If not, why not? I think that we are so lucky today to have our phones to help us run our STR businesses and I thought I’d write this just in case you wanted any tips about how your phone can help you run your business efficiently and well.
Yes, we used to manage in ‘the olden days’ very well and yes, I do think it’s important to keep paper records of your business too. For one thing, you’re probably going to need those paper records for your accountant and for another, belt and braces dictate that we’ll all be subject to the law of averages at some time and lose / damage / destroy our work phones at some time.
Your phone can help you with managing guests, dealing with guest problems. managing vendors (cleaners, plumbers, electricians and so on), recommendations for guests and plenty more.
Two points that I think are important:
- If you are serious about your business then you don’t want to mix business with pleasure. Have a phone that is exclusively used for your STR business
- Have your phone with you at all times. You probably do anyway but once you see how important your phone is for your business, you’ll never leave it at home
The important thing that you’ll want to do is set up your phone so that it has icons on the home screen that take you exactly where you’ll want to be quickly and easily. Here are just some of the places that the icons on my phone take me to straight away.
- The app. If the service you’re using, Airbnb for example, has an app then that where you’re going to get a lot of your information
- Your listings. If you’re giving a guest the house tour and there’s any sort of query you can say straight away “Well, as you remember from the listing…” and show the guest
- A translation app. I used to use a free one then graduated to one that cost the huge amount of $9.99. It was worth every penny and again, and again and again. I’ve never found a language it can’t deal with. Use a speak and translate app then all you have to do is talk into it and the Swedish or Mandarin or Croatian or whatever it may be just comes right back out
- A speed dial app. Imagine that a guest turns up with twice the number of booked people and six unruly dogs to your no-pets rental. You have Airbnb on speed dial so go to it. Also, your plumber, your cleaner, your handyperson, your lawyer, the emergency services, … and you don’t have to fumble looking for their numbers. An app like the one I have (Rapid Dial – it’s free) lets you add and delete numbers in seconds so you can also have your current guests and delete their number when they leave. Note that good apps will also give you the option of calling, texting or What’sApping
- Your online house manual / guide so that you can easily show it to guests during the tour or text the URL to your guests’ phone or iPad
- If your local authority has one, a downloaded copy of their city guide and any other publications they might offer
- A direct shortcut to your area’s online What’s On listings. You’ll be able to tell your guests in no time at all which concerts, events and festivals are happening during their stay. If it’s appropriate for your business, have a jpg. on your home screen showing a plan of your premises. Mine shows the apartments, where I live, the communal laundry and the assigned parking spaces. It can be easily texted or emailed
- Google Maps so that if guests ask me for directions to somewhere, it’s easier to show them on a map – “where’s the nearest supermarket?” “here, let me show you…”
- If you have a separate email address for your STR business make sure that your home screen has an icon that will take you straight to it
- Depending where you are, other useful shortcuts to websites. Every place and every rental is different but I have airport arrivals, the beach hotline, the local performing arts centre, the bus station timetable page, the water taxi site, etc. etc. These make me into a walking encyclopedia!
Depending on your listing and your hosting style you can have many more features on your work-only phone that will help you deal with your guests and your suppliers/vendors. I don’t want to write about specifics here because you and I might not have the same type of phone but any make will be able to handle the basics outlined above.
All phones have calendar functions, notes, reminders and alarms and various other useful items, all of which can help you run your rentals with efficiency. Be sure to keep things simple in appropriate folders on your home screen. You can name them depending on their function. For example, ‘arrival’, ‘phone’, ‘vendors’, ‘info’, ‘promotion’ and so on.
Don’t be tempted to have private stuff on your work phone. None of this ‘oh, I’ll just have Facebook on here in case I need to kill a bit of time”. My family has my work phone number for emergency purposes but that’s as far as anything non-work-related goes.
Be sure to have a PIN or fingerprint recognition to ensure that your phone is secure and keep your work phone safe at all times!
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.