Cool to Be Kind: Building Lasting Partnerships in Property Management

Thibault Masson

Premier Properties usvi

The Scale Show Barcelona gathered some of the most experienced and innovative minds in the short-term rental industry, with the Knowledge Stage emerging as a standout feature. Curated and hosted by Rental Scale-Up, this stage was groundbreaking, featuring seasoned property managers sharing their expertise for the first time. Among these industry veterans was Robin Bass, owner of Premier Properties in St. Croix, USVI. 

Robin’s session, “Cool to Be Kind: Building Lasting Partnerships in Property Management,” delved into how she has grown her company into the largest property management firm in St. Croix. She highlighted the importance of finding and retaining the right partners, including contractors like cleaners and plumbers, as well as essential technology partners, providing the audience with actionable strategies for success.

Robin Bass: A Profile in Excellence

Robin Bass has built Premier Properties into the largest property management company in St. Croix, managing over 40 properties with impressive growth metrics. Since its inception, Premier Properties has seen a 315% increase in total room rental revenue and a 483% increase in commissions. Robin’s journey from her first month of operation to now is a testament to her strategic prowess and dedication to excellence.

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The Early Challenges of Founding a Property Management Business

In the early days of Premier Properties, Robin faced a myriad of challenges common to many property managers:

  • Manual Processes: Initially relying on pen and paper, Robin spent countless hours crafting reports and fielding calls from guests and property owners.
  • Scheduling Issues: Without automated systems, scheduling maintenance and cleaning was a constant headache, leading to oversight and dissatisfaction among property owners.
  • Communication Overload: The lack of structured communication channels resulted in a high volume of calls and messages, demanding significant time and effort.

Leveraging Technology for Success

Robin highlighted how embracing technology transformed her business operations:

  • Automated Reporting: Implementing automated monthly reporting for owners reduced the time spent on administrative tasks and improved owner satisfaction.
  • Maintenance and Cleaning Automation: Scheduling these tasks automatically minimized oversight and ensured timely execution.
  • Guest Communication: Automated touchpoints and instructions for guests significantly decreased the volume of incoming calls, enhancing overall guest satisfaction.

This technological integration not only streamlined operations but also facilitated scalability without the need for additional staff, allowing Robin to increase her internal team from one to five.

Building and Retaining a Reliable Team

A crucial element of Robin’s success has been her ability to identify, retain, and utilize the best contractors. Here’s how she did it:

  • Identifying Contractors: Initially, finding good contractors was a process of trial and error. Over time, consistent behavior and kindness helped Robin build strong relationships. Poor contractors typically exhibited traits like unresponsiveness, lateness, and overcharging.
  • Retaining Contractors: Robin’s philosophy is simple: “If you pay them, they will come.” Valuing and compensating contractors promptly and respectfully fosters loyalty and attracts like-minded professionals.
  • Utilizing Contractors: In St. Croix, where personal relationships and kindness are paramount, Robin’s approach—paying well, showing kindness, and providing consistent work—has been key. This cultural sensitivity ensures that contractors are willing to go above and beyond, even during weekends or emergencies.

The Synergy of Technology and Human Relationships

Robin emphasized that scalable technology and reliable staff work hand-in-hand to create a competitive edge:

  • Accountability and Transparency: Real-time reporting and ease of maintenance checks enhance accountability.
  • Efficiency: Automated tasks free up time for higher-level strategic activities.
  • Guest Relations: Multiple touchpoints ensure guests have a seamless and comfortable experience.

The Competitive Edge

Robin’s commitment to kindness and efficient operations has set her apart. Her ability to respond promptly to guests and maintain strong relationships with realtors has fueled her business growth without the need for extensive marketing. Realtors trust Robin to care for their clients’ properties, knowing she prioritizes high-level care and attention.

Key Takeaways

  1. Kindness is Currency: Investing in kindness pays dividends. Valuing your staff and contractors as much as your guests fosters loyalty and enhances service quality.
  2. Invest in Technology: Embracing technology for automation and transparency enables scalable growth and operational efficiency.
  3. Cultural Sensitivity: Understanding and respecting local cultures and norms can significantly impact your ability to build and maintain relationships.

Robin Bass’s presentation at the Scale Show Barcelona was a masterclass in building lasting partnerships in property management. Her real-world tactics and compassionate approach offer a roadmap for other property managers looking to grow their business while fostering a supportive and efficient work environment.

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