Why

Why Vacation Rental companies must use hand-picked technologies to create value

Vacation Rentals are getting so complex because guests use technologies and administrations impose compliance rules that it becomes a daunting task to manage a VR company. Technology can help, but identifying the right technologies for your company has become a terrible task. It take a lot of time to research and test. We are trying to help you with that. Here you will find news, test, reviews...all straight from the battlefield, as we test on our own company and with friendly companies.

Unlike the Queen of England, we are not neutral. 
If we think Brexit is bad, we will say it. Unless you are in the U.K., you may not care much about what we think of Brexit, but these should interest or concern you:

  • If we think that voice devices like Alexa and google Home are not mature enough to bring value to vacation rentals, we will write it. Every demo we saw in conferences failed despite the brilliant tech-savvy presenters efforts (right, Alex? ). And we cannot even imagine how that would play out across accents and how our support would deal with all assistance requests.
  • If we tested that 3D glasses for virtual tours take 2 hours to set up and give you more headaches we will write it.  (on the other hand it works great on tablets and desktops, so watch it ;-))
  • If channel managers are useful but a real pain to set up, we will not hide it.
  • If we think a channel got mad firing its IT team and delivers lousy support, scrapes Euro prices and shows them to guests as USD, we will write it (yes that happened...).

We have skin in the game, we are in the trenches with you and yes, some of our advices will be subjective. But we'll be happy to gather your feedback, comments, discuss and enrich these pages with different views  - it is a diverse vacation rental world, and someone's miracle feature will be a curse for another company. See the codelock example on how we try to deal with that.

Vacation Rental Softwares and Websites

They should be the hub that simplifies you work, automating and connecting seamlessly to the whole world. Some are getting close, all must improve...

This got so complex that we do not understand how some manage dozens of properties with Excel only (Cristina, you will have to show me ;-)). On the other hand, we do not know of one great solution that would fit any vacation rental company. We do know of a few great solutions that will do the job for companies in a given region or with a specific profile. So we will not write much now, but we'll be happy to discuss...And later we'll write guidelines/an assessment guide/checklist with questions you can use to choose the best/worst except for all others in your case.

To give you a few examples, we know:

  • A great all-in one solution in the U.S. with great support, but it is not international yet
  • A fantastic solution in Europe if you use mostly Airbnb, but the booking engine on their direct websites for you is totally under par
  • A great European solution for which users complain that every change costs hundreds of euros
  • A  modern and cost-effective solution with 8+ direct integrations with key channels and good features especially on the concierge side, but we heard that implementation can be hard (at that price, it must be difficult to provide good support...)
  • Etc. To be continued.
    We believe the future belongs to a nearly  all-in-one core PMS with a great open API that enables you to manage most processes seamlessly while getting the benefits of the latest custom apps. And we believe it will take massive investments by a few talented players to get satisfying solutions. And that these will have to be Global.

Smart Homes -Sound detectors, codelocks,

Noise detectors are finally working! And we need them more than ever...

We had tested several before- they did not work. But now we tested the Noiseaware Gen3 https://noiseaware.io/ - it really works, giving the right notifications to the right teammates with adjustable sensitivity. And it costs just the price of a rental.
We do believe sound detectors are necessary to be fair to guests, nice to neighbors, please owners and keep or gain properties. And, as an industry, we must promote them as a way to eliminate the exceptional nuisances and prove with facts that we are not noisy neighbors ;-)

Remember:

  • Coming soon: the test in video
  • Comparative reviews
  • Subscribe here so we'll keep you posted

Code locks have worked great for us since 2004...

They enabled our vacation rental company Rentego to propose a more flexible check-in process and save money since 2004. And they are still working, 15 years later. Talk about a great technology lifespan...
We do hear from managers of luxury properties that they want to keep the precious human touch that separates them from the rest. And yes, depending on your positionong and margins, you will have to conduct the arbitrage. 

One fact struck us in PhocuWright data, though: only 10% of guests or so want to have a discussion with their host upon check-in...most of them just want to relax and enjoy the property and city. 

So the solution seems to make all necessary information easily available (Wi-Fi code, parking, food...). And we are considering giving guests the option to join us for a coffee or drink on friday evenings, so we can all enjoy the human connexion at a better moment than after exhausting hours of travel. 

 

Remember:

  • Bullets are great
  • For spelling out benefits and
  • Turning visitors into leads.

AI- Artificial Intelligence

The translations example

We believe a shared translation engine powered by AI and leveraging post editing by humans is our future. We are already working on that, leveraging our multi-lingual website development experience with www.vrbooster.com, but the more will join, the better our translations will me and the more money we'll all save on translations. 

Other applications include but are not limited to:

  • Web personalization
  • Virtual concierge
  • Pricing

Home exchange programs

Tell The Reader More

We are looking into https://www.thirdhome.com/ a great way to travel the world in luxury homes in exchange for a few shoulder weeks of your properties. Your property owners might love that ;-)

 

Virtual Tours

Now working on tablets

Tell The Reader More

Virtual visits in augmented reality are the future, but a nice virtual tour on a tablet is already a great way to visit a property hundreds of miles away. We already leverage the Matterport technology and just found out it will soon be displayed on Homeaway and VRBO ;-) Another technology that seems lighter and more affordable is https://www.insidemaps.com/.

We will:

  • Test https://www.insidemaps.com/  vs. Matterport.
  • Gather facts about the impact- some told us of great results, others are skeptical
  • We can help you test and use them -contact us.

Channels/OTAs like Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeAway

Channels brought us a lot

They helped a lot by bringing:

  • Awareness
  • A lot of bookings and occupancy including higher occupancy in shoulder and low season
  • Convenience for the guests, who enjoy one stop shopping where they can see all options in a consistent format easy to compare.
  • Some guarantees and insurances

That comes at a price:

  • Commission -typically 15%, and a competition ofr the top positions on Google in which property managers lose
  • Complexity - it is soooo hard to manage rates and rules and across that many channels, it feels like fitting a square peg into a round hole

What PMs can do today:

  • Make sure you have your own direct website so at least returning guests or referred guests will book directly with you
  • Choose a good PMS/channel managers combination so you will easily control which nights go to each channel at what price and according to which rules to get the best possible ROI

What PMs could do tomorrow:

  • Let's dream: leverage quantum coomputing and 5G to get direct pricing across channels - with any rules they want in one place only, their PMS
  • Let's dream again - but also act: push for the creation of a a set of standardized components like cancellation policies, amenity names, etc. so it will be more readable for guests, and more manageable for channels and vacation rental managers. This does not have to be an imposed standard, more like a set of labels/tags that mean the same of all stakeholders.
  • Let's dream even more: create their own cooperative network to hedge dependency on large OTA's and make sure not to be killed by pressure on margins. It is the old idea of the Switch, but we believe it will happen PMS by PMS and partnership after partnership.

 

 

 

Download our tech guide for vacation rental companies

Coming soon- but you can already register ;-)