Airbnb Hosting – How to Scale with Virtual Assistants!!! (and how my airbnb business runs itself)
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Airbnb Hosting – How to Scale with Virtual Assistants!!! (and how my airbnb business runs itself)


Hello my YouTube friends its Richard
founder of STRU and Airbnb super host and yes you read
the title right I’m finally making this video
I’ve been asked dozens of times and I’m so sorry that I haven’t got to it before
but I’ve been kind of busy so here’s the question that I’ve heard time and time
again which is how do i scale my Airbnb in short-term rental business using
virtual assistants let’s do it so the first question you might be wondering is
well why do I use a virtual assistant to the first place and the answer is pretty
simple I really won’t love hosting and I loved the experience part I loved
bringing joy to families and international travelers and obviously
the financial gain is fantastic but that doesn’t mean that I like every single
thing about hosting like for instance I don’t do my own cleaning I wouldn’t do
it very well I certainly wouldn’t enjoy it for like a day or a week or a year
much less like ten years so the goal for me in hosting and using this to achieve
my 15 year plan is to be able to do it for 15 years or longer so one of the
things that I did as I started to scale was figure out what I’m uniquely
qualified to do and what it is that I like to do and everything that I’m
either not uniquely qualified meaning like I could train somebody else to do
it or that I don’t enjoy I went on a mission to like find somebody who could
do it better than me more reliably than me and maybe even do it like full-time
and they might really enjoy it so that seemed like a really good solution for
me and I want to tell you what it is that I rely on my virtual assistant to
do and what I have my virtual assistant do is very similar to what a co-host
might do but she uses her own password she logs into all of my different
properties she does so on Airbnb and home away she looks at the Google shared
calendar and then I’ve put together a series of templates and responses and a
timeline and a series of operations that she then executes for me to help me run
my Airbnb business so think of things like questions she responds to questions
think of things like calendar management she knows what dates are available what
dates aren’t she organizes all of my cleaning teams and the different people
that are involved in maintenance and so on so she’s like my co-host if you will
but she handles all of that and the things that I’m uniquely qualified to do
strategy pricing expansion financial analysis things like that by the fact
that I’ve given all of the other things that I
like to do to my virtual assistant that frees me up to do all the things that I
do like to do and it also makes it much more sustainable and repeatable and
therefore much more likely to accomplish my 15 year goal so before you start
skipping ahead because the next part is really important I want to go ahead and
tell you where I found my virtual assistant and it was pretty simple I
follow an entrepreneur in social media Chris Drucker if you don’t follow him
he’s worthwhile he’s got some really interesting points he’s a British guy
who lives in the Philippines and he runs many businesses including virtual
assistant finder and so they’re based in the Philippines he uses Filipino people
all over the place and it’s been really good for me now the Filipino people are
friendly hospitable English is very strong it’s not native English so like
just be warned about that but here’s a case in point where I started to follow
somebody I liked what they were doing I learned that he had this business and I
gave it a shot it works for me and if you want to try it there’s a link below
I think it’s worth checking out so this parts really important and the good news
is it’s almost entirely in your control and that is how do you train them and
the bottom line is the more time and energy you think about what you want
them to do and how you want them to do it and the more time and energy you put
into like a training program and checking in with them and so on the
better the results will be now there’s two components of it you
have to select the right person so like it’s not worth training the wrong person
and if you’ve never employed anybody that’s a big lesson like hiring people
and learning like when to invest more double down and when to walk away you
know that old like Willie Nelson song you have to know when to hold them and
when to fold them No No
if you’ve never done that expect some challenges I’ve been in entrepreneur for
years and across many different businesses I can tell you hiring the
right people is not only the most important thing it’s also the most
challenging and a virtual assistant is no different so the more time and energy
you think about like what you need and who the right person is and putting the
time and energy into the thoughtful description the more likely that the
virtual finder program is going to work for you and then once you have yours
look what you’re gonna do is Skype interview I recommend you interview at
least two or three people look for personality look for who fit look for
engagement look for hospitality like all those things that you want your employee
to have and then once you have them then the hard work really begins because now
it’s one-on-one you have to express to them your why how important hospitality
is how you want things handled the timeliness of it again think about
everything and then spend a lot of time and energy and if you do that you will
be rewarded more likely than not most people won’t invest the time and energy
and then they’ll give up on the program just like how this didn’t work what have
wasted time and money you have to commit to it you have to work it you have to
try you have to hire right then you have to train right the last thing I’m going
to talk about in this video are like challenges and problems to overcome and
there’s a few actually more than a few there’s a lot and I can’t even say I
have a crystal ball and I know them all I’m sure you’ll have your own problems
but like in anything else the upside is so worthwhile like the
ability to scale and spend the time and energy on what it is that I wanted to do
and that I’m uniquely qualified and that motivates me and rid myself of
everything else is really worthwhile so here are some challenges that I’ve faced
the first one is the infrastructure in the Philippines where my virtual
assistant Maria’s based is not the same as here in New York City which means
that we have power outages there’s storms that go out internet speeds are
slower and things like that and so at first it might be frustrating
but then it sort of becomes part of the routine and you sort of can expect it a
little bit and so what that means is I’ll have an idea of when a response was
came in and whether it’s been responded to or not and I give her you know a
couple of like an hour to before I will jump in and respond again it’s
infrequent but my point is you have to have like your finger
the pulse and know what’s going on the second one is communication and language
chances are they’re not going to be native English speakers although this
English language is very strong so you have to give them a little bit more
freedom and leeway and like understanding and then work with them
that’s the good news the good news is they have less like baggage if you will
so like training somebody who’s been trained and properly who has a bad
attitude or you know isn’t a good employee that’s really almost impossible
but taking somebody who’s like open and excited and looking forward to working
with you and then like helping mold them and define that culture between the two
of you you should view that as an opportunity slash challenge another
thing that I would say is that um you know they’re doing this
because they have to write like they need this job it’s super important to
them to pay for maybe their mortgage or the food on the table and it’s really
important that you are you know humble and nice and respectful and it can be
challenging if like you know you’ve never met this person and their
Internet’s down and they didn’t respond and I’ve had a situation with Maria in
my particular case where somebody asked for a very key specific date it was peak
peak it was like over Christmas and New Year’s and she made a mistake and it
ended up costing me 6,000 or 7,000 dollars and that period still open and
so like I could get really really upset and I could just like throw a temper
tantrum and you know like ruin the relationship or I can try and be
empathetic about it and say you know six or seven thousand dollars for this
person is maybe a year’s salary or you know some huge amount of income and so
maybe she was nervous about it maybe she made a mistake and so rather than you
know like throw the baby out with the bathwater let’s talk about it let’s
regroup let’s try and understand what went through if you ever have any
questions I’m always available even though you might feel like you’re
working on your own like if there’s something that’s really important I’m
always available so please feel free to interrupt me ask for help and so on and
it’s that sort of mindset that I think is really important if you’re gonna hire
somebody who lives you know twelve hours away at a different time zone 3,000
miles that you may never meet is appreciate like their reality what’s
happening with them and just be respectful and mindful of that so that’s
a wrap that’s basically ins and outs of what I do and how I do
it and why I do it and I would just leave you with this thought if it’s not
a full-time job for you like you don’t have enough properties to employ
somebody for full-time this virtual assistant can help you with like your
personal life they can call and make doctor’s appointments they can call and
do your like travel and book your hotels and your flights and so on they’re
really capable they’re really eager they’re really excited to like help so
just open your mind and say hey I have a set of hands and a great mind and an
upbeat person how how might I use them to help me so the world is really you
know up to you to define and work together and I think it’ll really work
out I’d love to hear your comments and your questions below if you haven’t
subscribed to the YouTube channel I would ask that you do so

14 Comments

  • Zack Scriven Media

    It's hard to learn to delegate! It is easy doing something myself (being an engineer), and hard to delegate because my communication skills aren't as strong. (engineer) . I am working on it. I've advanced in my career to a senior level position which requires more delegation and coordination than it does programming and implementing. Putting myself outside my comfort zone is making me grow tremendously. I think hiring a virtual assistant may require some upfront work, planning, and may cost more initially, but as i continue to grow and scale my business it will be a great investment. Rambling Over. Thanks Richard!

  • Sean Kennick

    Are VAs a big expense for this? Do you have them on a schedule or is it an on-call thing? Just curious. Also – thx, your videos have been helpful as a newer host here

  • Helen Levy

    Is there any estimate $$ value VA cost per one listing?
    Do VA's use any smart tools like "Smartbnb" for automated responses and "Properly" for scheduling cleaning?
    P.S. I am getting to my number 5 (airbnb property) soon and feel like this is the limit of one hu-man/woman being capacity
    Thank you!

  • Mark Welpman

    I've tried two different companies. But with only one unit, at the moment I did not find the value in it. I will most likely use as VA in the future when I have five or more units.

  • Jacklyn Deans

    Thank you for posting this! I have been so stressed as a Superhost and I have desperately been looking for a virtual assistant. I created templates and tried hiring someone on Upwork to manage guest communications. That was a disaster.

    The procedure you laid out is a much better method. Thank you for the resource and the great tips.

  • Joanna Marie Agura

    Hi! I've been looking for a work as VA. Does someone here who still hiring ? I'm from Philippines. Thanks.

  • Alexis Gable

    @STR University when do you believe it is time to get a VA? How many properties? Thanks! From, Co-hosty in Tampa, FL

  • Al Plus

    Richard, Marriott just announced this morning that they are building out their own platform to directly compete with AirBnB….here comes the deep pockets and prices will go lower….UGH!!

  • Scott Zimmerlee

    Hi Richard great video. Does your VA also do the reviews? Do you also use any automated messaging services as well or just your VA? Thanks

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