Case Study

Smart Locks and Thermostats, Automatic Triggers, and Guidebooks

How a full-service vacation rental management company automated guest communications, saved time, and boosted its bottom-line.

Jim Sheehan is the owner of Wydaho Property Management, a vacation rental management company (VRMC) nestled at the base of the magnificent Teton Range in Wyoming. Wydaho offers property owners a full-service management experience that focuses on the guest experience.
Wydaho differentiates itself from its local competitors by implementing technology in all aspects of the business.

To anyone that knows Jim, that’s not a coincidence. As a retired tech entrepreneur, Jim understands that scaling a complex operation like a VRMC can’t be done through grit alone. Wydaho uses tech to streamline and automate processes to cut down on labor costs and focus on growth, acquisitions, and marketing.  

Before Hostfully

Hoping for the best with lockboxes

Although he’s a retired tech entrepreneur, Jim founded Wydaho to keep a foot in the business world. But because Jim and his wife take their new reduced work schedule at heart, they wanted a system where the guests could self-check-in. As Jim puts it, “sometimes you want to enjoy a glass of wine on a Friday night instead of waiting for a guest to arrive.” The alternative solution – hiring staff – wasn’t viable for Wydaho because of costs.
At first, Wydaho used lockboxes to facilitate self-check-in. In a greeting email, he’d share the code with guests in an email. It solved the self-check-in problem but created newones. Notably, lockboxes aren’t the most secure way to manage access. Anyone with the code, from past guests to cleaning staff, had access to the property. It was a friction point Jim knew had to be solved. Wydaho was growing its portfolio and managing properties for other owners. Taking risks with your property is one thing, but Wydaho now had a responsibility to ensure its clients’ investments were managed securely.

After Hostfully

Smart locks and access codes automatically created and distributed

What Wydaho needed to solve access management was for the guest to receive a unique code for a smart deadbolt. Ideally, the unique code would expire at check-out so that no previous guest could access the property. After some research, Jim chose the following combination of devices and tech solutions for his properties:

Smart Deadbolt
Connectivity
Device management
Centralization – PMP and digital guidebooks
So how does this all work together? As soon as a property books, the Hostfully PMP pings Lynx to get a code. A secure Hostfully digital guidebook also gets created, which includes the door access code. At a preset time before check-in, an email is sent to the guest with a link to the unique guidebook. The digital guidebook contains the unique code and check-in instructions. Here’s how it looks visually:
Note that through this system, Wydaho can also send unique access codes to cleaning and turnover staff via the Hostfully PMP. This way, Jim doesn’t have to worry about one-off employees hired by the turnover company gaining permanent access to the properties.

Bonus

Lower energy bills

Solving self-check-in and security through technology solutions inadvertently laid the foundations for more automation, and consequently, cost-savings. With a smart device hub installed and Lynx running in the background, Wydaho can now remotely adjust heating and cooling with smart thermostats. That’s a huge bonus given that heating costs in the middle of a Wyoming winter can be costly. But through tech, Jim can automate the process of adjusting the temperature with the following protocol:

The Hostfully advantage

Hostfully’s industry-leading property management platform (PMP) is built from the ground up to help vacation rental owners and managers streamline their processes and increase their bottom-line. Here are some of the other features Hostfully clients like Jim use to manage (and scale) their operations:
  • Multi-channel distribution: increase your marketing reach and generate more revenue
  • 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
  • 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