We spoke to Marlen Tallett runs the Virtual Assistant company, Time To Deleg8. Marlen provides support for hospitality companies.
How Virtual Assistants (VAs) work
Virtual Assistants (VA) work in very much the same way as a regular employee or freelancer.
Advantages of using a VA over a regular employee is that you will have a flexible and variable employee without the cost of employment. As with most freelance staff, hourly rate might be higher but the overall cost of employment will be lower. There is no need to organise a place to work, equipment and you have much more flexibility over costs.
They are often on 1 month notice and you can build in busy / quiet periods into the contract.
VA’s normally agree to a set number of working hours per month and the list of duties. This is reviewed as and when or boosted due to holidays or illness. VA’s have general working hours which can be increased if needed.
On a day to day basis, the typical list of duties might include:
- Answering the phone, replying to emails and social media messages
- Marketing support: social media & website support
- Bookkeeping & invoicing
- Guest management
Tips for hiring a VA
- Make a list of tasks you do on a weekly basis. Split these into tasks only you can perform and which ones you can delegate.
- For each task consider the timeframe these need to be completed. Some tasks might need to be done instantly while others can wait a day. This will help you decide on hours.
- The VA will be the face of your property and so you need to be convinced they fit in with your brand image.
- What other companies do they work for? Any chance of a conflict of interest?
- In order for the VA to reply to any questions, they need to know the product inside and out. Arrange for the VA to spend time at the property or in a range of rooms.
- You need to trust the VA 100%.
Alternative: Telephone Answering Services
Telephone answering services take messages and email them to the business. They tend to work on a monthly retainer (fixed amount) and this will be calculated based on the number of calls they take. Other services charge on a pay per call basis.
They won’t be able to answer any questions but they will offer a human at the end of a call and so will give the customers a feeling of reassurance that their enquiry is being dealt with.
Marlen Tallett runs Time To Deleg8, providing support to small businesses to help them thrive, not just survive. If you find yourself without enough hours in the day, then it is time to delegate!
For more information: www.timetodeleg8.com