We always hear stories from industry leaders about the different ways they have grown and scaled their short-term rental (STR) businesses. Some have podcasts, some blogs, and others sell step-by-step programs, but one major key to their success is all the same: To grow, you must have a standardized procurement process. This ensures that every experience is consistent—a guest staying in one unit should have the same level of experience as a guest staying at a different time in a different unit.
And as guest expectations increase, it is important to make sure you are using the same vendors and processes over and over again, so you can provide uniformity while streamlining your unit setup, turnover, and maintenance processes.
Here are some tips to make your procurement as efficient as possible.
Unit Setup: Lather, Rinse, Repeat
If the thought of setting up your short-term rental business from scratch is overwhelming, you are not alone. This is hard work, and there are a lot of steps that need to be taken before you’ll feel ready to list it online.
To start, determine which of these three categories best describes your units: basic, mid, or luxe. Will they be all about an economic stay? Will they cater to those who might otherwise stay in a Marriott-type hotel? Or will they be aimed at those looking for a special, high-end experience?
From here, you can select the appropriate vendors for your category. Choose furniture and amenities that feel pertinent to the level of stay you wish to offer, and browse comparable listings and see what types of things and brands they offer.
And, most importantly, choose brands that you can purchase the same products from repeatedly, season after season. Not needing to always source new vendors and products saves you time and money and ensures guests won’t be surprised by a difference between your photos and the actual rental.
Plus, when you set up one unit and you know what works, you can easily duplicate it for other units. There’s no need to redo your entire shopping list or setup process.
Linens: Bulk Is Your Best Friend
Linens are so important for guest experience and securing good ratings, but they can also cause issues if not properly managed. When ordering linens, it is important to take into account the number of beds and guests the property sleeps. From there you should order at least three extra sets of bedding per bed and towels per guest so that you have plenty of inventory for turnover and in case of accidents.
Because of the amount of linens an STR requires, we recommend buying in bulk over individual sheet sets. You are always going to need more linens, so while buying in bulk may be a slightly higher upfront cost, it will be a huge savings to your bottom line down the road.
Keep in mind, when you buy from a general bulk retailer, like Costco, you will need to wash and dry the linens when they arrive. Instead, consider purchasing from a hospitality-based supplier that has a pre-laundered option.
Inventory Management: If it Ain’t Broke …
Avoid reinventing the wheel each time you go to restock products or buy new furniture. Make an inventory of all items in each unit. Categorize it into priority groups so you understand which items you need to order more frequently and what takes more time to arrive. And stick to a regular auditing schedule so you know you’re always up to date.
When you need to restock, have a standardized ordering procedure, and stick to the same vendors. Since you’ve already selected vendors where you know you can reorder the same products, this process should be a breeze.
Standardization = Success
While following the same processes and always offering the same amenities may feel repetitive, it ensures a uniform guest experience and helps you save time and money. Efficient procurement is the key to taking your STR business to the next level.
Jeff Iloulian is the CEO and co-founder of HostGPO.