Be Our Guest(y): Taking Advantage of Low Season to Build the Ultimate Tech Stack
Though generally considered a drawback of the short-term rental business, the seasonal nature of the industry actually provides hospitality companies with a unique opportunity to reassess and improve their business strategies.
Joining Guesty’s Director of Sales (EMEA) Tomer Rosenblum to discuss utilizing low season to build up your tech stack were Jeremy Gall, CEO of Breezeway, Marvin Speh, Co-Founder of RoomPriceGenie, and Juan Carlos Jaramillo, Founder & CEO of Elite Virtual Brokerage.
After kicking off the event with some interesting statistics about the performance of short-term rentals over the 2020 holiday season as well as the travel trends expected to characterize the first quarter of 2021, Tomer provided a brief introduction to Guesty, highlighting how our Advanced Analytics feature can help property management companies navigate this unprecedented time.
Next, Jeremy identified some current travel patterns and explained how technology can help property managers meet shifting demands, improve operations and accelerate growth in 2021. He also offered tangible initiatives to focus on this year and the quantifiable impact doing so will have on hosts’ brands and businesses.
Juan Carlos then provided an inside look at EVB’s tech structure, emphasizing key values that fueled the company’s success. He shared predictions for 2021 and practical tips for capitalizing on them, as well as a chart featuring preferred tech partners for each category of short-term property management.
Finally, Marvin walked us through setting up a pricing plan, broke down which pricing operations should be done manually and which should be computer-driven and explained why now is the time to implement a new pricing strategy.
Our panelists then answered a series of questions from Tomer, focussing on utilizing tech to prepare for the coming months as travel normalizes. As always, we rounded off the event with an interactive Q&A session featuring questions submitted by our audience. Here are some highlights (edited for clarity):
Q: Low season seems like a great time to revamp some of the hardware and smart tech in our properties. Where would be a good place to start?
Jeremy (Breezeway): I think you have to look at the Guesty Marketplace and ask yourself which of these smart home automation tools can be helpful. That’s the perfect place to start if you’re a Guesty user. If you’re not a Guesty user, there’s a lot of information available through the associations about what kind of tools you can use to improve your offering. We were all moving to contactless and keyless entry even before COVID-19, because it’s just a great experience for the guest, and that’s going to continue to be the case once the pandemic is behind us.
Q: How do you find the revenue management strategies of short-term property management companies to be different from those of hotels, especially for low seasons?
Marvin (RoomPriceGenie): Usually people like to draw clear lines between what they do and what others do, but when you think from the perspective of the guest or demand, usually when a whole market experiences very high demand, then all the parts of market experience very high demand, and the same with low demand. In terms of pricing, hotels and short-term rentals are very similar and you can learn from what hotel businesses are doing and adapt it to your short-term rental pricing strategy. There are always fine tweaks that are needed here and then, but it’s very dangerous to draw a line and say that we are entirely different.
Q: Given the circumstances surrounding the recovery of travel, where do you plan to invest the most in technology in 2021? And do you plan to do so mostly during the first half of the year or throughout the entire year?
Juan Carlos (EVP): Our first focus will probably be on equipping all of our clients with solid core tech. We work with many different property management companies, even hotels, some of which have been working with the same technology for so long, and we’ve noticed that they often don’t understand how the tools work. Sometimes they have the tools and don’t apply them or use them to their full potential. Secondly, we’re going to invest in people because tech tools are highly effective but only if they’re in the right hands.