The rise of real management companies.
Recently we posted an article: “Simon says“, which had a great reaction. This was a warning to managers regarding their future.
With owners now using OTAs to make bookings on automatic, the rise of urban rentals and the number of specialist management businesses and the pressure to perform to guest expectations are increasing. The hotel alignment and new guest attitudes are also compounding these problems.
With established managers also increasingly using OTAs, diluting their own marketing, the eco-system is changing. It is more and more focused on guest relations, top quality property management, and billable concierge services to replace the lost margins.
This is why technology, connections and software to reduce administration and automate functions are vital to a growing business.
Paper, spreadsheets or designer software?
There are literally hundreds of PMS systems, but despite the acronym, the vast majority, generally, do not serve any of these discrete physical management markets well. They are nearly all focused on managing bookings financially, dealing with property distribution and pricing and automating guest information. In addition, there are many guest apps/mobile sites that provide “in-travel” or “in property” information.
In this article, we are more focused on the actual physical management of a property itself and how the data can be managed to create efficiencies and improve communication.
Property management is complex too, these are just some considerations:-
- Owners may only wish to holiday rent periodically,
- Owners may use the property themselves.
- The property may be booked by an owner, a manager or an agent.
- Managers may use external contractors or employees
- There is both labor and materials to consider
- Companies and staff may have to cover large distances between properties and schedule accordingly
- There is damage, repairs, reporting and endless SOPs
- Finance, costings, quotations, invoicing, payments, reconciliations, taxes, banking etc. are all needed
As we can see, as the business becomes more complex and grows, paper and spreadsheets, like many businesses, often become redundant and a cloud-based software package is needed, accessible from anywhere and on multiple devices.
As we can also see it is a very specialist subject and often left to the experts to build a “fit for use” product. How many PMS systems have we seen that are not suitable for the booking management and automation or are too expensive for businesses to use?
Many software packages in use have come from the residential or non-STR rental property market. The rapid rise of short-term rentals is now focussing software developers on the STR market but requires working with the standard PMS and booking sources to integrate data.
Which do you use?
We thought to have a very quick look at some systems we have heard about, but would love to hear which ones you use and why? We cannot hope to get into any detail on these but all have come onto our radar in recent months. No doubt you can expect to see more Saas products soon, charging per property or per month for the system.
We have not included the mainstream booking management systems that include integrated physical management systems such as Genkhan just dedicated systems that can hook into booking systems and other third-party services and are growing independently of the booking management systems.
Everyone in the rental industry must have heard about Proper.ly such is their marketing reach. With some serious funding behind them and top-level OTA integrations, numerous connected PMS systems, they have a top quality mobile product, plus web interface that takes full advantage of the rapid rise of urban rentals and also helps access the cleaning community.
Their description on Capterra.com is as follows:
Properly is a web and mobile housekeeping and maintenance management tool for short-term rental property managers and home-sharing hosts. You can schedule cleanings from your Airbnb or HomeAway booking calendar, create and send visual, interactive checklists for turnovers with listing photo, receive photos of cleaners’ finished work, problem reports, and updates on the jobs, find great cleaners used by other hosts, and integrate with third-party listings and PMS platforms.
A privately owned and funded EU company, developed by very experienced managers and worth looking at the team to understand why, plus the description from their website illustrates their understanding of the issues in detail.
Property Management is complicated. No two Property Managers provide exactly the same services in exactly the same way. Some do rentals, whilst others may not. Some rentals may be long-term, whilst others are short term holiday lets, some properties may be available to rent all the time, with others being only available for some months of the year. The variations go on and on… Some Property Managers do a lot of the cleaning, maintenance, and repairs themselves, whilst others may subcontract these services out. Some Property Managers may have different agreements with different clients and properties, but others may have a more uniformed approach. Again, the variations are endless.
For companies with large volumes or even modest volume of properties, fixed per property pricing, (rather than from-to, found here) especially in seasonal destinations can be expensive and a serious discount may be needed depending on the business model, to make it viable. All the efficiency arguments apply of course, but life’s just not like.
A very approachable company and well worth a call if you’re in the market for a system.
The website’s description of its services is as follows:
Prowner’s property management software is for owners who rent their properties directly through their own website or through an agent. With Prowner you can share your account with your agent so that communication is at the forefront. Prowner is not just about holiday bookings, availability calendars, and payments, but also about physically managing your properties – communicating with plumbers, cleaners, gardeners and maintenance contractors. The app also allows you to hold all your important documents including insurance policies, renewals and warranties and allows you to list your assets and inventory per property or zone.
From drilling around and from correspondence this would appear to be a “light version” of Propierge, which we have had a full demo of and is extensive in its operational capacity
Clearly, this is a US-focused business and claims a high level of use.
Their “About us” page shows they have been going for some time now and have extended their services to cover many different property management sectors so not completely focussed on rentals. The example of the web interface and functionality is very much like Propierge’s system and focussed on the intensive local manager’s workload.
EZ Inspections is the leading cloud and mobile-based software platform for property inspection and maintenance. EZ’s infrastructure is ‘cloud-based’, giving our customers unlimited access to computing power, network bandwidth, and storage capacity, as well as reliable data redundancy, file back up, and enhanced security.
EZ’s mobile apps on iPhone / iPad, Android and Windows let inspectors and maintenance contractors easily collect data, photos and signature, and upload to the cloud in real-time. Our web platform lets office managers manage order creation, dispatch, QC and submission anywhere, anytime and on any device.
EZ Inspections was launched in 2005. Since then, we have grown to serve multiple industries, including mortgage inspection, property preservation, rental home inspection, vacation home maintenance, BPO & REO management, insurance inspection, safety inspection and more. We have over 50,000 registered users and are processing over 12 million (12,000,000) work orders a year.
We would like to know your thoughts?
If you using or are seeking a system we would love to ask you 6 questions to get a flavour of the market trends and your needs. Click the link below:-
If you have read this far, you may have noticed the term STR (short-term rentals) used above. There is an increasing need to specialize in software and publishing especially with vacation rentals (VR) and Urban Rentals (UR) often poles apart in commercial and practical terms. We often see statistics which sway the numbers dramatically and does not differentiate these markets. In the above, we have been talking PMS systems whereas most companies sell booking management systems (BMS).