Blog

We want to keep you posted and publish occasional newsletters that can include news, information, opinions and data. Read everything we know.

Lodging Update August 31, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 08/31/20 Topics: Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Is it time yet to take a long look at 2020? Does it seem like everything has changed? That things are upside down?

Nah. I would like to suggest that nothing has really changed. Yes, there have been some bad things, but the world is still advancing, improving and getting better.

Sure, we can always focus on things that need to be done, and often because their effects are negative. And, yes indeed, we must do that.

But getting lost in frowns and worry causes us to ignore that truly fabulous things are happening every day.

When one vocal expert proclaimed that the world was "going to hell", noted columnist P.J. O'Rourke said he could prove him wrong with one word - DENTISTRY. He said 100 years ago 8% of the population died from impacted teeth, which are now a thing of the past.

It's been said that more people have died in the history of the world from tuberculosis than are currently alive on the planet. Let's be thankful we don't live in an era when TB, dysentery and typhus were everywhere. No matter what television, newspapers and the internet want you to believe - it’s a great time to be alive.

So for our clients, staff, family and friends we would like to remind everyone that "this too shall pass" (the bad things), but that good things -- including medical wonders, scientific breakthroughs, instant communications, and access to knowledge -- will be here forever.

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

It may be difficult to believe, but every day things are getting better and better. Here are some good ones to remember.

Video Calls - As a kid, many of us dreamed of the day when we would have video telephones. Never did we think it would happen like it has, or be as widely adopted. But happen it did and now you can talk to lost long friends and relatives, or make new friends, anywhere in the world.

On a skype call to promote her new book "Bunheads", Prima Ballerina, Misty Copeland, shrieked with laughter, when a dozen tiny dancers joined her, all with their hair tied up in buns. Neither she nor the kids could dampen their joy. They to meet their hero and she to feel their love. Never have there been so many smiles on one small screen.

Togetherness - Everyone misses dining out, but families are spending more time together. More books are being read. More movies watched. And discussions are being held on race, prejudice and faith like never before.

Business - While certain industries have been turned on their heads by COVID, others have prospered. Unfair of course, but it is simply the outcome. As always, customers make the decisions and they change what they want fast.

Location - The system of workers sitting together in the same physical location didn't happen by accident. Collaboration, comradery and communications have always advanced business and, certainly, society. Now leaders have been forced to recognize that many tasks can be done at home, eliminating the cost and inefficiency of commuting. It was a good idea before, now it's brilliant.

Schooling - Children need other children for social reasons, and distance learning won't fill the gap entirely, but instantly parents realized it could be done. Except for the added burden on parents, spending more time with their offspring can be enlightening.

Getting Away - In our little niche of vacation rentals and specialty lodging, guests realize they can work and study from rustic, rural and recreational areas just as easily as being in a city. They need not go to jam-packed hotels and theme parks. There is a big wide world to explore and the jump in lodging proves guests are enjoying themselves.

Consumption - With COVID, auto and airline travel has decreased, lowering consumption of fossil fuels. The demand for consumer goods has plummeted, indicating some of us realize we didn't need quite as much of everything as we once thought.

Alone Time - Sitting on the couch, reading a book or playing board game with family distracted us until many folks realized that going a bit slower, and avoiding crowds has its own charm.

Change - Interruptions to our busy bee world reveal what made mankind flourish - the ability to change. Our ancestors came down from the trees, wandered the plains, climbed the mountains and sailed the oceans, sometimes because they yearned to see new things. But more often to get away from bad and move toward good. We will do the same and for the same reason - because we must.

Do yourself a favor today. Make a list of the good and great things in our world today. By comparison, today's interruptions are nothing.

Read more Leave comments

Author: Wm, May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0786 – 08/31/20
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 July 31, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 07/31/20 Topics: Vacation Rental Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

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.

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

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.

Read more Leave comments

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

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: 0

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."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
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

Read more Leave comments

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

Lodging Update January 31st, 2020

By Wm, May
Published: 01/31/20 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

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

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

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.

Read more Leave comments

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 October 31st, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 10/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

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 Leave comments

The Great Expectations of the Vacation Rental Industry

By William May
Published: 10/24/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

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 Leave comments

Lodging Update September 30th, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 09/30/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

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 Leave comments

Lodging Update August 31st, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 08/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

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

Lodging Update July 31st, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 07/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

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

Lodging Update June 30th, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 06/30/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

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 Leave comments

Lodging Update May 31st, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 05/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

- 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 Leave comments

Lodging Update April 30th, 2019

By Wm, May
Published: 04/30/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

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 Leave comments

Lodging Update March 31st, 2019

By Wm. May
Published: 03/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

- 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 Leave comments

Lodging Update February 28th, 2019

By Wm. May
Published: 02/28/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

Here is a mish mash of "Did You Know" facts, figures, statistics, and plain ol' good wisdom we have picked up over time. DYK - Our definition of "Hospitality Clean" is defined as cleaner that most people leave their homes just after they've done a deep clean. Guests demand clean above all else. Read more Leave comments

Lodging Update January 31st, 2019

By Wm. May
Published: 01/31/19 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

Vacation rentals are a seemingly simple industry. How tough can it be? Run some ads, take reservations and money, give keys to the guests, find a housekeeper and do it all again. But a day in the life looks little like that. Read more Leave comments

Lodging Update December 31st, 2018

By Wm. May
Published: 12/24/18 Topics: Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

DO YOU WANT THE MONEY? If getting the money is not your goal, you may find even the smallest aspects of landlording might make you uncomfortable Read more Leave comments

Lodging Update November 30th, 2017

By Wm. May
Published: 11/30/17 Topics: Advertising, Dynamic Pricing, Housekeeping, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Many of our day-to-day services for property owners are hidden, but essential. Take for example - a day in the life of the reservation staff. Here is a peek. Read more Leave comments

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.