Geo: Multiple Location
Managing a vacation rental space is not easy. Every step requires a lot of work, from the back-end admin tasks to providing an excellent experience to the guests. One of the most efficient ways to make things simpler to manage is automating some of the functions that do not require human intervention so often.
Shane, from O’Neal Vacation Rental, talked to us about his struggles in manually managing different aspects of his vacation rental business and the growth he witnessed when he started automating the pricing of his properties.
O’Neal Vacation Rentals increased their revenue by 60% and decreased the time spent in pricing their properties by 90% by using PriceLabs. Keep reading to know more about how they find PriceLabs helpful in terms of the features that we offer and the revenue output.
About O’Neal Vacation Rentals
Shane started his property management business with his wife in 2015. It began as a real estate investment that later evolved into a short-term rental business. His first rental property was in Yosemite.
The business grew with the purchase of the adjacent property. They continued to purchase more investment properties as their vacation rentals continued to perform and grow fiscally. In 2015, they were only taking bookings for short-term rentals. They hired people to help manage their properties and became a small vacation rental business called O’Neal Vacation Rentals.
O’Neal Vacation Rentals now has 37 properties in Aptos, Groveland, Santa Cruz, Truckee, Capitola, Scotts Valley, Phoenix, and Moss beach.
Lack of Automation and Data-backed Pricing Strategy Resulted in Lost Revenue
1. Manually managing the cleaning schedule resulted in a bad experience for the guests
The automation software they were using didn’t consider the cleaning schedule when managing bookings. The cleaning crew was required to update their schedules manually on the app, which was a challenge because they lacked the technical know-how. There were instances where the cleaners showed up after the arrival of the guests, causing them to carry out their tasks in the presence of guests.
It is also essential to understand how cleaning fee affects how your property is priced, and they had no way of studying that for their market.
As the number of houses increased, it became more tedious to manually maintain these schedules.
2. Managing and planning for pricing rules, stay restrictions, and orphan days without any data was causing revenue loss for O’Neal Vacation Rentals
Shane was manually managing calendars, stay restrictions, and orphan days, without any pricing automation software. He thought that the pricing tools imposed heavy discounts on the nightly charges, which he wouldn’t have done otherwise. Later on, he signed up on Guesty to manage his properties and automate messaging, and it also allowed him to integrate other platforms like Vrbo.
“I was spending a lot of time just tweaking prices, without any real data behind it. We gave up a lot of revenue because we priced our properties too low based on my intuition.”
– Shane O’Neal, Owner, O’Neal Vacation Rentals
3. Shane was spending around 1.5 hours/day on pricing his properties
Shane was tweaking prices for his properties based on intuition, and no real data was backing his decisions. Due to lack of data, he missed out on increasing his revenue because he wasn’t charging high enough during high demand days or giving suitable discounts to increase occupancy during low demand days.
Since his properties are placed in different locations and witness different market trends, He couldn’t keep track of the market trends of all the locations and price them according to the number of bookings received in each season. He was adopting occupancy-based pricing adjustments.
Finding the Solution with PriceLabs
1. Higher/Increased Revenue using PriceLabs suggested prices
He asked for a dynamic pricing solution recommendation from Guesty, and they referred him to PriceLabs. Guesty is one of the many PriceLabs integrations that makes it super easy for property managers and owners to take control of their listings.
Once he onboarded Pricelabs, he understood the significance of changing minimum base price, minimum stay restrictions to fill the gaps, customizations for orphan days, etc. By the end of 2020, with the onset of covid, he saw PriceLabs suggesting higher prices for his properties when the travel restrictions were still prevailing. He had doubts about the software as he thought the suggested prices were too high according to the travel trends.
Shane realized that he was getting bookings even after raising his listings prices by more than 2x, without any drop in occupancy.
PriceLabs analyzed the hyper-local market in each of the listings managed by O’Neal Vacation Rentals to suggest prices based on various factors like seasonality, day of the week, events, etc., to capitalize on the trends.
|Suggested: How to Get More Bookings During Covid?|
2. Automated and Data-Backed Pricing Made it Easier to Remain Competitive in the Market
Shane set the base price, minimum price, and maximum price on PriceLabs for various listings. The dynamic pricing software automatically adjusted the prices according to the market trends. He started making extra money because PriceLabs algorithms know when to drop or raise the price based on multiple demand factors. Earlier, Shane was losing revenue because he was decreasing the prices too early during the off-seasons and not increasing the prices enough during peak demand.
“That’s the thing about using any automation, “once you start using it and start getting value, you forget how painful things used to be,”
Shane O’Neal, Owner, O’Neal Vacation Rentals
3. Shane cut down his time spent on pricing adjustments daily by 90%
Shane received value from automating his pricing as he started saving time to determine the nightly cost of his rentals. He was spending one and half an hour on pricing with ten houses. Now, he is spending less than 30 minutes a day on the process with 37 houses. He started investing this time in other important aspects of his business that needed more planning.
“That’s the thing about using any automation, “once you start using it and start getting value, you forget how painful things used to be,” Shane said.
4. PriceLabs support helped Shane utilize the unique features of his listings to get the most from them
The support team helped Shane understand the software thoroughly to easily help manage his listings and optimize pricing strategies. Shane also scheduled follow-up calls to understand various features of the product. They suggested he increase the base price for properties with more unique features. For example, one of his vacation rentals is next to a water body, making it unique. The support team suggested tweaking his settings to make the most revenue from his vacation rental.
5. Adjusting Group Settings All at Once Made it Easier to Manage the Portfolio
With the multi-calendar view, Shane can find any gaps in the bookings and adjust the base price accordingly.
With PriceLabs, it is super easy to form groups and make portfolio-occupancy-based adjustments. This means that Shane was able to group his listings according to location.
“Using PriceLabs, our revenue shot up by 60%, using the accurate pricing recommendations based on the extensive market data, and the automation allowed me to focus on growing my business.”
– Shane O’Neal, Owner, O’Neal Vacation Rentals
Shane saw a significant increase in his revenue. He said, “revenue generated by some of our houses has been up by 60%”. 20 to 30 percent of the revenue increase was observed simply because of automating pricing and occupancy adjustment. He started saving up a lot of time spent on pricing his listings. He decreased the time spent on managing the pricing for his listings by 90%, despite an increase in the number of properties owned by O’Neal Vacation Rentals.