When it comes to managing your portfolio of vacation rentals, no one knows your strategy better than you do. Working in conjunction with your owners, you’ve established an end goal, and you know you need to adjust your rates, minimum night stays, and marketing tactics to get there. So perhaps, like many VR property managers who want to keep up with the latest tech, you’ve invested in a few software tools to help you out. There are several new tools in market that focus on revenue management—specifically rate adjustments. These tools claim that they can do all the work for you, and if you just listen to their recommendations and don’t ask too many questions, your business will grow exponentially.
But to ensure you’re making the right decisions to reach your strategic goals, you need data you can trust. And to trust data, you need three things: to know where it’s coming from, to have enough of it, and to be able to interpret it to derive meaningful insights.
Get access to the right data—and a lot of it
Many revenue management tools available today have great aspirations but can’t deliver on their promises because they just don’t have access to the data. They may have some information about the larger market, but they don’t have visibility into traveler search traffic or market occupancy—data points that reveal actual supply and demand. (Which, when you’re in the business of economics, you definitely need.)
Without some of those key data points, these tools may not even be able to identify a true competitive set for your portfolio of rentals. And if the comp set’s wrong, you won’t get the guidance you need to set your rates appropriately no matter how much data there is.
You have to see data to believe it
Of course, the companies large enough to have a lot of data often aren’t willing to share it—certainly not all of it. But you can’t trust a tool that’s a black box. When it comes to making decisions that are going to impact your business, you shouldn’t be expected to blindly accept what a piece of software tells you to do.
Many tools acquire their data by scraping it from online travel agencies and other sites, which means it could be incomplete or inaccurate. Any leading revenue management tool of the future needs to provide real-time, proprietary data to its users—and it needs to be transparent.
Data is science. Interpretation is a fine art.
But ultimately, transparent access to all the data in the world won’t get you anywhere unless you can interpret it to find meaningful, actionable insights. That’s where expertise comes in. Startups may have a scrappy team of data scientists and software developers, but you want a tool that’s built by a team with years of real-world, first-hand experience in delivering solutions for property managers and in revenue management solutions. You want the right data at the right time, presented in the right way for your business. And only someone who’s been in both industries can deliver that.
It’s time for a new kind of revenue management tool
Revenue management for the VR industry isn’t a new concept. It requires some adaptation from the world of hotels, but the fundamental principles remain the same. You set your business goals, establish a strategy, and make tactical decisions to move forward. If those decisions aren’t based on data you can trust, you can’t be confident that you’ll reach those goals.
It’s time to start looking for a revenue management tool that understands your business, gets you the data you need, and gives you insights to succeed.