0% Double bookings error rate

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.

hostfully property management platform success stories case studies clients recommendation
hostfully property management platform success stories case studies clients recommendation

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.

Before Hostfully

Multi-channel distribution managed from spreadsheets

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

How OPM handled multi-channel distribution before switching to Hostfully

hostfully property management platform success stories case studies clients recommendation

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.

During this time, Nick was growing his team, and working out of spreadsheets was making management onerous.  Keeping every staff member informed of check-in and check-out is critical for OPM given the jungle and rural environment: if a landscaper visit or a pool cleaning is missed, properties quickly look unkept.  In turn, that affects the chances of repeat bookings or scoring a 5-star review.

After Hostfully

Double-bookings a thing of the past

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:

hostfully property management platform success stories case studies clients recommendation
Switching OPM’s multi-channel distribution to the Hostfully PMP gave Nick the opportunity to list all the properties on Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com.  Prior to the transition, it just wasn’t feasible to do that given the manual effort required to prevent double-bookings.  As a result, Nick only had a few properties on all the major channels instead of the entire OPM portfolio.  But now with a PMP managing distribution, OPM was able to expand its advertising to double, if not triple, the amount of potential guests.
The business impact: For years, OPM relied on Vrbo for most of its bookings.  However, with Hostfully making it easy to also list on Airbnb, Nick decided to try it out for all his properties.  The result surprised him.  Airbnb now provides Nick’s business with a new steady stream of bookings, reducing vacancy rates even further.  Coupled with Vrbo, Booking.com, and direct bookings, OPM managed to increase bookings without scaling marketing efforts.


Better workflow and team management

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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.

The Hostfully advantage

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:

hostfully property management platform success stories case studies clients recommendation
  • Digital guidebooks: boost the guest experience, cut down on communications, and upsell products and services for extra income
  • Pre-built direct booking site: generate your own bookings and gain independence from listing sites
  • Central messaging hub: easily manage guest communications on one interface
  • Booking pipeline: follow-up on leads and increase conversions
  • Automated and SMS messaging: save time and automatically send guests key information based on programmable triggers
  • Integrations: connect other vacation rental software like turnover and cleaning, dynamic pricing, and credit card processing
  • Payments processing: easily collect payments from direct bookings or from upsold services and products to guests  
  • Property management data: make informed decisions based on data
  • Owner financial reports: save time and effort in preparing owner reports
  • Open API: keep using your custom software but also gain the benefits of the Hostfully PMP