By Rowan Clifford
Author of Airbn’b’Smart and Smartbnb user
Do you get tired of sending the same old reminders to your cleaners? How about the ones to your maintenance team, laundry team, manager, co-hosts…?
Have you ever forgotten to send one of these reminders, and your cleaner didn’t show up? Or maybe you forgot to send a reminder to your laundry team, and you had to apologize to your guests who checked in to find no clean linens?
If any of the above ring a bell, then you’re not alone.
In fact, team reminders can be one of the most laborious, time-sensitive, important parts of running and operating successfully as an Airbnb host (especially if you operate more than one property).
Let’s face it, this part of hosting is just plain tedious…
…But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Not if you’re a little savvy.
In fact, there’s a way to automate this process entirely, and it’s actually pretty easy to set up.
It’s done using what we call ‘Operations’ within Smartbnb, and you’re about to learn all about it!
So what are ‘Operations’ on Smartbnb?
Operations organize and automate much of the communication between you and all members of your team.
They keep each member of your team informed and up to date with any/all tasks which are required of them.
These tasks can be things like:
- Window cleaning etc.
This is done using what we like to call ‘Task Rules.’
A ‘Task Rule’ allows you to automatically create tasks when a reservation is accepted.
Each ‘task’ can be automatically assigned to upcoming reservations, and each task will update according to the reservation status and arrival details for each booking.
Tasks can be either automatically assigned, or assigned manually depending on your workflow preferences (more on that later).
Why are Operations so damn effective?
Throughout every guest’s journey, there are a number of predictable events.
- Check-out etc.
Coordinating each of these events can be a massive time drain, and also a cause for mass anxiety…
…If you’ve ever forgotten to send a reminder to your cleaner, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!
Usually, each task is manually sent to each member of your team, with follow up reminders to make sure everyone is in the loop. This takes a lot of time.
Now, these events happen for every new booking, and for that reason, they’re ripe for automation.
And that’s where Smartbnb’ Operations’ step in.
Operations allow you to automate the process by auto-assigning each of the tasks to the different members of your team and sending automated reminders via SMS and email to make sure no task ever gets missed.
Since you are looking to make your STR business efficient, you’ll be interested in our list of revenue-boosting automation strategies.
So let’s have a quick run-through of how to set this up…
Here’s what you can do with Smartbnb’s Operations engine
- Automatically schedule tasks – Things like cleaning, check-in/check-out visits, maintenance, and more.
- Delegate jobs automatically – Auto-assign tasks to your team and notify them by SMS or Email
- Automated reminders – Send reminders to any member of your team automatically
- iCal integration – Keep your entire team up to date.
- Keep track of everything – Log reports allow you to trace all automated messages and notifications
How to set up a new Operations’ Task Rule’.
First up, in order to set up a ‘task rule,’ you first need to have a team member to assign it to.
How to add a new team member
To do that head to https://my.smartbnb.io/operations/team
Wait, you have the account, don't you?
Click on the ‘Operations’ icon on the left-hand menu, then click ‘Team,’ then ‘Add new.’
Fill in the details for your new team members.
Assign a role to the new team member you just created from the list provided.
The last step is to assign the team member to the appropriate property.
How to add a new task rule
Alright, so now that we’ve added a team member, we now need to assign them a task.
For the purpose of this example, let’s add a cleaning task for when a guest checks out of your property.
First up, head to https://my.smartbnb.io/operations/task-rules
From here, click ‘Add new.’
A pop-up will appear with four different options:
For this demonstration, we’ll be selecting cleaning – [after check-out]
As you can see from the above image, there’s a lot going on here. Don’t worry, though, because I’m going to break each section down for you below.
The task title can be altered to your liking, for example, “Check-out changeover clean.”
*Remember to switch the toggle to ‘On’ to activate the task rule.
The duration is the amount of time allocated to complete a task. Slide the scale up or down to fit the size of the task at hand.
The timing allows you to schedule when you would like a task to be carried out.
There are three different variables you need to choose from:
- Time – Start task immediately, after x number of minutes, after x number of hours, after x number of days.
- Before or After.
- The Guest checks in, or The Guest checks out.
Use each of these variables to set the appropriate time for the task to be carried out.
The scope allows you to assign the task rule to 1, multiple, or all of the properties you manage.
This is where you can choose whether to take manual control over the task rule or automate it.
If you choose the manual route, you’ll have the ability to assign the task to a teammate at a later date. However, if you choose ‘auto,’ you’ll need to select a teammate and directly assign the task to them.
The control center aka ‘Task Calendar’
To access the Task Calendar head to https://my.smartbnb.io/operations/calendar
Or click on the ‘Task calendar’ link in the Operations menu bar.
From there, you’ll be taken to the Task calendar dashboard.
From the Task calendar dashboard, you can manage all upcoming automated tasks, and you can also manually add a task to the calendar timeline.
To add a task manually, simply click at the appropriate interval along the timeline, and assign the task to a team member.
The task calendar is a great place to get a snapshot for all tasks, for all properties, at any point in time.
How to set up team notifications
Team notifications help you to automate the notification process for your teammates of any tasks that have been assigned to them.
These notifications come in the form of:
- iCal notifications
These notifications are time/event-triggered and are incredibly flexible.
Lets set one up, shall we!
Setting up team notifications
In the top right-hand corner, click ‘Add new.’
You’ll once again be greeted with a pop-up screen.
There are three categories to choose from:
- Notify for an event – Notify your team about new bookings, cancellations, etc.
- Schedule a reminder – Send reminders to your team for upcoming tasks.
- Notify for a task – Notify when a team member has been assigned a task, or a task is updated, etc.
From the pop-up, make a selection from the available categories.
For this example, we’re going to schedule a reminder ‘before check-in.’
You’ll be greeted with the interface above, where you can begin to construct your notifications.
Let me give you a quick run-through of the settings, and how to use them:
- Notify via – Choose whether you want to notify your team members by email or SMS (if you want to have both, you’ll need to build a separate notification for each).
- Message – Type the message you want to send.
- Timing – Choose when to send the notification.
- Settings – You have the option to receive a copy of the notification if you choose.
- Team – Assign which team members will be receiving the notification message.
- Scope – Set the notification to the relevant property.
And just like that, you’re done.
They’re super quick and easy to build, and once done, you can set it and forget it.
Operations are like a ‘turbo’ button for your business.
They allow you to coordinate and organize your team seamlessly on auto-pilot.
Used effectively, these operations will systematically keep each member of your team from cleaner to property manager, fully informed through every step of a guest’s journey.
From check-in to check-out, your team will be informed, notified, and ready to go every step of the way.
There’s much more you can flawlessly automate in your STR business. Download our list of automation strategies that will boost your revenue!
You’ve got better things to do with your time than manually manage every member of your team, so go ahead, get creative and see how much time Smartbnb Operations can save you.
The more bookings you get, the less free time you have.
You’re stuck in the old ‘time-for-money’ paradigm…
…and it sucks.
Luckily, however, there are ways (many in fact) that you can run a successful Airbnb business and even scale it up to multiple listings in a way that doesn’t impact your free time.
When you have back-to-back guests at your short-term rentals, it can be stressful to make sure your cleaners are at the ready at the right time. With Smartbnb, you can automatically notify your cleaners and avoid that stress altogether.