Vacation property managers have a lot on their plate. They have to ensure rental owners are happy, the property makes money and rental guests are satisfied. These responsibilities include schedules, calls, emails, monitoring reviews, cleaning, inspections, special requests and the list goes on.
Whether you manage one or 50 rentals, time management tips help property managers reduce stress and get more tasks done. Read on for expert advice from field.
8 Time Management Tips: Rental Management Pros Share Their Secrets
Prioritize Every Day
Each day is different. With that comes changes in tasks, calls, emergencies and goals. However, one thing remains the same: Some things are more important than others.
Prioritizing a to-do list keeps managers organized and focused on the most important tasks. Each evening, make a list for the next day. As you accomplish the list, move things around as needed. Although it may feel like everything has to be now, it doesn’t.
Use Tools, Apps
Take advantage of free and inexpensive tools. Online calendars and bookkeeping software help managers keep track of bookings, revenue and costs. While apps may help more specific processes.
For example, the FlipStream app allows iTrip Vacations property managers to oversee the entire turn-over process from their smartphone. From the app, users can see cleaning and maintenance schedules, prioritize based on GPS location and importance, report issues, take photos and rate partner companies. Instead of sending texts and making calls, each user can communicate through the app with ease.
In addition, there are apps that offer everything from to-do lists and reminders to operational programs that keep track of time management and projects. Non-app users can set alarms on smartphones, add email calendar reminders, and use spreadsheets or cloud services. Check out a list of time management apps.
Block Out Time Each Day/Week
Analyze responsibilities and block out time daily and weekly for specific tasks. For example, each Tuesday and Friday, respond to online reviews. On Monday afternoon, use a couple of hours to schedule all social media. Need to make calls or answer emails? Find time each week – even if it’s 30 minutes a day – and do it.
“I schedule time blocks for coaching, writing training content, learning, etc., and treat each block with the same level of importance as a sales call,” says Jeff Beaudin, Director of Training and Business Development, iTrip Vacations. “Also, try to check email at specific times of day, such 7 a.m., noon and 4 p.m.”
Schedule Time for Important Tasks
Those vacation rental managers growing their business through acquiring properties should schedule business development tasks. Rhonda Graham, Market Development Manager, iTrip Vacations suggests:
“Set aside specific time each week. It can alternate from week to week, but not too much. Keep it simple and clean, so it becomes a habit and provides definitive opportunities to fill the funnel on a continuous basis.”
Some of her scheduled tasks include:
— Sending prospect emails, follow-ups, thank you and content (links to relevant articles, etc.)
— Cold calling and visiting real estate offices with or without treats.
— Using LinkedIn as a prospecting tool
— Networking: Attending chambers of commerce, BNI and Real Estate Association events
Managers who have a good team should utilize their individual strengths. Think about time-consuming tasks, such as business development, customer service or guest relations. Delegate certain responsibilities and allow the team to shine. If you do not have an entire team or have a restricted budget, consider hiring a part- or full-time employee to handle some tasks.
Take Some Down Time
Rest and relaxation go a long way. Studies show sleep deprivation can cause issues with concentration, mood, overall productivity and the ability to perform tasks. When a person is exhausted, they work slower and accomplish less.
Managing a business, especially while trying to care for a family takes a toll on the body and mind. To avoid the repercussions, take down time every day. Find time just for you – even if it’s five, 5-minute spurts to enjoy some peace and quiet. Leave the phone in another room and grab a snack or take a quick walk. Stepping away for a few minutes will help clear your mind and increase productivity.
Cut Out Unimportant Distractions
Two words: Social media. While it’s tempting to stay connected 24/7, it’s not efficient. People who don’t have to be on social media all day shouldn’t be connected all day.
Limit personal time on social media. If social sites are important, then schedule time to read content. Get up early or log on throughout the day. Hearing notifications every few seconds will distract you from important tasks.
Emails are tricky because they are the preferred way of customer communication, with 94% at work and 88% at home (Inside Sales) and 75% of people will respond to a text at work.
Some experts suggest reading the sender and deciding if it needs to be read and responded to immediately. Others suggest the Pomodoro Technique. The idea is to work for 25 minutes with no distractions, then take a five-minute break. Use that five minutes to enjoy some personal time or answer an email.
Have a Backup Contact
Meetings and presentations take time, so designate someone to serve as a backup contact. Train them to handle most everything, so they can take over if needed. If you are the go-to for guest requests, consider adding another person in case you are busy. This will keep you focused, less stressed and ensure everything is taken care of in a prompt manner.