Short Stay Virtual Summit Expert with Elaine Watts

We are very excited to share with you all the space we share thanks to Elaine Watts she organized this amazing event called: Short stay virtual summit.

Elaine is the host of an amazing podcast in which you can learn how to start and succeed with your rental vacation properties.  See more about HLS podcast here. 

This is the 2nd year in a row, Elaine gathers more than 25 speakers to discuss the short-term rental industry giving notes and tactics on how to grow your business!

The summit will have a duration from May 25th to May 27th. You can check the event here. 

And in Doinn our CEO Noelia Novella was part of those invited speakers. 

Click here to listen to the interview. 

Now we leave you now with the amazing conversation they’ve had on the summit.

Elaine: Firstly tell us a bit about you and your background and a brief overview of what Doinn does

Noelia: I fell in love with our industry in 2013 during a round-the-world trip with my family, including 2 babies. It was an amazing experience to be able to stay in those “peer to peer” properties, BUT we did not always felt safe.

I always say that cleaning is a very personal thing and what means clean for me, may not mean the same for you. But we all grow up with the cleaning standards of the hotels and if people feel safe there, I thought it´d be handy to be able to get the same cleaning and linen rental providers they have.

Back from our trip I reached those companies and asked them what they needed to be able to work in our industry and we have basically been 6 years making tech for this to happen, helping local providers to become more efficient, grow their business, and making sure they follow the right standards operating procedures and protocols.

Nowadays we also work with cleaning companies that were born in and for our industry as long as they have a top-quality proof of record

Since then we feel we have done many guests feel safe, and definitely many property managers and property owners happy in almost 600 cities across USA, Mexico, Dominican Republic, UK, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal.

Elaine: Cleanliness has always been a top priority in our industry but now even more so – what changes have you seen in cleaning protocols in this new era?

Noelia: Since Covid hit, it seems our value proposition makes more sense than ever, cleaning and disinfection mean safety, it always meant it. Following a protocol or a checklist is definitely better than nothing, but cleaning is a profession, professionals bring safety in every aspect of hosting (electricity, engineers, architects, and definitely, cleaning)

For a professional cleaning company, there is not such a thing as new protocols, there were other viruses before covid19 and for professional cleaners, disinfecting or killing the germs was and is the whole point for them, like a uber drive to know how to drive a car

What has changed, like for any business, is the use of the masks and the social distance, they were already aware of the risks of shaking the dirty linen or not washing their hands.

Elaine: As someone wanting to build trust with future guests, how would advise someone new to the industry to get started with their own cleaning protocols.

Noelia: They can take the cleaning protocols from our webpage if they want, we are happy to share it and we have in fact share it with a couple of the OTAs. What is hard about cleaners is not the protocols, there are millions of videos on youtube. The hardest part is the recruitment process,  to keep them motivated and to avoid the high HR rotation.

When clients tell me how much they per service to their cleaners, most of the time they don´t take into consideration how much time they spend recruiting, training, supervising, and motivating them and how much money that cost to the company 

We´ve selected and onboarded cleaning companies that are in business, working for hotels for more than 25 years, I´m sure they much better than most of us recruiting, training, supervising, and motivating their employees to retain the talent and to reach the expectations.

Elaine: Something I hear a lot is that there’s a communication struggle with owners getting their cleaning team to clean to their standards needed – many feel as though they are constantly having to check up and chase after their cleaning teams – do you have any advice on how to communicate the standards required to ensure the property and guests are cared for to the top standards we need to present in our industry?

Noelia: Our technology helps to optimize processes, reports, and tasks to Property managers and Cleaning companies so they can be more competitive, reduce management costs and manage more clients.

But Doinn is not just technology, we have a dedicated team supervising that cleaning companies are beyond expectations, motivating them to keep their good work and making the industry give them the attention and respect they deserve.

That human touch on top of the technology (not just software or bots) in what allows us to raise the hospitality standards.

Property managers don´t need to have an in-house operations manager anymore because our team and our tech, cover that part. We want them to take every single opportunity to manage a property in any location without the need of having a local team there and with the guarantee of having professional and certified cleaning and linen services with us. Our mission is to get their boots on the ground.

Elaine:  How important is technology in assisting with ensuring cleans is up to standard and sharing and keeping top standards with cleaning teams?

Noelia: Like in any other business, there has to be a balance between tech and talent. I´m not a CEO because I use Slack but because of my skills and experience. Slack helps me to be more efficient, to work remotely, and asynchronous what is also very important, but tech tools are not the most important thing for someone that is most of the time with their hands busy and wet.

Elaine: How is it best to communicate the protocols you have in place when building trust with your potential guests moving forwards – website, social media, OTA listing sites?

Noelia: For the pre-sales stage: everywhere! And if the cleaning is done by a well-known cleaning company, talk about that to show how concerned you are about a professional cleaning

Once the guests get to the property, what we do is to seal the door in the inside part as proof that no one got into that space after the cleaners disinfected it.

In the sticker we use to seal the door, there is a QR code where guests can read about the protocols that were followed in several languages, and that makes them feel safe.

What I don´t recommend is to have a big picture with the virus in the entrance hall of the vacation home, Covid19 is definitely the last thing we want to get remember every time we get into the property we chose for our holidays.

Elaine: What are you seeing in terms of bookings for Short Term Accommodations at the moment, what trends have you seen?

Noelia: What we notice is that many of our urban property managers,  started managing properties remotely in leisure areas, it probably saved many of their businesses and open them to many new opportunities. At the end of the day, many property investors live in those urban areas so they can meet them and create trust. 

The second trend would be the preference for multiunits versus apartments spread out the city, and some office building will be transformed into these kinds of apart-hotels, due to the working remotely trend

Third but not least, the consolidation of a few brands, which would be a challenge for the OTAs.

Elaine: Final words of advice for anyone wanting to maintain top cleaning standards in their accommodation business?

Noelia: I´d give them the same advice that a property manager would give to a property owner: get as professional as you can in every part of the business, paying less most of the time doesn’t help to save money.

Elaine: Where do you see the future of our industry heading?

Noelia: I´ve always seen the OTA´s as Prop-tech companies and not as tourism companies. If you take it from that, there are so many things they could take advantage of what they already have: pictures, videos, annual revenue…they started with mid

That’s a wrap folks! This interview was recorded on audio & video on zoom recording if you want to hear it, go here.

Do not lose more about the short stay virtual summit enroll for the following day’s talks here!

Keep in touch and check out our other interviews!

Doinn interview: Vanessa Rentals United

Our story: Rentals united and Doinn more than an integration

 

I´m really having fun making these interviews to the people that have been important to me and to Doinn in the different stages of this startup journey

 

Vanessa de Souza Lage is the kind of person that is generous by nature and generosity always get back to you, especially in our industry where is more than clear that working together make us stronger and all the vendors should work as a team to bring value to the property managers and to our beloved industry.

 

From day one, Vanessa made me feel part of her life, her/our industry, and even her stage, as she is the pioneer of the #tieonstage movement, promoting women as speakers in the vacation rental industry events

 

Vanessa is also a serial entrepreneur, well known in our industry for founding the channel manager Rentals United and Vrtech

 

Rentals United was one of the first integrations at Doinn, and I have presented in several Vrtech events and several cities

 

I´ve been chasing this busy-bee for months to make this interview. I really hope you enjoy this post as much I am having fun while making it!

 

Noelia: First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Vanessa: We’re doing perfectly fine, thanks for asking! It’s amazing how people can adapt! Also we’re lucky to be in Barcelona, the lockdown period wasn’t as tough or as long as others… Restaurants have been opened and the 10pm curfew is actually great when you work as much as I do 🙂  

 

Noelia: You help to promote startups for vacation rentals in Vrtech and you have founded several startups. Entrepreneurs are born or made?  

Vanessa: Entrepreneurs are born but successful ones are made! 

 

I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur since childhood, always coming up with new business ideas! The first one: importing Dulce de Leche from Argentina to France as I loved it and it wasn’t available in French supermarkets then.  I actually got my sister who lived in Argentina to send tubs over but instead of selling them I gave them away to my friends : ) So yeah, I think that the entrepreneurial drive is something you’re born with but turning your ideas into a successful business is something you learn. 

 

As an entrepreneur I have struggled a lot, many times going down to my last 5 euros. I wish I had looked for mentors: so many mistakes could have been avoided! Rentals United is my 5th business and I’m still learning everyday. This is the great thing about being an entrepreneur… you always need to grow with the times, the circumstances, the market shifts! 

 

Noelia: How the idea of founding Rentals United came up and what problem is currently solving?

 

Vanessa: Quite honestly Rentals United was born because my previous business was failing. And not just mine, the ones of our competitors too. We were medium-sized OTAs focused on vacation rentals and with the rise of Airbnb, VRBO and booking.com we couldn’t make the marketing dollar work anymore. Plus we had a supply/demand problem: we were all european OTAs but with different markets strengths. So we thought to exchange inventory and for that we needed a distribution software. 

 

Rentals United was created for ourselves and as bookings grew we opened it to other channels: the beauty was that we could still make our commission but let VRBO, Airbnb, Bookings pay for the B2C traffic. Our first investor in 2014 saw the potential and by 2015 we left our agencies and became full time Rentals United. 

 

Our company solves the supply and demand aspect of the vacation rental industry. We source professional property managers and offer them to advertise their properties on a large number of OTAs, both global and niche. Managers get more bookings, OTAs get more rentals to sell. Everyone wins. 

 

Noelia: Tourism has been highly affected by the pandemic, but is the vacation rental industry becoming stronger or weaker of this?

 

Vanessa: The growth of the industry has just been put on hold for a year, just like every other hospitality vertical. Our growth has been exponential in the last ten years and every year we’re getting more professional, better organised, attracting more demographics… there’s no reason why we wouldn’t continue to grow at a rapid pace.

 

Noelia: In terms of product, is there any feature that your users are requesting more than before since Covid hit? 

 

Vanessa: We had quite a lot of requests for mid-term (30+ days) channels last year which we duly implemented. Currently we see a big surge in leisure bookings so we’re hunting for outdoor-type inventory and already signed contracts with major glamping and camping channels.  

 

Managers have always requested that we add a book direct channel feature to our software and we’re happy to now be launching a wordpress template which can be used with our Google vacation rental connection.  

 

Noelia: You understood Doinn´s added value to the market from day one, when we could just provide services in Lisbon and Barcelona. From your perspective, the fact than Doinn is now available in more than 600 cities is really important to help property managers to grow or most of them have a city strategy?

 

Vanessa: 600 cities! Wow! Your astronomical growth is the testimony that I had the right hunch about your company when we first met! Housekeeping is very hard to scale. All the large property managers I meet always tells me that this is one of the major challenges to overcome when you grow. Your solution is for forwarding-thinking managers, it’s that one entry that’s going to make the balance sheet strong! Go DoInn!  

Noelia: Thank you so much for this, Vanessa! I definitely recommend all those startups of the vacation rental industry to apply to win to the 2021 Vrtech award here and ….

Doinn interview: Robertin Nunez from Co Host Expert Company Inc

On Doinn, we are boosting our expansion in the US and Mexican markets, and we are loving the way both markets are welcoming us.

 

So I couldn´t be happier and more grateful of interviewing Robertín Nuñez, who is in the rental business since 1991 (30 years!) and is the CEO of Co Host Expert Company Inc https://cohostexpert.com/.  

 

Co Host Expert Company founded in 2013 to assists property owners in the conversion process of their standard market rental units into viable Short Term Rental properties.

 

Noelia: First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Robertin: Very well and alive Noelia.  Which nowadays is the top priority  Everyone is doing well and actually it has been a very good year considering the climate we are in.

 

Noelia: What motivated you to get into the vacation rental industry and what has been your journey on it?  It is a combination of fate and focus I would say.  I am a real estate developer so I have been buying and developing properties in different cities most of my adult life.  Formerly I owned a travel agency for 10 years that specialized in entertainment travel.  Combining Real Estate and Travel has lead me into the Vacation Rental Industry.

 

Robertin:

 

Noelia: Is the industry becoming more or less professional since the Covid hit?

Robertin:

Covid has prompted smaller operators to step up their game regarding their cleaning procedures and daily operations.  Since one is not always available or in some countries allowed to venture around because of the lockdowns operators and hosts had to figure out how to run their businesses more efficiently and effectively.  Operators and hosts had to really take inventory of their business models since there was such a huge slowdown for a short time and in some places even longer, it really made you look at your business model and ask “Does this work”?

 

Also the slowdown cleared the landscape from the huge influx of speculators and gave a beating to the more professional hosts and operators.  Some made it through the storm others folded, luckily we made it through.

 

Noelia: Tourism has been highly affected by the pandemic, but is the Vacation rental industry becoming stronger or weaker of this?  

 

Robertin: 1 year ago I would not know how to answer this, but today March 2021 I would say stronger.  As I mentioned before many fly by night businesses are no longer and Covid reset the thinking of the Vacation Rental Industry professionals.  Everything is not simply based on location and tourism.  Vacation rentals are being used by the “New Traveler” which come from all walks of life for many various reasons, some that didn’t really exist or weren’t as strong pre covid. Such as First Responders, Essential Workers and Remote Workers.

 

Noelia: In terms of product, is there any feature that your users are requesting more than before since Covid hit? 

 

Robertin:

Reliable WIFI has always been a huge important selling point, but now more than ever. We receive many requests where the guest booking for 30-90 to 120 nights wanted to make sure the modem is not shared or they have access to it because their work depends on it.  As well as work stations with a view or somewhere they can sit and hammer away at their work.

Also is the location a place where all deliveries can be received, which before wasn’t even much of a request. 

 

Noelia: Doinn has been very successful in the European markets, helping to many property managers to focus on their growth by leaving the operational part to us. From your perspective, what is Doinn bringing to our industry in the USA? What make us different from other solutions for housekeeping?    

 

Robertin:

BOOTS ON THE GROUND.  My vision and plan of expansion into Mexico and Latin America has a lot to do with the fact that DOINN can provide a system of operations for the cleaning and turnover part of the business.  Which essentially are the front line of one’s operations.  Knowing that DOINN is established in a market or region allows us to know that we can enter this market and have a solid business partner relationship to provide this important feature.  If not we would have to set up a system in every market which makes it very difficult and challenging to expand.  

An operator or host with plans to expand could use the DOINN model and build around the way DOINN is expanding.  It is as if they are doing the hard part of setting up and one can come in and build a business around their new established location.  

How to prepare your vacation rentals for the post-pandemic season

Doinn gives vacation rentals and Airbnb hosts tips to understand and adapt to new tourist demands. We have so many challenges within the vacation rentals industry right now, either you have an Airbnb flat or a cute cabin to relax. That’s why in the past few posts we have addressed the incredible and inevitable impact in our industry but today we want to give you some positivity. Today, we are prepared to introduce you to some of the upcoming trends for vacation rentals which users are expecting. We already know what customers want to save flights (For god’s sakes!) But within the Doinn team, we wanted to take it a step further and share some of the top needs the “new-old tourists” will look for in the near future. As we like to say “Doinners” are here to help! Let’s dig into it! 

 

1. Go the extra mile on Safety & Hygiene.

One common thought that is guaranteed is that travelers will be asking for more strict measures to ensure their safety. This means, try to reduce to the maximum any encounter with other people outside the bubble, so take some of these actions: · Temporarily close all of the common areas within your rental. · Make a guidebook of all of the restrictions and important covid-19 information in your city or country (Update regularly) · Make sure you are automating most of the processes for the vacation rental itself. Using vocational software or upgrading your housekeeping tasks to a service like Doinn  Try to maximize your efforts in terms of deep cleansing and having a visual way to demonstrate it to your customers, write a blog post about it or share a video of new measures in your rental. The stricter your guidelines while travelers stay in your rental, the more possibilities of positive feedback you will have. 

 

2. Transform your vacation rental options. 

You will need to reinvent your services from global to local, this means that you can develop new uses for your vacation rental as per the market needs. For example: · Transform one room into an office and attract remote job workers. (Which regularly look for new places to move). · Adding activities to your rental description tells travelers why your destination is more special than others. (There is a huge impact on leisure in post-pandemic scenarios · Also add some touches of home to your spaces as people will travel within their bubbles and close family members. Another important fact is to adapt and incorporate flexible cancellation or change policies. This is one of the top priorities for younger users according to an Expedia report.

 

3. Personalization and Customer Experience. 

Because of the pandemic, warm greetings like shaking hands is a custom of the past. But there are still ways to keep creating an excellent experience for your vacation rental renters. Keep in touch with your guests through an open channel: whatsapp, telegram, or email. It’s even more important these days to keep open communication. Also remember, everybody likes a freebie, and if you include some masks or personal hand sanitizers, people will recognize your good hosting skills.

 

4. Automation is the key to success. 

We are not talking only about contactless payments, there is a wide variety of options to introduce into your rental. Keyless entry: you can use remote apps in which you send an electronic key to open your apartment to code digit locks inserted directly into your vacation rental, available in different price ranges. Home automation: This sounds like The Jetsons but we promise you it is not, from controlled heating or cooling systems to a whole panel of lighting and voice controlled devices, you can ensure your guests are getting everything they need! Adding 3D or AI bots to your service: You can now go from facebook type of automatic responses (Bots) at a very reasonable price to 3D virtual reality videos from your amazing Airbnb homes, try adding some cool tech innovations and see how your guests react to them. We are sure they will love it. These are just a couple of nice examples to boost up your vacation rentals, from safety to new techie options we are certain the guests will appreciate them. Remember we Doinners love to help you keep everything nice and tight for your upcoming seasons. So if you are still struggling with your cleaning processes during these difficult times contact us to know more about our plans and services we will be more than glad to assist you.

Doinn interview: Amiad from Guesty

I love this interview model with our partners to understand more the why and less the what and how they are bringing the value to our industry, following the Golden Circle Concept developed by Simon Sinek 

 

Guesty was founded in 2013 to automate and simplify the operations of short-term rental property management. Graduating in 2014 from Y Combinator, the same accelerator Airbnb graduated from, was a game changer for the company, skyrocketing their growth and product development. Today Guesty boasts $60M in funding, 250+ employees spread out across 8 offices worldwide, and customers in over 80 countries.

 

Side note: 2014 was also the year that Doinn participated in the Lisbon Challenge startup acceleration program and we still remember a night out with Michael Siebel, one of the founders of Y Combinator, talking about how those guys from Guesty could have a huge impact in the fast-growing Airbnb market.      

 

And now, here we are today.

 

The Guesty <> Doinn partnership took a few years to take shape as our go-to-market strategies were different but somehow, it was written in our paths.

 

Noelia: First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Amiad: My family is great, thank you for asking. My wife and I adopted an amazing pup named Effie and we are really enjoying being dog parents for the first time.

 

Noelia: What motivated you to become an entrepreneur and to start this kind of business in times where the Airbnb brand penetration was still not that high?

 

Amiad: I launched Guesty with my identical twin brother Koby. After renting out our apartments while travelling, we realized just how much of a headache it was to oversee guest communication, cleanings and repairs. As a result, originally we launched a property management company to take care of those needs for clients and then realized that we could do so much more.

 

At the time, when Airbnb was becoming incredibly popular, there was a clear product gap in the home sharing space for those who wanted to distribute their listings across multiple OTAs without wasting hours hopping from platform to platform. It became clear that professional hosts and property management companies needed one centralized location to manage all of the complex operational tasks that go into managing their inventory.

 

Enter Guesty. With our software – you can do it all – from guest communication to real-time dynamic pricing to accounting – all in one place.

 

Noelia: I´ve been doing a few webinars talking about the OKRs, the framework used by Google to define the company goals. What is your magical formula for Guesty growth?

 

Amiad: Our platform is built to be agile and has grown alongside our users, adapting to the swiftly changing alternative accommodation ecosystem. To put it simply, Guesty was built for all business models of all shapes and sizes, no matter the location. 

 

Similar to how there is no one size fits all when it comes to travel, there is also no one size fits all when it comes to property management. We built our product with that in mind. Our users’ businesses grow, change and evolve, and we’re there to support them every step of the way. In fact, the growing needs of our users resulted in us enhancing our platform in more ways than one in the last year. Here are two examples: 

  1. We opened our platform to support extended stays of 28+ days after noticing travelers were booking rentals for longer periods. Doing so helped users incorporate flexible inventory into their portfolio to achieve a reliable, assured stream of revenue for longer periods of time. 

  2. We now enable aparthotel and boutique hotel management with the goal of supporting all forms of short-term rentals. Guesty’s new suite of features coupled with our existing core tools, enables independent hotel teams to work efficiently while actively increasing their bottom line. 

 

Noelia: Tourism has been highly affected by the pandemic, but is the Vacation rental industry becoming stronger or weaker?

 

Amiad: Without hesitation, stronger.

 

Thanks to the accessibility and privacy provided by the short-term rental industry, travel has lived on throughout COVID-19, proving the resilience of the alternative accommodation ecosystem as a whole. 

 

Private rentals enable travelers to avoid crowded common areas associated with hotels, such as lobbies, elevators and dining halls. By nature, they also have less guest turnover, which significantly reduces the risk of exposure between guests as does their lower count of “high-touch” surface areas. These selling points, along with Airbnb’s recent IPO, acted as the catalyst to short-term rentals going mainstream with many traditional hotel-goers evolving into short-term rental converts, opting for private rentals over hotels.

 

Short-term rental converts represent a previously untapped audience within the market and have lended to a considerably bolstered user base. And that gain is permanent. 

 

According to our industry report on the state of confidence in the short-term rental industry, 83.2% of the 500+ respondents we surveyed in hospitality believe the travellers who have booked short-term rentals since the start of the pandemic will continue to choose rentals over hotels as their choice for accommodations, even post-COVID-19. 

 

It’s a fact that travel will recover. There are many question marks dotting the path to get there, but this pandemic has proven that travel is a necessity.

 

Noelia: In terms of product, is there any feature that your users are requesting more than before Covid hit? 

 

Amiad: We have found that the most popular features during the pandemic have been those that support lean teams, automate tasks, and help our users achieve organizational efficiency and peak productivity. In fact, use of Guesty’s automated messaging tools jumped 25% in 2020 compared to 2019. This is no surprise as these tools enable users to automatically communicate check-in/out instructions, request for reviews, staff checklists and more.

 

We also saw a growing demand for our 24/7 Guest Communication Services (GCS) throughout the past year, considering the higher than usual volume of guest queries hosts were receiving regarding cleaning protocols, local restrictions and more. Our GCS team of specialists answers queries on our users’ behalf – all day long, or in their off-ours or while they’re on holiday. I’m happy to note that users report GCS saves them 40% of time each week on communication, allowing them to focus their energy elsewhere.

 

Noelia: Doinn has been very successful in the European markets, helping to many property managers to focus on their growth by leaving the operational part to us. From your perspective, what is Doinn bringing to our industry in the USA? 

 

Amiad: Standardization is important, especially when it comes to cleaning practices amid COVID-19. Stringent cleaning protocols are at the top of guests’ mind and crucial when it comes to their safety. Having a company like Doinn certifying cleaning companies and services in cities worldwide not only pushes standardization in cleaning practices forward, it also provides property management companies and professional hosts with a sense of relief as they look to experts in the space to navigate new protocols put in place by competent authorities, from the WHO to Airbnb. 

How to manage your vacation rental remotely

The COVID-19 outbreak has made us rethink the way we work, creating a shift towards a more flexible and digital way of life. Although having a vacation rental business does not consist of being in an office all day, there are certain tasks that up until now have required owners to be physically present in their property. If your vacation rental is far from your main residence, you may have realized that the given situation could actually be a good opportunity to start managing your business remotely. 

The growth of the vacation rental industry in recent years has generated a large number of tools, platforms, and technologies to help owners manage their businesses from the comfort of their own home. These resources help to save a significant amount of time and effort while also providing a higher quality of service to guests.  

Is it possible to manage your vacation rental remotely?

Of course! As previously mentioned, there are currently a wide variety of tools and apps that can help you manage your property remotely without any problem. 

However, it’s always recommended to have a trustworthy person nearby in the event of an emergency. You can also invest in vacation rental property management software, or hire a property manager that offers you a comprehensive management service.

If you’re just getting started and wondering where to invest, distance no longer has to be a deciding factor. Instead, do research on whether the area is a touristic destination and what kind of investment it requires. 

Here’s what you should take into account to manage your vacation rental remotely: 

Things to keep in mind

Keep guests informed

If you’ve decided to work remotely and will therefore not be present to welcome your guests to the property, you should thoroughly prepare for it beforehand. Something as simple as creating a welcome guide with information on the area (activities, restaurants, cafes, or any extra details that might be of interest) can go a long way. 

Don’t forget to include instructions and information related to the property itself, such as the use of appliances, emergency contacts, or house rules. Going above and beyond will avoid any unexpected events in the future.

Automate communication with your guests

Great guest communication is essential to getting good reviews and increasing your bookings. Even for the most experienced hosts, it’s difficult to stay on top of everything from reservation requests to concerns your guests might have. Automating messages will help minimize repetitive tasks and quickly fix potential problems that might arise. 

Provide the necessary technology

Make sure you have all the necessary devices and technology for tasks that were once done in person. Here are some examples: 

Check-in and Check-out

Regardless of whether you remotely manage a vacation rental or not, there are many tasks that can be automated to reduce your workload. While some hosts like to welcome their guests personally, automating this process can save you a lot of time and allow for more flexibility when it comes to bookings. In the event that your guests arrive late, you won’t have to worry about a drastic change of plans. 

There are smart locks that work with codes so that guests can access and leave your home without any help. If you feel like this is not the right option for your business, you can also hire a company to manage the check-ins and check-outs of your vacation rental.

Smart homes

Also known as ‘smart homes’, these properties have a variety of technologies to control and automate certain things like temperature or lighting adjustments. In addition to being able to control them remotely, these tools help to reduce energy consumption, provide security, and turn your vacation rental into a more comfortable place.

Even if you have highlighted the house rules of your property, having a noise sensor can help you control the volume of your guests and avoid complaints from neighbors.

Use tools and apps to facilitate property management

Cleaning services

One of the most important aspects to keep in mind while managing your property remotely is cleaning. When it comes to this task, every owner strives to provide the tidiest rental for their guests. Hiring professionals who are in charge of cleaning, disinfection, and laundry will ensure that the job gets done consistently and with high results every time.

There are currently platforms that, apart from helping you hire a great team of cleaners, also allow you to monitor all tasks. This means you can keep track of what’s going on at all times and run your business much more efficiently. 

Vacation rental management software

Managing reservations is another task that requires attention. Vacation rental software like Lodgify allows you to take full control over your business, giving you access to a centralized platform where you can manage all your reservations, calendars, and rates (from both your website and other vacation rental listing sites like Airbnb and Vrbo). 

Conclusion

Now that you’ve seen the resources available to automate tedious tasks and manage your vacation rental remotely, you can get started! If you take advantage of the previously mentioned tools, the location of your property no longer needs to be an issue. 

Incorporating these solutions into your business will not only give you personal benefits, but it will also make your property more attractive, safe, and profitable in the long run.

Today we are announcing the new integration with Smoobu PMS

At Doinn, our mission is to provide certified professional cleaning, linen rental and laundry services to private accommodation, an end-to-end automation from the guest reservation to the guest ready apartment. 

So we are very excited about  this new partnership with the fast growing Smoobu PMS. 

Smoobu is Europe’s leading all-in-one vacation rental management software, and manages over 70.000 listings. 

With Smoobu you have access to all tools with a single subscription and you pay only per property. Channel Manager, PMS, Website Builder, Booking Engine, Unified Inbox, Online Check-In, as well as a Dedicated Guest Guide that will make your reviews go up. 

Smoobu’s support team is highly rated, speaks 7 different languages and is available 6 days a week via phone, chat and/or email. You can test Smoobu for free. They have a 14-day trial without a credit card.

Through this partnership, you can easily and seamlessly schedule the cleaning, linen rental and laundry services you need according to your reservations.

Free webinar next week

Smoobu is hosting a webinar with us next week, not just to explain how to integrate Smoobu and Doinn, but to talk about how to renew the trust of your guests writing about the enhance cleaning protocols

When: February 16th, 2021 – 01PM CET / 12PM GTM 

Doinn partnership

See below how easy it’s to take the most of our partnership:

1º Make a Doinn account.

Signing up for Doinn is safe and convenient. If you haven’t yet made an account, you can signup for free here

To associate your properties you can add one by one manually (option One Property) or upload several properties by excel (option Many Properties)

 

First time login

2º The properties are ready

First time login

3º Automation lab 

It’s time to define the automation settings and paste your Smoobu Ical

On Smoobu 👇

On Doinn 👇

First time login

 

4º Define your integration settings

Automate the services you would like to outsource with us and the default check in and check out hours of your properties.

First time login

 

4º The integration is ready!

Reservations will be synced and services generated automatically in the next poll. 

You can then click ok and proceed to purchase in one click.

Would you like to know more about Smoobu? Check out this video.

Stay in London

Dainius Podolinskis, founder of StayinLondon.co.uk, a well-known and quality-driven property manager in UK’s capital, writes about the added value that Doinn brings to the industry with their own case study.

Stay in London in facts;

Properties managed: 18 in Central London – Kensington & Chelsea, Soho, Covent Garden, Belgravia, Notting Hill and other

5 years of experience in Property Management:

Average occupancy rate before 2020: 90%

Average occupancy rate in 2020: 60%

Doinn: Consequences of the pandemic for your business? 

DP: We had to rapidly change the strategy and start marketing our properties for the domestic market and medium-term (1-3month) stays, which proved very successful.

Doinn: How do you keep your business active, what measures are you taking?

DP: We drastically cut our costs, we started working from home and don’t have an office. We are also spending more time researching other channels to get maximum exposure for our properties to have them occupied – for example we signed a contract with a corporate insurance company, that often needs accommodations for their clients who have some problems with their houses/flats and need temporary, medium-term accommodation.

Doinn: What is your outlook for the future?

DP: I am confident that 2021 will be the year of opportunity for all the management companies that managed to survive 2020. I am sure travel will come back with a bang and we need to be prepared for it!

Doinn: What service(s) do you order through Doinn and what are the advantages of using our platform?

DP: Doinn is a perfect partnership for us as we grow – we can rely on flexibility when the demand increases.

Doinn: We are very happy to be able to help you. 

Thank you for allowing us to get to know you a little bit better.

P.S. If you want to join this initiative, we will be happy to give you visibility, nationally and internationally. All you need to do is to fill this questionnaire.

Safety is the new wellness movement

Euromonitor, a global market-research firm based in London, released its forecasts for the 10 Global Consumer Trends 2021.

It includes Safety is the new wellness movement.

They say that the fear of infection drives demand for hygiene products and pushes consumers towards contactless solutions to avoid exposure. 

#Airbnb, #Vrbo, and #Booking recommended to their hosts to implement enhanced cleaning measures and innovations that target concerns to renew the trust of the guests, but are those detailed protocols followed by the cleaners? 

Euromonitor even says that efficiency and cleanliness are no longer trade-offs but expectations amongst Safety Obsessed consumers. 

On Doinn we talk about those guests expectations since day one.

Who is not obsessed with safety when travelling with the family or with the love of their life? 

Even before the pandemic, I can´t even think of a mother who doesn´t have as a number one priority the safety of her children. 

What has changed is that finally cleanliness is understood as a key point for our own safety. 

Private accommodation that incorporates professional sanitation services, while communicating these benefits, will attract any guests of this new era

On Doinn we select and onboard professional cleaning companies for you to book certified services a click away and at a fair price.

We provide quality certificate stickers and all the protocols and cleaning products information you need to become a reference in the industry for your guests.

Doinn services are now available in more than 500 cities, allowing remote property management to cover the remote works trends. 

Nest@Lisbon

Nest@Lisbon is the result of a dream of two brothers, Henrique and Pedro, who left their jobs in order to devote themselves to hospitality and to make their guests enjoy everything that the city they were born in has to offer. Currently they manage 17 properties in Lisbon and are in the business since 2017.

 

Before the pandemic, their occupancy rates were of around 80% but the virus brought them down, in 2020, to only 20%.


Doinn: What immediate consequences did the pandemic have for you?

Nest@Lisbon: Some plans for expansion of the company are on hold now (such us increasing the number of employees). 


Doinn: What measures did you take in order to keep the company active nowadays?

Nest@Lisbon: Some of our properties were redirected to mid-term renting with a perspective of bringing them back to the short-term starting in Summer 2021. The company operates as well in other sectors (e.g. buy and sell, remodeling, home staging) meaning that the focus of the company was partially shifted to these areas.

 

Doinn: How do you see the future? What are your perspectives?

Nest@Lisbon: Regarding short-term rentals, to hold down the fort until the end of the first semester of 2021 and go back to the normality of the business from then onward. At this moment, to maintain focus on opportunities other than short-term rentals.

 

Doinn: Withoud a shade of doubt, it is good advice, at least in respect of urban areas. What services do you schedule with Doinn and what are the advantages of using the platform?

Nest@Lisbon: Cleaning and laundry services for our short-term rentals.

Doinn allows for a very simple and straightforward way of service management through automatic integration of our Channel Manager software and a billing summary in the end of each month. Apart from all this automation, our point of contact at Doinn (Andreia Rosa) is extremely assertive and quick regarding some of our occasional requests (e.g. last minute scheduling and cancellations) and it makes us feel confident that we have all the support we need for our model of management of cleaning and linen services.


Doinn: We are very happy to be able to help you. 

Thank you for allowing us to get to know you a little bit better.

 

P.S. If you want to join this initiative, we will be happy to give you visibility, nationally and internationally. All you need to do is to fill this questionnaire.

How to survive in 2021

Linda Fox from Phocuswire, who I am a huge fan of, published last week a fantastic article about the participation of Brian Chesky in the Reuters Next event where he discussed the topic of Tendencies in Tourism.

 

In my opinion, Chesky touches upon three important points:

  1. Tourism will never be the same as before the pandemic which doesn’t mean that the same volume of business won’t be regained on a macro level, just the revenue will come in a different form;

  2. There will be a significant decrease in business travelling, however – in spite of being possible now to work remotely and of many of us having moved away from the cities – we need to come back, even if only so often, to the city where our office is;

  3. More people will choose to travel by car and to smaller towns rather than to popular destinations, switching from mass tourism to a kind of tourism that is more meaningful for our lives.

 

In 2019 92% of Doinn business came from Lisbon, Porto, Madrid, Barcelona and London. In 2020 these cities have represented only around 45% of our revenue and the estimate for this year is even lower (not taking into account the new markets we have been gaining our position in such as the U.S.A or Mexico).

 

Many of big European management agencies are located in these cities and, even if they managed to reduce they fixed costs by cutting their rents or laying off a big part their employees, the focus on medium and long-term rentals of their properties doesn’t seem to be enough for them to stay alive in 2021 if Chesky is reading the market correctly.

 

Furthermore, if we take into account that many owners of beach and mountain houses live in these big cities, we will understand that the strategy that they followed last year – to manage their houses remotely, with certificate cleaning and laundry, linen and toiletries that we make available at Doinn – will still be a trend in 2021.

 

I share the link to the complete article:

https://www.phocuswire.com/Airbnb-travel-trends-and-crises
 

Share your opinion with us and with our followers!

Chekin

Avoid fines in your short-term rentals

Today we want to introduce Chekin, a new tool that will allow you to save hundreds of hours per year, avoid fines of several thousands of euros and earn more money while increasing your bookings. This week only, we offer you a 25% discount, exclusive for Doinn clients with the code Doinn25.

 

Do you want to know what it is about? Let us explain:

 

If you are a landlord and own a short-term rental probably you know that normally the entire check-in process takes lots of time but perhaps you haven’t summed up all the hours that this task involves.

 

Spoiler: for every property, you spend more than 300 years per year!

 

In order for you to have a global perspective, these are (some of) the tasks that are generally accomplished for each booking:

 

  • Compile the data of each of the guests; 

  • Keep (mandatorily) this information in the visit log book for 3 to 7 years;

  • Report, one by one, all this data to the competent authorities;

  • Calculate and pay tourist taxes; 

  • Write the agreements and ask the guests to sign them;

  • Verify the identity of all the guests – one by one;

  • Go to the property to hand in the keys;

  • Verify the payment for the booking depending on the platform you use;

  • Collect the safety deposit;

  • Charge extras to the guests.

 

And much more…

 

And this is only for one property and one booking.
Can you imagine how many hours of your time do these boring and repetitive processes take?
And more importantly: how many headaches did you already have resulting from the concern not to make any mistake when calculating taxes or the worry that you can be fined if you don’t send the data correctly to your immigration office?

 

Can you imagine a tool that does all these things for you automatically and safely?

 

And this is what Chekin is about – know that it is possible not to have to fulfill these processes manually. You will be able to manage all the properties you wish with a very little effort and with the assurance that you comply with all the local regulations.

 

You can set up your Chekin account in order to implement your online check-in or add the self check-in as well so you are not forced to go to the property again to hand in the keys. Your guests will be happy. They will be able to enter and to leave the property with all the comfort and autonomy. You will only need to see your bank statements with profits from each booking flowing.

 

In case you are wondering whether Chekin is integrated with your PMS or with your remote access service, we leave you here the link to all the Chekin integrations.

 

Chekin makes your life easier for such a low monthly fee that it seems nearly impossible – to be able to offer you so much for so little. Apart from that, today we share with you a discount code, exclusive for Doinn clients. You only need to access this link, sign up and apply the Doinn25 code. And as it if was not enough, you can do a free 2-weeks trial.

 

Finally, the perfect check-in is possible. With Doinn and Chekin together, the automation circle is completely closed. Since the moment the booking is made until your property is cleaned and disinfected again for the next guest, all you need to do is nothing.

You will have all the time in the world so you can do what you want.

Don’t waste your time, start using Chekin, now!

Bnbird

What a luxury is to have access to this information obtained from our clients and to be able to share it with the community. 

Our next interview is with BnBird, property managers since 2016, with a portfolio of no less than 150 properties located in Lisbon, Oeiras, Cascais, Sintra, Ericeira, Porto, Gaia, Espinho, Ovar, Albufeira, Vilamoura, Vale do Lobo, Monsanto and Gondarém, all in Portugal.

 

Their average occupancy rate per annum, across all the locations, was 76% before 2020 and the coronavirus has decreased the average in only 12%! (you guys, rock! 🙌)


Doinn: What are the consequences of the pandemics that you feel most?

Bnbird: The Covid-19 pandemics had an obvious impact especially between March and June when a drop in occupancy rate and in the volume of business was noted.

In the last months we shifted the focus of our business to medium-term stays, achieving occupancy rates over 70% in the last months, including 76% registered in October and 68% – in November on average for all the properties we manage. The retention rate of the properties was above 90%, the acquisition of new properties being pretty high as well, altogether resulting in an increase in our portfolio of properties from 100 in March to 150 in December 2020.

 

Doinn: Apart from the medium-term rentals approach, what other measures have you taken in order to adapt to this new “normality”?

Bnbird: The company’s strategies have been adapted – both internally and externally, with a reduction in the number of people employed and the company’s bet on process automation and communication tools. In the essence the goal is to make the company leaner, faster and more agile. Regarding the relationship with our clients, we sought to keep the landlords up to date in respect of our strategies and to present competitive, for the market the way it is now, solutions. Regarding the relationship with guests, we sought to strengthen the communication, building a stronger and more present emotional connection, especially by keeping them up to date in respect of the restrictions being put in place due to the pandemics. Additionally, the cleaning standards have been reinforced as well as the check-in/out dynamics. 

 

Doinn: What prospects do you have for the future?

Bnbird: We know that the next months won’t be easy, especially because it is low season now, but the perspectives for a return to the levels in the volume of business preceding the pandemics, after the Spring/Summer 2021 are reasonably optimistic. With the increase in our portfolio of properties and with the automation of processes being implemented, we believe that – in a long-term perspective – we will have a more competitive and sustainable company.Our goal is always to strengthen our position in the metropolitan areas of Porto and Lisbon as well as to speed up our expansion to Algarve and explore other kinds of locations, intrinsically linked to rural tourism.
Doinn: We are sure that anything you do, will be a success!
And the last question, about our services: what services do you schedule with Doinn and what are the advantages of using the platform?

Bnbird: Cleaning and linen services, mostly linen rental. The great advantage is the convenience in scheduling the services online and the diversity of locations included that provides a strengthened safety regarding our expansion processes.


Doinn: It is a pleasure to accompany you in your expansion! 

Thank you for letting us know you a little bit better.

 

P.S. If you want to join us in this initiative, we will be more than happy to give your business more visibility, nation- and internationally. All you need to do is to fill this questionnaire.

Thank you all for letting us know you a little bit more.

The pandemic has brought us many negative things, many! But there are also many positive points, namely a closer relationship with our clients because this crisis has given us something that we didn’t have for a long time: TIME.

 

We always say that Doinners are here to help and in these difficult times, sometimes the support has been not only with operations but above all with our friendship and empathy.

 

And from here came the initiative to interview some of our clients, to share with our community the different points of view and management during this crisis.

 

What better day than Thanksgiving to start the first interview and dedicate them these words: Thank you all for letting us know you a little bit more.

 

P.S. If you want to join this initiative, we will be happy to help by giving you visibility at the national and international levels. You just need to fill this form. https://forms.gle/eMctnxtc2bH6qVY8A