By The Hospitable Team
Amidst the excitement of a hosting journey, you can often find yourself buried in a mountain of cleaning schedules, team coordination and turnovers. It’s like spinning plates in a circus act — it gets overwhelming. But not to worry, as Hospitable.com is here to improve your hosting journey with the magic of our Hospitable Masterclass.
Last month, we had the pleasure of hosting Turno’s Chief Marketing Officer Stephan Bajaio and their Head of Partnerships Mike O’Connell, who delved into “the future of operations automation.” Mike shared his wealth of insights on how automation can revolutionize property management and make your turnovers a breeze. Stephan drew on his experience at Turno to address the common challenges faced by short-term rental hosts and showcased how operations services automation can be the game-changer you’ve been waiting for.
Missed this stream? Don’t fret! We’ve got you covered. Watch the recording of our Hospitable Masterclass right here, or read on for the key highlights and insights from the session.
What Are the Most Common Cleaning Management Challenges?
Cleaning management in the world of short-term rentals can be like walking a tightrope. With hosts enjoying both Hospitable and Turno from all corners of the globe, each location presents unique challenges. So, what are these challenges? Let’s take a closer look.
Mike underlined that cleaning prices vary based on the location and market, which means you must adapt to local conditions. In a mountain resort area, finding skilled cleaners might be a struggle, while in bustling urban centers, parking can pose a problem, also leading to additional costs. Such macro-level challenges add complexity to the day-to-day hosting operations.
But wait, there’s more! Stephan zoomed in even closer, highlighting each hosting operation being unique, with its own set of obstacles, “We’re here to help growth happen in all ways, shapes and forms. The idea is simple — we’re here to empower hosts… automating your business is the fundamental aspect of that. But keeping [automation] at the heart of your business without becoming, no pun intended, non-hospitable (or losing your hospitality) is the concern that happens.”
Automating Cleaning Services Without Compromising Hospitality
In today’s fast-paced world, automation has become a vital tool for businesses of all sizes. From streamlining processes to enhancing productivity, automation offers numerous benefits. But how does automation apply to cleaning services in the hospitality industry? Here are just some of the examples from our recent expert Masterclass to illustrate how to automate cleaning services to save time, prevent issues and not compromise the guest experience.
Saving time and streamlining operations
Automation eliminates the need for manual scheduling and coordination, allowing property owners and managers to focus on other essential tasks. As Mike puts it, “Automation saves you time, you know… scheduling, dealing with small issues, calling cleaners up, messaging them to ask, ‘How many paper towels left?’ When your automation is set up — your time isn’t wasted scheduling.”
Preventing major issues with a human touch
While automation can optimize day-to-day operations, it’s crucial to remember that unforeseen challenges can still arise. Imagine the scenario of a cleaner arriving at a property only to find a destroyed couch, a hole in the wall, or a leak. Such issues require personal attention.
Mike emphasizes, “We’re in the hospitality business, right? You can’t automate everything. I see some managers fail when they think that everything’s on autopilot. Automation works, in my mind, to a certain degree. But you always have to be able to throw some human element in there.”
Automation is not a one-time solution. It’s essential to strike a balance and incorporate a human element into the cleaning process, as the hospitality business thrives on personal interaction and responsiveness.
Stephan clarifies, “You’re setting yourself up for success, right? You could’ve just set everything on autopilot and be all good to go, right? No. The autopilot wouldn’t have solved anything unless you pre-thought it so… You need to identify certain aspects yourself and make changes to the processes. Your processes need to get smarter and more optimized with time.”
He also stresses the need for continuous improvement not only on the software side but equally on the hosts’ side, as learning from feedback and adapting to guest preferences and property-specific requirements is key.
“So, we can set you up and it should be able to run on autopilot. But it’s not a perfect world. There’s no mission accomplished. You rank number one today — it’s not a guarantee that you rank number one tomorrow. Everyone else is gunning for number one too.” Stephan continues, “So, how does that apply to the automated hosting model? Well, are you taking the feedback into account? What are your learnings? And are you putting them in place for the next part of your automation?”
Do you know that Hospitable customers can also get their Turno subscription for FREE?!
STR Cleaning Services — Automating People’s Business
When it comes to maintaining your vacation rental, finding reliable and efficient cleaners is crucial. Not only do they ensure your property is sparkling clean, but they also contribute to guest satisfaction and positive reviews. However, the process of selecting the right cleaners can be challenging. In our Masterclass, Mike and Stephan share some of their pro tips.
Have backup cleaners in place
Unexpected situations happen and even the best cleaners may face emergencies or unavailability. It’s essential to have backup cleaners ready to step in when needed.
Mike says that more is better, “Add them to your team. Add five of them to your team. Ten. Have a very stringent checklist in place. While your cleaner knows the place, a new person probably isn’t gonna know the property that well. So, they’re only going to be able to be as good as what you give them.”
Consider the unique nature of vacation rental cleaners
Vacation rental cleaners differ from traditional residential cleaners in several aspects. Vacation rental cleaners are flexible in their hours, prioritize efficiency and know the high-traffic areas that require thorough cleaning.
Stephan underlines, “Cleaners aren’t ‘just cleaners.’ There are specifically short-term rental or vacation rental cleaners. They know that they’re trying to do it as efficiently as possible and as quickly as possible. Because for them, it’s about the turnover.”
Communicate expectations clearly
Outline the specific tasks, establish a checklist and even consider using cleaning apps and photo documentation to maintain quality control. Clear communication and well-defined expectations prevent misunderstandings and guarantee consistent cleaning standards.
“You need to consider — your vacation rental cleaner is not a property manager. Some people will treat them as such, but if so, negotiate that as part of what they’re doing, set the expectations properly. That makes a major difference. Make sure that you’re being equitable in what you provide. Remember, this is a core part of your business,” reminds Stephan.
Dare to Share: Most Ridiculous Items Found After Check-Out
Closing the session, we played a fun game of sharing the “most ridiculous item found in STRs after a check-out,” where a winner gets a prize from Turno. Wanna hear some of those stories? Check out the full recording and make sure to also share your findings in the comments.
Hungry for more insights into the short-term and long-term benefits of automated cleaning operations? You’ll find all the most relevant insights from the STR experts Stephan Bajaio and Mike O’Connell in the most recent Hospitable Masterclass!
Stay on the lookout for upcoming masterclasses and exciting events that will empower you to thrive in the ever-evolving hospitality industry. Hospitable is here to help you automate your hosting dream into reality. Get your 14-day free trial now!
We’ve been inviting the best industry experts to our Hospitable Hosts podcast. Our guests shared their valuable insights and expertise on how to navigate the short-term rental industry and gave valuable tips that can make your life as a host just that little bit easier.
We know that being a short-term rental host can be like a game of Tetris… guests, bookings, and cleaning schedules are constantly falling from the sky and you have to fit them all together perfectly. To help our hosts slot everything into place, we organize Hospitable Masterclasses that are jam-packed with inspiration and insight.