Mario Zorović from KeyNinja: “It’s like your own air traffic control. But we provide the tech and labor behind it.”

podcast mario

By The Hospitable Team

KeyNinja — an Australian team that claims to turn short-term rental (STR) check-ins and cleaning management upside down… and not only due to their geographical location. Curious?

Lucky for you, we just had an insightful chat with Mario Zorović, Business Development Manager at KeyNinja, in the latest episode of the Hospitable Hosts podcast. Mario explains the idea behind KeyNinja’s services and how to make streamlined cleanings and easy check-ins the dynamic duo of your guest experience strategy. 

Tune in to our Hospitable Hosts podcast and learn how a little personal touch can make a difference in the digital world of STR operations management.

Prefer to read the highlights? We’ve got a summary of the key takeaways below. 

The KeyNinja Story

Mario takes us back to when KeyNinja set off to rescue hosts from the chaos of cleanings, check-ins and key exchanges. Mario himself, a former host, confesses: “I was too much of a control freak… I was cleaning and greeting guests at all hours of the day, seven days a week.”

He recounts feeling the need for an alternative strategy and eventually joining forces with KeyNinja’s Founder James Vuong in 2020 to drive the business operations of the “Uber of Key Exchange,” as Mario calls it. 

KeyNinja’s secret sauce is maintaining a human touch. “It’s a full integration system but with the labor force still behind it,” Mario sums up. The platform smoothly manages your property tasks while a team of “ninjas” ensures things get done at a convenient schedule.

Why in-person services? 

Mario underlines that the Australian urban jungle demands more than just simple key exchanges: “KeyNinja is there to solve the problems of inner-city Melbourne, Brisbane… you can’t do lock boxes there.” Hosts then need a troubleshooter to battle the building managers and mixed-use units.

While greeting is in the spotlight, KeyNinja is more than just keys. “We’re actually used for cleaning services more than anything else,” Mario shares, “Our solutions are there when you need it. Need a cleaning? Key exchange? When you need it — use it”.

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Who Are Vacation Rental Ninjas?

KeyNinja’s main hubs are all around the continent — from the bustling streets of Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane to the Gold and Sunshine Coasts (coming soon). The “ninja” footprint also extends to Perth and New Zealand, with more expansions on the horizon. 

There’s more than a simple job ad behind the recruitment process. While various media are helpful, Mario shares the real plot twist: hosts themselves often bring cleaners into the KeyNinja team.

How to train a ninja? 

Ninjas, predominantly professional full-time cleaners, undergo a ranking system: “They start off at bronze,” Mario explains, “Let’s see how you go for a few cleans. Qualities there? Yep. Now advance to silver then gold… The golden rank is where they get the most… usually, these are the bigger teams who can handle 10 plus jobs a day.”

So, ninjas operate as independent individuals or part of teams, ensuring efficiency and flexibility.

For Mario and the KeyNinja team, it’s not just about cleaning — it’s about ensuring everything is aligned with the best industry standards.

Want to get more “behind the curtains” insight from Mario and learn all about the value of in-person check-ins and streamlined cleaning? Explore the Hospitable Hosts podcast in full! 

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20 Top-Rated STR Podcasts for Vacation Rental Hosts

To help you take stock, get inspired, and improve day-to-day operations at your short-term rental (STR) business, we’ve put together a list of the best podcasts to check out in 2023. Hosted by industry veterans and packed with actionable insights, these entertaining shows will help you work more effectively, increase occupancy, and improve your guest experience.

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