It seems like email is out of control lately. And yet, it is vital to your vacation rental business. Every aspect of your business flows through your inbox. All your inquires, bookings and guest communication are done over email. Your inbox is filled to the brim. So, is Inbox Zero really achievable? Here are our tips for vacation rental email productivity that will help you wrangle your emails into organization.
Making Your Day More Productive
We all want to be more productive throughout our day, and email seems to be the thing keeping us chained to our computer (or phone). The vacation rental business is notoriously task heavy. Property managers spend their days clicking away on their keyboards marking off tasks on the to-do list and email definitely weighs us down. There are two types of email users in this world; those that want zero emails in their inbox, and those that store all their emails in their inbox. The difference between these two people is just personal organization. Inbox zero people create a folder system and file their emails into categories. While inbox storage people keep all their emails in the inbox and use the search function to find what they need. Regardless of which group you fall in, your goal is to be more productive.
Vacation Rental Email Productivity Hacks
There are lots of great articles and books on productivity While many have practical tactics, sometimes these changes are about mindset shifts and creating new habits. A great book about how we form habits is The Power of Habit: by Charles Duhigg. Here are a few of our best hacks for vacation rental email productivity.
- Unsubscribe from the junk: Our inboxes are overflowing with newsletters, advertisements, and junk. While just deleting them every day seems like the easiest thing to do, wouldn’t it be nice if they never got there in the first place. When you implement this tip you will experience all kinds of emotions. Our egos judge our importance on how many emails we get every day, ‘I get 400 emails every day, I must be super important!’ The first day you wake up to fewer emails will be great and by day 3 you will be like, ‘why does no one like me?!’ Stick with it! It will save your sanity. The easiest way to unsubscribe quickly is by using a free service called unroll.me. Once you connect your email account you can take 1 of 3 actions; unsubscribe, keep in the inbox, or roll it up into 1 email. Best. Thing. Ever.
- Set up inbox rules: Most email platforms will let you set up rules so that when an email comes in it sorts them into folders for you. For example, you can set up a rule that all your Airbnb notifications are automatically sorted to a specified folder rather than sitting in your inbox. You can then check that folder at your convenience.
- Turn off email notifications: Sometimes it’s not the actual emails that are the distraction, but the constant notifications and dinging that we can’t ignore. Every time that you’ve-got-mail ding chimes we are compelled to drop what we are doing and check it because it might be an emergency. Hopefully, if it’s an emergency people will call, but we think that email needs our immediate attention. This distraction makes all our other tasks that much longer to complete because every time you leave a task it takes you close to 25 minutes to get back into it. It’s science.
- Time blocking: Many people find it very helpful to schedule blocks of time in the day to do nothing but check emails. If it’s not scheduled it’s not real. There is a strategy called the Pomodoro Technique that many people like to use to focus on a project. This same concept works for email management.
- 2 Minute Test: In David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done, he talks about the 2 minutes test. He suggests that when checking email you open it and ask yourself, ‘will this take less than 2 minutes to take care of?’. If so, then take care of it right then, delete it, and move on. In this same theme, Merlin Man says in his book Inbox Zero to take action on every email you open when you open it. The Inbox Zero process has 5 actions: delete, delegate, respond, defer or do. When checking your email, take one of these actions on every email and you’ll quickly work your way through your inbox and streamline your to-do list.
- FAQ Swipe File: Have you noticed that you get asked the same questions all the time? Don’t write the same email over and over. Write it once and put it in a Google Doc or Evernote notebook for easy access to copy and paste when you need it. Keeping swipe files for FAQs will save a lot of time when it comes to emails or social media responses. Using a vacation rental management software that has automatic emails based on action triggers is great for the check-in process. But having a swipe file for inquiry responses will help with all those questions about amenities and features of your property.
- Write better emails: Experts say that writing more specific, concise emails will reduce the amount of back and forth. Answer all the questions asked in an email and provide your reader with all the information they need. We find that scheduling a meeting can create a long string of (time-wasting) emails. Try a scheduler like Calendly or Acuity to coordinate scheduling meetings. This has been a lifesaver at Bookfull.
Tell Us Your Best Productivity Tips
While Inbox Zero might feel like a daunting task right now, implementing some strategies to help you be more productive will save your sanity. The philosophy isn’t as much about the number of emails in your inbox but more about how productive you are with them. We’ve put all these great tips into a handy tip sheet for you to keep you on track with getting those emails cleaned up.
If you have any great tips to help you be more productive we’d love to hear them! Comment or find us on social media and tell us your email hack that changed your life.