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 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.

Read more

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

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."

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

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

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.