C Ocean Rentals is a full-service vacation rental and property management company in Miami, Florida! Offering high end vacation rentals in the trendiest areas like South Beach, Miami, C Ocean Rentals provides exceptional service for property owners and guests alike. This company has just started using our cloud-based WebRezPro Property Management System to help with operating their vacation rentals. Visit their website to see how they’re using WebRezPro to accept online bookings![button color=”#ffffff” background=”#ff8000″ size=”medium” target=”_blank” src=”http://www.coceanrentals.com/”]Visit Website[/button]
It’s a good time to be a vacation rental manager. According to the latest TripAdvisor® Vacation Rentals Survey, vacation rental stays are on a steady rise with 59 percent of more than 1,800 U.S. survey respondents planning to stay at a rental home this year, up from 52 percent last year, and 44 percent in 2013. An inspiring 87 percent are more likely to book a vacation rental because of the industry’s increased online presence. The survey also delved into why travelers choose to stay in a vacation rental, the top three reasons being value and amenities, more space for groups, and an at-home experience.
Recent technology has impacted traveler expectations, the customer relationship and the way properties are managed and marketed. The Internet of Everything has given rise to the Millennial Traveler and a desire for instant gratification through mobile technology. Customer service has gone digital via email and social media, and genuine, personalized travel experiences are more important than ever.
In a thriving and increasingly competitive market, vacation rental operators must keep up with industry trends and technology in order to maximize bookings and revenue.
Turning Lookers into Bookers with a Cloud PMS for Vacation Rentals
A cloud property management system (PMS) is key to success in this evolving industry. From centralized inventory management and online bookings to automated owner statements and mobile system access, cloud vacation rental management software streamlines front-and back-office operations so that your vacation rental business runs like a well-oiled (and fully booked) machine.
Take WebRezPro PMS for example; with a flexible set of custom-designed features for vacation rental operators, WebRezPro helps managers of vacation homes, holiday apartments, and cabin and cottage rentals increase operational efficiency and bookings through:
>> Real-time vacation rental management. Front- and back-office integration, from the reservation process to housekeeping reports to accounting, results in end-to-end automation that gives property managers a complete and real-time view of their business from a single point of control.
>> Online bookings with unit slideshows. A fully integrated and easy-to-use online booking engine is crucial when it comes to turning lookers into bookers. The online booking engine is integrated with the PMS for real-time inventory management that prevents double-booking and maximizes occupancy. The booking widget is customizable to match a website’s look and feel and provides a user-friendly experience on all devices. WebRezPro’s online booking engine also includes unit slideshows within search results, which has proven to be a great way to showcase individual units and clinch sales.
>> Flexible rate management. It’s important to stay competitive with rates, especially now that it’s so easy for travelers to compare pricing on online booking websites like Booking.com and FlipKey. With flexible rate management features like multiple rack rates, unlimited rate changes and quick overrides, WebRezPro enables property managers to take advantage of dynamic pricing for optimal revenue management.
>> Owner statements & owner log-in. Owner profiles cover single, multiple and fractional ownership scenarios and facilitate accurate, automatic revenue tracking. Once owner charges — such as cleaning fees and utilities — have been set up, the system can generate automatic owner statements, saving a lot of time in the office. Owners can also be given limited access to the system so that they can view availability and booking history of their own units, book themselves in at no charge and request statements online (and it goes without saying that happy owners contribute greatly to smooth operation).
>> Mobile access & paperless check-in. One of the greatest advantages of a cloud PMS is mobility. Going beyond anywhere access — which means your system can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet, anywhere in the world — mobile-optimized cloud PMS allow property managers to run their business on-the-go from a mobile device, truly eliminating the need for a front desk. Think paperless check-in with electronic signature capture for efficient guest registration on the spot. And mobile housekeeping and maintenance reports to ensure your properties are spotless and fully functional for each and every booking, even on same-day turnovers.
>> Detailed guest profiles. The ability to accumulate rich guest data enables vacation rental managers to gain loyal guests through personalized service and targeted communications based on stay history and guest preferences.
>> Automated email communications. From reservation confirmations to review requests, customizable email templates for automated pre- and post-stay guest communications are central to targeted marketing campaigns and customer service that wins loyal customers. WebRezPro also offers integration with sophisticated CRM and email marketing solutions like Guestfolio, Salesforce, Constant Contact and Revinate for even more powerful functionality.
>> Direct integration with online distribution channels. Online portals like AirBnB, CanadaStays and Booking.com are usually part of a healthy marketing strategy. PMS integration with these online distribution channels maximizes reach and reservations with minimal effort.
In one smart package, a cloud PMS for vacation rentals equips property managers with the tools they need to steer their business to success now and in the future.
Whether you are already onboard or are quietly waiting and watching, the focus on mobile within the hospitality industry has only grown stronger over the past couple of years. Now, with 2015 upon us, the mobile movement has proved itself here to stay. With increasingly more hoteliers armed with mobile websites, mobile booking engines and mobile hotel management systems, focus is shifting to what’s next. Here are five hotel industry trends to watch in 2015…
From “Small Screen” to “All Screens”
With the rise of the millennial traveler and their tendency to plan and book travel online and on the go, hoteliers have put concentrated effort into mobile websites and mobile booking engines in order to capture this rapidly growing segment. As this trend continues, it’s becoming more important to cater to the full range of devices — present and future — in an efficient, effective and economical way.
Focus on the small screen (or even three screens: desktop, tablet and smartphone) is shifting to a more ubiquitous approach: all screens — including the in-between sizes that are now materializing. Therefore, responsive Web design is becoming the method of choice when it comes to online marketing and software. Responsive user interfaces provide seamless experiences with optimal usability no matter the device, as well as a single point of content control.
Social Customer Service and Reputation Management
Social media played a big part in increasing brand awareness and guest engagement last year and the trend will continue to claim a growing proportion of hotels’ marketing budgets into the foreseeable future. Social media also proved to be an effective platform for customer service, reaching the mobile millennials who turn to social media and review sites for first-hand information and experience of a brand. In the year ahead, social media will play an even bigger role in customer service, and as social engagement continues to build, reputation management systems and social monitoring tools will be deemed a necessity.
Mobility and Integration Through the Cloud
Hoteliers are much less hesitant about cloud technology than they were five years ago. Hospitality Technology’s 2014 Lodging Technology Study forecasts 51 percent of hotels will use cloud solutions for CRM, 50 percent for PMS, and 44 percent for POS before the year is out. Aside from making good financial sense, cloud technology offers an uncomplicated and seamless route to mobilizing and integrating hotel systems.
Mobile and integrated hotel systems vastly improve hotel operations in terms of efficiency and guest service. As more and more lodging operators realize the benefits of mobilizing and integrating their hotel systems, the shift to cloud technology will only continue to grow. Which leads to our next trend…
Innovative Technology for Superior Personalized Service
The whole purpose behind technology in hospitality has always been to increase efficiency and improve guest service (whether or not individual systems have succeeded in this). Today it’s no different, except that, now, innovation in hospitality technology is flourishing… and it needs to be; travelers are increasingly demanding self-sufficiency through mobile apps for self-check-in and out, mobile concierge, and even mobile room keys. But this doesn’t mean that good old-fashioned service can take a back seat; today’s travelers have high expectations for both modern amenities and personalized service, so standing out means to provide both.
Through integrating such guest-facing technology with PMS or CRM systems, guest profiles are enriched with powerful data that can help hoteliers customize the guest experience based on special requests, on-property spend and social media mentions.
As hoteliers embrace innovative, connected technology as a way to provide guests with more autonomy while accumulating richer guest data, personalized guest service will in turn reach new levels.
Health and Wellness
Travel is no longer an excuse for putting personal health regimes on hold. From local, organic ingredients to Pilates and yoga, a healthy lifestyle is hot and even small properties without on-site fitness facilities or restaurants can keep up with this trend.
Providing healthy options in the lobby vending machine or at the breakfast buffet, and fitness props such as hand weights and yoga mats along with on-demand fitness programming are some ways smaller properties could promote themselves to health-conscious travelers this year.
Whether we like it or not, the mobile Internet has brought a culture of immediacy into our lives. We want what we want now! From fast food to online shopping, we want drive-thru coffee, immediate responses to our emails and text messages, and the ability to research our next vacation on our mobile device whenever and wherever the fancy takes us.
Remember when we had to physically go to the store to buy a book? (Remember books?) Or getting the busy signal when you made an actual phone call? Remember when booking a vacation involved printed travel brochures and real, live travel agents? It wasn’t really that long ago. For good or bad — and there are arguments for both — mobile Internet has bowled into our lives and given us instant, on-the-go access to almost anything our hearts desire. It’s changed our expectations.
In business, we also want immediate access to information and we expect the technology we rely on to run quickly and smoothly (cursing it if it doesn’t). We need efficient operational systems and processes to give us the time to focus on our customers. This is more important than ever as our customers’ expectations soar higher and they want service now. Like, right now.
In the hospitality industry, operational efficiency and quality of guest service hinges on the Property Management System (PMS).
Cloud PMS & the Culture of Immediacy
Great guest service stems from smooth operation, not a clunky PMS that requires all your time and attention. From check-in to check-out, when daily tasks are quick and easy to complete, you and your staff have more time to focus on providing personalized service that builds guest loyalty, and tending to guest requirements promptly — perhaps even immediately — for greater guest satisfaction.
Cloud PMS empower lodging operators to elevate service to the high level expected by today’s guests. How do cloud PMS do this? By automating and mobilizing daily operations — shifting your focus from technology back to hospitality.
Accessed via the Internet, your cloud PMS really is available anywhere, from any computer or mobile device connected to the Web. It’s easy to see how this can speed up both operational tasks and guest service; imagine mobile housekeeping reports for up-to-the-minute room status updates, quick-and-easy paperless guest check-in on an iPad, and immediate visibility of guest requests entered in the system on the go. Mobile cloud PMS unshackle staff from the physical front desk for optimal efficiency and service.
Integrated Online Bookings
Just as it’s convenient for you to access your PMS on the go, it’s also convenient for travelers to book accommodation on the go. In fact, nearly 60 percent of travelers book vacations online and a quarter of travelers who use smartphones to research travel actually book travel online through their mobile, too. Cloud PMS offer seamless, mobile-optimized online bookings for your website, as well as integration with online distribution channels like booking.com and Expedia. Integrating online bookings with your PMS means that reservations coming through online channels are automatically updated to the PMS and availability adjusted across all channels accordingly, eliminating the need to consolidate online bookings with the PMS manually. So, not only do integrated online bookings cater to your Web-booking customers when and wherever they desire, but they also save you and your staff a lot of time that you can instead spend attending to your guests.
From front desk to housekeeping to accounting, your PMS serves as a central point of control, integrating and automating processes so that you don’t need to manually consolidate information across core departments. Cloud PMS are also easily integrated with external systems like the GDS and OTAs, call accounting, electronic locking, in-room entertainment, payment processors, point-of-sale, revenue management, etc., streamlining operations property-wide. At risk of sounding like a broken record, process automation afforded by system integration maximizes efficiency, saves lodging operators time and, in turn, empowers you to provide even better service to your guests.
System upgrades, data backups, maintenance and technical hiccups take your attention away from your guests and can cause stress and frustration. With a cloud PMS, all technical responsibility related to the PMS software lies with the vendor: upgrades, data protection and backup, software maintenance and bug fixes. A cloud PMS takes care of all the technical hassles, leaving you free to — you guessed it — take care of your guests.
The fundamental purpose of a cloud PMS is to streamline daily operations so you can give your attention to your guests when they need it (i.e. now). If you think about it, cloud PMS are made for our culture of immediacy.
We recently blogged about our mobile housekeeping reports and how they improve efficiency, cut paper and printing costs and are environmentally friendlier — benefits that a mobile property management system can bring to all aspects of daily operations.
This week, we’d like to highlight another of our mobile features: electronic signature capture for paperless check-in. It ticks all the boxes…
>> Speeds up the check-in process? Check.
>> Cuts paper and printing costs? Check.
>> Better for the environment? Check.
>> And it’s sure to impress your guests, too. Check!
WebRezPro’s electronic signature capture feature allows guests to sign check-in receipts or registration cards digitally on a tablet or smartphone screen, eliminating the need to print check-in receipts or registration cards and speeding up the check-in process. This neat feature is available for free simply by logging in to your WebRezPro system with a mobile device such as a tablet. (You may need to upgrade to a newer version of WebRezPro – at no charge – just get in touch with your account rep.)
“WebRezPro’s new electronic signature capture feature has so many amazing benefits. First of all, check-ins are much quicker. Secondly, guests really like it… it’s something they’ve never seen before, and it makes a great first impression. From an operational perspective, being able to digitalize our registration cards allows us to be so much more efficient. Searching for past registration cards—something that used to take five to ten minutes—now literally takes seconds. Electronic signature capture also means we are using much less paper now. This is a huge cost savings. And last but certainly not least; this one new change might have had the single greatest environmental impact of any change we’ve ever made. With email confirmations and now electronic sign-ins, our Front Desk is virtually paperless.”
– Jim Copus, Montecito Inn, Santa Barbara, CA
Click here to see other ways we are embracing mobile technology to bring efficiency and cost savings to your daily operations. And for the bigger picture (if you have a few minutes), read our latest white paper about mobilizing your entire PMS.