Are you managing serviced accommodation, and want to scale your business or boost your success? You’re in the right place!

We know that serviced accommodation management can be overwhelming at the best of times. It requires you to juggle a wide range of customer needs, distribution challenges and operational bottlenecks. Not to mention the endless moving parts that come with overseeing multi-unit properties.

That’s why in this piece we’ve broken it down step-by-step, including: 

  • How serviced accommodation is different from operating standard short-term rentals.
  • The major challenges you might face when managing serviced accommodation.
  • The 5 key pillars of successful serviced accommodation management.
  • Our recommended tools that can make the whole thing much easier.

Let’s get started.

Rentals United is not just a channel manager, but a partner to help you achieve your goals. See how we can help you improve your serviced accommodation business with a combination of market data, booking performance metrics and a diverse mix of sales channels. Book a demo now

What is serviced accommodation management?

Serviced accommodation management is the renting out of properties that are fully furnished, and are available for short or mid-term stays. They might be similar to accommodation typically offered by hotels, but might also be more like small studio apartments.

Serviced accommodations differ from the usual vacation rental or holiday home set-up because:

  • They are often rented for varying lengths of time (short-term to mid-term), rather than the more-common three days or seven days for a traditional long-weekend or holiday let. Because of this, they are sometimes called flexible-term rentals.
  • They offer more hotel-like services rather than the 100% self-catering set-up that many short-term rentals offer.
  • They likely cater to a wider array of client types, from holiday guests to corporate travellers, to people who are new to the city and need somewhere to live medium-term before settling. This is opposed to holiday homes or vacation rentals whose guests may all be travelling for the same reason (such as relaxation, hiking, a city break, or a beach holiday).

What are the challenges of serviced accommodation management businesses?

While these differences to short-term rentals mean serviced accommodation can offer a wide range of advantages to customers, they also bring some definite challenges.

These include:

  • Catering to different types of guests who all have different priorities, expectations, and needs. They also need different marketing due to different pain points, budgets, and priorities.
  • Juggling the demands of offering a wide range of services to these varying guests.
  • Coordinating moving parts of multiple units in a single building (or more), as opposed to a typical short-term rental manager with individual properties in different locations.

Vacation rental software such as a PMS and a channel manager can help to streamline much of this, so you can operate multi-units seamlessly. But there’s no denying that getting your head around the scale and complexity of the operation can be a challenge, especially if your business is rapidly growing.

The 5 pillars of a successful serviced accommodation management business

There are five major pillars of a successful serviced accommodation management business that we recommend you follow.

1. Marketing and distribution

If you’re aiming to attract multiple types of guests (as most serviced accommodation businesses are), you’ll need to make sure your marketing strategy involves targeting different guest types, from short-term holiday-goers to longer-term corporate staff.

The best way to do this is to ensure your vacation rental distribution strategy covers a wide variety of channels, with listings that are designed to convert.

This includes not only the usual Airbnb and Vrbo, but alternative channels including Google Travel, local listing sites, and metasearch engines. 

For example, the Rentals United vacation rental channel manager can list your serviced accommodation on all the large OTAs and countless alternative channels, including ones that specialise in mid-term serviced apartments, such as Nestpick and Homelike.

Nestpick

Nestpick specialises in fully furnished rentals for 30 days or more, and aggregates its selection from other channels such as Airbnb and Sonder. It has millions of options across 2,000 global cities.

Homelike

Homelike is focused on long-term, furnished apartments for business travellers, and has more than 550,000 choices across more than 400 cities, primarily in Europe. It specialises in hosting professionals who travel regularly for work, or who are relocating for business and need a base while they get set up.

Using a tool such as Rentals United makes listing on multiple channels much easier and simpler. In fact, the average Rentals United customer advertises on 11 different booking sites.

Not only does it distribute your listings on a wide variety of channel managers, but it also keeps your pricing and availability consistent across each channel (rather than having to keep track and change them all manually!), ensuring there are no double bookings.

What’s more, Rentals United’s Property Health Cards function can check over your listings to ensure that they are optimised for maximum conversions on OTAs.

property health cards property metrics
RU Data Studio Property Health Cards – Listing Health

But OTAs are not the only way to get bookings. 

A successful, professional serviced accommodation business also needs a slick direct booking website, to give yourself a respectable web presence, rank on search engine results pages, and enable you to increase revenue by sidestepping OTA fees and charges.

2. Operations

As a serviced accommodation manager, you will likely be providing considerably more hotel-like services (daily cleaning, laundry service, etc) than standard short-term rentals (which commonly offer a more self-catering set-up).

This makes your business very operations-intensive, with more staff coordination required, access challenges (so everyone can get in and out of rooms easily), and stock requirements (such as cleaning products, bathroom supplies, plus laundry services, and more). 

Managing everything manually is overwhelming at best, and impossible at worst. 

That’s why the second pillar of managing serviced accommodation is to ensure stellar workflows and systems are in place. 

Using a tool such as VRScheduler, which integrates seamlessly with Rentals United, can help you to streamline your operational workflows and task management. 

This means that you can keep track of which tasks are necessary and when, the status of each unit, and when and where team members are needed automatically (no manual juggling required!).

3. Guest screening

Inviting a very wide range of guests into your space – especially for longer-term stays – makes background checks and guest screening even more important. 

As a responsible manager, you need to ensure that guests are who they say they are, can be trusted to respect your unit’s rules, and are not liable to bring problems to your property

Without guest screening, you are opening yourself up to major risks such as damage, fraud, and noise complaints – and even serious crimes such as drug dealing or weapons offences, or human trafficking.

Again, technology is your friend here, as managing guest data and running background checks manually can quickly become a time suck, security risk, and runs the risk of breaching privacy laws.

Using a tool such as SUPERHOG, which integrates with Rentals United, can automate your guest screening process. It checks ID, takes damage deposits, verifies biometric data, assesses the fraud risk, checks criminal and financial backgrounds, and verifies credit cards.

This protects both you and your guests, and means you know exactly who is staying in your properties (with the paper trail to prove it).

vacation-rental-revenue-management

4. Revenue management

As with any property rental business, increasing revenue should always be a top priority for serviced accommodation operations.

As revenue management expert John deRoulet puts it: “Revenue management is about trying to balance your risk and reward by capturing the highest ADR while optimising your occupancy to get to the best possible RevPAR.”

Your ADR is your average daily rate, and your RevPAR is your revenue per available room. In simple terms, balancing these property management KPIs is about charging the best price you can while remaining competitive, depending on your target guest and the current market – including factors such as supply and demand, seasons, and local events.

A tool such as the RU Data Studio gives you the rich data insights and tools you need to monitor and optimise your properties’ revenue performance. Rentals United also integrates with dynamic pricing tools such as Wheelhouse, Beyond and PriceLabs, allowing you to automatically adjust your rates and sync them across all your channels.

property health cards revenue outlook
RU Data Studio Property Health Cards – Revenue Outlook

5. Guest experience

This is what it all comes down to: you want to provide an outstanding guest experience so that your guests will give you shining reviews and keep coming back. Just like any hospitality business.

Putting all of the above pillars in place will improve your guest experience, so their stay is seamless, enjoyable, and goes above and beyond their expectations from booking to check-in to check-out and beyond.

The guest experience is also about ensuring thoughtful touches. This includes personalised gifts or treats, luxury toiletries, welcome notes, excellent communication during their stay, friendly local recommendations, and helpful extra supplies. Anything that delights guests and makes their stay easier or more enjoyable counts.

And if you’ve given guests a great stay? Ask for reviews. They can be the difference between more bookings or an empty calendar, so it’s important to request them on time, remind guests often, and do everything in your power to ensure they’ll have great things to say. 

Because Rentals United is a Preferred Software/Connectivity Partner of both Airbnb and Booking.com, it can aggregate your reviews from each platform to offer insights into your ratings and reviews, to show you what’s going well and what needs tweaking. 

In the Rentals United Data Studio dashboard, you can also see each unit’s average score, so you know which pages and properties need immediate attention, and which are doing well.

The tool also displays your review response rate, so you can step up your responses and demonstrate your attentiveness and professionalism.

What’s more, you can reply to Airbnb and Booking.com reviews straight from the RU Data Studio dashboard, so there’s no need to waste time logging into each channel’s extranet.

Serviced accommodation management: The secrets to success

Ultimately, putting each of the above pillars in place will support truly excellent guest stays.

From communicating your place’s facilities clearly in your listing (including excellent photos), ensuring streamlined and fuss-free cleaning and operations, digital screening and security, and competitive rates, partnering with a tool such as Rentals United helps you automate each process for seamless success.

With its multiple integrations and dedicated tools, Rentals United is specially designed to increase your revenue, and help you run a thriving serviced accommodation business that brings maximum success, with minimum stress.

Rentals United is not just a channel manager, but a partner to help you achieve your goals. See how we can help you improve your serviced accommodation business with a combination of market data, booking performance metrics and a diverse mix of sales channels. Book a demo now