Vacation Rentals turn to Smart Technology to Monitor Operations
By Richard B. Evans, President of Revenue Report Card LLC & Author of “the Definitive Study of Vacation Rentals”
As vacation rentals continue to boom, companies are turning to smart technologies to streamline and monitor their operations.
As anyone that has been in the hotel business knows, at times even well run properties encounter difficulties with guests, entrance locks and staff. The close proximity of "rooms" in a hotel enable managers to deal with these problems quickly.
But vacation rental companies don't enjoy the luxury of close quarters, security on hand and centralized staff. Companies frequently have homes spread out over large geographical areas. Instead of monitoring and navigating one hotel building, homes can be spread out in a town or city and, in turn, have to be strategically overseen.
Unhappy neighbors having to deal with noisy guests, arrivals who encounter difficulties with entrance locks, fumbling for light switches in dark homes and entering freezing cold or uncomfortably hot climates all take away from the overall vacation rental experience.
Technologies are now available to combat these shortfalls and issues. They allow vacation rental companies to take control and action before (1) police are called, (2) before neighbors are pushed to file complaints (and petitions to ban vacation rentals in their neighborhoods), (3) to intercede when a guest is outside fiddling with a lock or (4) to avoid an injury that can occur when an arriving guest arrives to a dark home and stumbles in trying to find a light switch.
Smart homes, smart phone APPS, noise monitoring devices and staff tracking, to name a few, counter these and other problems before they become nightmares.
Homeowners who turn to vacation rental companies absorb utility costs incurred in their homes. If a home is cleaned and then won't be occupied for a number of days, leaving lights, air conditioning and/or heat on creates wasted energy and high cost. Further, having to send staff to that home to "turn it on" before guests arrive is inefficient and costly. Not doing so contributes to brand erosion.
Outfitting smart homes that can be controlled from headquarters or smart phone APPS enables lock codes to be changed, lights to be turned on and off, live TV monitoring (to view strategic areas outside the home), premium TV channels to be programed, burglar alarm monitoring and the ability to adjust climate timely and appropriately.
Noise and unruly guests, as infrequent as they may be, are a nuisance to neighbors and a bad reflection on the industry as a whole. Devices are now available that monitor decibel levels and provide alerts that enable quick action to remedy these situations.
Smart phones enable immediate photo documentation of damages from housekeepers and inspectors. Some of these interact with Property Management Systems that maintain a historic trail of events that bundle all photos and related notes appropriately.
Tracking appropriate staff in order to logistically manage tasks and emergencies enable managers to find quick solutions to unexpected events. This is accomplished by using smartphone GDS tracking. What's more, APPS provide mileage and justify that roving staff is, or had been, where scheduled.
See an article I wrote entitled "
Your Boss can Track Your Every Move - a New Vacation Rental Industry Norm?"
The list of technologies goes on and on, from tracking how long it takes to clean and inspect a home, whether in house staff is spending time on personal social sites and/or furnishing the accounting department with hours in order to calculate payroll.
The vacation rental business is an industry onto itself and sizable operations are turning, more and more, to smart technologies to insure guest satisfaction and appropriate courtesy to neighbors.
View www.tdsovr.com for more about technologies and APPS available.
Richard B. Evans
Mr. Evans has been an executive hotelier for over 25 years. He obtained the following certifications: Hotel Administration, Hotel Accounting Executive, Revenue Management Executive and has completed the Advanced Cornell Revenue Management Certification. He has served hotels, condo-hotels and vacation rental companies as Asset Manager, CFO, General Manager and Revenue Director.More from Richard B. Evans
Phone: (954) 290 - 3567