most frequently asked questions
There are a lot of questions that come up on a given call. A lot of these questions can be answered rather easily. This FAQ page will be consistently updated to reflect any new changes that come up.
+ WHICH AIR CONCIERGE SERVICE IS RIGHT FOR ME?
We offer 3 levels of services, suited to the type of property and the type of owner/client and their needs. Our entry level service is Assist. It is an online only service that utilizes our expertise and around the clock management support before, during and after a reservation. Read about Air Concierge Assist here.
Our most common service is Air Concierge Standard. This is the service that most homes and owners will qualify for an enjoy. This is our 'do-everything' service, including on site and online. Read about our Standard service here.
Lastly, for our highest end homes (starting at $1000/night) we offer Air Concierge LUXE. This is our Standard service (at a discount) and involving more high level touch services for our property owners and homes. Read about LUXE here.
+ HOW CAN I QUALIFY FOR AIR CONCIERGE?
We take great care and concern for our owner clients, their homes and our shared guests. We also invest a tremendous amount of time, energy and resources into each of our properties. For that reason we maintain a simple but effective strategy for deciding which properties and owners we represent;
"We will always represent A+ properties and A+ clients. We will even sometimes represent lower quality homes, but we will never represent lower quality clients."
This is a challenging enterprise and we view our clients as our partners. Having a solid foundation and working relationship is critical to our mutual success.
+ WHAT CITIES/STATES DOES AIR CONCIERGE OPERATE IN?
+ WHAT DOES THE AIR CONCIERGE SERVICE INCLUDE? WHAT DO YOU DO FOR VACATION RENTAL OWNERS?
We handle photography, listing the home, inquiries, bookings, marketing, guest meet and greets, check out walkthroughs, housekeeping and maintenance. We are doing everything we can to help you generate as much revenue as possible from your rental and save you time by doing most/all of the work for you. This includes arranging the cleaning, responding to guest issues before, during and after their stay, calling in the handyman, plumber, electrician, and landscaper when needed. We have staff in the area that can go to and from the home, meet with guests, oversee cleanings and generally be your eyes and ears to the home. We respond to guest requests and handle all accounting and reporting on a monthly basis for your review.
+ HOW MUCH DOES AIR CONCIERGE CHARGE FOR MANAGING MY HOME?
We earn a 12% -20% commission (depending on which service you opt for) calculated only on the nightly rate charged to the guest. Thus our fee does not include any other fees charged to the guest, such as cleaning fee, or any refundable fees or deposits.
+ DOES AIR CONCIERGE MEET THE GUESTS IN PERSON?
YES, FOR OUR LUXE HOMES. NO FOR OUR ASSIST SERVICE.WE TRY. BUT IT'S NOT GUARANTEED AND IS DIFFICULT TO ACCOMPLISH.
We coordinate and arrange with every guest to be at the property at the time of their arrival. That coordination begins at the time of the booking and then again prior to the day of check in and when possible on the day of check in as well.
Of course in instances where guests might be drastically delayed due to flight or traffic issues, generally arriving late night, failures to respond to our messages, loss of cell/email contact, mobile battery power issues, or just outright unresponsiveness, instead we will use best practices to admit them into the property and confirm their arrival via e-communications.
In addition, we also will go to the property ahead of the guest arrival to ensure the home is rental ready and the cleaning was done professionally. We refer to this as the pre-arrival walkthrough.
+ DOES AIR CONCIERGE HAVE STAFF NEARBY IF SOMETHING HAPPENS?
Yes. This is one of our main features we offer our clients that many competitors (who charge less) do not. We think it's the most important function in selecting a property manager. Having eyes and ears on site and nearby, 24/7/365 is critical to our client's well being, as well as their home and our own.
+ WHAT ARE THE MAIN DIFFERENTIATORS BETWEEN AIR CONCIERGE AND ITS COMPETITORS?
We've never lost a single client to any competitor. Yet, we've gained about 15% of our clientele from other managers.
Our responsiveness and speed, and quality of service. As evidenced by our same hour reply emails and call backs at all hours of the day, all days of the week. We maintain this speed and responsiveness with not just our owner clients, but our guest travelers as well. We not only perform the 'online' portions of Airbnb & vacation rental services (responding to inquiries, optimizing listings, publishing listings across a host of platforms, dealing with 24/7 around the clock guest issues), but also 'on site' needs, including maintenance, cleaning, damage and household consumables restocking and placement. Our competitors often outsource their support to foreign countries, creating language barriers and response time drop offs. Our competitors don't necessarily perform services on site, guest meet and greets, walkthroughs following checkouts, damage / security deposit investigation and reporting.
Our team talent: Competitors try and copy our service, our pricing software (most don't even have an smart pricing algorithm), and they try and copy almost everything. What they can’t copy is the quality of people we get, grow, and keep on our team (and now yours) and the relationships we create with our clients. Talent is one of the only sustainable competitive advantages in business and ours is head and shoulders above the rest.
Pricing Software. In today's online travel booking world, everything is dynamic and changing. Managers that create a 'set it and forget it' pricing structure for your home are likely costing you at best 10% and at worst 40% of your potential revenue. Our software however allows for daily dynamic pricing changes that is much more akin to how airlines and hotels work. This not only results in more bookings, at better prices, but has the off label benefits having to do with search engine rankings and results. Other insight that is critical is that our software evaluates the time of year, day of week, length of stay, how much inquiry activity the home is seeing, how far in advance the booking is from the check in date, comparable homes in the area and their occupancy and pricing, and hotels as well. In addition, we work with our clients on manually inserting a minimum nightly rate (never allowing the software to go below that number) and a base rate, the nightly rate which goes up and down based on the above factors, in near-real time.
Fees. Our fees are straightforward and simple. We simply charge our fee only off the nightly rate charged to the guest. Our competitors base their fee on all charges to the guest which may include (cleaning fee, TOT tax, pet fees, credit card fees, etc.). In addition, other managers have fees charged to you for laundering, placing consumables in the home, and credit card charges. Lastly, other managers that arrange your household vendors (pest spray, pool/hot tub, gardening/landscape, etc.) may also mark up for these services when charged to you.
On Site Staffing. We have dedicated and full time staff in each region we operate. Competitors that offer discounted fee typically only perform the online services (responding to guest booking requests, managing the online portion of the property) but do not perform on site duties, which is where a property manager's true value is maintained. We offer a high-level regional manager for each of our territories. We have dedicated cleaning and maintenance staff (not outsourced) that enable us to control the entire rental ecosystem and oversight of your home. We physically enter the home before and after reservations to observe its condition, check the supplies, and ensure there are no major missing items or that damage has occurred.
+ WHAT DOES THE CHECK OUT WALKTHROUGH CONSIST OF?
Our check out walk through involves an Air Concierge team member going to the property following the guest check out and either before, during or after the Air Concierge cleaning. A review of the home to look for obvious damage or signs of smoking, additional persons (beyond those clarified in the reservation), a review of the household supplies, and ensure cleaning and preparation for next guests is handled
+ HOW DOES AIR CONCIERGE PROTECT MY HOME?
- Air Concierge is insured with a 1M E&O policy
- Air Concierge has a 1M policy available to it when taking Airbnb reservations
- Air Concierge clients have their own short term renters policies
- Air Concierge requires security deposits (usually $500-$1000 (some properties, much higher)
- Air Concierge may require guests to purchase a damage protection policy ($1500- $5000 in coverage)
+ DO YOU TAKE AN INVENTORY OF EVERYTHING IN MY HOME BEFORE MY FIRST RESERVATION?
For insurance purposes, you will want to photograph each room in your home and ensure separate, up close shots of any item that is of value. You will not only take a photo of the item but any identifying (model, serial number, e.g.) information. For reimbursement purposes, original receipts are required. If the item is irreplaceable, or likewise has sentimental value beyond its fair market value, you should seriously consider not leaving it in the home. We do not perform an inventory review of the home before and after each guest. Over time you will note that towels and linens may become stained or otherwise worn. You may notice things like tupperware or silverware go missing, towels may discolor / stain over time as will linens. This is the cost of doing business and any replacement or repairs can be offset against any rental income. Most household items, even in multi million dollar homes can be furnished with Target, HomeGoods, Costco and Bed Bath & Beyond quality items.
+ HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET STARTED?
For clients who have never had their home listed online or, who already are listed, we will work to either create a new profile for your property on our platform as well as potentially 4-6 others, or move your listing to our profile on various platforms, or take over the oversight of your currently existing profile. In order to do so, we must migrate the listing to our back end guest reservation and pricing system. *Our on boarding fee is an upfront fee that binds us together as partners.
GET STARTED HERE.
+ DO I HAVE TO SIGN A CONTRACT TO GET STARTED?
We ask our prospective clients to become an official client by on boarding via our website here. By purchasing the onboarding package you will agree to the terms and conditions found here. That is our contract.
+ HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WORK WITH AIR CONCIERGE WHEN I SIGN UP?
We typically require a 90 day probationary period. We consider this period so that we can each determine if we are a good fit for one another, both personality wise amongst the clients and the Air Concierge staff as well as the guests who travel to the home and the home itself. Additionally, Air Concierge expends a tremendous amount of legwork early on in order to get a home listed on the many different platforms. This may included preparing and arranging professional photography, high quality electronic guest and staff house packets as well as a hard copy, making consistent visits to the home even prior to an initial reservation, responding to owner emails, sharing/offering our outside vendor contacts including tax and insurance representatives. To find out in a few weeks after contracting that said owner has had a change of heart and no longer wishes to explore vacation / short term rental would leave Air Concierge vulnerable and at a loss.
+ ARE THERE ANY HIDDEN FEES OR MARKUPS ON SERVICES YOU OFFER?
In short, no.
But here's what you should know about other managers: Many/most of our competitors charge a higher fee, AND in addition they calculate their fee on top of all charges to a guest. Air Concierge only charges its fee on the nightly rate. Additionally we do not upcharge on maintenance work (parts or labor) whereas many/most of our competitors charge marked up rates. We do not charge on laundering or the household supplies acquired for the home (these costs are passed directly to our clients without markup). We do not charge for our time when we have to acquire household items (as part of our routine restocking of the home). Please note, if we are required to go to the home for something unrelated to a vacation rental guest, we do have an hourly fee in place. This is most commonly due to construction, plumbing, electrical, gas, or other high level repair needs requiring someone to be at the home to meet and oversee the appropriate vendor.
+ ARE THERE ANY CANCELLATION FEES IF AIR CONCIERGE HAS CONFIRMED A RESERVATION AND I DECIDE NOT TO HOST ANY LONGER?
At all costs cancellations should be avoided. They tremendously impact the guest who has made the booking and likely other travel arrangements (flights, rental cars) and may involve many more people than just the guest that booked your home. In addition, Air Concierge suffers tremendously. To prevent this and from compensating for the work that is required to salvage the damage caused by a cancellation, Air Concierge has a $2,500 reservation cancellation fee. Our cancellation fee isn't meant to make us rich, it's meant to cover us for the irreparable damage that a cancellation causes to our reputation and online search result ranking - which is the bloodline of our business and our client's. In addition to the backtracking and make up work that must be done to overcome such a scarlet letter, it's a long, winding road we must overcome just to get back to even, that can take months of double and triple time work.
+ ARE THERE ANY EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES SO THAT THERE ARE NO CANCELLATION FEES?
In many cases cancellation fees can be avoided if the reason for the cancellation is:
- Unexpected death or serious illness of a host, guest or immediate family member
- Serious injury that directly restricts a guest’s ability to travel or a host’s ability to host
- Significant natural disasters or severe weather incidents impacting the location of destination or location of departure
- Urgent travel restrictions or severe security advisories issued after the time of booking, by an appropriate national or international authority (such as a government office or department)
- Endemic disease declared by a credible national or international authority (such as the US Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization)
- Severe property damage or unforeseen maintenance issues that directly impact the ability to host safely
- Government-mandated obligations issued after the time of booking (ex: jury duty)
These are reviewed independently, require sufficient documentary evidence and may ultimately be decided by not only Air Concierge staff but the listing platform as well in which the reservation was made (Airbnb.com, VRBO.com, Flipkey.com, Booking.com, etc).
+ CAN I, AS THE HOMEOWNER, STIPULATE STRICT RULES (LIKE NO PETS AND NO SMOKING, MINIMUM AGE REQUIREMENTS?)
Yes! In fact when we get close to launching your property and going live we will spend ample time going through all of the traditional rules we typically have guest's abide by as well as any specific to your real property and your personal property.
+ WHO PAYS THE TOT (HOTEL TAX)?
For certain sites, like Airbnb, for certain regions, TOT is charged to the guest and paid directly to the City (San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles eg.), whereas in other cities (Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Newport Beach, eg.) the TOT is not charged to the guest. In such cases, the TOT responsibility is that of the owner to remit to the City timely.
Other websites like Homeaway.com or VRBO.com allow the manager/owner to charge the TOT to the guest and then collect that amount. However, not only is it the responsibility of the owner to then pay the TOT to the city, a different calculation method may be required to arrive at the proper TOT as some fees and income items may not be taxable in the platform.
+ DOES AIR CONCIERGE RESPOND TO GUEST INQUIRIES?
Yes. Immediately. Within minutes. Sometimes faster. We are even specially recognized by websites like Airbnb for our 100% rating for response times within 24hrs. Over the course of the past year. Which covers 1000s of inquiries.
+ WHO PAYS THE CLEANING FEES?
Each guest/reservation is charged a cleaning fee as part of their stay. We arrive at the pre-determined amount with our cleaners based on the size/time a standard cleaning should take for your home including outdoor areas, laundry, appliance wipe-down, organization and staging. We then pay to the cleaners this amount. In instances in which our cleaners must charge more (excessive dirtiness, abnormal cleaning, etc.) we will work with the guests to recoup those extra costs or reach into the security deposit when applicable.
+ IF I AM THE OWNER CAN I CLEAN THE HOME MYSELF AFTER I STAY?
In a word, no. Why? Because there's no standard of process. We can't guarantee that the cleaning will be done to the standard that a vacation rental guest expects. Should there be issues, the guest may be entitled to a refund or credit. Thus, we require our professional cleaners to handle all guest (family, friends and paying guests).
+ CAN AIR CONCIERGE MANAGE MY HOME IF IT'S ALSO ONE THAT I LIVE IN FROM TIME TO TIME ?
Yes. Our properties are often the primary residences and vacation homes that owner's use regularly throughout the year. This requires a much higher level of care and attention to the home and its inner workings. One thing you'll never hear us say is "more heads in beds." It's industry jargon for getting as many nights booked at whatever cost to the safety and security of the home. We don't think that way and may avoid certain reservations if we feel the guests are not a good fit for your home.
+ HOW DOES AIR CONCIERGE LEARN ABOUT MY HOME BEFORE GETTING STARTED?
Since we cater to the property that is often the homeowner's primary residence, or a second home within earshot of their primary residence, we know this means that a more special level of care and attention needs to be paid to both the property and the guests. However, even if the property is distant or not a primary residence, we still treat it and the guests as though it were our own. All of this is to say we spend exorbitant time getting to know the home, learning every light switch, audio/video, remote control, figuring out how to handle mail, trash & recycling schedules, and even how each item is stored in your kitchen.
+ HOW ARE AIR CONCIERGE'S FEES HANDLED?
Like a traditional company may charge, our fees are based on the booking price we obtain for the property, not including any refundable fees (security deposits, eg.). Unlike traditional property managers, we do not share in the approach of 'as many heads in beds' as possible. Part of that antiquated property manager function is to find and place renters in the home, for which the traditional firms take a much higher percentage (30%-50%) of the booking fee than we do (20%). That old management style and company has every incentive to put just about anyone into the unit so they can collect their fee. Since the owner is never (or rarely) at the unit, any damage or wear and tear is minimally attended to and is to the disadvantage of the renters, not the homeowner. We believe that once the home is rented we are an integral part of the process to ensure the guest's stay is without interruption or concern, but also that the property is meticulously attended to and is returned in the condition it was made.
+ HOW DOES PRICING WORK?
A SAMPLE AIRBNB RESERVATION IN LOS ANGELES
+ WHAT ARE THE REALITIES OF TURNING MY HOME INTO A HOTEL?
While there is a lot of money to be made from transforming your home into a micro-hotel, there are downsides as well. Every person that becomes an Air Concierge client agrees and understands that with strangers becoming guests and foot traffic becoming wear and tear you should be prepared for use and abuse of your furnishings, accessories and common areas (walls, walkways, eg). You will see things go missing (towels, linens, kitchen supplies) for no other reason than guests take these things to things like the beach and forget they are in the car when they return home. You should be prepared that marks will appear in places in the home that seems irrational and confusing. You may have a no shoes in the house rule and there is no way to enforce or expect that as a condition of rental. There is no way to protect against all of these things and the many things that cannot be planned for. Short of intentional destruction of property, theft or similar, then anything and everything should be in your realm of expectation as part of the trade off for earning thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.
ready To Get Started? contact us and we'll be sure to answer your question immediately!
(Drop us a note below if you have an entire home looking to be transformed into a short term / vacation rental property in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Palm Springs (Coachella Valley), or Lake Tahoe.)