Industry Update
Opinion Article10 September 2018

Spot Check your Vacation Rental Reservation Platforms

Life in the trenches in managing Vacation Rental revenues

By Richard B. Evans, President of Revenue Report Card LLC & Author of “the Definitive Study of Vacation Rentals”

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Vacation Rental Channel Management Programs have come a long way. Still, some have a ways to go.

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Perhaps me being from a different era, I never fully trust automation until I test and verify that the numbers placed in my vacation rental Property Management System and, in turn, that transfer through my Channel Management Program are actually what potential guests are seeing on my reservation platforms (Website, Booking.com, Expedia, Homeaway, AirBNB, etc.).

As a consultant in revenue management one of the first things I do with a new client is to test these platforms. Sometime when you aren't producing reservations in certain revenue channels it's because of unaudited results that are ASSUMED to be providing parity to consumers between revenue channels.

While the Property Management System and Channel Management Program for which results are shown below will remain nameless, the following illustrations are actual results I just pulled up on a current project. My client assumed that all channels were reporting the same amounts.

This Vacation Rental Company was not seeing reservations coming through Homeaway or AirBNB. This could be one of the reasons why.

TIP: You can see that in Illustration 4 AirBNB isn't pulling up the correct nightly rate resulting in Reservation Revenues being approximately $250 higher than the three other platforms! In Illustration 3 you can see that Homeaway Reservation Revenues are close to the PMS but that metrics, like sales taxes, are far off.

Your Channel Management Program has to map which rates and multipliers are being pulled and/or applied from your Property Management System.

TIP: Different states have different sales tax requirements. You'd like to think that your Channel Management Programmers know this information, but often it's up to you to alert them. They're often handling business, sometimes, from all over the world. The onus falls on you.

Some states require that sales taxes are applied only to Reservation Revenues while others require that they also include housekeeping fees, service charges and other revenues.

TIP: Check that your minimum length of stay restrictions are also being applied consistently.

Every time you add a new reservation platform to your revenue mix you should immediately audit the results to insure parity with your other reservation channels or that the platform is presenting what you wish and that it is being calculated correctly.

Vacation Rental Revenue Management - VRMA 2018 - http://bit.ly/2lxFZlr

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.

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    Richard B Evans
    President of Revenue Report Card LLC
    Phone: (954) 290 - 3567
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