Hospitality Cost Control: A Guide To Maintain Maximum Efficiency, Get The Most From Your Team & Cut Costs

Keep your spending down with these short-term rental tech solutions

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The hospitality labor shortage is a real concern, and short-term rental operators aren’t immune to its effects. You may find yourself having to pay higher wages to secure an employee, just for them to leave you a few months later. But you don’t have to fall victim to the current state of the job market. 

With the right hospitality tech solutions, you can still effectively manage your operations with fewer management and cleaning staff while saving time and money on scheduling and guest communication.

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Why are labor costs so much higher in hospitality?

The hospitality industry has been hit especially hard by recent labor shortages. Part of the explanation is the sector’s annual turnover rate of over 73%—higher turbulence in the job market means having to pay more to secure a qualified worker. 


Higher turnover rates, rising wages, and scarcity of staff members make it hard to fill open positions in the short-term rental industry, but there are a couple of ways you can protect your business and keep it operating in a sustainable manner in these times. 

Graph displaying average turnover rates in the hospitality and leisure industry from January-May 2022, as well as annual rate.
Turnover rates in the hospitality industry have wavered around 7% per month during the first half of 2022.

How the labor shortage affects the short-term rental industry and the host experience

While all industries are experiencing high numbers of unfilled job openings, hospitality jobs are especially vulnerable. As of May 2022, the total rate of job openings across all industries was 6.9%, while the leisure and hospitality business had a job opening rate of 9.2%.  


A lot of people left the hospitality industry during the Coronavirus pandemic, and new opportunities, often with better conditions, have been drawing workers away from the hospitality industry. So what impact does this have on the host experience?


For short-term rental hosts and property managers, this may mean you simply can’t get enough employees to cover your properties. And while you’re scrambling just to cover the basics of your business, scaling it probably isn’t on your radar. 


How guests are impacted by hospitality staffing issues

Hospitality staffing shortages don’t just affect hosts—they impact the experiences of your guests as well. A cleaning worker shortage, for example, could mean haphazardly cleaned units, or units that fall through the cracks between reservations. 


Or a lack of management workers may mean that not all reservations are recorded, routine maintenance checks are forgotten, and wait times for guest inquiries are way longer than they should be. Hospitality workers are essential to the guest experience: When you don’t have enough of them or don’t replace them with the right digital solution, the guest experience suffers. 


How to calculate labor costs for your short-term rental business

The key to calculating labor costs for your short-term rental business is homing in on the minuscule details. Instead of categorizing your staffing expenses by role, for example, break your employees’ hours down by tasks completed. 


So with your cleaning staff, that could look like comparing the time spent on a post-check-out clean vs. a mid-stay clean. And with your maintenance staff, track how long they spend responding to guest inquiries, doing staff scheduling, and meeting guests for check-in.


Once you itemize your labor costs, you can begin to look for solutions that help you minimize the number of staff members needed for each task and cut back on expenses. 


How to keep operating costs under control

The hospitality labor shortage means higher pay demands from employees, but there are still ways to keep your operating costs under control. Your best solution is to use hospitality tech and take advantage of all the ways it can help you streamline your operations and still manage your business with fewer staff. 


With the right solution, you can save time on operational tasks like cleaning staff scheduling, responding to guest inquiries, and keeping track of new reservations. This means you can be just as, if not more, successful with fewer staff members, all while improving efficiency and accuracy. 


How to control costs on your short-term rental

As we mentioned, hospitality tech solutions are one of the best ways to control your short-term rental operations costs. Take a look at a few ways you can harness the power of hospitality tech to minimize expenses. 


Automate staff scheduling

Without an automated solution, managing your cleaning schedule to cater to last-minute booking requests is stressful and unscalable. But when you find a comprehensive tool that integrates with your PMS and generates flawless cleaning schedules, you can reduce reliance on management staff and even get by with fewer cleaners. 


Aside from automated scheduling, the right solution should also 


  • Sync with all your bookings across OTAs
  • Do schedule forecasting to get ahead of scheduling
  • Have workload balancing capabilities to ensure your staff are working equal hours
  • Offer time tracking, invoicing, and billing features
  • Create linen packing reports

A housekeeping software solution can help you ensure a guest never shows up to a unit that hasn’t been properly cleaned, and it makes your job as a property manager significantly easier. Plus, less time needed for scheduling means cutting back on management costs.

Operto Teams task scheduling calendar
Operto Teams offers automated task management, so scheduling is no longer a headache or hassle.

Pro tip: find a tool that factors in the location of your unit, which gives your cleaners a more efficiently planned day.

Discover the power of schedule automation, forecasting, and optimization with Operto Teams, an all-in-one operations solution for short-term rental property managers.

Digitize meet & greets and provide remote access

One of the best ways to save time, cut back on costs, and streamline your operations is by providing contactless access. Smart locks allow guests to access units without the need for anyone to be onsite, saving you and your team time and money and making the check-in process quicker and easier for guests. 


Some short-term rental operators may leave their keys at a nearby locale so they don’t have to be personally present for every check-in. But this can lead to a negative experience for guests who aren’t keen on running around a foreign city trying to locate their keys when all they want to do is check into their unit and rest after a long day of travel. 


Smart locks are the perfect solution to this dilemma, as they give your guests the convenience of a smooth check-in without requiring anyone from your staff to be present. A remote access solution is also essential if you’re hoping to scale your business in a sustainable manner—meeting every guest on-site simply isn’t possible when you’re managing dozens of units. 


To complement a smart lock solution, be sure to choose the right guest communication tool so your guests have access to you even if they never see you face-to-face.

Operto Guest mobile key
Operto Guest allows for enhanced check-in, so you don’t have to worry about who’s gaining access to your vacation home.

Enjoy smart keyless access that connects directly to your PMS with Operto Tech.

Streamline guest communication

For better communication and to reduce staffing needs, use a digital hospitality solution. With the right guest communication tool, you can significantly cut down on guest questions by providing them with a digital guide that gives them all the information they need, right at their fingertips. 


That means your management staff can operate more efficiently, focusing on the basic necessities of running your business and working towards improving and scaling it, rather than constantly tending to guests’ needs. 


Plus, a digital hospitality solution will allow you to give your guests remote access, meaning they can enjoy a more efficient check-in process and you can devote less of your resources to letting guests into their units. 

Operto Guest digital guidebooks
Give your guests more independence (and take pressure off your staff) by proactively sharing important information via a digital guidebook.

Protect your assets

One of the best ways to cut down on costs is by protecting your assets. When you have a better idea of who’s staying at your units, it’s more likely that they’ll be taken care of, meaning less money spent on repairing your property and replacing its contents. 


That’s why you need to include guest verification as a part of your guests’ check-in process. This can easily be incorporated into a digital check-in workflow, so it doesn’t cause an inconvenience to your guests and you get peace of mind knowing who’s entering your units. 


Another great solution to safeguard your properties is a noise monitoring tool that alerts you when the noise levels at your units get out of hand. Noise monitoring devices safeguard your properties from unruly house parties and unapproved guests so you can cut back on repair costs and keep your expenses under control.

Image of guest accepting rules
Connected software can ensure guests pass security checks and accept the house rules before check-in

With Operto Guest, enjoy a digital front desk equipped with guest verification so you know exactly who’s gaining access to your property.

Hospitality tech: The solution to labor shortages

To meet current staffing challenges, you need to go beyond trying to recruit more employees. Sacrificing the guest experience isn’t an option, so you need to find a solution that allows you to give your guests the experience they expect with less staff. 


By leveraging hospitality tech and automation, you can optimize your processes and operational efficiency without having to worry about hiring more employees. A guest experience solution that centralizes your management tools and operational oversight is your answer to the challenges of hospitality labor shortages.

Operto’s all-in-one solution can take on the jobs of multiple staff members, saving you time, money, and headaches.