7 Ways Vacation Rental Software Automation Saves You Time and Makes You More Money

Save Time vacation rental software

Find out 6 ways that LiveRez’s automation can help you save time and make more money.

When you are looking at the getting most return out of your investment in vacation rental software, the first thing you should be looking at is how much time the software is going to save you and your staff, and how much more money it’s going to help you earn. This is the most important area to look at, because it nearly always affects your bottom line much more than the actual cost of the software.

So, in this post, let’s examine some of the top ways LiveRez’s cloud-based vacation rental software platform helps managers save time and make more money.

1. Auto Reponses to Inquiry Emails

Inquiries are great, but they take time and effort to reply to. And, the longer it takes you to respond to an inquiry, the less likely the traveler is to book with you. With LiveRez’s auto responder technology, the system automatically reads the inquiry email, and responds right away with availability, a quote and links to book online. Not only that, but it also automatically creates a lead within your system.

You save time and money because your staff doesn’t have to manually respond. And, you make more money because the inquiry is responded to quickly, around the clock. Plus, you free up your staff to focus on other revenue-generating activities.

2. Emailing Instant Quotes

When a traveler calls in inquiring about a property, they want two things: 1. to get more information about the property, and 2. to book the property. Simplifying this process makes it better for your guest and easier on your staff. That’s why LiveRez allows you to email instant quotes to travelers as you are on the phone with them.

Here’s how it works: A traveler calls you on the phone. They tell you what they are looking for. You do a search within LiveRez. As you go over the search results with the travelers, you just click a check box next to the properties they are interested in. To send them quotes for the properties and the dates, you just click on the email quote button, enter in the traveler’s contact info, select a template and hit send. The email they get will give them pricing information with a link to the property page on your website, where they can check out the property listing and are only one click away from booking the property for the exact dates they requested.

This process saves you money because it will shorten your sales calls. Many guests might actually opt to book online, where they will be entering their own information, not the reservationist. Because the experience will be better for the traveler, they’ll be more likely to book, making you more money. And, even if they don’t book, the system automatically creates a lead in the system, so you’ll have their contact information for marketing purposes.

3. Automatic Reservation-Related Emails

Once you get a booking, you start the process of communicating with the guest about their reservation. For managers that are thorough, this can involve multiple emails. In fact, many managers will manually have their staff create and deliver anywhere from 5 to 10 emails per reservation. Imagine if your software could do all of that automatically, without you lifting a finger or having to remember to do anything at all.

The LiveRez CRM allows you to create a template for any email situation, tailor it to the recipient based on data from the transaction, and then send those emails at precisely the time you want them to go out based on system events.

LiveRez partners use this technology to automate tons of different emails, on all sorts of topics, like:

  • Custom reservation confirmations
  • Custom balance due reminders
  • Custom rental contract emails
  • Custom rental contract reminders
  • Custom pre-arrival emails
  • Custom location area information
  • Custom check-in emails
  • Custom check-out rules emails
  • Custom post-stay feedback emails
  • And more!

When this functionality was first released, one partner estimated that just this one feature would save him nearly $50,000 a year.

4. Work Orders Auto Assigned

For many managers, there are certain types of works orders that need to be created for every reservation. Additionally, many of these managers have employees or vendor pre-assigned to complete these tasks per property. So, we said why not automate the process. With LiveRez, you can choose which work orders you would like to auto create and auto assign upon a new reservation. You can choose who they are assigned to. And, some even let you set the charge for the work and who the work is charged to.

Once a work order is auto created, it can be accessed directly from the transaction for the reservation or from the work order system itself. And the assigned employee or vendor will get an email reminding them of the task. They can even click on a link in the email to go directly to the work order form.

5. Online Booking 24/7  

Once of the easiest ways to save time and make more money is to optimize your website for online bookings. Booking that come in online require no work on the part of your staff. And, statistics show that more and more guest prefer to book online. And think about this: Imagine how many after-hour bookings you could be losing to competitors that offer online bookings.

Anymore, there’s no excuse not to take online bookings. If vetting the guest is an issue, you can always use LiveRez’s pending booking process, which allows you to temporarily hold a guest’s online booking until you approve it.

6. Online Owner Portals

Every manager knows that vacation home owners want information about their properties. And, these owners are not shy about calling you up to get it. With online owner portals, you can give your owners a self-service option for getting information about their properties and making their own bookings. LiveRez lets you create a special online portal for each one of your owners, where they can view reports on their properties, make owner bookings, and view all of their owner statements. Imagine how many calls that would cut down on? Imagine how much happier your owners would be? And, imagine how much of a selling point that would be to an owner coming from a management company that doesn’t offer this?

The best part is that online owner portals are free and unlimited with LiveRez; there’s no additional charge like there is with many other software companies.

7. QuickBooks Integration

For many vacation rental managers, accounting can be a real pain. Why? Because most vacation rental software systems do not have adequate accounting platforms. Many are hard to use. Most bookkeepers aren’t familiar with them since they are used by a small population of users. Many only handle trust accounting and not operations accounting. For these and other reasons, many managers choose to use QuickBooks for their vacation rental accounting. But, the problem they have is getting the accounting data from their software and putting it into QuickBooks.

That’s why LiveRez created its QuickBooks Connector, which can seamlessly transfer a manager’s accounting data from LiveRez to the right spots within the manager’s copy of QuickBooks. This saves managers tons of time each month and helps prevent the errors that managers might see if they were moving all their data over manually.

Conclusion

These are just a few of the many ways that LiveRez can help you save time and make more money. If you want to dive into the specifics of the system, just give us a call and we can schedule a guided product tour, where we’ll show you the ins and outs of the system via an online video conference. Again, just call us at (800) 343-2891 or email [email protected]. We’re happy to assist you.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the fastest growing vacation rental software provider for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation management, trust accounting and online marketing, with high-ranking, high-conversion dynamic websites and an extensive affiliate marketing program. The company is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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5 Questions to Ask When Switching to Cloud-Based Vacation Rental Software

Questions cloud-based software

Make sure you ask the right questions when shopping for cloud-based vacation rental software.

Switching to cloud-based software? Here are five questions you’ll always want to ask before signing on the dotted line.

1. Where is your data hosted?

One of the big advantages of switching to the cloud is data security and accessibility. When your data is stored in your office or directly on a computer, you run the risk of hardware failure, theft or outright destruction. With a reputable cloud-based software, your data is hosted in one or more secure data centers that offer unparalleled protection from hardware failure, theft and destruction. They’re like Fort Knox for your data.

At LiveRez, we host our partners’ data in a super secure data center with a five 9s reputation (that means their data is up and running 99.99999% of the time).

2. What browsers does the software work on?

Because your software and your data are hosted online with cloud-based software, you’ll access it via a web browser. Most people are familiar with traditional software, where the biggest issues are whether or not that software is compatible with Macs or PCs, and whether or not your system has enough power to run the software. With cloud-based software, your main concerns are what browsers does the software run on and how fast of an Internet connection does it require.

Special Note for Mac Users: Finding out what browsers the software works on is especially important for Mac users, since some cloud-based software only works on Internet Explorer, a browser that was discontinued for Macs back in 2005.

At LiveRez, our software works across all popular browsers, including Safari (for all your Mac users out there).

3. Can the software be accessed via mobile devices?

Another big advantage of switching to the cloud is accessibility. Cloud software can be accessed 24/7, anywhere you have an Internet connection. This free you up from having to work on specific computer where the software is installed, and having to manage networks to get everything working together.

But, if you’re switching to the cloud, you want to get the most utility out of this increased accessibility. Being able to access your software on a tablet or a smart phone can really increase your efficiency. At LiveRez, our software works great on tablets and can even work on a smart phone in a pinch.

4. How often does the provider update the software?

This is a big one. When you switch to cloud-based software, you also switch to a new method of delivery and payment. Instead of owning the software outright, you’re really renting it from the provider. And, there are some major benefits to that. First, you’ll never have to install an update to your software. And, second, you’ll always have the most updated version of your software. That means, new features will come to you automatically.

So, when you buy cloud-based software, you’re really buying the software for what it is right now and for what it will be down the road. Therefore, a provider that continuously updates and improves its software is going to be more valuable than one that doesn’t.

At LiveRez, our software is updated weekly. We push these updates behind the scenes late at night while the majority of our partners are sound asleep in their beds. And, we notify our partners with documentation on these new changes as soon as they come out.

5.  How fast can you make the migration from your current software to your new cloud-based software?

Perhaps the biggest hang-up in switching to cloud-based software is the implementation process, just because there is so much data to move. The good news is that cloud-based software should make the process that much quicker. You see, with cloud-based software, there’s no on-site installation of the software, no hardware to set up, no updates to install, no wires to lay, etc. Once you pay for the software, you should have generally have access to it by the next business day.

Once you have access to the software, the process of implementation begins. This involves initial training, data migration and getting any third-party integrations set up. Make sure you ask upfront how much of the data migration the software company can handle and how much your team will need to complete. Also make sure to ask about their training resources, how you access them and how often you’ll get live training and support. Some providers put a cap on live training and support, and then make you pay more once you hit that threshold, so make sure you ask about that up front.

Quite likely, the best place to learn about the implementation process is to speak with another manager of similar size that just went through it. Implementation times in the vacation rental industry range from a few days for some motivated smaller companies to more than a year (with some providers, at least).

At LiveRez, we’ve gotten managers live in a matter of days, and most new partners can be live in less than 30 days, depending on how much time they can dedicate to the training and data migration process.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the fastest growing vacation rental software provider for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation management, trust accounting and online marketing, with high-ranking, high-conversion dynamic websites and an extensive affiliate marketing program. The company is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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Vacation Rental Cookbook: The Recipe for a Perfect Facebook Post

Facebook Post RecipeFacebook is quickly becoming a huge priority for vacation rental managers. But, many of these managers are still searching for the best way to use Facebook.

Well the good news is that social media and marketing experts are always working to build best practices on Facebook and then going back and tweaking them with every update Mark Zuckerberg’s team is pushing out.

Marketing Guru Neil Patel, co-founder of Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, recently featured a guest post from social media expert Mike Bal, examining the anatomy of the perfect Facebook post. It’s definitely worth a read. You can click here to view it now.

What I am going to do in this post is attempt to translate Bal’s ideas into some actionable insights for vacation rental managers. I’ll try to break down these concepts into simple rules you can follow. Let’s get started.

More Engagement = More Visibility

Did you know that Facebook has its own algorithm? Just like how Google has an algorithm to determine where your website appears in search results, Facebook now has an algorithm that determines what order it displays Facebook posts (it’s called EdgeRank).

According to social media experts, this algorithm is based on engagement. The more shares, comments and likes your post gets (in that order) will determine how much visibility it has amongst your fans. It also appears that the algorithm is personalized to each user’s habits, too. If they interact with you often, your post will likely appear higher.

Engagement also helps you reach non-fans. When you like something or comment on something, your friends can see it if they are online, and if you share something it posts it to your stream (which has even more staying power).

So, the goal of your Facebook posts should be to increase the level of engagement among your fans. But, how do you do that? Well, that’s exactly what we are going to cover in the next sections.

Pictures Are More Engaging than Link Previews

What Bal found in his post was that pictures are the most engaging types of posts on Facebook – more engaging than text-only posts, link shares and videos.  He suggests using photos in just about all of your posts. You can still include a link (as we suggest in the next section), but make sure you use a picture.

One reason why pictures are so effective is because they are more visual in nature and they take up way more real estate in a user’s Facebook stream.

Photos are also a huge concern in the vacation rental industry. When travelers take a vacation, they want it to be magical. They like dreaming about the experience, and photos help jump start that process.

But, you can’t just use any photo. It needs to be one that grabs their attention (and also one that relates to the text of your post, and the link).

Add a Link

On Facebook, links enable your calls to action. They are the vehicle that takes your fans from Facebook to wherever you are directing them online. If you don’t have a link, your fans have no way to take action (and you want them to take action). Sure, phone numbers are okay for certain situations, but links are more convenient for your fans.

Even if you’re not using a picture and just sharing a link, it’s best to have the actual link right next to the text (even if it’s also in the link preview). You can try link shortening services like Bitly if the URL is too long.  If you’re using a picture post, then it’s absolutely necessary to have the link next to the text, since the photo will override the link preview.

Don’t Ignore Your Copy

The copy you use in your Facebook post has to be engaging as well. Make sure this copy is related to the photo and has a strong call to action. Make it clear what you want your fans to do, whether it’s click on the link, like your picture, answer a question in the comment section or share this with their friends. Make sure your call to action is appropriate for the post. For example, asking your fans to share everything you post is probably asking too much.

Post When Your Fans Are Online

Facebook’s new insight tool has a new report that will tell you the time of the day when most of your fans are online. As you’ll see below, LiveRez fans tends to be online more often at the end of the day.  So, I try to post toward the end of the work day, so my post can get some engagement before the 7 p.m. “peak time.” (NOTE: To date, it doesn’t appear Facebook has announced the new Insights tools for everyone. So, keep checking your Facebook page if there’s not a link to upgrade to the new tool.)

When Fans are Online

Results

While Bal’s post has some great information about his results (which are worth checking out), I’ll share an example from the LiveRez Facebook page that shows how the strategy above pays off. The two posts below are on the same topic, but the one on the left features a picture and a link, and the one of the right just features a link preview. You can see the difference in engagement, but what you can’t see is that the analytics, which show that the post on the left was viewed by four times as many people as the one on the right.

Facebook Post Recipe

Go back and check your efforts so far. Do you notice more engagement from posts using the method outlined above? Do you have some of your own Facebook tips to share? Let us know by sharing in the comments section.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the fastest growing vacation rental software provider for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation management, trust accounting and online marketing, with high-ranking, high-conversion dynamic websites and an extensive affiliate marketing program. The company is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

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LiveRez Partner All-Star Vacation Homes to Appear on HGTV’s “House Hunters” Tonight

LiveRez partner All Star Vacation Homes will be featured on an episode of HGTV's "House Hunters" tonight (June 12) at 10 p.m. EST/PST.

LiveRez partner All Star Vacation Homes will be featured on an episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters” tonight (June 12) at 10 p.m. EST/PST.

LiveRez partner All Star Vacation Homes will be featured on an episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters” tonight (June 12) at 10 p.m. EST/PST. Check your local listings for the exact broadcast time in your area.

This particular episode will be based on a family shopping for a vacation home in Orlando, FL that they plan on putting into a rental program after purchasing. During the episode, Dillon Muto, Broker Associate with All Star Vacation Home Realty and Chief Operating Officer of Purpose Built Vacation Homes™, will take the family on tours of multiple All Star homes including the 9-bedroom, 9.5-bathroom Purpose Built vacation home at 1105 Watson Ct.

Here’s the official description of the episode from HGTV.com:

Greg, Wendy and their three young girls are ready to escape the snow in Manitoba, Canada, and buy a vacation home near Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. With a million dollar budget, they’re looking for a home with all the bells and whistles; something near the theme park with a pool, a theater room, and plenty of guest rooms for all their relatives. But with their long wishlist, this house hunt may turn out to be more work than vacation.

All Star Vacation Homes’ appearance on HGTV will be the second for a LiveRez partner in the last year. Casas de Santa Fe was featured on HGTV”s “House Hunters on Vacation” in June 2012.

For more information on tonight’s episode, check out the All Star Vacation Homes blog.

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FVRMA Annual Convention Just Around the Corner

FVRMA LogoThe annual convention of the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association is just around the corner. This year’s event will be held May 6-8 at the Doubletree by Hilton at SeaWorld in Orlando, FL.

LiveRez will be attending this year and also helping sponsor the event. If you’re there, don’t forget to stop by our booth. We’ll be there to answer questions about our industry-leading, cloud-based vacation rental software, give away free LiveRez SWAG and may even have some prizes that you can enter to win.

The FVRMA is a great opportunity for professional vacation rental managers from all across the great state of Florida to meet up, network and learn together. It’s an event you don’t want to miss!

For more information on the FVRMA Convention, click here.

Learn More About LiveRez
LiveRez is the fastest growing vacation rental software provider for professional vacation rental managers. The company’s cloud-based, end-to-end platform offers fully integrated solutions for reservation management, trust accounting and online marketing, with high-ranking, high-conversion dynamic websites and an extensive affiliate marketing program. The company is a proud Gold Sponsor of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA).

Visit LiveRez.com to learn more:

Did you like this post?

Please consider “liking” it and sharing it on your social media channels via the buttons below. You can also follow us and get notifications of all new posts via the “Follow” button Follow Us in the bottom right-hand part of the screen.