Arrival spoke with Nars Krishnamachari, founder of RueBaRue. Krishnamachari goes into detail about his journey with Smart Messaging and why this platform is changing the vacation rental game. Read more on the start of RueBaRue and why this feature is something property managers should keep top of mind.
1. Can you tell us about RueBaRue and how it came to be? What is your role?
I started RueBaRue because I love to travel. I’ve always loved how travel can be a transformative experience, at least in a small way. I began RueBaRue as an app, designed to deliver highly curated information for travelers like myself, who felt overwhelmed by trip planning. I quickly realized travel is a vast entity. I needed to find a niche market, preferably one that was underserved. So I decided to create a platform that hospitality providers could use to provide the best experience possible for their guests.
We launched our product in 2017 at VRMA Eastern Regional Conference. Since then, RueBaRue has grown into a multifaceted guest experience platform. Our customers use it to create digital guest books with individualized property and destination guides, come up with social media campaigns, design guest surveys, help get five-star reviews and lots more.
My primary focus is on product design, sales and marketing. I also keep an eye out for new tools to enhance our platform like Smart Messaging, which is our latest.
2. What is Smart Messaging? How does it work?
Smart Messaging lets guests communicate with property managers and their teams by text message before, during and after their stay. This means guests can ask questions like whether early check-in is possible or report a problem like a leak in the shower and get an instant reply.
Each business gets a dedicated phone number, customized with their area code, so guest messages never come in on the manager’s business or personal number. A call forwarding feature automatically relays messages to a different number if the property manager prefers that. To make sure guest questions never go unanswered, team members receive copies of each message and response during office hours. Messages that come in after hours are automatically stored so the manager or a team member can respond when the office reopens. But all messages are stored so they can be reviewed if there’s a problem.
3. Moving forward, why is Smart Messaging something that property managers should think about utilizing? How will this benefit the vacation rental ecosystem?
With more than 3.5 billion users worldwide, texting has been called the new language of the globe. It’s also a hot trend in the hotel industry, where it’s been embraced by small and big companies alike including Marriott and Hilton. As guests become accustomed to contacting management by text during hotel stays they’ll appreciate — and eventually expect — a texting feature when renting a vacation home.
Smart Messaging offers numerous benefits for the vacation rental community. It’s fast, convenient and efficient for management and guests alike. It saves time for everyone. It eliminates lengthy phone conversations, which can get confrontational. It can also improve service. If a guest reports a problem, a team member can flag the message so the entire team sees it and can deal with it quickly. And that means the guest is less likely to air their grievances on social media. Additionally, texting capability shows that a company is professional and up to date. It improves guest satisfaction. And because Smart Messaging works on mobile devices, there’s no installation or additional equipment needed.
4. Why did you decide to add Smart Messaging to the RueBaRue platform?
It evolved organically. We originally created a texting feature so property managers could send guestbooks to their customers via SMS. We quickly realized there was a demand for this since most leading property management software doesn’t have texting capability. The next logical step was making it possible for guests to use text to communicate with property managers to ask questions like whether early check-in was available and report problems like when the AC that isn’t working. We also realized that a vacation rental manager is not a single person but a collection of people who need to be in the loop when guests have questions or report problems. So we built a texting feature that can be accessed by the entire management team and logs in every question and response.
5. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
RueBaRue is designed to complement property management software. We’re the smart add-on tool that steps in to help with the part of the guest’s journey that comes after booking. In other words, we take over from where property management software leaves off. But this is the part of the journey that really matters, from the point where guests are welcomed to the property to the point where they leave. That’s what guests will remember and review. On the technical side, RueBaRue integrates seamlessly with leading property management software which makes it possible to send guestbooks, surveys and other material by SMS. For most customers our platform can be up and running in a day.
And if you’re wondering about our name, RueBaRue means “getting to know.” I named it for one of my favorite Indian pop songs — because travel should get you humming.
Learn more about RueBaRue and Smart Messaging visit the website here.
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