25 Replies Latest reply: Jan 27, 2019 4:01 PM by hmmmm RSS

    Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!

    floridarob Contributor

      (I typed this up as my response to another thread, but after finishing realized that I didn't want to disrupt that topic so much. But truth be told, disruption is exactly what that topic needs. The whole premise of it is, in my view, the incorrect way to look at things.

       

      With respect to everyone, I think that using any kind of online document signer or PDF file transfer is the completely wrong approach to this.

       

      Why? It is using new technology (the internet) to do things in an old fashioned way (create and transfer paper documents). I truly believe that the correct approach should be to have your entire vacation rental business managed completely online, with the right dedicated vacation rental management system. And the right vacation rental management system is one that would allow you to have your guests complete your booking form, including notes to you, a complete guest list, selected options and their costs, all rental charges and taxes, payment instructions, details of the arrival, departure, etc., and very importantly; separate initials on the form beside your cancellation policy, minimum age of lead guest, and acceptance of your terms and conditions (available to the guest in a linked PDF). And of course, it should do everything else you need your vacation rental management system to do.

       

      As of this year, I will have been in the vacation rental business for a decade, and I only used a paper form for a booking once; my first one, almost ten years ago. Since then, my entire VR administration has been stored securely online, accessible from anywhere, and fully automated. I have remarkably few problems with guests, no problems getting payments (they are all done online, with reminders automatically sent out for me), and my work to process and administer a booking is practically nil. Since programming everything that I want to happen, including providing guests lock and alarm codes to adjusting my thermostats based on my booking calendar, I haven't looked at most of my day to day administration in literally years - it all happens automatically, including letting my PM know about bookings and scheduling cleanings. I interact with potential guests, basically customer service and selling, but once I have the booking they just drop into my management stream and get carried right through until they've left their glowing review online somewhere for others to see. In the meantime, the only thing I ever do with a guest is answer any unique questions they may have - which they rarely do. My system provides them with everything they need to know right when they need it, and if somebody asks a question I just setup the system to provide that info to all future guests automatically, reducing questions and providing great customer service that just gets better over time.

       

      I didn't create this system, although I do have unique expertise and experience in using it. It was created by a tech friend of mine years ago who used to be in the VR business. He built the system for himself and marketed it to other owners. He's a much better coder than salesman however, and it is little known and little used. Which is just fine with me. It definitely gives me a huge leg up on my competition. The truth is, the system is so powerful that it intimidates many people. He has had lots of people sign up for a free version of it but never get into using it, because they get overwhelmed and don't understand the benefits of using it the way it was designed. I have had a hand in a number of features that have been added to it over the years, because I push him - encouraging him to add features to it that I need in my business, which of course have been useful to all of his other customers. And I have figured out ways to do things, and create even more automation with it, than even he envisioned with it. (An example of this is how my quote/response emails to potential guests change content based on how far out the booking is, by analyzing the dates involved and sending one set of payment information if the dates are more than eight weeks away, and a different set if they are less - soooo convenient for me!)

       

      I have recommended this management system for years, but I also have gotten bored in doing so enthusiastically, only to have my enthusiasm met with a big yawn, or that dear-in-the-headlights look by owners who don't understand why they even need this engine powering their business. That's okay... I'm content with my life being easier, and my guests being better served, while others try to do things based on management processes that were suitable thirty years ago.

       

      If any owners are truly interested in learning about this management system, and how to use it properly, I am glad to share the details with you, but I won't post them publicly here. Contact me through the forum (there's some way to do it, although I have never used it myself...) and I will gladly provide you with info. Full disclosure; I don't receive any commission, kickbacks, or any form of compensation for recommending this system. If you sign up for it (I think it's $15 or $20 per month, insanely worth it) all of the money goes to my friend, and he deserves every penny of it.

       

      I realize that this sounds like a sales pitch, but to me, asking how to transfer documents online is like asking how to hitch your car to your horse. That's not what the car is for, and you're trying to use new technology in an old way. If you just invest the time in learning to drive the car, you will get where you want to go much faster, easily and conveniently. But, it does take an investment in time and learning to do things in a better, different way.

       

      The question should not be; how do I get documents signed and transferred over the internet? The question should be; how do I use the internet to eliminate documents, paper, clutter, filing and headaches, and save time in my vacation rental business?

       

      (I realize that I am setting myself up for the possibility of a discussion about one management system vs. another, but I would rather not see that happen here. Instead, if anyone has a question they want to ask about THIS system, post it on this thread, and I'll share the answers here. ie "Does this system do X?" or "Can you do Y? How?" Then the thread can become a repository for information about this online vacation rental management system, and if anyone wants to pursue it further they can contact me later.)

        • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
          twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

          You don’t want any questions, but have you assured that anything but a signed contract will hold up in court? That would be the big question for me. You can ignore if you are interested in this type of question.

          • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
            feibus CommunityAmbassador

            I'm with twobitrentals and have a little experience with the law and contracts and courts and if you don't have something signed or e-signed, the court might totally disregard it, so unless you have some case law to back up your management system that has no signed documents, well, good luck with that!

              • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                floridarob Contributor

                It IS e-signed. The guest enters their name at the bottom, in place of a 'signature', and enters their initials in three other places.

                 

                It is quite obvious from the form design as to what is intended, and that no one is going to enter the information in FOUR different places on the form without intending to commit to the booking. Plus, the guest has to accept an email with a username and password so that they can then securely login, (their IP is recorded at that point) and then submit a payment. Again, none of these things are going to happen by accident. There is no question that the guest intends on making the booking.

                 

                The process is actually less than what Polk County Florida and the State of Florida both require for someone to login and to their sites and 'sign' that they are submitting a truthful tax return under threat of perjury charges if they aren't being truthful.

                 

                So exactly how much security do you need for your vacation rental business exactly?

                 

                And tell the truth... how many times have you actually been to court over a vacation rental agreement? Even small claims court?  I've never even come close to having to threaten that. In ten years.

                 

                So realistically, what you are saying, is that it makes sense to burden yourself with a whole bunch of work (and in some cases expense) to solve a problem that you don't really have. Or at best, potentially could have, but the chances of it occurring are so slim that the steps you are taking to prepare for it are beyond reasonable.

                 

                I have a fire extinguisher in my vacation rental. I would be more prepared for a fire if I did, but I don't carry it with me everywhere I go in the villa. To do so would be overkill.

                 

                And terribly inconvenient.

              • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                green_mango Active Contributor

                I appreciate the different perspective.  For me, I'm a low volume vacation rental and spending $180-$240/year on something I can do for free isn't of significant interest, but if an owner has multiple properties I can see how it would be helpful.  I also customize each contract depending on a number of factors, including listing site it originated from, variable check-in/check-out times, and variable costs.  It's really pretty easy for me to customize on my end & upload pdf to e-sign site.  I echo the above questions - my e-sign service gives me IP address and email/time etc., so it's legally valid.  I'm not so sure that attaching terms & conditions in a linked pdf would carry the same weight as actually signing the T&C.

                 

                It'd be awesome if you shared the name of the system so we could look into it - so I suppose that's actually my first question - what's it called? 

                  • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                    feibus CommunityAmbassador

                    For low volume, having a guest print/scan/email or fax an agreement back is probably as good as it gets for getting a legally signed document.  But then you have to get the fax machine (since not everyone has a scanner) and a phone line, which will end up costing you about what an e-signing service will likely cost, so maybe it's all a wash now....

                    • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                      floridarob Contributor

                      Thanks for your reply, but you, like apparently everyone else here, seems to be missing the point.

                       

                      The point is, that having a quality management system, properly setup, will save you hours and hours and hours and hours of work, and give your guests MUCH better customer service, which they will love you for. Truthfully, unless you are a mindless computer that works 24 hours a day without pause, you can't possible do what this system does, or at the very least, can't do what this system does half as well as it does it.

                       

                      I can paint my house. But I get a much better job done, in far less time, if I hire a pro with the best tools, knowledge and experience to do it right.

                       

                      All of the things you mention are easily handled by the system. Each guest has a custom agreement with all of the details pertinent to their particular reservation.

                       

                      How much time do you need to save for it to be worth $10 per month? How much happier do your guests have to be for it to be worth $20 per month?

                       

                      Penny wise...

                       

                      And horses led to water...

                       

                      I have my reasons for not just posting the name here. Having owners go 'take a look at the system' without having a guide to explain what it is and how it works has produced little results for both owners and my friend in the past. Some things need to be well explained in person for customers to understand how they will benefit from it.

                       

                      Just look at the reaction here.

                       

                      Oh... by the way. It IS $10 per month. I quoted a higher amount previously because that is what I pay with multiple properties. But a single one is $10 per month, plus $5 per month for each additional.

                       

                      Some folks are easily spending that kind of money alone on document service platforms. For something that provides the guest with far less.

                       

                      I figure my management system has conservatively and realistically saved me 500 hours over the past 9 years. At $20 per hour, that's $10,000 worth of my time.  If I had to provide my customers with the convenience and care that my system does, it would easily be $30,000 worth of time.

                       

                      Like I said, no matter how emphatic I am about the benefits of this, usually I am met with little more than a big yawn. I just thought that some of the owners on here who think of themselves as smarter and more progressive may be interested in a better way to do things. Plus my friend deserves so much better for building his highly superior mouse trap. I would like to see him reaping more from his efforts.

                        • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                          green_mango Active Contributor

                          floridarob I'm finding your reply to be a bit condescending - if everyone is missing the point, then perhaps the message isn't being conveyed well by the messenger? 

                           

                          For what it's worth, I don't do "hours and hours and hours and hours of work" to edit & send an e-sign contract.  It takes me less than 5 minutes.  If it takes you hours & hours maybe you need to type faster.  I offer my guests amazing customer service & and the e-sign program that I use doesn't require the guest to set up a username & password - personally, I get annoyed when I have to set something up like that to be used once - it's adding an unnecessary extra step.

                           

                          Not sharing the name honestly comes off as a little shady and snake-oil salesman-ish.  If the system needs a guide to personally explain what it is and how it works then perhaps your friend needs to make his highly superior mousetrap a little more user friendly for us neophytes. 

                            • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                              floridarob Contributor

                              It is not hours of work to send a contract.

                               

                              It is hours of work to send a contract...

                              and to enter the information about the booking on whatever system generates your lock codes, and then to send that to the guest,

                              and to email the guest all of their pre-arrival information at the right time, and be sure you are available to do it then,

                              and send them their maps and other information,

                              and send them an upsell communication about the extra services you have available for them, and to do that at the right time,

                              and to turn on the pool heater, and turn down the A/C before the guests arrive,

                              and then to turn the pool heater off and the A/C back up after the cleaners have departed,

                              and to inform the cleaners and the PM about the booking after it comes in,

                              and to prepare and send payment reminders, and to monitor payments when they come in, and send out receipts when they do, and more reminders when they don't,

                              and to prepare quotes for the different dates that a guest may request, and to send them to the guest, and file them in an easy to retrieve manner until they expire or the guest books one of them,

                              and to send reminders about those quotes if the guest doesn't book,

                              and to send follow-ups if they don't book,

                              and to send thank-you's when they do,

                              and to send thank-you's after the guest departs, and a detailed exits survey that doesn't just ask for comments, but asks them about things you really need to know to run your business better,

                              and then to request an online review from those guests,

                              and to send a thank you when they do, and a reminder (and another) when they don't,

                              and to program that the lights will be on for the guests when they are arriving late at night,

                              and to send out by email (and have available securely online) all of their arrival information, and maps, and instructions on a secure platform that doesn't attract hackers,

                              and to make sure that the information doesn't get sent until the booking and security deposit are all paid in full,

                              and to prepare accounting reports,

                              and tally up sales and booking reports,

                              and tax filing summaries with all of the totals ready to go,

                              and to ensure that nothing is ever double booked,

                              and to automatically update all of the online listing sites an owner may be on,

                              and even to fetch bookings taken at outside sites and integrate them into one single calendar, and then feed them back out to all once tabulated,

                              and to allow guests to enter their dates on an up to date calendar and get an instant, accurate quote,

                              and to have quotes automatically include seasonal extras like pool heating only when they should be,

                              and to provide booking and gap analysis to make it easier for the owner to spot opportunities to promote open periods, and also to easily understand how he/she is doing compared to prior periods...

                               

                              And everything else that needs to be done for every single booking one takes in, depending upon the quality of operation and guest service one wants to provide.

                              With your amazing customer service, you DO do all of these things manually, don't you? And it only takes you five minutes?

                               

                              Almost everything I listed above that applies to each booking, happens automatically for me. I do nothing to accomplish them now, the system does it for me. Or cuts my time to do those few things that need my touch by probably 80%.

                               

                              So condescending? Perhaps... but no more than "maybe you need to type faster". I run at 60 wpm with gusts up to 70, by the way.

                               

                              But honestly, did you really get the point that the system would do all of the things (and more) that I listed above without lifting a finger once you had it properly set up?

                               

                              You, and everyone else, seemed to be evaluating the value of an assistant that does all of that for you (and does it better than any human possibly could) against the time involved in sending out a contract. Yes, that IS missing the point. Sorry if that offends you.

                               

                              I have my reasons for not sharing the name, none of which are shady or snake-oil salesman'ish at all. I already said that I'm not making anything by doing this, but am trying to assist a friend. If that's not good enough for you, that's fine I suppose. But why criticize me for making the effort, or how I choose to do it?

                               

                              If you want to know what the system is, take the time to reach out. If you can't put out that much effort, then I think it reasonable to assume that you're not really that serious or interested in exploring this as an option, and I'm trying to save my friend from being hit with a bunch of questions all at once. (Just imagine the 10 times as many forum lurkers all exploring and asking questions of him at once.) I want to field them for him and hopefully tabulate the number of interested owners that may be found through this effort in order to encourage him to approach his development and promotion differently. I already explained that it isn't presented well, but he can't really afford to invest more time (nor does he have the skills) to market it better if it won't bring in more paying customers. And we already know from experience that neophyte owners snooping around it, and even signing up for a free trial won't help them to understand how to use it or why it is so powerful. And I already explained that here as well. So why you would possibly need more information to understand that there is nothing snake-oil about this at all, I don't know.

                               

                              Perhaps there is just too much cynicism out there to overcome?

                               

                              I had no real plan or need to do this. It all started because I saw a bunch of owners all discussing how to hitch their cars up to horses. With some knowledge and expertise in the area, not to mention a lot of experience, I wanted to help. I thought I would test the waters to see just how interested they might be in doing things better. Guess I know now. Sorry that I bothered you with it.

                                • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                  ohst8er Senior Contributor

                                  floridarob you say the purpose of your post is to HELP people, yet you refuse to share what the form of “help” is called.  When they call you out in this you are rude and condescending, which is not only the very OPPOSITE of helpful to that person, but I’m sure it turns those “lurkers” away, too.

                                   

                                  please tell me you see the oh so PAINFUL irony here?

                                    • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                      floridarob Contributor

                                      ohst8er wrote:

                                       

                                      floridarob you say the purpose of your post is to HELP people, yet you refuse to share what the form of “help” is called.  When they call you out in this you are rude and condescending, which is not only the very OPPOSITE of helpful to that person, but I’m sure it turns those “lurkers” away, too.

                                       

                                      please tell me you see the oh so PAINFUL irony here?

                                       

                                      Actually, what I can't see is my being "rude and condescending". Since when is disagreeing with someone being rude or condescending? I have explained my reasoning for not sharing the name of the service (now three times), and they are all reasonable, legitimate concerns.

                                       

                                      I truly can't see why some people have such a hard time accepting that. I'm sorry it is so PAINFUL, but I don't see the irony, at least not the irony you are seeing.

                                       

                                      But getting back to the "rude and condescending" stuff. Please, send me a message, and point out exactly what I wrote that was so rude and condescending. I'm serious, and I'm keenly interested. I left this thread to sit for a couple of weeks so I could look at it with fresh eyes, and see if I too could see what you are claiming.

                                       

                                      Nope. I'm left to wonder if some folks have confused quantity with the quality of their contributions. And confused disagreeing and/or firmly supporting one's position (as opposed to backing away) with being rude. And explaining a little of one's background in order to allow others to understand why one's opinion has value, as condescending.

                                       

                                      Sometimes things aren't something (for example, rude or condescending) until someone labels them as such, and only then do they become it.

                                       

                                      I can't help but point out that much of the discussion has been about the tone of what I have shared, and why I have done it as I have, rather than the actual content of it. No matter how bad I apparently am at putting my point across, you would think that if anyone truly felt a need for what I'm sharing, or could benefit from it, that they would put their own interests first and look past my horrible manner to find out what I'm talking about. But that hasn't happened at all, so I can't help but wonder if there aren't other factors at play.

                                       

                                      As I'm sure you know, there are two parts to communication, the transmission and the reception.

                                       

                                      I'm perfectly willing to take a good look at my part of the equation if you are willing to share.

                                       

                                      Viewpoint.JPG

                                    • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                      twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                                      floridarob -

                                      Are you simply asking who might be interested in a complete and very inexpensive package to manage our VR business, from marketing to booking to managing to taxes? And if someone is interested, you have a friend that is developing that and could use some help finishing it and testing it?

                                        • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                          floridarob Contributor

                                          No, I'm saying that my 'friend' has a complete and robust platform for complete vacation rental management, that eliminates the need for an 'e-sign' service, and provides so many more benefits that I believe it would be beneficial for others to use it in their vacation rental businesses too.

                                           

                                          I've been using it myself for almost a decade. BUT... I have also seen how most owners completely miss the benefits that it provides. I hoped that I could bring some different light to it (as a customer of his) and help guide some other owners in its use and adoption. (In truth, I'm worried that at some point he will fold up shop because it isn't producing enough return, and that will have a hugely negative impact on my business if I lose him as a supplier.)

                                           

                                          The fact is, I have watched for years as owners that I respect, take a look at his system and walk away, usually unable to see or understand the benefits of it. I have also watched far inferior systems come along and completely overtake him in the market place, because they are better at marketing and communicating their benefits. I thought I could bring a different perspective to it, and help him and some other owners out. (And yes, I would benefit if it meant that he continues to stay in business.)

                                           

                                          I've never met the man in person. I call him my friend because of our many and extensive communications over the years over his services. I value his skill, his creation, and its positive impact on my business.

                                           

                                          This may be hard for some to understand, but a bunch of owners looking at his service, asking questions, signing up for a free trial and then doing nothing with it because they, like most others, fail to see the benefits in it, could actually be a very negative experience for him at this point. And something I certainly don't want him to have to deal with. It could push him farther away from continuing to offer and support the service, and that is the last thing that I want or need to have happen.

                                        • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                          margaret CommunityAmbassador

                                          You have mentioned that you are trying to help a friend whose business you believe in, that is very nice of you. You also state you are posting here because your friend "can't really afford to invest more time (nor does he have the skills) to market it better"  While I commend you for your efforts to help a friend, you may want to think about your approach to marketing this product. As has been brought to your attention, your post appear to be a bit condescending towards other owners. Perhaps a more helpful, sharing tone would serve you and your friend better.

                                            • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                              floridarob Contributor

                                              Margaret, if my tone was condescending, I regret that. I can only conclude that I just can't see that. I would never write in condescending fashion on purpose, it would be contrary to my objectives.

                                               

                                              But perhaps there is no non-condescending way to say to a bunch of long-established, well-entrenched owners "excuse me, but I think you're doing it wrong..."

                                               

                                              Seriously. I really think that a separate, objective third party would look at some of the posts on this thread and conclude that their authors simply are not looking at things realistically. See a few other posts as to why.

                                            • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                              twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                              It doesn’t take me hours and hours. I would guess that most of us have a streamlined system that has worked for us over the years. I can honestly say that I spend no more than a few minutes sending my requirements for booking. My contract is an attachment to the booking process. They sign, scan and send, along with the info. Once that is done and closer to reservation I send the welcome letter that has their door code. After departure, they get the deposit, a thank you and a request for a review. All are letters that are pre-drafted and just ready to be personalized.

                                               

                                              I Guess, I should add that anything we want to do well takes a little time anyway. If we dislike the process, we should probably not be int he business!

                                                • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                                  feibus CommunityAmbassador

                                                  Even before I got OwnerRez, I was spending at most 20 minutes per guest as long as I didn't have to chase them for something.  Everything was an Outlook "Quick Part" to be inserted into the email and quickly customized.  Now it's about 10 minutes, only because I have to spend a little time personalizing the contract for each client.  Otherwise, OwnerRez handles all the canned emails now (along with keeping all the calendars in sync and providing booking/availability forms for Facebook and my web site).

                                        • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                          green_mango Active Contributor

                                          Quick question - for the e-signature, you mentioned the IP address is received when the username & password are created, but is the IP address recorded at the actual time of signing and is the actual signature time-stamped?  Those are some of the important requirements for an e-signature that sound like they may be missing just based on the information you provided. 

                                           

                                          In regards to your long reply, I have gone through and replied as well:

                                           

                                          It is hours of work to send a contract...

                                          and to enter the information about the booking on whatever system generates your lock codes, and then to send that to the guest,

                                            *I’m the system that generates the lock codes - takes me less than a minute to look at the guest’s phone number and create their code & then text it to my cleaner*

                                           

                                          and to email the guest all of their pre-arrival information at the right time, and be sure you are available to do it then,

                                          and send them their maps and other information,

                                          and send them an upsell communication about the extra services you have available for them, and to do that at the right time,

                                            *all of those things are sent by me in a single email, 2 days prior to arrival - the email is a template and I change is the lock code & dates of stay, and whatever other text may be personalized as needed (day of trash pick up, pool hours, plow service etc...)*

                                           

                                          and to turn on the pool heater, and turn down the A/C before the guests arrive,

                                          and then to turn the pool heater off and the A/C back up after the cleaners have departed,

                                          *I do not want my HVAC automated - I check the current temps and set the heat/AC via wifi and look again later to be sure it’s where it should be*

                                           

                                          and to inform the cleaners and the PM about the booking after it comes in,

                                            *add to my shared calendar (TeamUp) - easy*

                                           

                                          and to prepare and send payment reminders, and to monitor payments when they come in, and send out receipts when they do, and more reminders when they don’t,

                                          *all automated through Square*

                                           

                                          and to prepare quotes for the different dates that a guest may request, and to send them to the guest, and file them in an easy to retrieve manner until they expire or the guest books one of them,

                                            *very easy to do manually*

                                           

                                          and to send reminders about those quotes if the guest doesn't book,

                                          *don’t care*

                                           

                                          and to send follow-ups if they don't book,

                                          *not concerned about automating that*

                                           

                                          and to send thank-you's when they do,

                                          *easy*

                                           

                                          and to send thank-you's after the guest departs, and a detailed exits survey that doesn't just ask for comments, but asks them about things you really need to know to run your business better,

                                          *my Your Welcome tablet does all of this automatically - and since it's a tablet in the actual VR, it reaches every guest & not just the email of the primary guest*

                                           

                                          and then to request an online review from those guests,

                                            *easy*

                                           

                                          and to send a thank you when they do, and a reminder (and another) when they don’t,

                                          *takes like 2 seconds to reply to an email - I don’t need it automated, nor do I want it automated - I like the personal touch*

                                           

                                          and to program that the lights will be on for the guests when they are arriving late at night,

                                          *done - I have dusk to dawn lights - some are always on & some are motion sensor*

                                           

                                          and to send out by email (and have available securely online) all of their arrival information, and maps, and instructions on a secure platform that doesn't attract hackers,

                                          *I’m not at all worried that a hacker is trying to get my arrival information - I think a hacker would be more interested in my bank account*

                                           

                                          and to make sure that the information doesn't get sent until the booking and security deposit are all paid in full,

                                            *easy, since it’s not automated*

                                           

                                          and to prepare accounting reports,

                                          *Square does it automatically*

                                           

                                          and tally up sales and booking reports

                                          *Square does automatically*

                                           

                                          and tax filing summaries with all of the totals ready to go,

                                            *Square*

                                           

                                          and to ensure that nothing is ever double booked,

                                            *I trust myself more than a computer system to ensure no double bookings*

                                           

                                          and to automatically update all of the online listing sites an owner may be on,

                                            *now, I agree, that would be nice - it does take me a chunk of time to update each website listing*

                                           

                                          and even to fetch bookings taken at outside sites and integrate them into one single calendar, and then feed them back out to all once tabulated,

                                            *automated with syncing calendars*

                                           

                                          and to allow guests to enter their dates on an up to date calendar and get an instant, accurate quote,

                                            *my website does this*

                                           

                                          and to have quotes automatically include seasonal extras like pool heating only when they should be,

                                          *I don’t have seasonal extras*

                                           

                                          and to provide booking and gap analysis to make it easier for the owner to spot opportunities to promote open periods, and also to easily understand how he/she is doing compared to prior periods…

                                            *meh*

                                           

                                          And everything else that needs to be done for every single booking one takes in, depending upon the quality of operation and guest service one wants to provide.

                                          With your amazing customer service, you DO do all of these things manually, don't you? And it only takes you five minutes?

                                          *Yes, aside from a couple quick emails here & there, I can do all of the above in 5 minutes.  It sometimes may take me longer, because I’m a perfectionist when it comes to running my VR, but I’m ok with that - I like it that way.  Many of my reviews mention how helpful I am, and here’s this quote from a recent guest after I sent their map/code/check in info, “This is great -- we've been renting cabin/vacation homes up in Big Trees every summer for 14 years and you get a 5 star rating for the welcome packet!  Theres a reason why over 3/4 of my nights booked are booked by repeat guests - I provide great service and its personalized to each guest.*

                                           

                                          I already said that I'm not making anything by doing this, but am trying to assist a friend.

                                          *I wonder if your presentation of the information is actually helping, or perhaps even hindering?*

                                           

                                          If you want to know what the system is, take the time to reach out. If you can't put out that much effort, then I think it reasonable to assume that you're not really that serious or interested in exploring this as an option…

                                          *Yes, from what I have heard I am not interested in exploring it as an option for myself, but I was curious to learn more about it, because if it’s a great product I’d be happy to share it with other VR owners who may be interested.  Unfortunately, I can’t share something that I don’t know the name of & in the name of efficiency it seems easier to just post it on your thread rather than sit back and wait for individual members to send you PMs and request - and I know you’re all about efficiency....*

                                           

                                          At the end of the day, I think it's important to remember that what works for one person's business model, may not work for another.  I use Square, Lodgify, Your Welcome, TeamUp, and Digisigner to run things in a way that works well for me.  Notice how I shared the names?  That's to be helpful to other owners

                                            • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                              feibus CommunityAmbassador

                                              Those are some of the important requirements for an e-signature that sound like they may be missing just based on the information you provided.

                                              To clarify, there are several requirements to be compliant with the Federal e-signing law (which may also be different from e-signing laws in Europe), including lengthy records retention, being able to show that both parties were willing participants in signing the agreement, both parties are exactly who they say they are, showing that certain clauses in the agreement (like cancellation policy) have been read and understood... it's definitely not just a checkbox clicked at booking, as we've all pointed out to Homeaway.  But the original statements could just have been poor understanding/marketing of what is supposedly being created.

                                              • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                                floridarob Contributor

                                                green_mango wrote:

                                                 

                                                ...I use Square, Lodgify, Your Welcome, TeamUp, and Digisigner to run things in a way that works well for me....

                                                 

                                                I'm sorry because I know how this may appear to some, but it would seem to defy common sense that five separate, unrelated services could possible be easier, simpler, and take less time, than one single integrated platform.

                                                 

                                                And I would be willing to bet $100 that if I could hold a stop watch on you for a year as you managed your business, that you would be shocked at how much time you actually do spend on these activities, and it is far more time than I do, but I actually have more done. But there is no way to do that, and your comments show you don't care anyway, so we will just have to leave it at that.

                                              • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                                floridarob Contributor

                                                Last comment on this:

                                                 

                                                Did anyone catch Vacation Rental Formula's webinar this past week (really a sales infomercial) for SixthDivision's content automation marketing service?  They take clients in and for $12,000 - $15,000 a pop, teach them how to fully automate their sales and customer service pipelines. They explained the value in it (much as I was trying to do above), or rather, simply started out by asking the audience to buy into the idea that automation leads to greater performance, execution and customer satisfaction than anyone could possibly ever provide themselves. And freed up the business owner to focus on other tasks in building their business. It was essentially presented as "Can we just accept that this is the way it is, and get on to talking about how to accomplish it? Okay..." and off they went from there.

                                                 

                                                At the end, they offered a pre-packaged bundle of their services, to be provided online in an automated fashion, for "three easy payments of $997 each, or one payment of only $2,497... and we only have 10 spots available!"

                                                 

                                                I watched in amazement as I realized that there would actually be a few people who would plunk down their hard-earned cash to buy what my online management system already provides me with, all for $10 per month.

                                                 

                                                Maybe the difference in the price comes from the fact that they spend two or three thousand dollars of time convincing owners why they should do what they are proposing and how they would benefit from it, and only $120 on the actual nuts and bolts of it.

                                                 

                                                Like so many other things I see in this business (home automation for example) there are entrepreneurs taking commonly available services offered for free or at very low cost, and repackaging them so that they are a little easier to use, or more obvious in their benefit, and charging thousands of dollars for them. And they get it! That also continues to boggle my mind!

                                                  • Re: Don't transfer booking documents online; eliminate them!
                                                    twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                                                    A System as you have discussed is only as valuable as the need to spend a limited amount of time. I am retired and so have the time to use the procedures that I have in place that have worked well with very few hiccups in the last 9+ years.

                                                     

                                                    So, unless an owner is finding that they are not providing the type of service that they feel they should because they are just spread too thin then perhaps a service like this would be beneficial. For the rest of us the more personal contact seems to work just fine.

                                                     

                                                    Some of us have had to weave and dodge a bit due to changes to the platforms we work with......(payments, communication, etc.)  but for the most part have worked through them successfully with a sense of being able to adapt to whatever may come.