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Get Your House(s) In Order Through Automation

High occupancy demands quick turnovers and clockwork communications with housekeeping. But with automations, you’ll never miss a beat.

Well, the explosive demand we all knew was coming is upon us. High occupancy and consistent revenue has us breathing a sigh of relief. But that upswing creates its own set of challenges, like ensuring that housekeeping turns properties over as quickly as possible. The more complex the logistics, the more room for error.

No wonder cleanliness is usually the top guest complaint, and with increased demand for contactless communications, that’s not likely to change. Housekeeping plays a huge role in the guest experience. But when you’re trying to capitalize on a resurgent travel market, real-time communication between you and your staff, housekeeping, guests, owners, and platforms has never been more critical.

You can’t get rid of complexity, but you can manage it through automations.

Are automations and integrations the same?

An automation is a set of instructions that occur in response to a trigger, sort of like a ripple effect. Some call it a “conditional workflow.” They occur in the background and can be as simple as an email auto-reply or as sophisticated as you can imagine.

Integrations, by contrast, are a way for two disparate systems to “talk.” In the bad old days of software implementation, everything was proprietary and almost nothing worked together. Many of us still have nightmares about that, and rightly so. Integrations have made implementation much simpler.

Consider your current system. It’s quirky, but it works, and the people you rely on for day-to-day operations know their way around it, right? But every manual operation or clunky integration introduces complexity that can lead to errors and oversights that cost real money.

You already use automations in some form. For example, a direct booking triggers an email confirmation to the guest, and another email goes out three days before check-in with gate codes, etc. If you’re really fancy, you might integrate with a system that sends texts to your guests or owners either by date or in response to other actions.

Automations are a powerful way to link your operations to platforms and devices in real time. 

Automations for housekeeping

The same automations that send emails and texts or collect data can enable real-time communication between you, your staff/company, your CRM, and your PMS. They also empower your housekeeping team to be better.

A new booking hits your PMS. Instantly and automatically, housekeeping is scheduled. As soon as the guest checks out, the property’s status switches to dirty. Housekeeping adds pictures of damage to the record, triggering a notification to you. On their way out, they tap their phone and the property switches to clean. If a guest is checking in that day, they get a message that it’s ready. Meanwhile, you never lifted a finger.

If this, then that. Triggers upon triggers, all happening in the background, with little opportunity for human error.

If you’re still using a shared spreadsheet and some system of fill colors and borders to show bookings and track cleanings, this might seem like voodoo magic, but it’s real. Automations take critical, but repetitive tasks off your plate and makes them easy to reproduce across properties. And at scale; the more inventory, the greater value!

A recent UC-Irvine study showed how expensive interruptions are, sometimes costing 2.5 hours per day of productivity. No wonder it’s so easy to get mired in the day-to-day. Imagine how much time you could open up just by “delegating” notifications and status changes to automations!

In Summary

As we inch toward high season, the question you should be asking is, “Is my current system an asset or a liability in terms of the guest experience?”

When occupancy isn’t an issue, turning over properties becomes an even bigger challenge than it already is. But that means staying on top of manual processes, and if you’re like most PMs, you already run around with your hair on fire.

To help you visualize what could be automated, try this exercise: Write down everything that happens once a guest books. All communications between all parties, from the moment of booking through to fully turning the property over. Cutting, pasting, phone calls, texts, everything. 

If it involves devices, applications, or platforms, it can probably be automated.

Now write down all the different platforms involved, from your booking engine to how you send emails. We’re betting you’ll wind up with a long list of processes and platforms that cost you a lot of time and money, and depend heavily on your team’s organization skills.

It doesn’t have to be so hard. TRACK Vacation Rental Property Management Software can automate repetitive tasks through one unified platform and dashboard.

Faster and better usually wins. Get your house(s) in order through automations and finally move some of those back-burner projects to the front. Your guests, owners, staff, and housekeepers will thank you.

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