20 Replies Latest reply: Jun 3, 2013 4:11 PM by murdockvacationrentals RSS

    Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?

    Contributor

      Do any of you manage your rental (websites, ads, emails, inquiries, contracts, etc.) WITHOUT a computer (desktop or laptop)?  As in using a smartphone, tablet, ipad, etc etc..?  Looking for relevant feedback on the topic.  Thanks

       

       

       

      Cheers,

       

      Andrea Fahy

      ------------------

      http://www.vrbo.com/414863

      www.newbernroundhouse.com

      http://www.facebook.com/newbernroundhouse

        • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
          susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

          Did your computer break? I don't know how anyone could set up original  listing(s) without a computer. For me, using a smart phone to reply to inquiries is just about impossible. Using an Ipad is not much better.

           

          Then there is the record keeping. I have just one rental property and I'm retired and still can't imagine tracking rentals, expenses & necessary IRS info without a computer.

          • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
            Contributor

            My computer is not broken, I have an excellent MacBook Pro.  I have loads of listings set up already, I fully understand all of the reasons why it is NOT a good idea to use a different form of tech. to manage my rental however I'm interested in hearing from those that DO and their first hand experience.  I can type very speedy on a small iPhone and I see that so many tablets can now handle complete websites and document editing.  I'll soon be traveling with a small minimal backpack (think roughly school backpack size, not huge hiking backpack size) while managing my rental from a distance and it's not a good idea to travel (no vehicle) with an expensive laptop if I can avoide it for those weeks.  I can always pop in at libraries and friends'/hosts' homes for intense computer work. Other times I travel by kayak and I can't fathom hauling a $3k laptop along and taking that risk of losing everything.

              • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
                sodamo Contributor

                For what it's worth here are my thoughts.

                Basically I use, safari browser, email, Numbers, and Pages. Mostly I used my MacBook pro but like using my iPhone and iPad. I'm hoping that someday soon, the transition between Number and Pages on the MacOS and iOS via iCloud become more seamless, and don't have to worry about the translations between formats. So, I would say I could basically manage in the manner you are suggesting. Unfortunately, there are some website incompatibilities, HA/VRBO and my state tax site. Last I tried cannot edit this forum from iPad. Can't post pics to the listings either. Hopefully these get fixed.  There is a VR app, but I haven't used it yet, I'm waiting for it to share data between iPhone and iPad via iCloud. No problems with either PayPal or Square for credit cards using either.

                So, bottomland, I'd say basically doable, but might need real computer access for specific functions.

                 

                I find myself doing less and less on my laptop and look forward to when I don't need it.

                 

                David

                Sent from my iPad (3rd Gen) with Aloha

                Please visit vacation.ninolehawaii.com

              • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
                margaret Senior Contributor

                If your are comforable with your smart phone you should be fine for the short term. I use my phone when I travel for a week or less to manage my rentals and have had no problems so far. Access to a computer is not usually a problem if the need should arise but for the most part I find the phone works for me. Just be sure to have everything that you can done before your leave then handling inquiries should be easy.

                • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
                  ppv1 Contributor

                  I have been able to do it with little to no real difficulties.  Starting last December, when I have been traveling, I stopped packing my laptop and now only travel with my Asus Transformer tablet (android) and my HTC Sensation smartphone (also android).  When at home, I more frequenlty just use my Mac desktop or laptop.  I have had no problems accessing HomeAway or Vrbo to respond to inquiries or my credit card processor for requesting payments.  I have uploaded all of my documents I use to send to my guests in DropBox so I can access from anywhere.  If you plan ahead and set yourself up to access the things you need while away from home, you can definitely do it!

                  • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
                    sapphiresteve Active Contributor

                    By any definition, all the devices mentioned are computers. Some computers have more capability than others. A 2012 "smart phone" probably has about ten thousand times more computational ability than existed on our planet fifty years ago!

                    • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
                      New Member

                      I am jealous of your travelling adventure!!!  Have a great time and you will do just fine managing your rentals from your phone.  I do it all the time1

                      • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
                        jeffbailey Contributor

                        The HomeAway iPhone/iPad app actually has an owner login which gives you some of the features of ReservationManager.  However, last I checked it only works if you list of HomeAway (not VRBO), so I wasn't able to check it out. 

                         

                        I also have an iPhone/iPad app called Vacation Props that allows you to quickly respond to inquiries using from HomeAway/VRBO/FlipKey/VacationRentals.com using customized email templates.  It keeps track of your reservations, inquiries, and other property information.

                         

                        Jeff Bailey

                        Creator of Vacation Props, an innovative iPhone/iPad app to manage vacation properties and quickly respond to inquiries

                        http://www.fourthframe.com/FourthFrame_Technologies/VacationProps.html

                        http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vacation-props/id452612798?mt=8

                          • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
                            Contributor

                            Jeff, thanks for the reply. I don't have a HA listing, only VRBO.  I'm also leaning towards a tablet that is not an iPad.  While I appreciate my Apple products, the iPad has a lot of features I don't require (the cameras and so forth)  I do plan to check out the Vaction Props App, that sounds promising.  oh, I see it's your App, very nice!!!  Is it only for iPad/iPhone? 

                             

                            I'm trying to sell my MacBook, one fellow offered a trade for his 1st gen iPad.  Would apps like yours and any other things I need to do work on the first gen?  I haven't heard back from him though so it might not happen.

                             

                             

                            Cheers,

                             

                            Andrea Fahy

                            www.newbernroundhouse.com

                            www.facebook.com/newbernroundhouse

                          • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
                            Contributor

                            In my opinion, it is most effective to have access to a computer in order to provide prospective guests with a thorough response to their inquiry, including a break-down of the pricing.

                             

                            An advantage of doing everything on a mobile device is that you could respond very quickly, if desired. A downside is that the responses may be a little more limited in scope and content.

                             

                            However, IF I was to go completely mobile I would convert all of my email templates into the notes app so I could simply copy/paste them into the response. I would convert all of the attachments I normally send (floorplans, terms and conditions, maps, etc.) into URL links that could be included in the response as well. The last component for the inquiry response would be the pricing breakdown and you would have to figure out the easiest way to put that in.

                             

                            When it comes to completing a reservation though and all that goes with that, I guess it could all be done on a tablet, but it seems like it wouldn't be as time efficient as getting it done on a computer.

                             

                            I like the idea of hiring someone part-time or full-time to help respond to inquiries, process reservations, send cleaning reminders to cleaners and send thank you cards to guests after booking and staying, thereby freeing up more time for owners/managers to focus in on other tasks needing attention.

                             

                            Good luck in your travels and adventures!

                             

                            Munro Murdock
                            RA, MBA, Ko Olina Resident
                            Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers

                            www.HawaiiLife.com  |  Munro@HawaiiLife.com

                            View our Ko Olina vacation rental HERE


                            "Another day in the life...the Hawaii Life!"

                             

                            :::

                             

                            Quick UPDATE added June 3, 2013:


                            The iPad and other tablet devices make it quite easy to transact business remotely without a computer. The various apps available are quite impressive and rival many full computer-based programs. I still think I'm most 'productive' and efficient though when working from my laptop. However, if you find yourself on the move a lot and still want to be able to be responsive to guests, owners and service providers, investing in web-enabled mobile devices is very beneficial.

                             

                            And for those who struggle with adopting and adapting to new technologies, the sooner you can embrace it and open up your mind to the possibility of learning new things...the better off you will be in the long run. Trust me. Technology innovation is not going away. It is the way of the future for all business transactions. Take classes, watch online tutorial videos, get friends and family to teach you the tips and tricks for using these devices. Yes, it can be very overwhelming when you are not used to it, but 15-30 minutes a day invested in learning how to use technology will benefit you immensely in the years to come!

                             

                            Message was edited by: Munro Murdock

                              • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
                                Contributor

                                Hi Munro,

                                 

                                Thanks for writing.  I appreciate your feedback and thought I'd respond!  I've started saving everything into Google Docs, This way any of my documents can be accessed by a device of my own or someone else's.  I also have much of the information on my website.  The rental agreement & rules is on my site in PDF form.  I try to keep information readily available online to try and answer questions folks might have.  Likewise with pictures or the floorplan, it's all on my website.  I'm still pretty new at this and I find it difficult for me to use a template with the way I try to gear my responses per each person.

                                 

                                Re. time efficiency, that's not the issue here.  I travel.  For fun.  In order to travel and not be bound by employment, I turned my house into a vacation rental.  So, when it's rented out I have all the time in the world to do anything I'd like.  That's the joy of it!  Similarly, since it's a new rental I'm not in any position to hire out for much more than lawn maintanence.  I could definnitely see, down the road once clearly in the profit margin, hiring out like you suggest!  I look forward to that day when I can get someone else to run it all for me  =)

                                 

                                I checked out your website, it's very nice, easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye.  Also your family portrait on the site is beautiful!

                                 

                                 

                                Cheers,

                                 

                                Andrea Fahy

                                www.newbernroundhouse.com

                                  • Re: Running a Rental WITHOUT a Computer?
                                    Contributor

                                    Andrea,

                                     

                                    I hope things are going well. Just revisiting this post to see how it's working out for you. Some other programs I've been using a lot for storing and sharing information are Evernote and Dropbox. Dropbox is similar to Google Docs (now Google Drive). Evernote is a convenient way to store just about anything, from receipts to recipes to notes to web content or any other reference material.

                                     

                                    Munro Murdock
                                    RA, MBA, Ko Olina Resident
                                    Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers

                                    www.HawaiiLife.com  |  Munro@HawaiiLife.com

                                    View our Ko Olina vacation rental HERE


                                    "Another day in the life...the Hawaii Life!"