Use a Virtual Assistant to Manage Your Serviced Property
Operating in the Serviced Property sector is all about management, from managing client requirements, the various trades people and services that support your business as well as hitting your own goals and managing your own expectations!
When I first started in the Virtual Assistant business someone in the property sector informed me that, when learning the ropes, prospective property investors were actively taught to use VAs. “What a forward thinking bunch of people these property investors must be”, I thought to myself.
A couple of year’s down the line and we are now starting to get significant numbers of property investors, especially those managing serviced apartments coming to bizee.co for skilled VAs to help run (and indeed grow) their businesses. As HMOs have become less popular for investors and the challenges of managing serviced properties, especially on multiple locations, have come to the fore the need to outsource some of the associated processes and tasks has become paramount. A skilled property VA can be the answer.
I think it is fair to say that other business sectors can learn a lot from this branch of the property industry as to how you can effectively outsource tasks to a VA, enabling you to free up your time and scale up your operations.
So here are some of the principal ways a Property Virtual assistant can help:
Manage your property bookings (Guest Manager)
Whether you take bookings through Airbnb, Booking.com or manage through Kigo Marketplace a skilled Property VA can help with much of this including:
Creating new bookings
Amending existing bookings (changing rates, changing apartments, marking a booking as paid, changing number of guests, changing guest details).
Taking payments for bookings
Managing and issuing refunds / partial refunds
Managing property maintenance
Sending cleaners and other trades to property
Creating, updating your listings (Data Entry)
Whichever platform you use (e.g. Booking.com, Airbnb) your VA can take care of the time-consuming task of answering a lot of questions, writing a description of your space, adding some nice photos and setting up a calendar and prices.
Client Communication (Customer Support)
Prior to booking a place it is not uncommon for potential customers to have questions. By setting one or more times slots when your VA should check messages you can ensure a timely and consistent response to potential customers and make sure you don’t miss out on sales.
Monitoring Online Feedback (Reviews)
Much of online business these days is experience-driven and customer reviews are now a hugely important factor in acquiring new business with most consumers trusting online reviews as much as personal recommendations. A property VA can help you manage this aspect of your business, checking, querying and answering customer reviews.
You can also get your property virtual assistant to follow up with guests and solicit positive feedback for your properties.
Outreach to Estate Agents
Finding an estate agent that “get’s” serviced accommodation or corporate lets is not always straightforward, so you can outsource a lot of the leg work to a property virtual assistant.
A serviced property VA can also keep an eye on your competition, research value added services that you might be able to tack on and make your serviced property the best option on the market.
A virtual assistant can buy you valuable time by helping to take care of your research whether it is industry trends and putting together Google alerts to keep you informed or things like insurance cover and accreditation.
Extra Activities (e.g. Marketing, Social Media)
As you grow not all business will come through platforms and perhaps you would like to push your own brand. Here a Marketing Virtual Assistant will come into their own.
Updating and managing content on your website can be left to a skilled VA. Furthermore blogging, content writing and updating and managing your social network profiles (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) are all things that a marketing virtual assistant can take care of.
Now that hotels are not, as they once were, the default option for temporary stays, serviced accommodation is now seen as a quality alternative to traditional accommodation. Not the reserve of holiday makers, serviced apartments are also now viable and commonly-used accommodation options for businesses seeking to house their employees in a friendly setting.
The number of serviced accommodation properties and units has grown hugely in the last few years, with more being developed and joining the UK market every day. If you are going this young, but rapidly expanding business sector a property virtual assistant can help you to manage your first steps and help you grow your business.