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Case Study: South Key Vacation Rental Management

How Rented Helps the “Best of Savannah” Nail Last-Minute Pricing

Rented is a full-service revenue management company using Art, its automatic rate tool built by industry pros for vacation rentals. Art guides managers to set the right price for every property, by season and by day. Rented offers two solutions: allowing property managers (PMs) to use Art on their own or work with Rented’s highly skilled team of dedicated revenue managers. The goal is to save property managers and their team time while still staying in control and pricing confidently.

Key Data Dashboard is a business intelligence and benchmarking platform that everyone with Track has access to. With Key Data’s direct integration, PMs have access not only to all of their own data and analytics, including KPIs, but also benchmark data for the markets in which they operate through direct- or OTA sources.

We decided to put Rented and Art to the test to see if a recent client could overcome the challenges of pricing last-minute reservations and season-to-season pricing.

Profile

  • South Key Management Co. is a full value, full-service Rented customer.
  • The award-winning vacation rental management company is located in Savannah, Georgia, a tourist hubspot that’s emerging as a premier drive-to destination.
  • South Key founder Chase Stahl started in 2016 by flipping his parents’ newly renovated vacation rental.

In 2023, South Key now has nearly 70 properties ranging from 300-year-old estates in Savannah’s famed historical district to cottages, condos, and modern lofts, with a few properties in Atlanta.

Challenges

  1. Competition. While occupancy is solid, there is a lot of competition for rooms.
  2. Varying demands. High demand falls on weekends, with weekdays slightly lower.
  3. Last-minute reservations. South Key’s biggest headache, taxing management to spend a lot of time pricing.
  4. Cost. Prior to Rented, South Key was using numerous various vendors; it was too costly and not efficient.
  5. No time for clients. Pricing was taking up his time and left him feeling he wasn’t giving his clients the attention they deserved.

Process

  • Chase signed with Rented because features and price felt right.
  • He worked Rented’s Art tool first by himself, then discovered that working with its dedicated revenue managers not only saved time but got him better results.

Solutions

How Art Supported South Key’s Strategy

  • Saved time: Art’s one-screen platform allowed Chase to see everything in one view and make changes in multiple properties simultaneously.
  • Responded to season: A new seasonality functionality offered Chase the ability to separate minimum rates, base rates, and maximum rates by season.
  • Targeted markets: Dynamic pricing, with high and low sensitivity for certain markets, customized Chase’s portfolio, down to the day, no matter what season it was.

How Key Data supported South Key’s analytics

  • Comp sets, similar in size, quality, and location, were used to benchmark against similar units within its segment.
  • Listings were added that were priced near his units, as well as those that represented a higher and lower tier.
  • Performances were compared to the previous or benchmark year.
  • Booking windows were reviewed to bank additional occupancy while avoiding slash-and-burn strategy.
  • Demand IQ function analyzed whether his pick-up could compensate for the lack of pacing in occupancy.

The Upshot

  • Rented provided South Key with different rates for weekdays compared to weekends.
  • Rented built out by season but also by day of the week, allowing Chase to customize his revenue strategy down to the finest detail

The Unexpected Gain: Add and Retain New Homeowners

  • Fast and easy conversations. Chase discovered that Art and Key Data were essential tools in conversing with potential homeowners.
  • Looking data-smart. During in-person conversations with homeowners, Chase uses Rented and Key Data Dashboard almost like a Google Zoom, zooming into data to help clients see exactly how their property stacks up to comparable units in the neighborhood.
  • Setting expectations. Using data, Chase was able to set a homeowner’s expectations, or reset them, when needed.

“The tools definitely facilitate fast and easy conversations. I pull up a past history quickly and just drag and drop for a particular day. I can say, ‘Here’s what we’re looking at in April for a 2-bedroom. Here’s what the market is pulling, here’s what you’re pulling in. Trust me.’”

Conclusions

  • In his first six months with Rented, Chase has seen major changes in his ability to impact pricing.
  • Today, he still works with a dedicated Rented revenue manager who stays in daily contact with him.
  • He has significantly more time to deal with the day-to-day responsibilities of his demanding portfolio as well as the effort and resources he needs to expand it.

“For me, the technology piece is so integral and important that I don’t know why anyone would want to price out their properties themselves. Letting professional revenue managers do what they do has freed up time and allowed us to better manage our operations.

“We know last-minute reservations are part of the game. But now we trust Rented. The proof is in the pudding. Now, we just hold strong and we see the results at the end of the day.” – Chase Stahl

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