Hostfully’s channel management tool eliminated double bookings, and reduced vacancy rates. By syncing all properties on a central calendar, this short-term rental manager mastered Airbnb, and quickly expanded into Vrbo and direct bookings.
Osa Property Management (OPM) is a full-service vacation rental management company operating out of Ojochal, Costa Rica. Nick Halverson and his team of hospitality professionals successfully manage a portfolio of 15+ homes and villas, ranging from one room jungle villas to five-bedroom, luxury, ocean view homes. Set in the heart of the beautiful Costa Rican jungle landscape, and minutes from the Pacific Ocean, the properties managed by OPM are popular not only with foreign tourists, but locals who want to escape the city and reconnect with nature.
What makes OPM unique is two-fold. First, they take investor and home-owner relations to heart and produce income reports backed by above-board financial data. This isn’t an easy task in an economy that juggles between modern payment systems, like credit cards, with cash. Second, they help foreign investors navigate the circuitous Costa Rican bureaucracy in setting up land development deals for vacation rentals. In the short term, OPM hopes to expand its portfolio to 25 properties, and 200 within a few years.
Nick and his team always knew multi-channel distribution was the key to boosting revenue and reducing vacancy. For years, Vrbo was the distribution channel of choice. However, a handful of properties were also advertised on Airbnb and Booking.com. OPM also operated its own direct booking site, and being popular with locals, they got regular phone reservations. Finally, investors or owners sometimes placed a hold on their property for personal vacations.
To manage the reservations coming in from multi-channel distribution, OPM used multiple spreadsheets prepared by hand. Once a booking came in, either Nick or someone at OPM would (hopefully remember to) update the spreadsheet. If the property was listed on more than one distribution channel, an OPM staff would then go through the painstaking task of logging into the other sites to update that property’s availability.
The idea behind the spreadsheets was to prevent double-bookings and coordinate cleaning and landscaping services.
“Dealing with all those spreadsheets worked most of the time, but it was a mess and a very inefficient use of time. The occasional clerical mistake would cause a double-booking, but we dealt with it by placing guests in an empty property.”
– Nick Halverson, Owner of OPM
As OPM’s portfolio of managed properties grew, the task of maintaining the spreadsheet became onerous. OPM’s multi-channel distribution strategy, still a manual process, was bursting at the seams. OPM relied on the spreadsheet not just for distribution, but to assign tasks to cleaners, maintenance workers, and landscapers.
Like many vacation rental managers, daily operations consumed most of Nick’s time. He knew his luck with spreadsheets was about to run out, but there wasn’t enough time to research a tech solution, much less implement it. That is, until one incident put switching over to a property management platform the priority.
“I felt so bad. The family had arrived late in the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, we had double-booked the property they were supposed to stay in. Our luck ran out that day: all the other OPM-managed properties were fully booked. There was no way of fixing this. I had to turn them around. Luckily, they were locals from a nearby city so they celebrated Christmas at home. But the embarrassment was too much. I had to do something.”
– Nick Halverson
The incident motivated Nick to make sure double-bookings never happened again. He spent his spare-time researching which tech solution would work best for his business and decided to go with Hostfully. Within a week, OPM migrated its entire portfolio into the Hostfully Property Management Platform (PMP), and from that day on double-bookings became a thing of the past. OPM’s multi-channel distribution strategy went from a complicated and manual spreadsheets to something like this:
One of OPM’s biggest challenge is ensuring landscapers and pool cleaners come in regularly. The jungle environment can quickly overtake a property with new growth or dead leaves, making it look unkept. With spreadsheets, coordinating landscaping and pool cleaners (as well as cleaning and turnover) between guest stays was a logistical challenge.
However, now that OPM manages its portfolio with the Hostfully PMP, coordination can be done through the central calendar. This makes it easy to visualize when a property will be free, and how much time between stays OPM has to arrange for contractors and cleaners to come in.
Hostfully’s industry-leading property management platform (PMP) is built from the ground up to help vacation, and short-term rental owners and managers streamline their processes and increase their bottom-line. On top of automated messaging and triggers, here are some of the other features Hostfully clients like Nick use to manage and scale their operations: