Jul 9, 2024

Navigating Common Challenges in STR Management

Navigating Common Challenges in STR Management

Common challenges faced by STR hosts:

If you decide to open a short term rental you can be assured you will face a few challenges on a regular basis. We’ve broken down a few of the more common ones. 

Maintenance: Stuff breaks. No matter how well you prepare, background check guests etc, they will break stuff or those exact items might break by themselves and you need to be prepared for when they do. You should have a vetted person ready to call for every standard procedure (plumbing, electrician, HVAC) and then also a backup option. This is especially important if you are located in a remote area. 

Difficult Guests: A famous saying in the hospitality industry is that “The guest is always right”. This also holds true for the STR industry and you should be doing anything you can to make the guest happy. This does not mean giving into blackmail or unreasonable requests but say something is broken or dirty, give them a small discount and say “get lunch/dinner on me”. Being overly friendly will drastically reduce the amount of complaints, bad reviews and refund requests. Do not argue or fight with a guest even if they are combative. It will make the situation worse and often ends in a terrible review which will tank your listing’s search ranking. 

Legal/Regulatory Challenges: It is very likely that the area your property is located in will change its stance on STRs during the time you are managing it. You can protect yourself from negative legislation by joining local host coalitions, making sure you're permitted and following all relevant local rules. If your property is an a high risk area for a ban such as a suburban neighborhood with lots of families you may want to consider selling and reinvesting in an area where all regulations/zoning has been ironed out. 

Pricing: Pricing can fluctuate a lot depending on where you live and which local events you have. I recommend sitting down and marking each major upcoming event for the next year. Then go into your calendar and change the prices accordingly so you are not underpriced. For weekly fluctuations you should probably be using a dynamic pricing tool such as Pricelabs to help you manage. It is still important to manually check your competitors pricing and it is worth noting that the dynamic pricing softwares will not work as well if you have a more rural property with less comps. 

Cleaning Quality Control: No matter how good your cleaning team is they will eventually make a mistake. Clarify where they went wrong and make sure its clear that it can’t happen again. It is also recommended that you pay your cleaner a premium rate. That way they’ll be sure to prioritize your property and will make sure to go the extra mile for you. You can also do things such as including an incentive program based on the amount of 5 star reviews they get.

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