VRMA

    Tech-Enabled Payments

    Are you a tech-savvy vacation rental manager? Today, new technology options continue to accelerate the vacation rental industry, allowing managers to leverage technology to drive efficiencies within their business and to improve their overall revenue.

    Steve Milo, CEO of Vacation Rental Pros, a multiple-location VR headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., thinks smart use of technology can be one of the elements for effective, sustained growth of a VR over time.

    He advises VR managers to shop carefully for technology and to approach new systems with a full understanding of what the system needs to achieve to fuel growth. “I think part of the challenge and opportunity in the industry is really thinking through your product road map. That is something you can’t do on the fly or ad hoc,” Milo says. “It requires discipline and leadership from the top to determine what, first and foremost, is your competitive edge and, second, what are your internal resources.”

    He adds: “It’s critical to really vet your vendors and understand if they have the ability to expand with you. That means: Does the vendor allow an open API, and how much support is there for taking the API?  Our success has been taking a database and leveraging it with APIs into other tools. Tied into our property management system, we have an owner portal, a guest payment portal, a smart-lock system and a content management system, and we’re in the process of looking at other solutions that can tie right into the API. Those are from the operational side. From the marketing side, we have been able to channel 40 partners into our feed so that we can deploy into a global marketplace.”

    With 19 separate offices to manage, Vacation Rental Pros uses a hub-and-spoke system to keep track of data and to manage the flow of information. “We gain tremendous efficiencies out of centralization. We have centralized reservations, centralized marketing, centralized accounting, and centralized web and IT services,” Milo describes. “Having the hub-and-spoke model, and being able to operate through Internet communication and Internet technology, enables us to manage our website, our database, our phone system, everything very efficiently. We’re able to grow and scale in a manner that’s manageable.”

    We are also starting to see new startups enter the space with a focus on streamlining a multitude of processes for vacation rental managers—things like payment processing.

    Look no further than to the company RedAwning, which just landed a big round of venture capital backing. The company, among other services, handles payments and provides 24-hour customer support.

    With over 100,000 rental properties in more than 10,000 destinations, RedAwning is a supplier of vacation rentals to major online travel agents and channels, including Booking.com, Expedia, HomeAway/VRBO, Flipkey/TripAdvisor, and Airbnb.

    The mission of the company is to offer the easiest, most transparent, guest-supported vacation rental experience available, for every budget. It handles all the guest payments and contracts management, saving a vacation rental manager countless hours of work, including resolving credit card declines, chargebacks and overbookings.

    The company is looking to become a technology option for help to address customer service—which can often be a big pain point for vacation rental managers.

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