Vacation Rental Property Management from Good to Great

by | Dec 30, 2021 | Vacation Rental Software

As we head into 2022, property management strategies have taken shape and plans are being implemented.

However, there is one key element of your yearly vision that should be a priority over all else and that is human resources.

Getting the right people in the right positions is critical in carrying out a successful plan, and while it is a task often taken for granted, it can make or break an organization. It’s time to bring your property management company from good to great! In this article, we will focus on key elements of managing your human resources and they include:

  1. The Staffing Crisis
  2. Successful Recruiting
  3. Maximizing Talent
  4. Remote Staffing

Challenges of the Staffing Crisis in Property Management

Just like every other sector in business today, the hospitality and vacation property management industry is struggling to keep people in positions as the world tries to recover from the pandemic. In doing so, many are turning to new and creative ways to address the staffing crisis and recruiting.

AppFolio recently partnered with the National Apartment Association (NAA) in a survey of more than 1,000 property managers to gauge the impact of the shortage on their businesses. The results were revealing. When asked what their biggest post-pandemic challenges were, more than 50 percent of the respondents positioned HR, staffing, and recruitment at the top of the list. —

Technology plays a prominent role in operations but when it comes to recruiting, there are different needs. While companies like LiveRez offer operational efficiencies via tech, there is still a human element to the vacation rental management process, and recruiting is a good example. Recruiting tech may create efficiencies in gathering data and finding talent but may not be as successful in evaluating those people for the right cultural fit. Vacation rental management teams will find it beneficial to look outside of technology and engage partners, local influencers, and word of mouth to find the people they are looking for.

Successful Recruiting Requires Knowledge of Culture and Climate

When engaging with a recruiting partner or even searching yourself, the 6 key things to consider are as follows:

1. Local understanding of culture and climate. 

Your recruiter should have a local understanding of the business, the culture, and its challenges. When working with an outside recruiter, educate them on all of the above, introduce them to the property and make sure they understand the culture and climate.

2. Ask the right questions. 

Be prepared for the interview by digging deep into the details of the resume and social content. Evaluate performance behavior and go with your gut. Ask for specific examples that can be validated and give yourself time to reflect and research. Previous behavior will dictate future habits.

3. Hire slowly and never pass on quality.

Complete all reference checks. All references should be professional vs. character, and for a comprehensive evaluation, ask for a peer as well as supervisory references. Take the time to be discerning. If you are hesitant, pass, and if you are evaluating what you believe to be high-level talent, never pass. Hire even if the job is not right. Good people can accommodate any position, enrich the culture and help shape success.

4. Plan before you need. 

If you are like many vacation property rental management companies, you are probably constantly growing. What that means is that recruiting will be a continual part of your growth strategies. The best motto to follow is to recruit early and often. Pay attention to existing staff performance and provide real-time performance evaluations so that if a change is needed, there are no surprises, and recruiting can continue in a transparent way.

5. Promote from within.

To retain good talent, promoting from within the company is almost vital. People want to see a growth path is possible and will work harder for it. Cross-train so promotions are efficient and seamless.

6. Know where potential recruits live. 

An employee referral program can be one of the most successful ways of recruiting. As long as the culture is strong and communications are clear, referrals will be authentic and likely sustaining. Use as many channels as possible if you know what potential employees prefer. Currently, online recruiting like Zip Recruiter or Indeed is the most used method but depending on who you need, you may also reach them through local papers, job fairs, and even open houses. 

Maximizing Talent in Property Management

Once you have hired, the key is to retain and that means treating employees better than just a number or a cog in your operations focused on the bottom line. A successful manager should work to develop and maintain a healthy culture that creates an environment of ownership, pride, and reward. 

Listening to employees and providing an opportunity for feedback can be a successful tool in retention.  Beacon Residential Management President Jeff Baker has suggested that a generation of Millennials has changed the way we hire. Millennials and Gen Y don’t just want a paycheck, they want a purpose and the feeling that they are contributing in bigger ways. The best way to address that thinking is to provide ownership by listening to them and implementing ideas generated from their feedback.

“Because of their feedback we have seen great benefits,” Baker said. “They have helped us focus on work/life balance initiatives and have been instrumental in creating numerous efficiencies through technology. They also require today’s organizations to have ‘best in class training and development programs. This generation has made us better.” — Jeff Baker, President, Beacon Residential Management

As we have mentioned above, never turn down good talent when you find it even if you don’t think you have the position for them. Good talent typically means great multi-tasking. Someone who can wear many hats is the key to success in vacation and property rental management. Expertly managing the entire experience requires confidence, big picture thinking, and proactive responsiveness. When you find that person, do everything you can to keep them. 

That said, not everyone can perform in this way. While a person who is good at wearing many hats is great in operations, but they are probably not suited for sales. A good salesperson is probably not going to be interested in the details of the operations. Maximize the strengths of your talent. Make sure you understand what your employees are interested in and are good at. Again, providing them ownership over their success will lead to your success. 

Consider Remote Staffing Carefully 

As we are headed into yet another year of a pandemic crisis, working remotely seems to be the norm. Much of the country and the world have left their office behind and shifted to working from home. Technology has assisted in the effort more than ever before in industries that we never expected to transition. 

There has been a 173% increase in the number of people who work remotely since 2005 and is starting to accelerate even faster in 2020. It’s estimated that 75 million people or 56% of the workforce could work from home. — Apollo Technical

The benefits of hiring remotely are obvious especially as the metrics have become more and more clear considering the facts above. Reduced overhead is a particularly attractive benefit as is the productivity increase. Employee retention is also a benefit, but it all depends on the business and the team. If you are thinking about hiring remotely, consider these qualities outlined by tech recruiting company, Apollo Technical.

Qualities of a good remote employee

  • Self-motivation
  • Ability to troubleshoot issues on their own
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Highly organized with effective time management skills
  • Tech-savvy
  • Adaptable to situations that may pop up
  • Reliable judgment
  • The ability to focus and dial into the task at hand

It’s important to understand the strengths of technology and where in-person employees are key. Vacation rental management requires onsite employees for specific physical operations like cleaning and maintenance. However, it is possible that customer service can engage online with the same welcoming demeanor as an in-person employee. LiveRez can deliver operational efficiencies with a culture of community and care that creates a positive engagement and seamless experience, but it takes a combined approach.

When it comes down to it, the success of your property management company is two-fold. 

  1. People who are driven, passionate, and feel a sense of ownership to the company’s success and can execute on a well-developed strategy while implementing procedures.
  2. Technology that can automate operational tasks such as admin, workflow, and payment while leaving the hospitality up to welcoming and engaged employees.

The property management industry offers a career that can be intense and will take a team that cares deeply about people. But while the challenges are may, it’s an ever-evolving and never boring environment where income is stable even in a pandemic. For management, finding the right people should be a focus and one that can take a good company to a great company!


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