Uptown Apartments offers executive accommodations in Sydney and Brisbane. All of their apartments are located in high-demand urban locations. Their apartments offer everything from short-term to long-term stays. All of them are fully furnished and fully equipped with all utilities.
Area: Urban market
We had an insightful discussion with David from Uptown about their company’s journey and about the journey with Pricelabs.
Richie: All right, we are recording. Cool. David, thank you so much for being here with Annette and me; we love you as a customer. Thank you for being with Beds24 and PriceLabs for such a long time. To start with, can you give me some background about Uptown apartments and yourself?
David: Sure. I got into this industry through my wife. When I met her, she was already managing a business based out of Melbourne. But it had over a hundred properties around Australia. And we met in Melbourne, but Nikki was living in Sydney, so I dropped everything and moved for love. I didn’t have anything to be sure about what I would do. So I followed her into the business, and we ended up managing that business. It was completely manual. So the business was started, I think in early to mid two thousand. It was just kind of listing manually on sites; mostly stays here in Australia. And he, the owner of that business, spent a fortune building out his backend just for his personal use.
David: Unfortunately, it couldn’t grow with all the technological changes over the past ten years and especially dealing with, you know, the whole instant booking environment. But in 2016, we were the franchisees for Sydney and Brisbane as well as managing the whole business, and for one reason or another, we had to get out of that business very quickly. And, and so we set up uptown apartments. We had about three weeks basically to set it up. And so, I had a demo of one online PMS. And so we pretty much just jumped straight into that. It was a solution; it was ready to go. I didn’t really look around at all. And we got up and running and managed, and our own business was born, even though we’d been doing it for several years before then.
David: And the system we used had plenty of shortfalls which we learned over a few years. And I was constantly thinking about our issues and started looking around for another PMS solution that looked far and wide. And to be honest, Annette, I briefly looked at Beds24, but it felt like I needed more expertise to use it. But one thing that I did find in that process was PriceLabs. And I remember my demo with Anurag, and I got off that demo; I think we were staying in Melbourne at the time at my wife’s parents’ house, and I got off the demo, and I went straight into the living room, and I said, Nicky, this is ridiculous. Like we, no matter what, we are using this system. I was just so amazed at what it was doing back then, let alone now. And unfortunately, in the end decided that we made on the PMs front was another poor one. Unfortunately, we, yeah, had a horrible time in the end.
I remember my demo with Anurag, and I got off that demo; I think we were staying in Melbourne at the time at my wife’s parents’ house, and I got off the demo, and I went straight into the living room, and I said, Nicky, this is ridiculous. Like we, no matter what, we are using this system. I was just so amazed at what it was doing back then, let alone now.
David Lee, Co-Founder at Felix Technology & Managing Director at Uptown Apartments
David: But thankfully, every cloud has a silver lining, leading us to another relook. And I looked at Beds24 again, and I remember I had a look with all the better knowledge that I had this time around. And I remember, I gave Joaquín a call and said mate, can you find a hole in this? Because this is everything, this is exactly what we, what I need. And he looked, and he said, that’s perfect. And it was; actually, it was Sana from PriceLabs who recommended Beds24. I said, look, who do I go with? Who is reliable? Because that was my issue – reliability. I couldn’t deal with being in another situation that had a debilitating effect on a business that we went through. And Sana said Guesty was one option. And I said I’m not willing to pay Guesty fees. It makes no sense. And then he said, well, Beds24. That has to be your answer. We love Annette and Mark; the system rocks, and you should give it a shot. And that’s, that’s how it came about.
Richie: Yeah. And I don’t know if you know this, but Sana is a massive promoter of Beds24. So if he ever asks what PMS his answer is, Beds24. Always. David, is Nikki still in the business with you?
David: Honestly, I have very little to do with UpTown apartments these days.
David: So thankfully, due to PriceLabs and Beds24, WishBbox and VRS, I don’t need to do much for UpTown apartments. I was always the person in charge of the systems, sending out emails, processing the payments, sending checking instructions, and all that. And Nikki was, she’s kind of in charge of the properties themselves. So she keeps an eye on the cleaning. She makes sure that the guests are happy. She does customer service and that side of thing. So Nikki still does all of that. So that pretty much means she’s running the show at the moment.
Richie: Got it. So let me ask you maybe first about Beds24, David. Of course, you used another PMS; you’ve used this historical thing. Then you used another PMS, and then you came to Beds24. Do you remember what problems you were trying to solve that made you look for another PMS?
David: You know what, the main thing was inflexibility. Basically, the past systems that I used were – here’s the system, and it does these things, and you plug in your information, and it will do, you know, this is what it does. And I would say, but for instance, one of the big things is we have in our properties extra bed, like trundle beds in, in maybe 50% of our properties. So we’ve got a two-bedroom apartment and a queen bed in the master bedroom. We’ve got two single beds in the second bedroom, but one of those beds has got a, a trundle bed, like a proper mattress, but on wheels, but another bed underneath. So if you’ve got a family of five, we can offer that apartment. Because you’ve got parents, you can have three kids in the second bedroom with every other system I used.
David: I said, look, for a property, I want to have a standard and a maximum occupancy and then automatically charge, you know, for extra. And they just, a small example, but a huge impact on our business, not being able to do that. So that was one thing. And just, you know, like little things. We get a lot of long bookings. We’re an urban business. We’re in big cities. And so significant, like, thankfully in usual times around 30% of our bookings come from a combination of home renovators and corporate relocators. So people who are gonna stay from maybe six weeks to 12 weeks. And in those situations, we want to have a different setup. We don’t want to take a 50% deposit.
David: And then the balance, we want to be able to set up like payments that automatically come out, you know, every month or every three weeks or whatever it is that the guest wants. And we’ve never been able to do that. You know, we could do it manually, but we certainly couldn’t do it automatically. In fact, the other day, one of our Felix clients just had to get this booking into the system like an amazing booking for a film crew for four months. And they were over the moon. And I set it up and put in all these automatic payments for them. I said, okay. So when you want them to pay. And they said, ” Well, every month, ” and I said, ” All right, well, here we go.
David: Every month, set up the payments for them while they are watching. And I said, all right, there you go. And they said, what? And I said, well, now every month they’re gonna be charged a monthly payment automatically, and we’ve set it up so that they’ll get a receipt from the system. And she said that’s crazy how that’s amazing. That’s awesome. And it’s, it’s just those, those little things. It’s the flexibility of Beds24. It’s the fact that you, and it’s all about the auto-action functionality. It really is because, you know, you got zillion triggers and criteria, and it’s not just that you just have all these triggers. You can then like, create your own elements for that trigger. You can create a booking info code that relates to the trigger itself. So basically, there’s nothing that you can’t automate; really, it’s that single feature is just it’s so well designed. And you can tell Joaquin always says; you can tell that this system was like built by developers. It’s just been done the right way around rather than going, okay, this is what we want to do. It’s like, okay, these are the processes that we can do. What can we do with these processes? And it just means that you can achieve basically anything.
Richie: That’s a strong testimonial Annette; you must be feeling over the moon right now.
Annette: I’m really through the moon. Thanks a lot, David. And pleasure. You’re a valuable customer for us because you give us great feedback, which helps us improve the system.
David: Another huge part is that with the previous companies I was using, I would say, oh, look, can you, can you do this? Like, I’m sure everybody would use this. And they’d just say it’s not in the roadmap. And that’s it. And I, you know, and I say to you, oh, look, is there any way that we can get an Airbnb invoice to appear this way because of our trust accounting needs. And three days later, you go, here, that’s done. And it’s amazing. It’s a partnership. And that’s the most beautiful thing: we feel like we’re working with you instead of just using what you’re giving us.
Annette: We’re glad you feel that way. Cause that’s how we wanted to be. And that really helps us, or it has always helped us shape the system to be what it is now. You know, listening to you and, you know, picking up your needs and, and yeah, allowing for it.
Richie: David, let me ask you this. So you moved PMS and came to Beds24. You love many things about beds24; it’s lots, flexible and limitless. It has all of these automation functionalities. How was your onboarding experience? How was the experience of getting started with beds24?
David: Honestly, I would say that I felt it was all on me. The only downside, I would say from a Beds24 point of view, is that it may potentially, you know, put some potential clients off. But I would say the benefit of that is that it forces you to learn what the system does and can do. And I think without being thrown into the deep end like that, I certainly don’t think that Felix would’ve been born.
Richie: Nice. Nice. And we’ll, I’ll ask you about the Felix towards the end. I don’t have a full record, but it looks like it’s been about a little over 12 months. You’ve been using Beds24, or is it longer?
David: Almost exactly 12 months. I think it was up in October.
Richie: Got it. Okay. So talk to me about your experience over the last 12 months. Just with the product, with the team at Beds24, I don’t know things that come to mind or any events that come to mind.
David: Look, it’s been awesome. It really has. What I can’t think particularly of is any sort of event that springs to mind. It’s the fact that we fell in love with this system and two things about it. Yes, it’s amazing. We love it. It also has an incredible price point, which represents opportunity. And it is complete when I say it’s DIY and I sort of maybe say that in a negative way. Again, the flip side is that it’s totally transparent, so you can see everything happening. So if you set up a new property, for instance, and you want to send it to Airbnb, you don’t just kind of set up a property and go and click, okay.
David: Airbnb and hope for the best you set up the property, you put all the information in, and then there’s this window that you could open a page that says, Hey, this is everything that we are gonna send via the API. And if there’s if you’ve set something up wrong, you’ve got this glaring red, like error, error, error, and you just have to fix it. And you can; it shows you where that information is coming from, and you fix it. And then you check that everything’s right. You click send, and everything’s perfect. And it’s that, that ownership of the information that beds 24 gives you, like, it gives you the ownership of, of all of the info. You’re not; you’re not kind of putting in a bit of stuff and then relying on your PMs to go through everything and do it for you. And then you gotta wait for them to come back to you and say, Hey, there’s this information wrong? And it’s this like an extended process of backward and forwards, figuring out an issue. With Beds24, it’s like, it is literally all in your hands. And that, combined with the price point, is one of the main reasons why we felt so confident in taking up the reseller opportunity that Beds24 provides.
Richie: Sorry I’m asking repetitive questions, but let me ask you one more about Beds24. So there is the automation that helps you save so much time. A good price point lets you keep much of what you’re making. Right. talk to me about a little bit of the impact of Beds24 on your business, whether from time savings or whatever, like any kind of impact.
David: The impact is number one; I’m saving, I don’t know, on a given week, depending on what type of bookings we’ve got in the system, I’m saving 20 to 30 hours a week of things that I would otherwise have to do. And that’s huge.
Richie: 30 hours?
David: Yeah. I reckon like all the things that you have to do think about like, you know, checking bookings to see who’s got a payment due create, get, bringing up that report, then processing that payment, then sending out a receipt, then checking, who’s checking in, sending out instructions for check-in. And it’s not just Beds24. That does everything that, you know, you’ve got a wish box and PriceLabs. Obviously, you’ve got VRS, but without Beds24 integrating so seamlessly with them and having that total package available, it doesn’t work. And the impact on my time is tremendous. I mean, it’s unbelievable. The other side of it for our business as a whole is that there are no issues. Like there are, there are no bugs. I get to control how everything goes out to the channels.
David: So I make sure that I’m covering every cost that I need; I can customize within the PMS now; I don’t have to go into the channel itself and change a setting here and there. I can do it all within PMs. I can set my rates on booking.com for different cancellation policies within the PFS. I don’t have to leave. I mean, I can manage my reviews in Beds24. I can; I can take up opportunities and promotions within beds24. So that all means that my business is also gonna perform better. So I’m not just saving time. I’m also making more money.
Annette: Very, very pleased to hear. So to sum it up, David, it sounds like it saves you. I don’t know how many hours you work per week, but it sounds like it saves you like 50%.
David: At least. Okay. I really do very little on Uptown apartments these days.
Richie: All right. Switching gears to PriceLabs, right. What were you doing before PriceLabs?
David: Before PriceLabs? So that was when we were in, yeah, so back in espresso days, thankfully, we went on kind of so many channels. So, if you wanted to, somebody was in charge of pricing for that business, and that was their job. They would just constantly change and set rates on all the channels. But it was just a season; there was no time to set a nightly rate and then change it. But they were in charge of, you know, trying to figure out if any events were coming up, did we have right. Peak periods and, you know, somebody was getting paid full time to try and do that. And then, with the first kind of cloud pyramids we used, they had a little dynamic pricing, more just occupancy-based stuff.
David: Yeah. And that there was some useful stuff, which I, I sort of is on my wishlist that I mentioned later, like a, just a thing of around group occupancy. Yeah. But I mean, just so stressful is what it is. Suppose you don’t have something controlling your pricing in this industry. In that case, it’s stressful because you’re, you are, you are always worried about, you know, am I setting the right price and you can spend, I remember spending like a week doing a, a competitor or analysis and, you know, that’d be logging into not logging in like going on home away and Airbnb and trying to, you know, find similar places and then look what other people are doing. And then, but then what am I looking at? Am I looking at this period, that period, you know, it literally was so time-consuming and stressful.
Richie: David, I don’t know if you know, this, the reason why PriceLabs was born was I was in school, and I was putting my extra bedroom on Airbnb and doing exactly the same thing, which was, I was like, I wanted to do very little work and make more money. And so I was just like, this is so hard. We have to do something about it. And I went to grad together. So I was like, let’s build something together. This is so hard. Anyway, do you remember how you did you find PriceLabs approach or reapproach you?
David: No, no. I found price labs. It would’ve been; it just would’ve been, I was on a, to be honest, I was on a six month, like Investigative, like deep state situation for six months. I think I looked; I just would’ve looked at so many different things. And along the way, you know, you see that one, one, this, this thing integrates with this thing, and it’s like all the integrations it has on the last page of their website. And so you just, I was doing my head in looking at all these different. I kind of thought, well, this, this looks, this looks interesting. And yeah. And that’s when I had the demo with Anurag, which was the end of that. So that was the beginning.
Richie: You said you did the demo; you spoke to Nikki and said, Hey, this is something that we need or something like that. Right. do you remember what it was then and now in terms of features or functionalities that you really like?
David: Okay. So the two things that stand out to me from the original demo were, was just the, just the, essentially what it does, the fact that it sets your rates, you set your parameters, it sets your rates. It changes every day based on something. And if there’s an event, you don’t have to know that was the big thing for me. We have properties in Brisbane that were right near a big arena, but we didn’t have the time to check when there was a concert on, or when there was this one or that on. And so we were getting, you know, we had four, three-bedroom apartments in one building next to this arena. And all of a sudden, they’d all be booked out. And we were too slow to pick up on the fact that they were all booking and the rates went high enough.
David: And so we were just missing out. And so it was that that notion that it was no longer up to us to figure out what the price should be, you know, just set the rules and then, and then let it do its thing. That was the big thing. The other thing was around minimum stays. Let’s change it to five nights if it’s three months out. Well, you’re not gonna do that every day. And then, for peak periods, it’s seven nights. But that, that notion that we could have something constantly changing our minimum stays.
David: Yeah. And then, I remember when Anang explained the orphan night minimum stays, and I thought, hang on. So you’re saying my minimum stays a week, but then if I get two bookings and there’s a gap of three nights, it will automatically change the minimum stay to three nights. And I think I got him to repeat it three times. I said this is crazy. Before that, it would rely on us. We would have to be so aware of our calendar. To pick up on when there was a clash between a gap and a minimum stay. And, you know, maybe we would think about changing it, but more often than not, we wouldn’t. I just remember thinking there’s just so much more revenue.
I remember when Anang explained the orphan night minimum stays, and I thought, hang on. So you’re saying my minimum stays a week, but then if I get two bookings and there’s a gap of three nights, it will automatically change the minimum stay to three nights. And I think I got him to repeat it three times. I said this is crazy.
David Lee, Co-Founder at Felix Technology & Managing Director at Uptown Apartments
Richie: And it’s crazy. I speak to so many people, and they’re like sort in a similar boat as you said. The only thing is you were in that boat two years ago, and I’m sure you met these people at Felix where they just like, they have very static, minimum stays. There is money that you’re just leaving. If you have four days left, but if you have a seven-day minimum, it’s unbookable. And if you’re willing to get it booked, you should.
David: And look, I think we were at a bit of competitive advantage to sort of latch onto this notion because we have a very, like, not unique, but different model. Historically, we’re not actually property managers. The business we were managing had a model where we leased those properties, furnished them, set them up with wifi, and then sublet them with the landlord’s approval and the building. So it was all above board, but, you know, it was our, like that was essentially our properties. So all we were doing was paying a fixed rent. And so we, if we didn’t make a margin on top of that rent, then we are either not making money, or we’re losing money. So for us, the value of revenue has always been much more important than generally for a property manager. Because if you have a bad month as a property manager, you still make money. You just make a little bit less. Whereas for us, we would, you know, be at risk. We lost money until we started using PriceLabs every year in May and June.
David: It’s like, well, if we are gonna get $80 a night for this apartment last minute, I would rather the $80 a night than nothing. Even if that is 40% less than what we would normally get exactly. As a property manager. It depends on your relationship with the owner. And what we are finding on the Felix side of things is that there are lots of property managers who have almost kind of committed to an owner to say, okay, this is the nightly, right? And then they have that kind of struggle too, to sort of getting them outta that mindset. That it’s not about a nightly rate. It’s about monthly revenue. That’s what it’s about. And you get that monthly revenue; you get as much as you can, however.
David: That’s, that’s what you do. So that’s, and, and, and if we’re gonna talk about new features of PriceLabs that have made the products even better, the market dashboards in this instance are a huge, huge resource where we are now where we can, we can within, you know, half an hour, we can whip up a report for a property that the property manager, either we can sort of taking this to a, a potential client of uptown apartments and say, yep, look, this is here’s the market data. This is what we think you should do. You definitely have to invest in wifi. You definitely have to invest in a hair dryer. You definitely have to invest in this and that because, you know, this is what the data says you have to do. But it also, it’s, it’s so useful to say, this is what you can expect.
David: This is what other people with this number of bedrooms in this area are doing. Yeah. But it’s also a huge opportunity in Felix for us to, to pass on a report to a client, to then take to an owner and say, look, you know, we are in this price point, the occupancy rate is, is this because of the current situation we really need to, to drop these last-minute rates to a, a three-bedroom price point instead of a four-bedroom because then we’re gonna have a competitive advantage. We’re gonna be able to fill up, it may be cheaper, but we’re gonna have a vastly greater occupancy rate. Right.
Richie: Got it. Yeah. Yeah. Makes sense on the market dashboard side. There will be new developments, which are not addressed here, but we’ll send out emails for it and possibly do a webinar soon. Wow. super cool.
David: You’re telling me they’re gonna get even better.
Richie: That’s the plan. That’s the hope. If I also give you a sneak peek of how they’re going to get better, we will also change certain things the way we do it. Can you see my screen?
Richie: Every week, you’d get some kind of an email from us, which says some key insights for that market.
David: Oh, wow.
Richie: That will have, I, I don’t know, like, we are still thinking about how to take that dashboard and digest into some insight, but maybe something about booking, something about trends, something about what are the key demand dates, and because we made this tool free so that people, yeah. I mean, at least if you’re not using dynamic pricing, if you’re using dynamic pricing, all of this automatically happens for the most part. You’re at least getting this data out if you’re not using it. And we have, yeah. Anyway, coming back to PriceLabs, like what I asked you about bet 24, any sense of business impact, time savings, or whatever that price lapse has helped you with. And I know if any stories come to mind around this.
David: Well, if we’re talking about the impact on business, then yes. One big story. We, we, we, we were operating in Sydney, we knew Sydney, and we decided that, you know, there was an opportunity to open up in Brisbane, which we did. And for the first two years, we struggled; we really didn’t make money. To be honest, we hardly, hardly made money in Brisbane. Okay. And, and then when we started using price labs, okay. Within six months, our revenue in Brisbane went up by 40%.
David: Just completely transformed. I remember when we first started using it, I was looking at the prices in Brisbane, and Nikki and I were looking at them, and she said, you can’t like, we can’t, that’s not right. It’s, it’s too high. I just don’t see how people will book that raids that weekend. And they did, you know, there was demand, and that’s why the rate was set at that. And the apartments booked and, like, it completely transformed Brisbane for us. And, you know, Brisbane’s at the moment with coronavirus, Brisbane is, is saving our business, to be honest. And I think it’s thanks to PriceLabs that we really got that performance out of, you know, one and half of our business that is that’s, you know, in essence, setting us up now to get through those difficult times.
Richie: Wow. wow. That is, that is super good to hear and, sorry, I’m choking a little bit because it’s a good thing to hear struggling, but wow. Talk to me a little bit about; I don’t know, stress levels.
David: As I said, pricing was stressful back in the day. It really was, it was, just this constant concern: do I have my pricing? Right. two things control that stress, particularly stress, particularly for me in price labs; the first is just the, just the design of customizations. So the fact that you can, all the things that you can control. So, you know, it does PriceLabs does what it does, but then you can say, all right, that’s awesome. But we’re still getting too many bookings on the weekend for this property, this group, or our business as a whole. So lets up the rates on the weekends. We can add in the occupancy profile to, to sort of adjusting what it’s doing depending on, depending on, on occupancy. You know, the minimum stays.
David: We can have those different, like last minute, reduce your last-minute minimum stays, and then slowly build them up higher and higher. But the fact that it does that you can control that for a specific property or a group of properties, then you can group them. However you like, or for the account as a whole, just means that you have; you have to get the settings. Right. You know, and it’s, it’s, that’s, that’s really like an early days thing. You just get into the system, learn how to use it, how it works, and get your systems. Right. And then all it is is like a tinker every now and again. That’s one half of it for me on the stress front; the other half where recent improvements have really impacted us is the multi-calendar function.
David: Yeah. That page is just a dream come true for us. It’s Nikki, that, that kind of like looks controls pricing. Yeah. And all she does is once a week; she opens up the multi-calendar. She looks at the next month and goes, yep. Or, you know, this one’s empty. Come on. Let’s just like, crank it low. Let’s drop it by 20%. Let’s fill this thing because we haven’t had, you know, we’re missing it on some bookings, and it takes five minutes. And you, you feel like you are, and you don’t have to think about it. You just don’t have to think about it. So in terms of stress, it’s, it is a, it is just a vastly different story compared to what our business was like before PriceLabs to what it’s like. And again, it comes down to time, you know? Yeah. Time is, is so much about stress to time and money. Yeah. And, you know, and that’s what the software does. It saves you time, and it gives you money.
Richie: Oh, man. Thank you so much. And this isn’t staged. Thank you so much, David. Let me one last question on price apps, and then I’ll sing back to bet 24. How’s your experience working with the team?
David: Ah, well, here’s a story when we had a, well, okay, so you are amazing. I’ll never forget the demo from an ag and, and, and just getting involved and signing up with an ag. But when our old system started falling apart, I was like pestering them to try and get stuff fixed. And I remember I sent out an email at like 4:00 PM and didn’t hear back from them. It had to come from the head office in America. And I didn’t hear back from them for 36 hours. And in the meantime, I had been on WhatsApp. I reckon we would’ve had 200 exchanges between Sana and me just like him, just going all right. I’m here. I even rang him. I was speaking to him while he was having dinner with his family. He was obviously like just madly trying to fix the situation. I’m like, this is my, like, this is a dynamic pricing partner doing like, just not stopping to try and fix this for us. And my PMS is, you know, nowhere to be seen. So you wanna talk about the partnership that’s the most, that’s just the best thing. I just love it. I love, I love PriceLabs. I love it. The support you guys give is phenomenal. It really is.
So you wanna talk about the partnership that’s the most, that’s just the best thing. I just love it. I love, I love PriceLabs. I love it. The support you guys give is phenomenal. It really is.
David Lee, Co-Founder at Felix Technology & Managing Director at Uptown Apartments
Richie: Thank you. Thank you so much, David. Swinging back to Beds24’s side. So rates are half the story, right. Rates and stays. We can send it to a PMS, which you understand, but it’s worth nothing if PMS does not send it for it. Right. How has the channel reliability been on the Beds24 side?
David: Ah, like not in the least before beds24. I was actually using a channel manager linked to my PMS. All they do is channel management. There were issues all the time. I just don’t have issues and much more control over the pricing. So yeah, PriceLabs is sending me a price for every property. I can then decide what I’m gonna do with that price. So I’m gonna send it to this channel, and I will, you know, put my uplift for that channel. But then I can also have, like I said, with booking.com, I can have multiple different rates based on that, that daily price with different cancellation policies or whatever it is for booking.com.
David: I can use that price with Airbnb and HomeAway. I can put it through my PMS. I don’t have to do it through the channel manager. I certainly haven’t been able to do this with other PMSs. I can put in a one night, a two night week discount or a month discount. I can control it. When I want to accept bookings, do I want to take last-minute bookings, or do I only want to have this property available two days from now? So if you know, and the, the awesome part of that is in Sydney in particular, we have a massive issue with last-minute booking.com bookings that are fraudulent; they’re made using stolen identities, stolen credit cards because you don’t have to have a profile on booking.com.
David: You just, you get on and book. So it’s perfect for people to use stolen credit cards. Wishbox enables some to filter these bookings. So we don’t let any of those actually arrive. But I can control that availability for each channel. So I can set a rate just for booking.com that says, well, you can’t book until unless you’re arriving 48 hours from now. And I could control, you know, for booking outcome. I could say I could control, you know, how far in advance for specific channels. Do I wanna accept bookings? It’s just the power. What I can do with the price of Beds24 is it’s everything I need.
Richie: That’s amazing. This is why we love working with Beds24. Because it’s just so seamless between what we do and what it does and how it goes out.
David: And the other thing is, I go into PriceLabs, change your rate, save it., and sync. Now, go back into Beds24 and go onto the calendar. As soon as I see that rate updated, I know it’s updated on all channels.
Richie: How have you handled David, the COVID impact, and what’s in store for the future for you guys?
David: Well, we wouldn’t have been able to handle the COVID impact if it wasn’t for government assistance here in Australia; the government’s been amazing. You know, they’ve seen how disastrous this has been for so many different industries, and they’ve kind of openly said, you know, we wanna build a bridge so that you can get to the other side. And the financial support from the government has got us through because most of our properties were on the lease and sublet model. All of a sudden, with no bookings, we were looking at, you know, 80 grand a month losses kind of thing. So thankfully, we managed to negotiate with landlords to say, look, we’ll just pay you whatever, like the, our net, so our revenue minus expenses.
David: So we’re not, we’re not gonna make any money, but we’re not gonna lose money. And also, we managed to move a lot of properties from, from lease to property management, which was again very nice of the owners, but we kind of pitched it as well. You know, you might be losing out now, but with what we know and the fact that we’ve always needed, that’s how we make money by making more than market rent. You know you are on this model in the future; you’re gonna get more than market rent. So it was, you know, we were thankful that they, they made that switch. And also it’s opened up the possibility of switching our business that way, you know, we know that we are really good at getting the most out of a property.
David: So I think we’re, we are very well placed and, you know, because we rent properties, you know, when we give those properties back, they have to be in the same state as when we got them. So if we are not, we must also look after the property. Yeah. And we have to get the most outta properties. So we are perfectly placed to be really good. We’re just not very good at selling ourselves. So we are still kind of trying to figure out how to get our name out there as property managers. But certainly, our clients are super happy with what we’ve managed to do over the past few months for them. So yeah, we’re getting there.
David: But again, it’s also opened up this opportunity for Felix. That’s kind of our, our pivot has been becoming a Beds24 reseller in partnership with Joaquín, and we are confident that that will be a big, big thing for us. I feel like I can confidently say that our tech stack, our combination of softwares, can’t be beaten. It can’t be beaten on quality. It can’t be beaten on function, and it can’t be beaten on price. And that’s why, you know, as resellers, we’ve, you know, very quickly pitched to six people, and five people signed up. So I think once we fine-tune our things, get everything sorted, and get ready to start marketing. I think it’s gonna be very, very big.
David: I, you know, everybody, everybody sees the benefits. Everybody wants to save time. Everybody wants to save money. And everybody wants a system that’s reliable and, and that’s what, that’s what we’re we’re offering. And the other big thing is that I haven’t really spoken about Beds24 and PriceLabs. As a whole, the whole package is how easy it is to get set up. You know, we, with Felix, had somebody come to us say we weren’t even ready to start the business. And we had somebody come to us, say, we need to get at, we need to find a new solution. And it was, I think it was the 27th of June or the 25th of June. And we set up our reseller account and got them live on the 1st of July. Like we onboarded 35 properties and set it up, set them up across all the softwares in five days. It took me four and a half months to onboard my 20 properties on my last PMS.
Richie: But also, you’re now a pro with Beds24. And that helps.
David: Yeah. But, but people, people, people are amazed. I, and especially with, you know, we’ve made quite a few requests from beds 24 in terms of some API stuff recently, and they’ve come to the party. And with those changes, you know, we’ve got somebody potentially who could be interested. We haven’t pushed it, but they’ve said to us, look, they’re, they’re kind of interested in taking a look, and they’ve got 600 properties. And, and we are confident now that we could, we could get them live in a week to a week and a half with 600 properties. I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s unheard of. It’s, it’s amazing.
Richie: That is, yeah, you’re absolutely right. Absolutely unheard of, David. We are way over time. I have one last question for you which is, What’s your wish list? What could we do better both on Beds24’s and PriceLabs’s sides? How can we support you better?
David: Well, you can’t support me better. That’s the wrong question. Yeah. But the only thing I thought could be really useful in PriceLabs was this: the one thing we had in our old dynamic pricing model which enabled us to tinker with pricing based on the occupancy of a group of properties. So say we had like that instance where we had four, three-bedroom apartments that are all identical in one building, but we don’t call them units of one listing. They’re all listed. They’re separate listings. So that it’s a separate PriceLabs listing, but we want to control pricing based on how that group of properties is performing in terms of occupancy. So if the occupancy all of a sudden drops down to 50%, then that has an impact on the pricing and lifts. It lifts it a little further. So it’s just a kind of a copy of your occupancy profile, but with a group tweak to it. That’s a situation that we find ourselves in because we have like lots of similar properties in the same area, you know, that is all, you know, three-bedroom and we price them all the same. So that makes sense to have an impact and a correlation between them, but maybe others don’t find themselves in that situation.
Richie: There would be something for it. I’m gonna send you the link after this call. It’s called portfolio-based occupancy, which is essentially what you’re looking for. Okay. And it’s in the product. I think it’s on-demand. Look through it, and then if that’s what you’re looking for. I can walk you through how it works.
David: Okay. Awesome.
Annette: If that doesn’t work for you, sorry for butting in, but have a look at Beds24 for yield optimizer.
David: Do you know? I just saw that literally today. And I was wondering for myself, I thought, does this connect, does this, like, can I use this in, in tandem with PriceLabs?
Annette: Yes. You can. You could use that on top of PriceLabs. Yeah. Just have a look at it.
David: Sure, sure. Will do. Sorry. and know, I was just gonna say the only other thing we’re trying to figure out is a unified inbox, whatever you want to call it, however you want to design it. It’s this notion that you can have all your communication in one place and be able to see all that communication and capture communication from inquiry and quoting through till like post-stay. Because I don’t in Australia, maybe there’s still a lot more like direct inquiries and people kind of getting in touch and, and want you to send them a quote. So yes, every channel has an instant booking. However, there’s still a lot of bookings that come through where people contact you; they might be repeat guests, and they want to get a quote and being able to kind of capture those inquiries and, and, and, and kind of enter those inquiries into your PMs without kind of bottling up the system and confusing them with bookings until they actually become like a booking.
David: I, I see the way the best Grapher is designed. It’s potentially a little bit difficult, and we’ve looked, we’re excited too, we’ve been chatting to Steve from Rented, and we’re really excited about the opportunities there. And we’ve spoken to him about that because he’s already doing, he’s already making those calls that you would need to send off a quote. So we’re kind of discussing with him whether he thinks, you know, once he’s finalized the website stuff if he thinks there’s a potential for tracking inquiries and sending out quotes through the CMS of that. Yeah. But look, WishBox has just created a fantastic communication hub that works as a unified inbox. But it’s just not that total kind of capturing everything.
Annette: Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Understood. I think Mark probably mentioned we’re also working on the inbox issue. I’m not sure if I wanna call it unified because there can be a lot to it. We’re gonna take it in steps. We’re working with testers for the booking.com messaging API, which we’re currently working on. So that’s the next thing to come, and then we’re planning to build it out because we understand the need.
David: Amazing. That’s what I love. I love being a part of a moving machine rather than one that thinks it’s got to the finish line.
Annette: Yeah. Yeah.
David: Oh, awesome. I’m super excited about the future, and there is no way that I would be in that position if it weren’t for everything that your two businesses do for us,
Richie: And we won’t be in this position unless you are a happy customer. So thank you.
David: Nice wrap-up.
Richie: Yeah. This is a circle. We’d do a group hug if we were in person, and it was, but I don’t know if you have anything else to add. If not, we’ve taken a lot of David’s time, and I think it’s time for dinner at David’s place. Annette, anything else to add from your end?
Annette: No, I just want to thank you. Richie, for setting up the call, and I also have to say like PriceLabs is, has been a very good partner from the start. It’s just, I mean, the communication is so quick, and I think the understanding and mindset we have is very compatible. And it’s just from the start been a pleasure working with you. I believe we were probably one of the first PMS to connect, and yeah, I think we’ve both come a long way from yeah. Since we started working together, it’s always been a pleasure.
Richie: Yes, indeed. Beds24 was the first, if not the first, one of the first PMs we integrated with back in 2015. Yeah. Yeah. And the reason is very similar, David, to why you find the best training for good to work with. Because back in the day, there were very few PMSs who could take, believe it or not, daily rates. And even today, there are PMSs that don’t take daily rates that don’t understand the concept of daily rates, right? And so Mark and the team could adjust; maybe their system already took it. If not, they were able to adjust and open up APIs for us to send those daily rates. Because without that, PriceLabs is useless, right? If you can only take in one rate, the point of PriceLabs is that 365 days probably need to have different rates based on time of the year, whatever. Right. And then also be able to update it and then send it so had that flexibility, which is why Beds24 was the PMS we could integrate with back then. Yeah. Cool. All right. Thank you so much, David, for taking so much time out. Yeah.
David: And pleasure. My pleasure. It was lovely having a chat.