fbpx

Vacation Rental Management Conference: How to hire an Airbnb Virtual Assistant to expand your vacation rental business

How to hire an Airbnb Virtual Assistant to expand your vacation rental business
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

This article is part of our Rental Scale-Up vacation rental management conference series. This is an extract from our April 2020 conference: “Get Your Business Through the COVID-19 Crisis By Discovering How Local Property Managers Resist the Global Coronavirus Epidemic.”

Vacation Rental Management Conference: Personal Villas’ Robert Cracknell

Rob has been working with luxury Caribbean villa rentals for years. In the last years, he experienced hurricanes (Irma, then Maria) which let 40% of his supply out of business for months. He also had to a face a guest-initiated $50,000 cancellation at a very expensive villa, in the high season. Airbnb decided that the case fell under its extenuating circumstances, so there was nothing that the could do. The hurricanes and the forced refunds forced him to create a very lean business model that could sustain seasonality, freak weather, and OTA policies. He will explain to you how he did and why he thinks that adding virtual assistants to your local team can help you save time and offer extended services to your guests. He will also tell you where to find this cheaper and flexible workforce and how to recruit them.

Vacation Rental Management Conference: Video From The 2020 Local Property Manager Conference

  • Robert’s company, Personal Villas, is a reservations management agency that works with approximately 1000 high-end properties in Mexico and the Caribbean, many of which offer on-site services like private chefs, concierges, and housekeeping staff.
  • After a hurricane struck one of his markets, Robert realized the importance of focusing on profitability instead of driving top-line revenues.
  • In a separate instance, Robert received a cancellation at one of his luxury villas via Airbnb which cost him $50,000. Airbnb approved the guest’s request to cancel, citing extenuating circumstances, and refunded the guest without contacting Robert first. When he realized that this policy is standard Airbnb practice, he removed all of his properties from Airbnb to be sure the same situation wouldn’t happen again. Without Airbnb, Robert dedicated his effort to other marketing partners and channels.
  • These two experiences drove Robert to make his business leaner so he could increase profitability. He took a two steps to eliminate costs:
    • Close his brick-and-mortar office and switch to remote work for his entire team
    • Outsource parts of his operations to virtual assistants
  • Robert works with virtual assistants based out of the Philippines due to their English proficiency and high level of education.
  • In Robert’s experience, working with virtual assistants can dramatically reduce your payroll costs.
  • At Personal Villas, virtual assistants handle customer service tasks (on a 24/7 basis) like responding to Vrbo/Booking.com inquiries and concierge emails. They also complete routine, repetitive tasks like loading rates.
  • Virtual assistants can also bring new skill sets to your team, like social media skills.
  • Robert offers some advice to property managers who are interested in bringing virtual assistants into their businesses:
    • First step: identify which tasks to delegate. Property managers can determine which responsibilities they can give to virtual assistants by keeping track of any routine tasks that they do on a regular basis. Then, compile a “training guide” for the tasks, like writing down a step-by-step process or taking a screen recording.
    • Second step: find talent. Post jobs on websites like Upwork or onlinejobs.ph. There are lots of qualified people out there, even people who have vacation rental expertise, with hourly rates between $6 and $10. Robert recommends also looking for someone who fits the personality of your business.
    • Third step: Create test tasks for potential candidates, like uploading photos to a listing, and score candidates on how quickly they respond and how satisfactorily they complete the task. Once you’ve found a good match, Robert recommends starting on a part-time basis (10-20 hours per week). 
  • Now is a great time to bring virtual assistants into your property management business, as businesses are trying to cut down costs in order to survive the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Virtual assistants based around the world can supplement your existing team, like by covering after-hours shifts and completing repetitive tasks, taking tasks off your plate so you can focus on providing support to owners or scouting out new properties.
  • A key to success with virtual assistants is providing great training. Taking time to teach them how to use your channel manager, communicate with your guests, etc. can make a big difference in their performance.
  • Robert shares more tips and best practices at VRhelper.com.

Vacation Rental Management Conference: Full Conversation Between Robert Cracknell And Thibault Masson

Thibault:

Dear Rental Scale-Up members. I’m now joined by Rob, Robert Cracknell who’s the head of Personal Villas funder and match your personal villas. So what’s interesting with Rob is that we share a few things in common, which I love for a very special item called sandbars. So we probably will be taking you through Caribbean and this episode talking about luxury villas, expensive than us and big dangers for property management. We were talking about these unique markets where you have hurricanes for example or where losing a deal can be, can bankrupt you own business. So we were talking about this why because for your property manager right now going through a period where there’s no bookings or you had to deal with refunding being forced to refund money that’s something that Rob has been going through when he will actually actually explain to us how this led him into creating a lean business model for, for his company and share with us some kind of like tricks on how to apply it right now for your business. We’d be talking about one of the biggest thing he does, which is outsourcing part of his business. And we were talking about what can be outsourced. We’ll be talking about doing things on your own, actually finding somebody else who can deal with outsourcing parts of your business. So 

Thibault:

Without further ado, let’s, let’s turn to, to Rob and and welcome you on this episode. How are you,

Robert:

I’m very well Thibault. Thank you so much for having me. Nice to chat with you today.

Thibault:

Yeah. Pleasure to have you. Can you maybe so I try to give a quick introduction. I talk about our favorite Island Sandburg or my favorite Island, st Barts. So then you can eat tennis, know what you’ve done, how you you came to know sandbox so well and w what you what your activities are.

Robert:

Yes, absolutely. So I founded a personal villas in 2015 and personal villas is a reservations management agency. We help property managers generally within between kind of 10 up to about a hundred properties at maximum. And we help them with online exposure. And marketing. So we currently list around a thousand properties in the Caribbean islands and Mexico specifically. We focus on those kind of popular luxury vacation destinations. And the properties that we offer, as you well know, in st Barts are very high end. So kind of our average weekly rental size is about 10 to $12,000 a week. Most of the properties that we offer have full staff, including chefs and housekeeping. We kind of offer all of those extra concierge services really white glove service for VIP clients. Mmm. And yeah, I’ve, you know, starting in 2015 two years later hurricane Irma smacked the Caribbean and I think it was over 50% of the properties that we were currently marketing at that point went completely offline.

Robert:

So this kind of Corona virus that’s happened right now feels somewhat familiar to me and my partners. Mmm. And you know, there’s a lot of other things. I’ve hit the islands as well. It’s seasonality. So we really only have a small season from kind of December until the end of April where you’re really focusing on those months. And obviously people do rent in the, in the summer as well. But dealing with seasonality, dealing with hurricanes, there’s been things like Zika virus that I’ve as well effected traveling the Caribbean. So I definitely where it kind of as a badge of honor working in the Caribbean cause it’s so, it’s so lucrative and wonderful, but it’s difficult.

Thibault:

Yeah. And also to mention, I mean, Irma obviously mean it, it wrecked one my dealers and then about actually home and to be clear rights that oversee hurricane season is, is September, October. And he was like, I think it was 6th of September. I’m pretty sure the date I remember it too high season starts then. So should be Thanksgiving. Sandberg was right. So again, it was like a couple of weeks or a month before the high season. There’s no way. There’s no way he can rebuild villas or Otay. So so it was, it was horrible, but they’ll just for like one month, two month, right. We knew that things had to be revealed. So how was it on your rents to, to go through this? There was like sort of bookings. Could you read direct people to other areas? How did you handle this?

Robert:

Yeah, so I, I think we were a bit lucky. We, we did have some diversification. So for example, we do a lot of great business in, in Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast of Mexico, which wasn’t effected. Mmm. Dominican Republic was another Island that the hurricane kind of hit the wrong side of the Island. And we were lucky. I mean, there was other people obviously affected, but as far as our villas, so I think we were lucky to be a little bit diversified. But, but overall, I mean to all of a sudden have a, a 50, 60% reduction in revenue. No one is expecting that. And we just had to really learn how to cut down expenses. That was the first time. I read a book actually by a guy named Eric Reese called a lean startup right around that time. And it was super inspiring for me too. Take my vacation rental business and figure out how can I strip it down? Mmm. And really just focused on profits. And you know, I think there’s a lot of companies that are, you know, like revenue numbers and like having large revenues as it’s flashy and that sort of thing. But I’m a business at the end of the day, it comes down to profitability. And if you can’t be profitable, you probably won’t be surviving on these kinds of storms.

Thibault:

So, so revenues profitability, sorry, over revenues, right? So you’re, you’re really a lean business model. You talk about Eric Reese’s book, that’s very interesting. So you run these kind of things and a lean business, but sometimes you also hit with other things that natural disasters, which can be, I’d say cases of forced measure or extenuating circumstances. So a lot of property managers have run into issues with some that farmers know can be Airbnb, verbal booking, but basically they’ve lot of, some of them discovered this, the surface. And Susan, I think you, you have a case where you’re writing to these policies earlier and you, you learned this from that. Could you share the story with us?

Robert:

Okay. Yes. So the, the story was and it was with Airbnb and it was their extenuating circumstances policy. And this was two years ago. It was a holiday season rental for a big property in Sandy lane on the West coast of Barbados. And the rental was around $50,000 for the new year’s week Mmm. For the Villa. And the client had booked it through Airbnb, I believe it was around the end of August. And so it was, it was, you know, not super far out for a holiday rental, but we had, you know, a couple months of, of, of waiting Mmm. Two weeks before the guest was due to arrive. So this was something around December 5th I got an, I woke up one morning to an email notification from Airbnb that the booking had been canceled and the funds had been removed out of my Airbnb account. And so I logged into a, essentially negative $50,000 booking.

Robert:

Of course I had already paid out the owner of the Villa. I’m part of the terms that we work with owners is we’re paying them some sort of a deposit upon booking. As a larger manager, we generally would get the funds 60 days prior to checking from Airbnb. So we, we, we weren’t waiting for the funds right upon arrival, we had a bit of leeway. But I was basically out $50,000 and left, I’m completely hanging. The owner was of course left completely hanging. You can’t book a, a new year’s week generally a couple of weeks before the holidays for such a, a high ticket Villa. And so that was the, that was the first time I had ever dealt with that. And it was really frustrating that, you know, some customer agent on the other end of Airbnb, Mmm. Was able to make this decision unilaterally without contacting me as a partner. So that was a big wake up call. I actually removed almost all of our inventory off of Airbnb within that week. I, I just couldn’t build a sustainable business model when that could happen again

Thibault:

Because if I’m not mistaken, basically you, you go to the dashboard and it’s like a big, instead of anger, you’re revenues of the month revenue for the month I left positive and negative and you have, you’re like, okay, how much times could it take me to even put this break even to go back to zero in this, right?

Robert:

Yeah, exactly. In our, and with our average kind of booking size with our commission that we retain on the deals, it was going to take me at least six months just to climb out of that negative hole. So it was essentially do six months of, of bookings without making any money until I can get into the positive on this Airbnb account. So it was, it was a nonstarter for me. I just had to start focusing on, on our other partners and other marketing efforts.

Thibault:

So we talk about the hurricanes. We talked about a big loss again, the year, the results, our friend in the business of something else. So this will lead you to create this Linnaeus model. So now two people watching right now from that, what can, what can they learn? What can they do to adapt their business right now?

Robert:

Yes. So I mean across every sector because of covert 19 businesses have had to work from home. That’s it. That’s a new one that is, is, is really big now. People are setting up home offices and laptops. We’re having zoom meetings and conferences. We’re having to figure out how to communicate with our teams from home. So that was one thing that early on I did actually have a, a physical brick and mortar office for personal villas in Canada for the first couple of years. And it was right around the time of that of hurricane Irma that we decided to go completely mobile and, and you know, have the team each have laptops and use Mmm. Zoom and other things to keep in touch. So part of it was working from home and cutting down on costs of an office. The biggest thing for me that I found though was to start outsourcing parts of my business to virtual assistants.

Robert:

And so for those of you who do not know what virtual assistants are they’re not a computer, they’re real a person based somewhere. Mmm. I chose to start working with the Philippines because I had traveled to the Philippines before and I, I knew it was just such a great country with lovely people. And the level of, at least in my business, English proficiency is, is amazing. Written emails and speaking on the phone and everything. And it’s a very highly educated population. There’s almost everyone that I’ve worked with out there have some sort of business degree or accounting background or something like this. So I, I started hiring virtual assistants. I think the big key points they can significantly reduce your payroll cost. That’s, that’s the biggest one for me. They can provide 24 hour customer service for your agency.

Robert:

And so I know a lot of smaller boutique operations like mine. If you’re the owner operator or you’re a reservations agent, you’re working 24, seven, three 65, I mean, anytime a client has to contact you. And I love getting out in nature. I love camping and these sort of things. And so I was never able to essentially leave my, my desk or my laptop until I got assistance helping me. For me as well, repetitive tasks were a big one. So we have around a thousand listings at personal villas. And so, you know, once or twice a year when all of our partners are updating rates we’re having to go into a thousand different listings and, and change pricing and things like that. So to have assistance who can take these tasks that, you know, might take me one or two minutes per property, but that 2000 minutes, I don’t have that time during my week or month to do. So. I think a lot of repetitive tasks you can outsource. And then the other thing is finding a skills that aren’t necessarily on your team. So I know a lot of smaller property managers might not be able to hire out a social media team. They might not be able to hire out a blogger to do writing and that sort of things. And so by outsourcing to virtual assistants you’re able to do that.

Thibault:

So that’s interesting, right? Because I agree with you. The term virtual assistant can be a first time you run into, it’s first time I run into it, I was like, Ooh, what is that? And basically it’s, you have employees somewhere else, usually in the Philippines, you know great great Greg, great culture of people who are really good at following procedures and a great grade level of English. And but so, so you did this right and, and that helps you lower your costs basically, and even provide even more services or have skills that your company didn’t have basically. Right. So it’s like you said, maybe going hiring a web design agency or it’s kind of things or a writer, you could find this for people again watching now and maybe, you know, they had had to make decisions to reduce staff costs or how, how, I mean, it could be very scary I would say. It was like, wow, wait, wait a minute. You say, I mean you’re the other crisis. Have to look a reinvent myself, but now I’m going to go with unknown people. What, what can I really outsource? How scary is it? How to, how should they think about it?

Robert:

Yeah. So I think there’s a couple ways to think about it. I mean, first of all when I started working with virtual assistants, I was having them do kind of very menial tasks. And to my surprise I’ve grown quite a large team out there over the last couple of years and they have started handling more and more of my business than I ever expected. So that’s kind of the, the really positive thing is that there, I now have assistants who are answering inquiries on my major channel is like VRBO and, and booking.com they’re sending concierge followup emails. They’re really running a large part of my business, which I just never expected. I think a couple of steps and a way to wrap your head around it is, so look at your process, look at your [inaudible] company and see what kind of tasks are very repetitive that I find my team is doing over and over again that, you know, you might be able to outsource.

Robert:

I think the, the very first step of that is starting to document everything that you do in detail. So documenting how, how do you respond to a customer? I mean, I know a lot of people might use channel managers, so they have templates and that sort of thing. So it would literally just be writing down the steps. Where do you go in your channel manager to select the template that you send to customers? Mmm. And so that, you know, that’s how I started. I, I created a Google drive which I had a bunch of different temp templates for with step-by-steps on how to do every single task I could think of with my company for the more complicated tasks, I would use a free program like quick time to screen record my screen as I was doing the task. And so the assistant can see my mouse moving on the page within my software system, whatever you knew is or within my email and just going through the task.

Robert:

Mmm. So that would be the, the first kind of step is to, I guess, identify what tasks you would be interested in outsourcing and then creating kind of a process just like you would be training a new employee in your own office, but you’re just getting it all down on paper. And then the next thing I do is I would create tests, tasks. And so whether it would be updating a new photo album to a property or changing a description or something like that I would create a test task. Now there’s websites out there, there’s recruiters and middlemen who kind of offer virtual assistant services. That is sometimes a good way to go about it. But there’s various websites like Upwork or the one I use is online jobs dot P H and you stick an ad up there and you will be so surprised.

Robert:

You know, I’ve had 50 to a hundred applications within 24 hours of posting a job, so it’s a very hungry market out there. I’m in the Philippines for virtual assistant jobs and I think it’s important to just be super detailed in, in what exactly looking to have them do. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve, I’ve had quite a few applications applicate employees that I’ve hired who had Airbnb experience and they were running Airbnb rentals in, in Metro Manila for their family. They had worked in VRB Oh. Before they’d worked in Airbnb system before. And so to me that was super exciting and that it wasn’t this world away who knew nothing about it. But they actually knew quite a bit about a business in the vacation rental space. Yeah, I have refund enough where if you do go to Upwork, Upwork is a website [inaudible] or cutting out cause you know. Yeah, you’re frozen. So my side your side and you’re back. Good joke back. [inaudible] Yup. Yup. Super nice. Yeah, I think yeah, I can hear you. Okay. I think he’s just when I was on clean to ask a question, right? Yeah, exactly. You’re just about to say, I think. Perfect. All right.

Robert:

I agree. We do Upwork visit keys, a big website where one can find freelancers or from anyone who can fix something on your website to even do some channel knives than work. And funny enough, I agree. Airbnb is actually a skilled, now you can actually find cute as a keyword. Airbnb defined people. So as you said as well, all nine jobs, I don’t, pH is a very famous flip site, full time to find a virtual assistant. So it’s not, it’s not so hard to actually get people to show interest in helping you. I think what’s really hard is selecting the right ones. Right? Because there’s so much demand and, and so how, how does one do this? Yes. So along with those test tasks, so what I would do is I would pay, you know, 20 different applicants who I would think were, were kind of fitting my organization.

Robert:

I would send them something like $10 by PayPal and say, here’s a task that you can go and do for an hour. And I would, you know, kind of score them on how quickly they’re getting back to me. Even if I said, Oh no rush or, you know, take a day or two to get back to me, I would see who’s, who’s interested in actually doing this task right away and the quality of the work. And then once I’ve selected a candidate, I think it’s important to just start with part time hours. Just start them off really slowly. I pay them via PayPal on a weekly or a monthly basis. And I think by having someone just support you for 10 or 20 hours a week, you can start to see all these tasks that they can, they can do for your business.

Robert:

Another thing is do they kind of fit your, your organization? I think personal villas is really a, I mean like all vacation rentals. We’re very customer centric and we’re selling, we’re selling dreams. I’m not selling apartments in some city. We’re selling vacations. It’s supposed to be sunny and smiley. And I add a lot of exclamation marks and emojis and smiley faces in my emails and we’re just trying to make it really fun. So whenever I write an email like that to an application and an applicant with say, exclamation marks or smileys are they writing back to me and kind of mirroring the same. And I’ve had some people that write back to me and kind of pick up on that. That’s subconscious. This is a vacation company and this is supposed to be fun. So so between that and, and, and starting them off slow and part time, I mean, the nice thing is they’re generally or no contracts. It’s not like an employee that you might have in your home country. And so whether it’s just you’re starting them off with 10 or 20 hours to say, Hey, let’s test this out and see how this relationship works. Mmm. You know, it’s, it’s easy cause you can dip your foot in the water and not have to completely jump in with it. Mmm.

Thibault:

It’s something we have not mentioned yet, of course. So one of the reasons is to find people. It’s flexible. It’s, so there’s the cost issue. So because one of the w why would we want to do that also because it’s also cheaper, I guess, center raising in the sea in Europe.

Robert:

What’s the amounts we are talking about here? Yeah. So for more basic it may, the Strait of tasks you can, you can hire out really competent people at at five, $6 an hour. Mmm. And you can, you know, for, for employees, I think that you really bring into your organization that have been with you. I’ve had a couple of employees that had been with me for over two years now and there are, you know, edging up closer to $10 an hour. So

Thibault:

Independently set or re of how about how much?

Robert:

About 800 us to a thousand us a month. And that’s for, that’s for a full time employee. I’ve actually moved my virtual assistants too, a salary. So I kind of am trying to bring them even more as part of my organization and saying, you know, what, if you me to take Friday off what you’re going to work Saturday or you know, I, I’m a bit more flexible with some of the hours that they work and it’s really quite incredible. My imp, my, my manager is now there are now making about 40% more then a police officer would in their province in the Philippines. So, not only is it a huge win for me but it really feels good because I’m seeing their family be able to purchase their first car and get a mortgage and things that I don’t think they had expected at this point in their life. But it’s, it’s really a win win.

Thibault:

Hmm. Yeah. And so

Robert:

Right now I’m property manager.

Thibault:

I’ve all these issues. Maybe you have to cut on staff, so I can try you just say, I really liked the way you described how to get, you know, get a foot into this, but what would be the division is saying six months from now is said demand comes back, is the vision, like I outsource everything on my task and like no more employees or what, what do you think could be a, a good way to think about it for a property manager?

Robert:

Yeah, so I think right now is the time that a lot of business are needing to reinvent themselves to survive this coven 19. And so I think now is the best time ever to bring a virtual assistant into your organization. And start to test it out. I think as you grow, you’re on the ground employees and you’re, your kind of core team is still important. But I would see this as a way to scale up your operation with a lot less overhead. And I think if you can bring some assistance into your organization now when it’s slow, you also have the added benefit of really being able to train them. And like with any weed, like with anything else, if you can’t train your people properly, they’re never going to do well for you. And so I think for all these people that are sitting around right now that may have a little bit of cash in their organization to test out some new things I think this is the absolute best time. And I think as you grow, you can keep them on your team and Mmm. And continue to grow your operations. I mean, if you’re, if you’re having way less hours that your employees are having to do on certain tasks, they can focus more on finding new property listings or upping your services.

Thibault:

So, if I understand correctly, the way you’re organized, right, your court, do you have a coach, you have employees, but they all are working from home. So there’s no costs, no office costs. And also you have another team which is in the Philippines and who’s providing either either kind of things that you guys can’t do skills wise, skill wise, or they working at different, you know, different time zone or different times that’s enabling you to also reply to inquiries evening on the weekend. That’s how the description, how you’re organized.

Robert:

Yeah. Yep. That’s exactly it. So we have our core team, we have a North American based team. We have partners and concierge is in each of the islands in the Caribbean who service the clients. And then the Philippines team started mostly with updating web listings and data management and email management. So answering some of the easier emails that were coming into our organization. But yes, that’s the, the, the thing that I’ve started to really focus on is having them do everything that our North American team would do, but just on evenings and weekends, they work the exact opposite schedule. A lot of workers in the Philippines have worked for large American like AIG insurance or a certain call centers. And so they’re used to working that overnight shift. So I think for a lot of organizations, I’m having 24, seven support, answering your inquiries, answering your phone calls.

Robert:

I would even go so far as to say that organizations can have 24, seven emergency phone lines that you can outsource to the Philippines and have one of your assistants answer any calls that might come in from guests who are say, checking in late and might not be able to figure out the lockbox. Mmm. Obviously it is, they can’t, they don’t know the properties as well as you, so they can’t necessarily, Mmm. Figure out every single issue. But it’s, it’s at least another barrier between you having to get that phone call at 1:00 AM if you can have someone in the Philippines try to troubleshoot and maybe help the client with the check-in. Or at least your client knows that you have someone on your team who is fielding their requests, hearing their concerns, and we’ll obviously get back to the clients in the morning after they’ve discussed with your team. But I think in a service industry, just having a voice that customers can speak to on the weekends and in the evenings is, is really important.

Thibault:

Hmm. So before we go into holiday, you can help protein managers set this up. Is there a type of property managers for whom it’s not a good face? Who do you think, what kind of project managers for whom this kind of outsourcing is not a good fit?

Robert:

That’s a good question. I honestly think whether I have a friend here in Canada who manages 20 Airbnb units in a city he started using an assistant to help with some of his processes and, and social media posting. Mmm. I honestly think that any type of business, I mean even not even talking about vacation rentals for a minute, I think that any organization in 2020 should be using virtual assistants in their work force. Mmm. I think perhaps a small mom and pop shop who only have a few properties you know, you might not have the overhead to pay anything, but for anyone who has a couple employees out there I think that you should really look into virtual assistants. Especially during a time like this where we have a lot more time on our hands.

Thibault:

Yeah. So it could be a way, if the magic comes back, if you can’t really hire your whole team straight away, you will already have someone had been out. Even if you were maybe smaller knowing you have good already, add someone to your core team, you kept to start expanding and see how it goes. So yeah, Rob, you will actually also so you, you’re doing this for yourself, but you are, so you you have capacity to assume do this for, can you maybe share with how, what ways, like what to expect from that?

Robert:

Yes, absolutely. So it was actually before this covert 19 thing happened. I was already starting to wrap my brain around creating an organization where I can help property managers and vacation rental companies kind of hire and manage their virtual assistants. So I do have team right now which has capacity to, to help organizations. And so if anyone is interested in working with virtual assistants, they can reach out to me. I’ve created a document with a little bit more information on how you can do it yourself with all the steps that I took to get my virtual assistants onboarded and trained and, you know, become a part of my family, my business family. But if you would like, you know, if this just seems completely overwhelming to you you can reach out to me and we can discuss a kind of custom plan for your business, whether it’s 10 hours a week, whether it’s, you know, 40 hours a week or, or whether you’re looking to bring someone on full time for the, for the future.

Robert:

I’d love to speak with you and can help you set up with virtual assistants, get them trained. My virtual assistants are trained, have, I’ve worked with a couple of different channel managers but we can get them pretty quickly trained on I think any type of system. Just like you would, again, a regular employee, we do have to allow maybe a couple of weeks to get them up to speed. But again, due to this being a very slow time for business for all of us, I think it’s the best time to get them trained up.

Thibault:

Yeah. Also on that. No, it’s, it’s so, and the, the, the, the paper you talked about the immunities, this white paper, the sheet there’s going to be a link to it under the videos. People can easily find it. Yeah. So that’s correct. So that’s interesting what you’re saying around also as well is that what we see that some in some of the videos of these kind of friends that some property managers are looking at their skills and say, okay can I offer the skills to other companies and make, have some revenues, sag revenues from that. Right. Which in a way, what, what you, what you’re doing as well, why you really for yourself that can open up to other people. Just like some companies [inaudible] companies can open have also in the past we’ve seen them opening their air cleaning services or other property companies, right?

Thibault:

Or their concierge services for their protein matches. So, so in a way it’s not that different to what some property managers have been doing for other kinds of services. So that’s another way to think about it. Also to think, okay, maybe as a property manager is there other things I can be doing right now that’s, that can be, that can create some revenues. For my business. It’s another way to think about it. It may not be linked to travel. Maybe a need to design skills if you are web designers and he in this case can be like outsourcing. So that’s, that’s, that’s very interesting. Yeah,

Robert:

The same to interrupt my same friend who manages a bunch of units in, in Vancouver, in Canada, his cleaning service that he used for the past four years actually went bankrupt due to COVID-19. And so he is creating his own, a separate cleaning company right now that his agency will hire out in the future. So I think there is opportunity if in your kind of a chain of companies that you work with, if there are some partners that may not be there in the future. I definitely think it’s a great time to kind of maybe broaden the, the scope of what organizations are, are offering.

Thibault:

That’s very interesting to hear. Again, Rob, because again, we have this very positive tone and that’s really the tone we want to bring out in this conference, right? It’s for a lot of us, it’s survival mode. Clearly time it’s being calm and think how to think about how to adapt where to cut costs, where to reinvent some of the business, how to make money in some existing pieces of the business. That’s something we’ve heard, right? People saying, you know what, I’m going to use my protein management skills to going knock, knock at the door, this big resorts next door. They have no clue. I look at, it’s a Andrew in values telling a in a video that this, this, he went on Airbnb. And so the way these results were handling the listings, like I can do so much for them and suddenly you become consultants for these people and the mouth or what you’re saying.

Thibault:

So it’s, it’s also, that’s energy I think, which I, I’ve been very impressed with. Interviewing you, Robin. The people is like, of course entrepreneurs have this strength and this willingness to adapt. It’s not going to be easy for sure for everyone. And just also mention here in this example, right, some companies probably most companies will disappear. Even some suppliers and again this guy in this case, so it’s like having to adapt is is a key key thing and try out new stuff right now. Getting started, you explained earlier getting started something a little maybe a repetitive task, there’s not too much risk, not too much. Cost is maybe a good way to get started. Maybe in six months, a year from now I’ll have something a bit different from the old business model we had. So I did say that ended the video. I would put a link to to the getting the, the paper that you’ve created for us. Thanks to that by the way. How else can people reach out to you?

Robert:

Yeah, I will provide my, my email to you. I actually have a, a website for this new kind of organization. It’s VRhelper.com.

Robert:

So I’ll provide my email address and the website there which has a lot more information and resources for property managers and vacation rental companies.

Thibault:

We’re looking to start working with virtual assistants. Cool. yeah, that’s very, very helpful, Rob. Thanks a lot. So I do hope that we can actually meet in St. Barts very soon. Absolutely. Both away from the islands. So hopefully, yeah, I was supposed to be down there this, this month, so I’m a little bit bummed out right now, but I’m saying I’m staying positive. We’re going to, we’re going to bounce back stronger than ever. Yup. So once again, thank you for your time and all the links, everything we’ve talked about would be in there. Even the link to the lean startup model. Everything will be in the notes. And I wish you the best. Take care. Thank you so much. Bye. Bye.

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Table of Contents

On Key

Related Posts

Actionable insights

Take the Right Decisions for Your Rental Business thanks to our Weekly Industry Brief.

Exclusive newsletter for rental entrepreneurs.