Navigating Property Management in the Airbnb Age with Seiko Ma

In the bustling world of real estate, Xiaozheng (Seiko) Ma has carved out a niche that marries traditional property management with the dynamic demands of short-term rentals.

At the helm of Bodhitree Group, Seiko provides tailored solutions that enhance the efficiency and profitability of properties on platforms like Airbnb. In our conversation, Seiko discusses the origins of her venture, the challenges she’s navigated as a young entrepreneur in a tough industry, and her strategies for staying ahead in a fast-evolving field. 

Seiko, what sparked your interest in the short-term rental market, and how did you decide to start a business in this area?

I have been in the real estate industry for a long time. Before starting my own business, I worked at a development company and an international real estate group, which gave me a solid understanding of the industry.

In 2014, I discovered Airbnb, which transformed every home into a potential hotel—a revolutionary idea. However, managing holiday properties can be very challenging, and I saw a need for expert management services. That’s why I decided to start a business to help property owners navigate these challenges.

Could you share some of the challenges you’ve faced as a young woman in the property industry and the strategies you’ve used to navigate them?

The challenges I’ve faced are not unique to women but are more about the nature of the industry. For instance, you might receive a midnight phone call about a guest locking themselves out or encountering an emergency.

I’ve addressed these issues by establishing a team and implementing regular protocols for handling such emergencies after hours, sometimes even sending two team members to manage the situation effectively.

What inspired the shift from traditional property management to focusing specifically on short-term rentals at Bodhitree Group?

The need for adaptation and evolution in business is constant. For example, there was a time when we had no internet platforms for online bookings; people either converted their homes into motels or hosted friends for cash. 

Platforms like Airbnb have simplified property listing and management. However, the fundamental principles of supply and demand remain unchanged. Our focus shifted to short-term rentals to better serve these evolving market dynamics.

How do you ensure your clients get the best service, and what makes your approach at Alice’s Home stand out in the competitive STR market?

Our priority is to maximise client satisfaction, both for our guests and property owners. We continually seek and incorporate feedback to improve both our services and properties. Most of our clients provide constructive and positive feedback, which is immensely helpful.

As a young entrepreneur, how do you keep up with the rapid changes in the short-term rental space, and how do you incorporate innovation into your business model?

Our team consists of young professionals who are enthusiastic about embracing new technologies and innovations. Keeping up with changes and incorporating innovation come naturally to us. We are currently developing our own software system, integrating AI to streamline our operations and enhance the services we provide to our clients.

What advice would you give to other young women who are looking to make their mark in industries typically dominated by men?

As a woman entrepreneur, I believe women have unique strengths such as risk management and attention to detail. My advice to other young women is to identify and maximise these strengths to excel in any field, regardless of gender dominance.

What are your future goals for expanding your services, and how do you plan to adapt to the evolving needs of short-term rental owners and guests?

Our future goal is to remain at the forefront of the industry by being creative and pioneering. We plan to develop an owner portal for property owners to use easily and enhance our service team’s training to provide services that rival those of hotels.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.