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Lodging Update July 31, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 07/31/20 Topics: Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments:

Our hearts continue to go out to those made ill by Covid-19 and especially those who have lost their lives. We also feel for those who have lost their jobs and are suffering financial loss.

We are lucky indeed that consumers continue to patronize vacation rentals. The move from conventional lodging to vacation rentals and specialty lodging has been growing for several decades.

But as Covid hit, even more people decided the best and safest place to get away was a clean, isolated vacation rental home in our wonderful destinations.

Dolly Parton said, "Storms make trees take deeper roots."

So we are inviting all of our clients to seize on this opportunity to grow their rentals even further. The opportunity is now.

Attached are ideas. Some cost money, but all will return far more income than they cost. With the extra income generated this summer, now is the time to double-down and grow further.

Join us. Call and ask how.

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Decades ago, vacation rental guest services pretty much consisted of "Here are the keys. Good luck." Over time, guests started paying more and demanding more. Now Covid has quickly raised expectations much higher.

There is no longer a market for properties that have missing amenities and upgrades. If a guest unknowingly books a home without good amenities, they will demand refunds. The giant online travel agencies like Airbnb will side with them.

Hand Me Downs - Sending used towels, linens, furniture, pots and pans from your primary residence to your second home will lose more money than it saves. Invest in the basics and replace them as needed.

Textiles - If you can see through your sheets, towels, or other textiles, they are far too old. Keep twice as many fluffy, thick white textiles on hand. (Only one set will be left out for each guest, but extras are stored away to handle quick arrivals.)

Internet - If you don't have fast internet, guests will avoid your property like the plague. With work-at-home and home schooling, investing in high-speed internet prints money for home owners. Avoid internet at your own peril.

Cable TV - Yes, some guests will stream Netflix and other channels, but without basic TV channels, including local network affiliates, many guests say no to your house. Even a budget Cable TV package will work. If you can't get Cable, using Satellite TV is OK, but a sad replacement for many guests who seem unable to operate it.

Mattresses - The biggest complaint from guests worldwide is of "well-used" mattresses. If your mattress sags, or is too hard, it's time to replace it. Doing so will cost less than losing bookings.

Furniture - It takes many years to "wear out" couches. You may not notice, but if your bum hits the floor when you sit, guests will be livid. Don't make guests feel like they are sitting on Great Aunt Alice's living room sofa. (Please, no doilies.)

Decorating - Yes, you can have too many knick knacks in the home. Most people are not designers, but homes nicely decorated with paint, throw pillows, vases and the like, show great in photos and rent more often. Here is one idea - homes that have replaced deck railings with glass look brand new and preserve the view.

Windows - It takes decades, but even window frames, glass, and sliders begin to age. If you have a window with a broken seal, it's gotta get fixed to save you energy costs and avoid guest complaints.

See the new show "Vacation House Rules" on HGTV to see how upgrading homes greatly increases income. One of its rules is "Put yourself in the guests shoes." In other words, if you were paying good money to stay in a vacation home, wouldn't you want the home to be attractive?

The show does not reveal how to increase income with great marketing, photos, automated pricing and reservations sales pros, but we already do that for you. Every home is unique and has an audience, but each home can make more money, if owners doll up their place.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0782 – 07/31/20
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com

Lodging Update June 30, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 06/30/20 Topics: Comments:

Well, where do I start? It has been a wild ride since the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.

First, it was the massive economic slow down. But then, slowly, lodging guests realized they could "Get outta Dodge" and stay in a nice clean private vacation home, with contact-less entry, quarantined with their families, but still get out and about in nature.

Vacation rental bookings have rebounded in all our areas, and jumped hugely in some areas. As mentioned in last month's update letter, our super secret S2D2 Yield Management software prompted us when demand plummeted, but also alerted us to pump up rates when demand then jumped.

The result has been higher income for June and July. August is strong, too. And, with schools not re-opening, we think summer demand and, even, rates can continue into September.

Forgive us for gloating yet again, but we giggled as the local competitors were asleep and snickered as carpet bagging out-of-town managers missed the trend, because they are not in touch with every local market. Some panicked early and dropped rates by half.

We did the opposite and our clients are profiting.

The first office in our network opened in 1964 and we have been watching and learning as consumer behavior and habits change. Never have they changed as greatly and as rapidly as with the virus.

Here is the story.

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The Advertising Industry has always been greatly misunderstood. It is not all commercials with beautiful celebrities and cavemen selling insurance on TV. On the Internet, advertising is not all about search engine optimization, pay-per-click Google ads or Facebook's spying on its members.

Having started in the ad agency business, I have spent decades watching, studying and anticipating what customers want to buy. Ad pros never try to sell things to people who don't want them or don't need them. And not just because they want to be ethical, but because they know it's not sustainable.

Famous advertising professor, Ed Bannister, startled his class when he said, "Good advertising just makes a poor product fail quicker." (People try it, hate it, and forget it.)

An agency partner one said, "Advertising is easy. You ask people what they want and then you give it to them." Never has this been more true than during the last four months of a pandemic.

With the advent of vacation rental websites just 20 years ago, travelers figured out that staying with their family in a private vacation home is simply a better deal than staying in a cramped hotel room, with no kitchen, no living room, long walks to the parking lot, and outrageous rates - on a per-guest basis.

The 9/11 tragedy frightened the world, of course, but slowly travel returned. The 2008 recession took away discretionary income, some of which would have been for travel. Slowly it rebounded.

Some guests fall for the pitch from Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia, because they buy the pitch that all bookings are cancellable, that the OTAs list all lodgings, and that they can earn "points" that may have some value.

VRBO.com implied that guests were booking with the "Owner" when, in fact, the majority of properties --especially the well maintained, properly cleaned ones -- are from professional managers. But some guests fell for it.

AirBnB sold guests the option of renting a couch or room in someone's house, until they figured out that guests really want private vacation rental homes. AirBnB produces lots of bookings, but guests can be -- shall we say -- weird. Such as expecting the host to meet them for a drink when checking in, even if it's late at night.

At first Covid pushed people into panic, but then travelers ran out of patience and figured out that the safest lodging option is to rent a professionally-managed private vacation home.

We soared because we always ask customers what they wanted. Yes -- our cleaning exceeds high hospitality standards. Yes -- you can check in without "touching" anyone. Yes -- you can bring your family. Yes -- the homes have solid internet so guests can work while vacationing. And oddly, no -- there are no early check-ins to assure the home has been sufficiently empty prior to arrival. (That is the answer the guest actually wants to hear.)

Our ability to adapt to the changing market place has given even more visitors wonderful vacations and our property clients even more money. If your vacation rental home income has not soared, please give us a call. We'll fix it.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0772 – 06/30/20
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com

HelpBookMe Implements Version 3.0 or S2D2 Pricing System

By William May
Published: 06/03/20 Topics: Software, Sunspots Vacation Rentals, Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

Although the Vortex Organization first inserted yield management tools into their HelpBookMe lodging management system years ago, today they announced release of version 3.0 of tools referred to as S2D2 for "Seasonal, Strategic, Dynamic and Distributed".

Salman Arshad, chief engineer notes, "Artificial Intelligence pricing is based on the simple idea of Supply and Demand. But predicting supply and demand is a complicated undertaking because variables change frequently and quickly."

Yield Management, sometimes called "Dynamic Rates", increase or decrease based on the general economy, local and regional economic factors, the features and amenities of each property, local events and circumstances, prior day, week, month and quarter pricing, competitor rates and, even, the weather.

S2D2 rates are based on artificial intelligence that queries over 8 billion dollar points every evening, chooses the factors affecting every individual property, and then applies them to our geographic markets right down to the individual vacation rental home or lodging unit.

"Of course our pricing is based on sophisticated and ever changing algorithms, but we still apply manual review, oversight and, sometimes, intervention," said Kate Quinn, account manager at Vortex. "That is why our product name acknowledges all of those important factors."

"Studied" means constant inspection of what competitors are charging for similar and dis-similar properties. "Strategic" rates are set differently depending on time of the year, the season, and in accordance with local events.

"Dynamic" means that rates are adjusted regularly based on occupancy, advance notice and other factors. "Distributed" requires properties be widely advertised on every productive website and through conventional media to ensure that those who might demand the property know it exists.

You cannot have one of those elements without the others, otherwise the science of yield management would be incomplete. After extensive testing, results show that S2D2 version 3.0 can increase both occupancy and rates, resulting in more profit for property owners.

"It is counter-intuitive to recognize that S2D2 does not care what the day of the week is, what the season is or even if there are holidays." explained Arshad. "Instead, with constant calculation, the software foresees trends and adjusts rates to be at the sweet spot that fosters both occupancy and optimal rate."

Another reason yield management works so well is that, surprisingly, travelers have become accustomed to it and, in fact, learn to use variable rates to change their behavior. In other words, demand for lodging ebbs and flows based on rates.

The HelpBookMe technology and especially version 3.0 help charge the highest possible rate on the most popular dates. Modest rates are charged during shoulder seasons. And low rates are set for slow seasons to attract guests who would not otherwise consider booking.

Yield management shines during good economies, but quickly recognizes and reacts to negative events such as economic downturns, regional weather, and any happenings beyond anyone's control.

William May, a Vortex leader admits, ""Every owner loves the idea of high rates, but pride of ownership can be wounded when they look at lower seasonal rates. But once they see the growth in annual income, owners become quick converts to our S2D2 dynamic rates."

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Vortex Managers is a network of trained vacation rental management companies and provides its clients with the resources of giant lodging corporations without the cost or delay. HelpBookMe is a proprietary lodging management software system perfected with thousands of hours by expert engineers. For more information on Vortex, call or Email: Info@VortexManagers.com, or Website: www.VortexManagers.com

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Author: William May – Manager, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0746 – 06/03/20

Lodging Update April 30, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 04/30/20 Topics: Comments:

Several years ago the musical group Grateful Dead wrote "What a Long Strange Trip it Has Been." Little did anyone know how strange it might be.

Lodging suffered the effect of the 9/11 tragedy and the 2008 real estate depression. Now the Covid-19 pandemic is another new labyrinth to navigate.

For years, lodging management has kept getting more intricate, demanding time for previously unnecessary tasks like text messages from guests wanting early check-ins who don't have the courtesy to telephone. Emails 24/7 expecting instant response. Time to review every guest online.

Now every guests wants assurances, before booking that homes are fully sanitized and disinfected.

Of course we have been doing "Happy Hospitality Housekeeping" since our first office opened in 1964. It's nothing new. We spend hundreds of hours talking with people who are scared, rightfully so. Add counselor to our list of titles.

A wise man once said, "Hope is not a plan, but without a plan, there is little hope." Luckily our long standing contingencies and experience has allowed us to run far ahead of the competition during Covid-19.

We can not expect property owners to understand the hours and stress that the Covid pandemic has inflicted on lodging, but we can hope they appreciate our staff who have worked double time to take care of their properties and the plan to make them money as the craziness lessens.

===============================================================

Bad News - In March guests started cancelling everything, online travel agencies were over-riding cancellation policies, and governments were telling people not to go on vacation. The time to speak with every guest, to cancel bookings, and to do bookkeeping doubled the work.

Optimistic - We did not dare hope for a rebound but chose to accelerate spending on advertising, staffing, software services, website hosting, and many other costs. The phrase "All In" applies.

Good News - Plans can't predict the future, but they can predict readiness. As the onslaught of new bookings has arrived, we are again working double time to get back all the bookings that were lost.

New Rules - Advertising on hundreds of websites with differing rules required our software engineers to labor long, often overnight, to adapt functions, and to avoid guest confusion. For example, we can now put in bumper dates between bookings to allow for extra cleaning time.

In the Trenches - Every staff member is overwhelmed with related work. Housekeepers and maintenance pros are working their tails off. If homeowners have not tipped before, now is the time.

S2D2 - Our pricing algorithms (and the scientists who ride herd) received confusing signals in predicting future rates and occupancy. Competitors were plummeting prices trying to sell to guests who were not going to visit under any circumstance.

Version 3.0 - Coincidentally the latest version of our "Studied, Strategic, Dynamic, and Distribute" (S2D2) rate tools came on line in April, allowing us to react quickly to the market. Rates are moving up and down even faster than ever. No one knows what the future will yield, but our science can get owners more than their "fair share."

Late Bookings - The national trend for "Drive-To" destinations does have a downside and that is guests are not booking far ahead. Decades ago as visitors departed from their rental, they booked the following year to return. The 2008 recession shortened pre-booking, but Covid has made it skyrocket. Most guests want to go next week or the week after.

Competition - Online Travel Agents are laying off thousands of employees; 3,000 alone at Airbnb! Major management companies have fired up to 90% of their staff. One company with 2,500 homes shut down completely. Too bad for their clients they did not have a plan.

Negotiators - Now that business is picking up, every guest asks more questions and then almost everyone tries to get a discount. Americans have become like other societies where every purchase is negotiable.

Predictions - Summer is starting to fill in, but no one can predict income for the entire year and not even for the summer. We have a plan and are working on it every day. So far so good.

Amateurs - People who think about being a self-managed "Rent by Owner" never know the insane amount of labor, hours, and expertise necessary to succeed. HomeAway says it only takes 541 hours per year per house to "Do it Yourself".. Jeez.

Many RBO's have thrown in the towel or are selling their homes. We get calls for help everyday and all because we planned ahead. That is what good managers do.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0750 – 04/30/20
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com

Lodging Update May 31, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 04/30/20 Topics: Comments:

Do these letters always sound like we are bragging?

Sorry, we are constantly innovating and redefining how to do far better management than anyone else. So, yes, I guess we want to crow about it every now and then.

As mentioned last month, we have been working for many hundreds of hours for over a year on version 3.0 of our Yield Management Software called "Strategic, Studied, Dynamic and Distributed" (S2D2).

Some of those giant carpet bagging national companies that try to manage vacation rentals from far away like to think they have good yield management - but they have a major hole in their knowledge. They are not local and don't have wide regional data.

But we do because we have been managing on a "Local, Personal and Global" basis. That means we advertise on every possible advertising website, far more than those giant companies.

We also operate local and regional websites to glean far more information, all of which results in the perfect rates. Super high in high season, modest in shoulder seasons, and lower in slow times.

Every property owner loves the idea of high rates. But getting the highest "possible" rate in every season adds greatly to the best net income for owners.

Yield management is far more complicated than can be imagined. So this letter is going to give you a glimpse to the hundreds of factors that go into the algorithm our data scientists use.

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Everyone has noticed how rates vary on airlines and big hotels. Plus, how the rate for a date in the future may go up and down before the date arrives.

I must admit, I liked it better when it was always $250 to fly to Hawaii on a plane where the entire back section was empty, so I could fold up the arm rests and lay down over four seats, take a nap, and wake up in paradise.

Unfortunately, the airlines were going broke until they began manipulating rates to encourage people to book early, or late and to fill every seat. Until Covid, every seat on every plane has been filled for decades.

Best of all, consumers have subconsciously accepted the idea that rates fluctuate. In fact, many seem to enjoy the game of searching for best rates. They willingly move to less desirable dates (such as midweek), which helps the property fill those dates.

Yield Management does not seem logical on its face. The algorithm does not need to know when the high season or holidays occur, because it looks forward to watch rates and occupancy to predict and set our rates when demand and occupancy is high. Likewise, it ratchets down rates when the market has too many nights available and when competitors are dropping rates.

But, of course, weekends are always more popular, more booked and consequently rates are higher. Same with holidays. The high seasons have the same kind of profile and the science pushes those rates through the roof.

National, regional, and local economic trends are considered. Comparable units ("comp sets") are continuously monitored. Inns, Resorts, and Hotel future booking statistics are computed. Amenities, resorts (if any), and neighborhoods contribute, sometimes more and sometimes less.

If there are small holes in the schedule, rates may be adjusted down to get them sold. But if there are openings when the market is tight, rates go up - sometimes dramatically. Bigger openings may be higher because they offer a wider range, or cheaper if the opening is too large.

When Covid arrived so unexpectedly, S2D2 told us rates were crashing. In areas where rentals continued, we won what bookings were to be had. Suddenly, S2D2 told us "Hey something is going on," just as we noticed guests returning. Then it said, "It's time to bump up rates." And then, "Bump them up again".

Not all markets have returned to normal, but in some markets rates have up to doubled and occupancy is higher than ever before. We noticed the corporate managers missed the trend. Their clients lost thousands of dollars, while we grabbed the market.

New vacation rental owners often ask "What will the rate be?" But today, no person sets the rate. In fact, the market sets the rate. Over millennia, in high school, middle school or earlier, we learned price has always been based solely on "Supply and Demand".

The Yield Management idea, which is so closely tied to intricate supply and demand fluctuations, is so obvious and now, with our help, it is being employed to help every vacation rental client we have make more money.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0771 – 04/30/20
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com

HelpBookMe Invents Bumper Days to Facilitate Cleaning

By William May
Published: 04/01/20 Topics: Comments:

In response to the Covid-19 virus, Vortex Organization's Redstone Software engineers have designed and installed a new system in their HelpBookMe property management software. It adds unoccupied dates between bookings to allow separation for guests and additional housekeeping time. These are called :"Bumper" days.

Vortex is a network of inn, resort and vacation rental management companies who share methods, staff, marketing and technology to provide sophisticated services to lodging owners and want maximum income with minimum fuss. Operators of this website are members of the group.

Trina Flanagan, a partner in the firm, said, "We have always employed strict hospitality grade cleaning and sanitizing standards used to clean the inns, resorts and vacation rental homes that its member management companies serve.:

With the arrival of covid-19, Vortex managers began allowing homes to site vacant at least one day after prior guests depart and before housekeepers or new guests access the home.

But with the advent of online travel agents like AirBnB, VRBO, Booking.com and others, lodging reservations are procured from many sources and automatically downloaded into the Vortex HelpBookMe Software

Penny Taylor, a partner administering reservations at all geographic locations, add, "Although not practical in all locations, the Bumper system, allows bumper dates to be added automatically in all geographic areas and in all properties where that policy is desirable."

Even with the lessening of travel restrictions, the new software capabilities increases safety while making the bumper method to be more selectively implemented.

"Our engineering team researched, coded, tested and implemented the system in record time" noted Ozair Khalid who oversees reservations software. "Neither the corporate management companies or major software providers have not rolled out a similar tool. Too bad for their manager customers."

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Vortex Managers is a network of trained vacation rental management companies and provides its clients with the resources of giant lodging corporations without the cost or delay. HelpBookMe is a proprietary lodging management software system perfected with thousands of hours by expert engineers. For more information on Vortex, call or Email: Info@VortexManagers.com, or Website: www.VortexManagers.com

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Author: William May – Manager, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0747 – 04/01/20

Lodging Update March 31, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 03/31/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus Comments: 1

No, it is not over. No, we cannot predict when it will be over. No, we don't really know if it will be over.

But in fact, we do. This too shall pass. It is terrible and tragic, but it is also telling. That humanity rises to the occasion. Acts of kindness erupt. Humans settle in, put up, and get through it.

That is not much comfort until things begin to recover, but we must keep it in mind. This is not the end of the world, it's not the end of the economy and it's not the even the end of life as we know it.

Not long ago, on the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Iwo Jima, CBS television ran a promotional ad that said:

"Your grandfathers were ordered to Iwo Jima

You've been ordered to your couch.

Surely you can do this."

You can now save the entire human race by doing nothing. Don't screw it up. But remember, if you run out of toilet paper, life is rough.

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STEREOTYPE: Every good disaster movie starts with governments ignoring scientists.

A GOOD DAY: You work in a bank when 2 guys come in wearing masks and you are relieved they are only there to rob you.

SPOUSE: Found a young lady sitting on my couch yesterday. Apparently she is my wife. Seems nice.

FOOD: Went to a new restaurant called "The Kitchen." No clue how this place stays in business.

CHILDREN: Although there is no school, I still wake my kids at 6AM. Revenge is sweet.

COMEDIAN: My day job assigned me to work from home. No problem, I didn't like any of those people anyway.

PHONE: On a conference call someone's dog started barking, then everyone's dog started barking, so the host had to hit global mute. Best conference call ever.

HOME: My dad and I are sharing the kitchen table to work. He is an aerospace engineer designing a new wing prototype. I am drawing a duck.

HYGIENE: I washed my hands so much, that my exam notes from 1975 reappeared on my palm.

INDUSTRY: When told that consumers were hoarding toilet paper due to the Covid-19 virus, the chairman of Charmin said, "I do not see the problem."

FAMILY: Having my children at home has helped me tolerate the isolation. My wine cellar has helped me tolerate my children.

HUMANS: There are two types of people in the world. Those who stock up on toilet paper and those who stock up on beer. Come on now, you know who you are.

HOARDING: If you need 100 rolls of toilet paper to survive a 14-day quarantine, you probably needed to see a doctor way before this virus thing.

SHOPPING: They said that a mask and gloves were enough to go to the supermarket. They lied, everyone else has clothes on.

TOUCH: If you keep a glass of wine in each hand, you will not be able to touch your face.

DOGS: My dog said, "Oh My god, you're here all day. This is the best. I can love you, see you, be with you and follow you! I love you being here so much!" My cat said: "What the hell are you still doing here?"

SMART: The science community has figured out that the spread of Coronavirus is based solely on two things. 1. How dense the population is. 2. How dense the population is.

If you don't find any of these jokes funny, we apologize. Too soon?

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0749 – 03/31/20
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com

Lodging Update February 28th 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 02/28/20 Topics: Comments:

You are probably receiving many emails urging everyone to follow safe procedures to slow down the COVID-19 virus. We agree of course, but someone also needs to talk about the bright future that will follow a virus named after a beer brand.

Of course I know it's not the beer, but it helps to fight the panic by calling it a beer bug.

This is not to make sport of the folks who are suffering and dying from this creepy thing. But for most people who get infected, the symptoms are going to feel like having had far too many Budweiser's.

It is said that many people will not get the virus and yet their lives have been turned upside down. Restaurant and retail workers are out of work. Public events have been postponed for months or cancelled altogether.

Some reactions to this problem are unnecessary. Hoarders don't need a years worth of toilet paper. Creepy speculators don't need to buy cases of hand sanitizer and try to foist it on others at huge markups.

There are even people in the travel world, such as Online Travel Agents (think AirBnB) who have unilaterally changed their own terms and are now allowing any guest to cancel for any reason. This helps guests but devastates hosts who have been counting on the income by holding dates for up to a year. It also cuts hours for housekeepers, maintenance staff, reservationists, and more.

We don't want to be selfish but we do want to make informed decisions. Every negative has a positive. It's difficult to believe that now, but time will tell that it holds true.

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In Seattle we were thrust into the national news. Please tell your friends the sky is not falling and we have experience. Undesirable of course, but we learned one big lesson, this too shall pass.

We oldsters remember the day, the minute, and exactly where we stood when it was announced that President John F. Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas. Time stood still. We all thought we could never go on. It was our first taste of the sky falling, but we did grow older and in time the fear did pass.

On March 27, 1980 Mount Saint Helens blew its top just 98 miles south of downtown Seattle. Even from here a giant plum of smoke roared 70,000 feet into the air over our heads as if from a Faustian furnace. Ash covered Seattle and the Northwest. Cars were stranded due to ash, airplanes dare not fly. Schools were closed and people panicked. It seemed as if the sky was literally falling. But, that too did pass.

The terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001 stopped everyone in their tracks, We fretted that more hijackings would crash perhaps into our fair city. Consumers hoarded food and supplies. Our hearts bled for the victims, families, and first responders. People fled the city to hide out in the country. People panicked and for good reason thinking the sky was falling. Slowly but surely this too did pass.

Our parents generation were stunned by 9/11, but they were a bit less stunned that my generation or younger. They had lived through World War II and had seen worse, far worse.

My father in-law was a night-fighter pilot off an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific tasked with shooting down Kamikaze planes where he could often see the faces of the Japanese pilots as they died. He did not allow himself to believe he would came back alive. That generation never knew if they or their lifestyle would survive. And yet, over time memories faded, fear diluted, and this indeed did pass.

The 2008 recession dominated the world financially, stole life savings, threw people out of work, evicted home owners, caused bankruptcies, and scared everyone for years. Life savings were lost through no fault of savers. The lodging industry was brought to its knees and participants felt the sky was falling. It did not. Slowly, very slowly this too did pass.

And now today we are deep into yet another crisis that seems as daunting as past panics because its outcome and its tenure are unknown. The enemy is unseen and impersonal. Everyone wants answers which have not arrived.

For now, the path is to follow the basic hand-washing, social distancing, and other rules that will slow the virus giving the medical establishment time to react and adapt.

The vacation rental industry has a little something to offer. We offer people private vacation rental homes to get away, to really relax, to spend time in the country away from the city. Where they can walk the beach, hike the mountains and watch nature, which is paying no attention to a virus whatsoever. Traveling by car guests avoid crowds. And for all of this we have our incredible staff who still clean and sanitize homes to the Nth degree.

If these comments seem a bit too selfish, or too early, keep in mind that truly the sky is not falling. The sooner we fit the new situation into our world, the better. After all, this too shall pass.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0748 – 02/28/20
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com

Lodging Update January 31st, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 01/31/20 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

If you have been reading these monthly updates for long, you know we have a propensity to quote songs, stories and even poetry. That is because creative endeavors remind us of obvious truths, and say it in a way we might all remember.

Property management is a seemingly simple career. Talking about it can be a bit dry. And the real work of those who serve is invisible to clients. Most cannot imagine the intricacies of the job.

In recent years, our industry has been plagued by self-promoting, venture-capital chain management companies, who want to manage homes from thousands of miles away. They are willing to lose millions of dollars per month in hopes they buy up the market before they run out of cash.

We see this a bit differently. Actually, we see it much differently.

Yes, we have every tool they have and then some. But we also vest our work in little things that make a big difference to guests and to property owners. Focus. Focus. Focus.

"Great things are done by a series of small things brought together." - Vincent van Gogh

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Hundreds of little things contribute to great guest experiences and hundreds more provide property owners with complete service. Our daily regimen avoids problems and ensures quality.

Penny - Every human can learn how to be calm and helpful to every person who calls, even when guests lock themselves out of the home at 3AM. It's not by accident, but rather by determination.

Jackie - If a home has been vacant for more than a few days, we go to each of them to double-check for dust, turn on the front door light, check the heat and - it's odd to say - flush the toilets to make sure there is no "ring."

Jon - It astounds me that other managers don't create floor plans for every property on their website. Of course, they haven't figured out to do them great and affordably like we have.

Kylee - Software speeds up the monthly statement closing process, but every item on every report is double-checked by hand because, well because we would be embarrassed if it was wrong.

Simon - No one likes criticism, but no one is perfect. So email surveys are sent to every guest. We sell them great stays but need to know if any little thing was off the mark.

Salman - Advertising on every possible website is the only way to ensure maximum demand for every property. That takes technical integration for rates and dates, and daily tweaks to the system are incessant.

Kate - When starting with a property we have the world's longest checklist. Would you want to get on a jetliner where the captain did a short checklist? Same thing with rentals. We do nothing by chance.

Fahim - In addition to our management websites, we build local tourism websites. Maintaining lists of activities, events, shops and restaurants takes far more time, but we attract even more guests than the other guys.

Bronson - In a hotel, it's is called "Night Auditor". Here we just call it constant auditing. Reconciling inbound payments from websites and guests requires great attention to details plus thousands of key strokes.

Lenny - After a long day running to properties with a checklist, I make a list of anything that might have been overlooked. And then I double-check it the next day.

James - After 15 years paying for Dynamic Range photos I am happy to report the competition never catches up. Superior photos gather more attention and produce more income. I hope they never figure it out.

Quinn - Answering the same repetitive questions from guests can be tiring, But some guests have been planning for years and its my job to make their dreams come true. It delights me.

William - My father once said, "It is necessary to master that we dislike the most" and then everything else is easy. We challenge everyone here to embrace the little things every day. It really is the secret to doing great work.

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Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0718 – 01/31/20
Sponsor: Vortex Organization – We train quality people to help run unique Inns, Resorts and Vacation Rental Management companies, in an industry that has been a webby net of technology combined with good old fashioned property, guest and owner services. – VortexManagers.com

Lodging Update December 31st, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 12/31/19 Topics: Comments:

What a lovely, enjoyable industry we are in. Tens of thousands of guests going to thousands of unique and interesting vacation rental homes, Inns, Resorts and other specialty lodging. Read more

Lodging Update November 30th, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 11/30/19 Topics: Comments:

What a lovely, enjoyable industry we are in. Tens of thousands of guests going to thousands of unique and interesting vacation rental homes, Inns, Resorts and other specialty lodging. Read more

Lodging Update October 31st, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 10/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

Whether building a house, a space ship or a winning basketball team, the direct and efficient way to achieve greatness is to approach projects inch-by-inch. There are no short cuts. Read more

The Great Expectations of the Vacation Rental Industry

By William May
Published: 10/24/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

Why did a father disown a teenage son who consistently earned straight A's in school, played all the major sports, attended church with the family, was an eagle scout, volunteered for every worth cause, was president of the student body and treated everyone, young and old with smiling respect. Read more

Lodging Update September 30th, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 09/30/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

The only trouble we have with giving customers what they want, so we can produce absolute maximum income for owners is pleading with and even begging owners to do the little things necessary. Here is what guests want. Read more

Lodging Update August 31st, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 08/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

Help us help you by reading the ins and outs of what has become a very intricate intense industry. Read more

Lodging Update July 31st, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 07/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

It's not bad news, usually it's good news, but it's always news. Read more

Lodging Update June 30th, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 06/30/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

We have now spent a dozen years building software used for many reasons, but one is just to fight the war for more advertising visibility. Here are just a few challenges we work on every day. Read more

Lodging Update May 31st, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 05/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

- How many hours does it take to self manage? Experts say 520 hours per year. - Will I make more money self-managing? No. - Why would I self manage? You need an unpaid hobby. - Should I limit occupancy in my place? Absolutely. Read more

Lodging Update April 30th, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 04/30/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

Owners of every Inn, Resort and Vacation Rental work to offer unique and wonderful properties and when they hire a management firm a big question is "Does that manager promote themselves or do they focus on the property?" Read more

Lodging Update March 31st, 2019

By Wm. May
Published: 03/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments:

- Who sets the rate, the owner or the manager? - What would the nightly rate be for my home? - How many nights will it rent? In the simplest form, answering those questions may sound a bit too glib. "No one sets the rate. The market sets the rate". or "The number of nights will be dictated by the rate." Read more

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DETAILS: We work to keep this information up to date, but details do change from time to time based on circumstances, often on short notice, and sometimes beyond our control. To verify any answer or other information you may need, please call or email us anytime. Allow a reasonable amount of time for response. Only legitimate inquiries will be answered.