The short-term rental market’s diversity of technology offerings for an even more diverse set of operator types has spurred creative thinking for software companies looking to bring ease-of-use and revenue to apartment and lodging owners and managers.
Three such companies discussed their products during “The Great Flex Rentals Tech Race,” opart of the Flexible Rentals Investment Conference.
The session featured panelists Branigan Mulcahey, Co-Founder, Virdee; Eric Bache, Head of Getting It Done, Reservation Software; Sarah Privitar, Chief Growth Officer, Frontdesk; with moderator Steve Lefkovits, Joshua Tree Media.
Frontdesk will create and manage a property’s STR platform, “using revenue management so you can outperform your competition,” Privitar says. “You have access to your own pricing team that works with algorithms. We provide a trust and safety team to vet your guests and prevent any bad actors by using ID and background checks. We provide a blacklist of unwanted guest prospects.”
Frontdesk has been in the market for three years. Its software can be used for operators of single-family homes or apartment communities who are looking to do STRs themselves. It enables clients to see how and from where their reservations came so the communities can maximize those channels. The platform’s “reviews” function provides another opportunity for company feedback.
Clients are assigned a coach who updates them on earnings, marketing channels and unit cleanings with reports that monitor everything.
Bache’s Reservation Software tracks the utility of rentals for anywhere from two days to two years.
“We see profit for ‘alternative accommodations’ is up 30 percent in the past year and there is an – addressable market of $2 trillion,” he says. “The software works for any length of stay, all product types – furnished or unfurnished units -and all customer types.”
Its omni-directional platform keeps everyone involved in the operation up to date with permission-based access related to their needs. The administration team, vendor partners, corporate clients and guests have access to their data.
“Our CRM is seamless from guest inquiry to check-in, and we provide branded portals for all players involved,” he says.
The transactions function handles accounts payable and accounts receivable for global currencies.
Bache’s property management system is equipped to handle all security and compliance issues.
“Our clients are finding that our system, because it’s customized for the STR market, is better than having to adopt developed systems from legacy software partners, and we can connect our data to these legacy systems – we are undergoing a pilot program with Yardi for a Midwest client right now.
Mulcahey’s Virdee is an API-first solution with strong customer experience and an affordable, subscription-based business model. “We support 100 percent of check-in through our virtual reception,” he says.
There’s a virtual concierge that enables plastic or mobile access codes that are accepted by any RFID system. It has mobile and terminal payment capabilities of any kind, tap-to-pay, etc.
It uses biometrics and name matching to authenticate guests, and uses a selfie image and front-and-back guest ID verification.
Virdee’s guest agents can take customers through the process and dispense a key that can work with all brands of locks, handle early check-ins, housekeeping and food service. It has curated local restaurants’ most popular items to create a menu that is available to guests, a program called “Second Kitchen.”
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