Compare The Best UK Airbnb & Short-Let Management Companies

Airbnb Serviced Bedroom

One of the major pains of being a short-let landlord (a.k.a Airbnb host) is servicing the revolving door of continuous incoming and outgoing guests! The turnaround is snappy and it can be exasperating to keep up with all!

So what’s the solution to this dilemma? Income “Airbnb & Guest Management Services (operating in London, other major UK cities and tourism hotspots)”!

In this blog post I cover what an Airbnb management service is, and how they might just be the remedy to all your woes.

During a single month a host can potentially go through several different guests of all shapes and sizes, which is particularly common during peak season in popular touristic destinations and metropolitan business hubs, just like sunny London.

So what does that mean for the host?

  • Each time a guest vacates, the property needs to be turned-around (i.e. thoroughly cleaned and reorganised) in preparation for the next arrivals.
  • If the short-let is for an entire property, the host (or someone working on behalf of the host) is expected to meet, greet and check each guest into the property. ZzzzzzZzz!
  • With so many guests walking in and out through the doors, maintenance is typically in greater demand compared to regular long-term lets. Guess who has to deal with that? Yup, you got it!

What is an Airbnb (short-let) management service?

An Airbnb management service is provided by companies that takeover the entire management of Airbnb/short-let rental properties on behalf of the owner/landlord, which includes finding guests, checking them in and out and even providing professional cleaning services.

Despite the services being called “Airbnb management”, it’s more accurate to call them a “short-let management service”, because for all intents and purposes, these companies manage any type of short-stay let. But due to the success and popularity of Airbnb’s platform, and the fact that the Airbnb brand is so ridiculously strong that it’s become a popular synonym for “short-let rentals”, management companies have taken advantage and marketed their management services around Airbnb.

Long story short, Airbnb Management Services aren’t owned by or affiliated with Airbnb. These management companies will simply market your short-let property on Airbnb to find guests, along with several other popular short-let/holiday platforms, like booking.com, Tripadviser, Expedia etc.

So why have they become so incredibly popular? Once the whole short-term lettings/Airbnb craze kicked off and became the coolest trend since chewing bubble-gum, there was a noticeable pile-up of dishevelled landlords that needed rescuing from all the laborious hard-work that comes with being a successful short-let host and making a shit-ton of money.

Fortunately, a bunch of humanitarians recognised the crisis our most privileged in society were facing; they pin-pointed the gaping hole in the market for a much-needed Airbnb/Short-let management services, which provides a complete takeover solution.

A short word on “Flexible” lettings (another reason why Airbnb management companies can be awesome)!

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the flexible letting approach, which many Airbnb management companies use to maximise returns for their hosts under management, and actually, why I think they’re great.

Needless to say, there’s a strong correlation between occupancy rates and returns. In short, the higher the occupancy rate, the higher the returns. The problem is, the short-term lets market can be very seasonable (i.e. short-term lets are in greater demand during school holidays).

To resolve this issue, “short-let” management companies can occupy a property with a blend of short, mid and long-term tenancies (which is where the term “flexible” letting stems from). The point is, shorter stays achieve a much higher nightly rate, but longer-term bookings guarantee income over winter and spring (when demand for short-lets slows a little).

This means occupancies could consist of:

  • Holiday bookings of just a few nights.
  • Longer visits of 2-3 weeks.
  • Corporate reservations of several weeks or months.
  • Longer-term tenancies of multiple months.

That’s why flexible letting gives you the best of both worlds: high occupancy and high yields.

As you can imagine, this can be very difficult for a private landlord to manage independently.

City Relay mention their “flexible letting” approach on their website, while I couldn’t find any mention of it on the others’ I’ve listed below (but that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t also use a blend of different tenancies to maximise occupancy).

Compare the best UK Airbnb & Guest Management Services in London (and other major UK cities)

Short-let management services are blowing up in popularity and new ones are cropping up every day (needless to say, a few are sinking here and there also). But fear not, to make life easier for you, I have curated a list (which I keep maintained) of the best and most popular short-let / Airbnb management companies that service London and a few other major UK cities, which are unlikely to go under anytime soon (they’ll be removed from the list pronto otherwise)…

Airbnb Management Companies
ServiceRatingServicesCoveragePrice from
Rating

4.8

TrustPilot Reviews
Services

  • Markets on Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, Rightmove, Zoopla + more
  • Flexible letting to optimise performance by blending all types of let (short, mid and long-term)
  • Manages Profiles & Listings
  • Professional Photography, 3D virtual tours and floorplans
  • Check-in & Key exchange
  • Housekeeping service
  • Property Maintenance & Repairs
  • Inspections & Certificates
Coverage

  • London
Price from
12%+VAT
Visit Website for offer
Arrange a callback
Rating

4.7

TrustPilot Reviews
Services

  • Markets on airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com, tripadvisor, Expedia + more
  • Manages Profiles & Listings
  • Professional Photography
  • Check-in & Key exchange
  • Interior Design service
  • Housekeeping service
  • Property Maintenance & Repairs
Coverage

  • London
  • Brighton
  • Bristol
  • Cambridge
  • Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
Price from
15%+VAT
Visit Website
Rating

4.8

TrustPilot Reviews
Services

  • Markets on airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com + tripadvisor
  • Manages Profiles & Listings
  • Professional Photography
  • 24/7 Check-In & Guest Support
  • Housekeeping service
Coverage

  • UK-Wide Coverage (including most major cities). Visit website for full list.
Price from
20%+VAT
Visit Website
Rating

4.7

TrustPilot Reviews
Services

  • Markets on airbnb, HomeAway, Booking.com, Expedia + more
  • Manages Profiles & Listings
  • Professional Photography
  • 24/7 guest support
  • Home decoration services
  • Housekeeping service
  • Property Maintenance & Repairs
Coverage

  • UK-Wide Coverage (including most major cities). Visit website for full list.
Price
12%
+VAT
Visit Website

Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each service up-to-date, but you should read the T&C's from their website for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

The major restrictions with using Airbnb Management Services!

There are currently some major roadblocks, which may render management services a non-starter for you. Yup, what I’m telling you is that your excitement may have been in complete vain.

The bomb-shell (which you may have already clocked)… is that most popular and reputable management companies only facilitate major UK metropolitan cities (e.g. London, Manchester, Edinburgh etc.) and tourist hotspots (e.g. Brighton, Bath, Devon etc.), and they only manage entire properties (i.e. they won’t work with live-in landlords looking to host ‘spare rooms).

While I understand why that’s the case, it ultimately makes short-let management services suitable for only a puny portion of landlords with prime real estate in the UK’s [most exclusive] locations! So if you’re a landlord with a studio apartment in the middle of Fanny Barks (in Durham), you’ll almost definitely be out of luck. Where? Exactly. And yes, “Fanny Barks” is a real place. Go ahead, laugh.

However, they are expanding into more and more cities as they grow in popularity, so keep your eyes peeled if your area isn’t currently serviced!

The FAQs

Yup, I know, I know, there’s a lot to take in, so before you drop 12% of your rental income on a Airbnb management service, you’ll most likely have a few pertinent questions swooshing around in that cranium of yours!

One disclaimer I do want to launch down your gullet before I start working through the FAQs is that I’m going to answer each question on a general basis. The answers I provide will apply to the services most Airbnb management companies at this current time, but not to all, and things may change, so it’s up to you to do your own due diligence!

1) What does an Airbnb (short-let) management company actually do?

  • Marketing and guest acquisition i.e. management of all advertising on holiday and short let marketplaces like Airbnb.com and Booking.com to fulfil guest bookings;
  • Management of reservations, check-ins, check-outs, and everything in between 24/7, all year round;
  • Professional cleaning services, some similar to “hotel” experiences e.g. thorough cleaning between stays, folded toilet paper on rolls, nice smelling aromas, fresh towels & sheets, and fully stocked soaps, shampoos and conditioners etc.
  • Repairs & maintenance management;
  • Buying and repairing broken items;
  • Regular pricing review to maximise returns;
  • Optional cost-effective in-house interior design makeovers, which drags properties to their full glory so they can achieve maximise returns.

The Airbnb management companies basically handle everything… in return for a fee, of course, but the profits generated from the average Airbnb / short-let typically cover the fees and still beats the ass off of traditional long-term tenancy returns.

2) Which is the best Airbnb management company?

Straight for the jugular, huh? I knew you’d ask.

Honestly, I don’t know. The one’s I’ve listed above, in my opinion, are the most popular and reputable UK management companies, and their TrustPilot scores seem to verify that. So in theory, just go with the one that makes most sense for you, which could mean you need to go through a process of elimination:

  • If price is your biggest concern you can immediately eliminate the most expensive options.
  • The location of your property may be the deciding factor. For example, Pass the Keys is the only management company that services York, so that may limit your options straight off the bat.
  • Cityrelay offer a monthly fixed rate package, which may suit you better than paying a 12% commission of the rental income.
  • From what I’ve seen, they all mostly offer the same level of service, but there are slight differences between them. So look through the offerings because maybe a ‘slight difference’ is all it takes to win over your confused little melon!

3) How much do Airbnb management companies cost?

The starting price for Airbnb management services vary between 10%-15% of the rental income, but some charge up to 20% for more premium packages. For example, Cityrelay’s full management premium package includes a personal check-in service for each guest, but that will set you back 20% compared to their 12% standard package.

Almost all the management services will offer standard and premium packages, so the cost will depend on how much you’re willing to pay combined with how much of a service you require.

4) Does Airbnb offer property management services?

Nope. If they did, external management services probably wouldn’t exist.

Airbnb don’t directly provide management services, and I doubt they ever will, so you’ll need a third-party management company (like the ones listed above) if you want your short-let fully managed. For now, Airbnb just provide a platform for hosts and guests to create bookings and process payments, the rest is outside of their scope.

5) Do I need an Airbnb management service?

No, of course not. Just like regular BTL landlords don’t need a letting agent for fully managed letting services.

However, they are a super convenient solution for landlords that don’t want to deal with any of the headaches that notoriously come with managing rentals, especially if:

Funny thing is, I normally tell regular long-let landlords not to bother with management services (because it’s usually a massive waste of money), but I have a completely different opinion when it comes to landlords that short-let, because they, by definition, have a much higher tenant-turnover, which means there’s a lot more work involved e.g. servicing, cleaning etc. So it generally makes much more sense for Airbnb landlords to use management services. Ya’ dig?

6) Will Airbnb management companies earn me more money/rent?

Potentially, yes. In fact, most likely they will, and for a couple of reasons:

  1. They work with you to agree a minimum price per night and then adjust that figure in line with demand to maximise monthly occupancy rates.
  2. It’s in their best interest to achieve the highest rent possible and minimise void periods, because that ultimately means they will earn more commission from you. They are constantly monitoring the market rates to ensure maximum returns.
  3. They specialise in making compelling adverts to maximise enquiries i.e. they will use professional photos, optimise descriptions etc.
  4. As mentioned, some of the management companies offer guaranteed monthly revenue regardless of void periods.
  5. One of my friend’s used a ‘interior design’ service by one of the management companies; he paid approx £6,000 to have his entire apartment furnished and styled. Here’s a peak of the end result:

    Hostmaker Interior Design

    Not too shabby, right?

    While the initial outlay for the fabulous makeover may seem gut-wrenching, it was actually an effortless and cost-effective way of transforming his property into a much more appealing proposition (so my friend tells me!). The makeover resulted in a massive boost in interest and consequently a boost in his rental income to match, so the ROI was positive.

  6. They will syndicate your property advert across several marketplaces like Airbnb and manage all the listings and enquiries. Most people just use Airbnb, but there are several other alternatives to Airbnb which can massively enhance bookings and rates.

7) Will an Airbnb management company achieve a better occupancy rate?

Probably. Mostly for the same reasons I mentioned for why they’re likely to make you more cheese!

8) What happens if your Airbnb guests cause damage?

Ahh, that dreaded fear!

Airbnb management companies should check the property before and after each guest, so they will notify you if there any damages. They also have their own maintenance team that can quickly resolve issues if needed.

Are you still thirsty for knowledge? Do have anymore questions about Short-let/Airbnb management services? Pick up the mic via the comment box and I’ll see what I can do…

Extra Tips

The following tips are based on feedback I have received from other landlords that either currently or previously used a short-let/Airbnb management company…

  • Carefully review your online statements – make sure all costs are properly itemised and charged for correctly (e.g. fees associated with repairs and maintenance).
  • Minimum rates per night – ensure you are comfortable with the rates they set! For example, they may maximise opportunity by letting the nightly rate fall lower than you would like, so you should use your own intuition as a landlord on whether you want to “risk” setting a higher minimum.
  • Maintenance & repairs – don’t blindly agree to any maintenance work fulfilled by their team without getting a full assessment of the problem, and an estimate of how much it will cost.

9 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Susan MacKenzie 24th October, 2019 @ 20:09

Your site is very informative. I was wondering if you know whether there is an ombudsmen governing the letting agencies and if there is a grading site for them so you can make other landlords and potential landlords aware of your experience. I have had an extremely bad time with Pass The Key, Edinburgh and would like to save other landlords my stress.

1
Guest Avatar
Shortlord 9th March, 2020 @ 20:25

I was using Hostmaker but they bust last week so now I'm looking for a replacement. I'm not surprised really, because their service became appalling towards the end. At first they were great and then there was a gradual decline.

Thanks for providing the list, I'm going to weigh up my options and see which one jumps out at me.

2
Guest Avatar
Matt 3rd August, 2022 @ 01:10

What an awesome find this page has been, loads of great pointers and common sense content.
Looking at getting into this and have lots of questions which you've addressed, massive thanks. This page is a really great bit of treasure amidst the Google desert!

3
Guest Avatar
Ven 18th August, 2022 @ 16:16

More a questions rather than a comments.

How many properties must one manage/own before a management company takes on management?

What is the criteria needed by a management company to successfully secure management?

4
The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 18th August, 2022 @ 18:25

Hi Ven,

You only need one property.

In terms of criteria, it's usually based on location, condition and potential rental income. But it may slightly vary depending on management company.

5
Guest Avatar
Mansoor 4th January, 2023 @ 15:11

I’m currently thinking of buying and developing a small portfolio of properties for short term lets.
I Would want someone to manage the same.
Info provided by you is extreme useful for me, thanks a lot, really appreciated.

6
Guest Avatar
John 8th July, 2023 @ 11:33

Hi

I currently have one property managed by a management company.

They send me a monthly statement detailing occupancy and what was paid for each period.

Is there a way of finding out the actual amount paid by clients as the statement is made by the company and l have no way of checking when property was booked and for how much.

7
Guest Avatar
peter minto 6th October, 2023 @ 09:22

Thanks for the info. Do you or any of your readers have any views on this.
I have been approached by "Pass the Property" via an advert on Openrent for my house in Bath. They are offering a 3 year contract. I wrote to Openrent and they said this "Signing a tenancy with a company is generally not advisable unless you have specific experience / advice on this, since it means the contract you create won't be an AST (which provides statutory protection to landlords and tenants via the Housing Act)."
Have you heard anything about this firm? They have mixed reviews on Trustpilot. Do you agree with the dangers of not having statutory protection?

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Guest Avatar
Kate 20th February, 2024 @ 22:13

Hi , I have two holiday cottage by the sea in Whitstable, Kent . have lock boxes so guest just let themselves in with a code each time . As they’re my babies I do all the cleaning n interior design myself . Is there a company in kent or surrounding area that will allow me to do my own cleaning ?

This site is amazing by the way very helpful , great tips n brilliant platform to share letting /landlord knowledge !!

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