—self-managing and automating still costs far less than hiring a property management company.

Automation or property management

Consider how much extra money that will mean in your pocket. In one year, you could save up enough to take a much-needed luxury vacation, save big towards your kid’s college fund, or even have a down payment on your next investment property. 

Choosing automation over property management will save you thousands, so you can invest in what really matters, and scale your business more quickly.  

Automate repetitive tasks and improve your service…while you sleep 

Not only does automating repetitive tasks save you time, stress, and effort, it also actually improves your business and guest experience.

Setting up automated guest messages for everything from booking confirmations to sending check-in details to answering frequent questions means you can satisfy and impress guests with friendly and fast communication, rather than doing everything manually. 

Another host we spoke to, who now uses to automate guest messaging, explained how she used to manually email out door codes to her properties. “They now go right out automatically when the guest needs them. It’s a miracle to me! I used to spend about two hours a week on emails like this.”

Using an automation tool like this means that rather than needing to be by your laptop or phone 24/7, or risking guests waiting hours to get a response (or you accidentally forgetting to send them a crucial message), they’ll be updated as quickly as possible with all the information they need.

And because tools such as enable you to use templates to personalize automated messages, guests won’t even know that you’re sending them a pre-written text. 

Your business will look even more professional and personalized, guests will be impressed and be more likely to leave five-star reviews, without giving you extra work.

Even if a guest messages you overnight, rather than leaving them hanging for hours and potentially losing that reservation, you can instead set up automated messages that get back to them right away.

Plus, Hospitable’s messaging system is smart enough to answer guests’ questions quickly and can be personalized for each guest, so you can offer great customer service and secure bookings even while you’re sleeping.

Manage guest relationships and improve guest experiences

But giving guests a great experience isn’t just about sending them timely messages. It’s also about delivering friendly, personalized service throughout, and getting back to why you started your business in the first place.

The last thing you want is to forget a crucial piece of guest communication. Accidentally omitting something important—such as the entry code or when to check out—can badly damage the guest experience.

And as one host we spoke to explained, automated messaging has helped with one particular trash-related nightmare. 

They told us: “As we grew more, we often forgot to remind our customers to take out the trash. So a few times it accidentally happened that there would be a whole week’s worth of trash from a previous guest piled up when the new guest checked in. 

“All four bins were overflowing and the garage was smelling bad. This meant we’d get bad reviews and low ratings, which impacted our overall Airbnb and Vrbo scores.”

As someone whose reputation and future bookings depend on happy guests and five-star reviews, ironing out such potential disasters is paramount. 

After all, you likely started short-term rental hosting because you wanted to offer up your great space, show people your town, and share your love of travel and adventure with others. 

You wanted to impress guests with your hospitality and make sure they have a brilliant time—not get mired in trash-related disasters and simmering resentment.

And automating behind-the-scenes repetitive tasks such as messaging, syncing your calendars, and scheduling your cleaners actually makes that possible—without boredom, human error, or burnout.

In contrast, outsourcing everything to a property management company adds another layer of admin between you and your guests, making relationship building and personal communication more difficult.

When you’re the one managing guest communication, you can offer personalized touches for your guests—such as recommendations for local gluten-free restaurants if you know they eat gluten-free, sending them flowers if you know they’re celebrating an anniversary, or simply checking in on them the day after they arrive. 

Guests will feel taken care of, have an exceptional experience, build a great relationship with you, and keep coming back, giving you reliable and consistent revenue for years to come.

Automated self-hosting: The profitable path   

Ultimately, the advantages of using for property owners, and keeping your business DIY while adding the power of automation, are clear. 

Not only does automation save you serious money and maximize profits, but it also frees you from repetitive, mundane tasks, and helps you improve your service. This in turn means you have more time and energy to boost guests’ experience, so they rebook and return again and again. 

Less burnout, more booming business—and all without giving away 25% profit. Win, win.

You shouldn’t have to give 25% of your STR earnings to a property management company.

By automating your operations with a tool like, you can get your life back and save money for your next investment.
airbnb property management

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Thinking about hiring a property manager but are not sure whether it’s worth the cost? Should you pay someone to take care of the ins and outs of managing an Airbnb rental property for you, or is it better to DIY and keep the money? Read the post to learn more!

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