“The ecosystem of ancillary technology enables vacation rental managers to work more efficiently. Short-term rental managers have gravitated away from one-size-fits-all technology and rely on purpose-built point solutions for discrete business functions. This fragmentation enables operators to benefit from deeper functionality, easier internal adoption, and more client value.”
– Jeremy Gall, Founder & CEO of Breezeway
Vacation rental home operators are busy enough. Most wear as many as 10 hats. That might be preferable during the companies’ early stages, but ultimately, the owner’s goal is to get rid of as many hats as possible and hand them off to specialists to take care of those things.
Such were among the thoughts of panelists during Breezeway’s virtual event Elevate Operations Summit held in March. It featured Sean Miller of PointCentral, Mike Goldin of NoiseAware, and Jason Sprenkle of Key Data, and was moderated by VRMB’s Matt Landau.
“In vacation rentals, it’s about solving a problem,” Sprenkle said. “Ideally, you want tech to disappear and be something you don’t have to worry about. Guests and operators expect things to be easy. Operators have enough difficult things they have to deal with when managing their homes. For example, we realize that accounting in our industry is hard. There are older solutions out there, but aren’t always the answer.”
Sprenkle offered the example that vacation rental operators are wanting to calculate something similar to REVPAR in the hotel industry, but it’s tough and time-consuming. “There are solutions out there that can make it easier for them to do so,” he said.
Short-term rental managers have quickly gravitated away from one-size-fits-all technology and rely on purpose-built solutions for discrete business functions.
“It’s hard to implement a tech stack,” Landau said. “There’s no ‘one system’ that will accomplish all of what vacation property managers need to do. So, we look to specialists to provide those services we need.”
Goldin said, “A one-size-fits-all system sounds sexy, but once you get one, what you find are the things that the system won’t provide for you. It’s not always having to get the new, shiny tech object out there. You need to determine why you need new tech. Does it help you to reduce your expenses, and perhaps, your head count?”
Sprenkle said, “You can have a core system, but lean on partners to help you get the job done. Let others do what they do best.”
He added another example that while operators use revenue reporting tools and benchmarking and act on those data, they aren’t necessarily focused on how to get those data.
Miller pointed out that technology solutions are available to help management succeed when it comes to key-cutting and temperature control, for example.
“There are not a lot of ‘smart’ home management systems available in this industry, “but if your guests arrive and can’t get in the door, their experience with you starts off as a bad one,” he said. “Smart technology helps with that.”
Asked what software products have the most upside in the next few years, Goldin said to look for artificial intelligence (AI) to help with guest messaging and communications. Sprenkle said improvements in back-end operations has a lot of room to grow and Miller sees a brighter future for revenue management systems.