The Top 10 Tricks, Tips and Treats You Should Expect From Your Vacation Rental Software
The Transition To A New System - Trick or Treat!
It is a daunting task transitioning from one reservation software to another. Your company may have considered switching to another Vacation Rentals Reservation Software because of your existing system following reasons:
- Ongoing cost
- Website upgrade fees
- Limited features
- More control over your website
- Stronger API
- Integration with other applications
- Integration with major listing sites
- Accounting options, etc.
There are many options out there. I have tried a few and have chosen Streamline Vacation Rental Software. If you are considering other options, a quick look at our Top 10 may have you asking more questions and expecting more from those systems.
For what ever reason, if you are thinking about making the switch or have transitioned to Streamline Vacation Reservation Software, here are a few Tricks, Tips and Treats that may help make your transition easier!
Trick, Tip or Treat! Our Top 10...
You've made the switch! Ouch, this is hard...The easier it looks, the harder it is to set up, right? Right! However the switch would be hard regardless of which system you choose, how many properties your have or how many reservations you have to enter. So granted, the hard part is ongoing. Now the easy part...
10 Tricks, Tips and Treats for Streamline Vacation Rental Software User:
- Filter Size? Setting Up Unit Fields: One of the best features of this system is the opportunity to set up property unit fields. These fields can be customized and put in any order you would like. Go crazy with these because they will give you everything you need to know about the property at your fingertips. Put in filter sizes, extra lock box codes, internet router model, trash information, distance to the beach, HOA management contacts, size of dogs allowed, etc. You can then use these fields as tags (macros) for insertion into your various guest, maintenance and housekeeping docs. Did I say go crazy with these already?
- Click and You Will Find-Search Quicklink: We were used to logging into our system and first seeing our booked reservations and found it odd that in Streamline we had to click around to get to the reservation area to see our bookings until we found "Search" Quicklink Button! It is SEARCH alright, but one of our agents discovered that it also had the reservations booked in order like our other system. Viola! And the bonus includes these little boxes up at the top where you can put in a name, partial name, partial number, reservation number and a person, place or thing will pop up on a chronological list like magic! Pretty cool...
- Guest Docs on Steroids: The Documents System under Guest Management is probably the best I have seen. Granted it takes a lot of time to set up and practice with the many email trigger options and tags (marcros) available. Did I say A LOT of time? Just saying...Anyway, once you set them up, they are like Docs on Steroids! So you do want to make sure you understand the trigger system and how some of the not so obvious tags work. The great thing is they work for Guests, Owners, Agents and Maintenance, Friends, Family and whoever in the world you would like to trigger some email message to. My recommended tip is to only use one trigger for each document, do not set up a document with tags and a trigger and make it active unless you have practiced it on yourself. You can also go into a reservation and click on the DOCUMENTS tab and view what it will look like when it is sent out. That way you won't have to keep sending it to yourself like I did for months. (I just learned this Trick the other day...Oh well)
- I Know It Is There Somewhere-Triggers and Tags: Speaking of Triggers and Tags, I just learned a Trick a couple of days ago that I wished I had known many moons ago regarding searching for Triggers and Tags. If you are in the Email Trigger Area or Tag Options click on F3. It will pull up a little box in the upper right hand corner of your computer and you can put in "hou" and all of the housekeeping results will be highlighted. This may be obvious to some, but it was not in my sphere of knowledge. Love me some F3!
- Do Not Pass GO: I have to stress the value of "GO" in this system. There is this little box next to this other little box with "GO" on it. Well, it is like Google for Streamline. Do not pass GO! Use it in EVERY area if it is available including the owners list, vacation rentals, vendors, guests...No more scrolling down lists. Enter unit number...You will be so happy!
- Your Amenity Filters Are Your Friends: This may be one of the coolest Tricks I have found! It is the Amenity tab located above the Vacation Rentals List under Settings and is customized at the Unit level under Amenities as well. It is somewhat misleading to just call these Amenities since they can filter pretty much every unit in anyway you want via the Tape Chart (book through calendar) and various reports. We use it to keep track of which units have existing HVAC contracts, which properties are available for barter and we assign the units an amenity (filter) to separate communities so we can just run the Tape Chart Calendar for all units within that community. The possibilities are endless. You can even design a filter to indicate which units are 25 or under, which units take pets 25 pounds and over and so on...
- Hot Dates: This area is also handy and located above the Vacation Rentals list. This tool allows you to indicate which travel dates are "Hot" in your area. Easy to set up and you just hit on "Spring Break" for example and the calendar will take you there. You have unlimited setup options on "Hot Dates" and many time saving Treats!
- At Your Service - Informative Book: Enter your dates, your criteria and Viola! You can send quotes chosen by you and add discounts to each individual property based on your specific rules. This is an agent favorite, although it takes a bit of training. Take advantage of the interactive videos in the Toolbox for refreshers on this powerful quote and booking system for sure.
- All Vacations Have a History: "To be or not to be" is available on the History tab in the reservation (they call it a folio, by the way) and you can see the entire history including quotes, discounts, agent modifications and final booking numbers. We use this Trick everyday!
- The Money Manager - QuickBooks Online: Tip...Do not upload your current charts of accounts or your vendors...Let Streamline handle that. Trust me...
Back to the Hard Part...
So that was fun, right? There is a light after every Vacation Rental System transition tunnel as long as you don't get tunnel vision. I believe the worst mistake many managers make is to believe that a new system is going to be easier, solve all of the problems of managing vacation rentals and the transition will be a piece of cake. Well, I am here to tell you that that is not the case. There is no perfect Vacation Rental System, as there is no perfect manager or guest or cleaner or spouse...So please understand that the transition to any new system will be frustrating, terrifying, exhausting and mind boggling. With that said, at least you have some cool Tricks, Tips and Treats to look forward too if you choose Streamline Vacation Rental Software!
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About The Author
Renata Circeo-Loudon is the owner of Shore Dreams Vacation Rentals, a Destin and Atlanta Area company specializing in affordable family and pet friendly privately owned accommodations. In addition to hosting thousands of vacationing guests from all over the world, Shore Dreams Vacation Rentals provides owners with full service property management options in the Southeast.
As a former sports and music executive and real estate investor, Renata started Shore Dreams Vacation Rentals in 2010 and has expanded to Atlanta and Eatonton, Georgia as well as St. Augustine Beach, Florida.
She started her career in broadcasting and events at NBC affiliate, WICD-TV and by volunteering for the first Farm Aid. In 1990 she moved to Atlanta, GA to pursue a graduate degree in Sports Management and to fulfill a life long dream of working on the Olympic Games and the Super Bowl.
Renata worked for Live Nation Entertainment as an Area Vice President following a successful career with House of Blues Concerts in Atlanta. She manages most of her investments herself and enjoys new and innovated ways of utilizing technology and organization to streamline the handling of property management and vacation rentals.
Recently, she was featured in the “Millionaire Real Estate Investor”, by Gary Keller and is excited to continue learning about real estate, investing and spending more time at her beach houses!