Lisa and Monica founded H&P Properties, a Canada-based property management company that manages short-term rental properties. Both were former employees of Airbnb and launched in 2012 after hosting for a number of years – Lisa was one of the original 50 SuperHosts in the world.
They currently manage 40 units right now, with the vast majority being in the short-term rental space. They’ve join us here today to share some insights for Airbnb hosts in both the U.S. and Canada!
- What 3 things do you look at when deciding whether a potential new property is worth bringing on (to list on Airbnb)?
Location! It’s the most important. It needs to be somewhere that travelers actually want to stay. Good transit hookups and parking are next, and we also look at the state of the unit (clean, in good repair, decorated nicely?) and decide whether the owner will be a good client or not. We don’t have time for a lot of hand holding and high-maintenance clients–it’s just not worth it. So we try to avoid those.
- Based on your experience, at what point should a host start looking to bring in another Airbnb rental property? Are there certain benchmarks they should hit before bringing on a new property?
They should be making more than enough money in bookings to be able to cover the costs of the first property, and also carry them through the slower months. Having multiple properties is a lot of work and a big time commitment, so they need to be prepared for that trade-off.
- What was the biggest bottleneck for you as you scaled your Airbnb operation and what how did you solve it? i.e. managing check-ins, cleaning, getting enough clients, etc.
Everything is a challenge when you scale something like this. Managing all the moving parts such as cleanings, check in details, replying to inquiries and guest problems are where we are still trying to streamline things. Attracting guests is not so hard because we choose our properties carefully. It’s just all the behind the scenes work that is very draining. Right now we are assessing new management programs to help us with our challenges, and have recently hired someone. We also have a deal with a great cleaning company, so they take care of most of those details.
- What is your favorite software to use to help with your Airbnb listings?
There really isn’t anything spectacular out there right now. We are testing a few right now, but we need software that works with Airbnb and ALL the other vacation rental sites, since we are on those, too. All I can say is tread carefully and think about how the software will work with your unique company, and if the providers offer good customer support. If they won’t train you or answer your calls, run away!
- What are your thoughts on the legislation changes in Los Angeles that is trying to ban Airbnb?
I think it’s ridiculous and a shame for those cities. Airbnb brings in a lot of income if it is done properly. I think educating guests, hosts and local government is the key. Everyone has these assumptions about short-term rentals (one way or another) and most of the time they’re incorrect. People need to see all sides of the situation to really see how it can work for their city. Sure, there are some problems that come with short term hosting, but do they outweigh all the benefits? That’s what cities should be looking at.