Should I Hire a Virtual Assistant or a Local Co-Host? (Pros and Cons)

Should I Hire A Virtual Assistant Or A Local Co-Host?

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Deciding whether or not to work with a Co-Host can be daunting. Where do you start and who do you trust? After all, they will be running, potentially, your most valuable asset. An asset that could be your main income. As our lives become busier with each passing day, hiring a Virtual Assistant or local Co-Host could be the solution to becoming more efficient and gaining some free time.

In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of hiring a Virtual Assistant as compared to a Co-Host. And, by the end, we hope it will help you decide if investing in a Virtual Assistant or Co-Host is the right option for you.

What are Virtual Assistants and Co-Hosts, and what do they do?

A virtual assistant helps to run the online side of the business. They can be based anywhere in the world. Duties include messaging guests, handling the booking calendar, and even setting and adjusting prices.

On the other hand, a Co-Host has a more physical presence. They generally help with both online and hands-on work, such as cleaning the property and meeting guests upon arrival. They can take on virtual assistant and administrative duties as well.

The Pros

Let’s begin with the pros of hiring a co-host, and what it can mean for your Airbnb business and overall lifestyle.

1) Take Back Your Time

The first positive is, of course, your time. Running an Airbnb takes up 30% – 40% of a host’s time each day. From cleaning the property to meeting guests and replying to messages. It all adds up and can its toll mentally and physically.

Hiring a Co-Host will give you back your freedom, or at least, some of it! They are perfect for hosts that already have full-time jobs or for those that have family commitments and don’t have time for the extra work.

Having extra time also provides you with opportunities to focus on other projects or skills that could make you even more money in the future.

2) Work Out A Pricing Strategy

One of the most complicated parts of running an Airbnb is setting the price. If you set your price too low, you will attract less than satisfactory guests. Too high, and your guests will expect the Taj Mahal.

Finding that sweet spot requires a lot of research. However, if done correctly, it could increase your income by at least 20%. This is where having a knowledgeable Co-Host that can provide you with pricing tools and guidance is worth its weight in gold.

And just think, if you are making 20% more, by doing a lot less, why wouldn’t you hire a Co-Host to run your Airbnb?

3) Co-Hosts Have Their Own Maintenance & Cleaning Crew

Another great bonus of hiring a Co-Host is that they can organize as much or as little as you need for your Airbnb. This includes a maintenance and cleaning crew that is always on hand when needed.

For example, if you get a call at 10 pm from a guest saying there is no hot water, your Co-Host can fix the problem straight away. No more searching through google to find a plumber willing to come out at such late notice.

4) Your Listing Will Look, Sound And Feel Professional

An experienced Co-Host that knows the short-term rental business back to front can help you create a professional 5-star listing. They can provide you with tried and tested products like house manuals, message templates, and checklists that will take your listing to the next level.

Ultimately, they will know what works and what doesn’t to make your listing stand out and get noticed. Especially if you are an out-of-town owner, they can help provide location-specific recommendations.

The Cons

If you find yourself with the choice of hiring a Virtual Assistant or local Co-Host but wonder what the flip-side is to those positives, stick around. Let’s explore some of the cons of hiring a Co-Host or Virtual Assistant to help with your Airbnb.

1) Less Money In Your Pocket

The one main drawback to hiring a Co-Host is the cost. Running an Airbnb is already expensive with power bills, rates, replenishing amenities, and maintenance all taking a slice of the pie. So, adding on yet another cost could break the budget.

Co-Hosts and virtual assistants get paid anywhere from 7% to 50% of each booking depending on how much work they do. So, if your budget is tight, limit the amount of work you want your Co-Hosts to do. Perhaps you just need help checking guests in, or you only need someone to answer messages.

There isn’t one set cost and most Co-Hosts are happy to negotiate and come to a fair price.

 2) Exposure To Risk

Another downside to hiring help is your exposure to risk. By this, we mean allowing a stranger into your home and giving them access to your Airbnb account

To help negate this risk, you should only hire help from reputable sources such as family or friends. If nothing else, try searching on Co-Hosting databases, such as Co-Host Market, for a reliable assistant.

After punching in your location on Co-Host Market, you’ll be able to view trustworthy Co-Hosts. Every member on the site has been vetted and verified before they can begin Co-Hosting. You can also read reviews left by previous hosts so you know what you’re getting into..

3) Potential For Bad Reviews

We all know the old saying “If you want it done right, do it yourself”.

Unfortunately, if you don’t hire trustworthy, experienced Co-Hosts, you leave yourself vulnerable to negative reviews due to sub-par work. This is especially true when it comes to cleaning. If your place isn’t up to Airbnb guest-ready standards, your guests can request a full refund. Then, of course, a negative review usually follows.

To avoid such circumstances, you can ask your cleaners to follow a customized cleaning checklist. You can also complete a quick run-through after the cleaners have finished, spot-checking every detail before your guests arrive. If this isn’t possible, you could always hire a Co-Host to help out.

Hire a Co-Host, Virtual Assistant, or go it alone?

There are cases to be made on both sides of the fence. Hiring a Virtual Assistant or local Co-Host is a tough decision. However, with a little bit of caution, and smart recruiting, a Co-Host can bring some great benefits and rewards.

In a nutshell, the benefits of a Co-Host and/or Virtual Assistant are:

  • Have more time – Focus on building skills and other projects
  • Professionally run listing
  • Cleaning and maintenance crew on hand
  • Possibility to make more money with pricing strategy

About the Author Jake Leavy

Jake Leavy has worked in the content industry for 8+ years. Travel writing has been his main focus, however, he also has luxury hotel management experience under his belt. He has traveled to over 50 countries and loves immersing himself into different cultures. Jake combines his passion for travel and hospitality experience to offer hosts tips and tricks to improve their business.