Insights from Our Experts
How We Built the Best Vacation Rental Property Management Software in 2018
Vacation rental industry is not so young anymore. Phocuswright had already predicted that the market would reach $36.6B by 2018. Thanks to the industry impact, vacation rental property management software have evolved to be a major game-changer.
Towards the end of 2017, we faced a similar demand from one of our clients. The client was a leading entrepreneur, operating a large number of businesses in and around the UK. They were predominantly focussed on the real estate business with major investments in online hospitality and vacation rental services. They had a fairly good number of apartments and housing facilities hosted on two of the largest online hospitality portals.
So, why did they approach SayOne?
The Business Need & Challenge
The client had multiple accounts on these online hospitality portals. Being a technical expert, the client had a good hand in the latest as well as emerging technologies such as automation and cryptocurrency. For these reasons, the client preferred to automate most of their time-consuming, regular tasks.
Despite all these efforts, they began to find it tedious to manage the whole system. A minimum number of 6000 messages were received per month on these accounts from customers. These messages could be related to booking confirmation or other relevant concerns. If prompt replies were not given, then there was a great possibility of losing out business.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, the client had already built an integrated desktop-mobile account management system using Django and employed a customer support team to manage the bookings. They had even deployed methods such as URL sniffing for multiple account management.
However, the stringent policies of the online hospitality portals began to affect their business. The challenge to access and manage multiple accounts concurrently became increasingly difficult. Moreover, the client needed enhancements to their existing booking management system for improving operational efficiency.
Solution: A Fully-Automated Vacation Rental Property Management Software
When they approached SayOne, the stakes were high. Although the client had a working booking management system in place, they wanted to bring significant enhancements and double the Return on Investment (ROI).
SayOne evaluated the requirement with the help of a well-qualified software development team to suggest a suitable solution. After analyzing the intricacies of the entire system, our team suggested an automated vacation rental software, in-line with their demand for higher ROI. We suggested automating time-consuming, repetitive activities such as listing creation, message handling, and guest review management. Furthermore, we came up with an easy payment gateway integration system for the software.
So, how did the software evolve?
We kick-started the software development with a core focus on automating time-consuming tasks and simplifying account management. Using URL sniffing, we were successful in blocking apartments on particular dates based on its availability and sending out automated messages to customers based on their booking dates. Booking handling was strongly executed with SendGrid Parse Email Webhook technique.
Another major blocker in multiple owner account management was a two-factor authentication process. This process generated a new code for each account after a particular timeframe. Hence, it required them to check the code and enter it to continue their activity. This authentication method had begun to frustrate them.
Despite the difficulties, we conquered the two-factor authentication system using cryptography method. Using such a method, we were able to successfully replicate the entire code generation model and predict the next set. Therefore, it reduced the manual effort and enabled the system to function seamlessly.
Guest Review Management
Next came the guest review management task. Earlier, their customer care executives had to manually check the reviews given for each customer and then, categorize them accordingly for future bookings. With the use of advanced methodologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), we implemented a guest review string analysis method for easy data collection. The method processes all the reviews given to a guest from the owner’s part. Finally, an average score is shown to the customer care executives with a final verdict about the customer - Good or Bad.
The client’s team had also faced obstacles while sending apartment pictures to prospective customers as the online hospitality platform had certain image restriction policies. We resolved this issue by using image encoding methods and helped the client’s team to continue conversation effectively.
Bottom Line: The Results of a Carefully Driven Application Strategy
When the client approached us, their apartment and house listings were limited to 28 in total. After implementing our vacation rental software, the listing processes have been completely automated. As of today, they stand with close to 200 listings with the help of the new application. Furthermore, we automated over 6000 messages that were received on the multiple owner accounts.
The software has considerably reduced many of their time-consuming tasks, enhancing the productivity of the workforce and minimizing human errors. Today, they are receiving over 50 bookings per day that generates a daily revenue of 300 pounds. Their annual income has almost tripled and touches up to £110,000.
How did we achieve this?
Our experience in the vacation rental industry greatly helped us to understand their requirements. We started with the minimal features to understand its impact on the existing system. A dedicated software developer was employed to work and support the system as the scope evolved day by day. Using an accelerated agile methodology coupled with DevOps, we successfully sped up the delivery process without compromising on quality.
Do you have an app development idea in mind? Speak to our team for a free consultation!