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How to deal with a demanding homeowner

We've found the secret sauce when it comes to managing people and running a successful Airbnb business (with your sanity in check).

Airbnb ManagementVacation Rentals

Published on 10 Aug 2021

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We understand that for many homeowners, handing over the management of their property to someone else can be a personal challenge. After all, it does require the ability to let go of control and have trust.

However, some clients struggle more in this department than others.

One particular client we’ve worked with was so neurotic about cleaning, he used a back light to detect any dirt we may have missed. We eventually decided it would be a good idea to stay in his apartment for a night to familiarise ourselves with every corner, in order to meet his (dare we stay crazy) standards.

With many stories under our belts, we’ve learnt a thing or two about the do’s and don’ts when it comes to managing difficult homeowners. We've found that knowing what to expect going into the industry – and having a plan in place for handling commonly experienced issues – means you’ll be better equipped to run a successful Airbnb business (with your sanity in check).

Its OK to say no

Pre-screening a potential homeowner is the fastest way to avoid a difficult or unpleasant working relationship. It provides the opportunity to understand expectations, learn more about their values and get a sense of their level of commitment to STR.

We’ve seen many property managers say yes for fear of losing out on business. The truth is, saying no is often what makes you more successful in the long term. We recommend viewing STR as a mutually beneficial relationship between property manager and homeowner. If it’s only working for one of you (or none of you), it’s time to move on.

Educate early on

Those new to the STR industry may lack a significant amount of knowledge when it comes to local guidelines, rules and regulations. By providing all this information upfront, not only will you avoid any conflict later on, but you will also empower your homeowners to make informed decisions and feel in control of their investments. Oh and it will also set you apart as a thought leader in your field. Boom.

Deal with the problem, not the person

Emotions can get the better of us on a good day, so imagine what happens when your homeowner calls you to complain about the tone of your last message to the guest, or that you didn't properly explain how to use the TV

In an industry that relies primarily on human interaction, understanding how to separate the person from the problem is key to successful people management. Instead of threatening, embarrassing, avoiding, or blaming your client when things go pear shaped, try to work with them to un-botch things. This means listening to their concerns, staying calm and offering to help them solve the issue at hand.

Maintain Transparency

Clear and consistent communication with your homeowner is one of the most effective ways to resolve conflict. Whether that’s you or a member of your team, having someone in direct contact with clients builds trust, helps them feel heard and gives them a sense of control. Whether its in the form of a dedicated point of contact, a Whatsapp group or team inbox, it's all about quality of information and timeliness of response.

Lean on support groups

Frustrated over the countless texts your homeowner sends you at 8pm on a Saturday night? A great hack for airing out your grievances in situations that can rile you up is to lean on other property managers for support. Having a network of like-minded people to run thoughts past is invaluable, especially when the alternative is to risk boiling point. We’ve found that having a safe space to let out frustrations before engaging with a client allows us to tackle the issue professionally and calmly.

For more support related to property management and business growth, sign up here for a free trial of our Hometime Platform - a robust property management system that’s intuitive and easy to use.

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