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Angie Harms / Flickr

Essential Tools for Managing an Airbnb When You’re Not There

The key to running a great Airbnb listing is having somebody who works from home who can also manage the property. But sometimes that’s not possible when you’re in Bora Bora.

So, sometimes it takes a little bit of creativity to make sure the cash monies is still coming in the side, especially when there’s not a handy dandy roommate to pick up the pieces. It also comes at a cost—time is money, after all—but hopefully the income offsets the price of doing business. Otherwise that vacation in Bora Bora is just not as fun.

Getting the property cleaned before guests arrive

Hey, Millenials. It is not possible to replace everything with technology. Until robot slaves travel back into the past from the future through a portal, everyone is stuck doing house cleaning the 1.0 version. So, clean sheets are just not going to magically appear until an actual human being takes care of the matter.

Given that Homejoy shuttered its doors a couple of months ago, the only real option left is home cleaning service Handy. (Or hiring someone off Craigslist or a professional cleaning agency.) In lieu of vetting a series of professional home cleaners, Handy is probably the best option for those who are on a time crunch. Most importantly, Airbnb has a formal relationship with them. To make things even more seamless, several keyless lock systems also have formal partnerships with Handy to make everything as seamless as possible.

No keys, Ma! I’m using an app to unlock the front door

There’s always a moment in time when you realize technology is for the young. I remember when keyless locks were all the rage — now, these days, use an app to unlock the front door. Where else would I found this development? Nowhere else but my Airbnb host in Silicon Valley, of course.

The August Smart Lock which retails for $194 on Amazon provides keyless entry with a smartphone. The host can set it up and connect it to their Airbnb account and coordinate (and revoke) authorizations with confirmed guests. It’s actually a great solution if the host doesn’t work from home, can’t be available to drop the keys or there’s no stay-at-home partner to coordinate. In addition, it also looks like hosts can see when guests entered and exited the property.

On the guest side, the app is a bit finagly to set up—it also requires signing up for an account—but once I got past the privacy issue, it’s like stepping into a looking glass for the future. I wonder what bedazzled new things will come my way when I’m 80.

The main issue I can see here is that the smartphone has to stay juiced up in order to unlock the door, so it might be a nice courtesy to lend guests with a small portable battery charger just in case. I don’t know how I always end up on my last 5% on the road but even technology can’t replace the solid assurances with a physical key.

Home security company Lockitron also seemed to be designing a competitor product due in early spring 2016 for $99. But I’m not sure what happened there but the company may be worth an eye worth keeping on if they’re finally able to deliver one day.

Provide guests with a digital guidebook

In case Microsoft Word isn’t cutting it. Though many hosts take the time to write up a small guide to the apartment, neighborhood and local attractions, it sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

For the more digitally addicted, tech startup Coral has provided a more personalized guidebook for guests in the form of a web app. It’s virtually free for hosts to set up an account and to load information into the site. Hosts are then given a specialized URL, which guests can use to access from a smartphone browser. Check out this example.



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