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Vacation Rental Management Conference: Redefining luxury villa rental management in Asia and Bali

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This article is part of our Rental Scale-Up vacation rental management conference series. This is an extract from our May 2020 conference: “How villa and holiday rental managers are navigating the COVID-19 crisis in Southeast Asia and Oceania.”

Vacation Rental Management Conference: Zenguest Bali’s Andrew Macdonald & Baron Jamesson

Andrew is a Director of Zenguest Bali, a full-service villa management company, “Airbnb in Bali, made easy,” Zenguest Bali manages every aspect of the villas, from creating a beautiful listing that stands out from the pack, to proactively managing the performance of the house, keeping the occupancy high and the guests happy. Prior to starting the company, Andrew worked for IBM as a Global Service Manager.

Baron has been working in the hospitality industry for 8 years. He specializes in the vacation rental industry, managing online marketing for villas in Indonesia and the French Caribbean. He is also a project manager for RentalPreneurs, a company that helps #VacationRental owners and vacation rental managers grow their business, save time, streamline their workflow, get more bookings, and enjoy more freedom in their life and in their business.

Vacation Rental Management Conference: Video From The 2020 Southeast Asia & Oceania Conference

  • Andrew and Baron opened Zenguest in 2017 and now have 22 villas in their portfolio. They focus on the mid-range villa market.
  • They recently formed a relationship with a developer who has 35 villas in the pipeline, so they had hired more staff and were focused on expanding right before the pandemic hit.
  • Currently their company is doing well with nearly all of their villas full. Their guests are booking monthly stays, so they expect to stay pretty busy for two or three months. Most guests (around 70%) are from Russia. 
  • There are no incoming travelers coming to Bali, so Zenguest’s potential guests are already on the island. Andrew has been posting in Bali-based Facebook groups as a marketing effort, which has been working well.
    • Each of these Facebook bookings needs more negotiation compared to Airbnb and the OTAs because Andrew communicates directly with the guest.
  • The 1-bedroom villas are the easiest to rent, so they’ve blocked off some bedrooms in larger villas to sell them as 1-bedroom units.
  • Demand is just starting to come from domestic travelers, but Bali is still hard to get to. The local community has the pandemic under control, but the island is still strict about who is allowed in.
  • Domestic travelers to Bali are booking through Airbnb and Booking.com.
  • Zenguest has reduced their monthly expenses by 30%, and their existing bookings are enough to cover costs.
    • They renegotiated the contract with their internet provider and reduced their monthly fees by 50%.
    • They are also providing less frequent cleaning service, which keeps staffing and laundry expenses down.
  • With their current direct guests, they don’t need to worry about a potential bad review like they do with Airbnb guests, but it’s still important for them to provide a good experience because they want their guests to renew for another month.
  • The biggest change Andrew predicts for the future is that the pool of guests will be smaller, so Zenguest needs to differentiate their offerings to stand out from the competition.
  • Zenguest wants to reduce their dependence on OTAs, especially after seeing how the OTAs handled cancellations and refunds. Going forward, they’re focusing on more direct bookings.
  • One area where Zenguest is still spending money is accounting. By using good accounting and reporting tools, they can better understand their incomes and expenses.
  • Baron is working on streamlining operations, and he started by working for two weeks as a villa attendant to really understand their tasks.
    • He discovered that villa attendants have a lot of downtime because they are always available for guests, but he has now changed this system to provide service upon request, rather than having someone on standby all the time.
    • He is also building a cleaning schedule and standard operating procedures so the villa attendants can work more efficiently. They’ll tell guests that the cleaning can be done between 10 and noon, for example, so the guests can plan around it.
  • Zenguest has a leadership development program for their villa attendants so they can improve their skills and feel a sense of ownership over their work.
  • With their 24/7 concierge service, Zenguest can build a stronger relationship with guests, especially in the period of time between booking and arrival. They provide packing tips, restaurant recommendations, cultural tips, and shopping services.
    • By the time the guest arrives, they already have a relationship with Zenguest and are usually more forgiving if an issue comes up. Andrew thinks this service has made a positive impact on his guest review scores.
    • Zenguest uses templates to streamline this process.

Vacation Rental Management Conference: Full Conversation Between Andrew Macdonald & Baron Jamesson And Thibault Masson

Thibault:

Dear Rental Scale-Up members. Thank you for joining us. We now have live from Bali a friend from Zenguest. We have your size, the Andrew MacDonald. Andrew is the founder of the company, Zenguest Bali and Baron Jamison. Baron is the head of operations, operations manager. I’d send guests together. We’ll be talking about what their business is on a usual basis, what they’re doing right now with dependent Mick L. So we’d be talking about the challenges and opportunities that they see in a future. So it can be very, very interesting, insightful. And without further ado, I’d like to welcome both of you. Andrew, Baron, how are you?

Andrew:

Good, thanks Thibault. Thank you for having us.

Thibault:

Well, you’re most welcome and I think yeah, it’s very, it’s very interesting to have you. Andrew, we had you a couple of weeks back on a, on a in different conference or another conference. So thank you again for your time today. Appreciate it. I knew that your insights were very valued by the people who watch the first conference. I think we’ll be starting talking about know the business in general and switching someone to operations and nothing. Andrew, maybe you want to start with the business side of the, of the company. So it would be then have user as a speaker now on the, on camera, but can you maybe just start with giving us a quick introduction to your company? 

Andrew:

Yes. so we opened the company in 2017 after I’d been running villas myself, four or five villas for a couple of years. We now have 22 and I’m nine. Target market is the mid range village in ballet with Joe, about 150 us to 350 years or not. Mmm. Just the kind of dedicated, We said we just formed a relationship with the developer in November last year and just as the [inaudible] we were ramping up and taking on a lot of villas two or three months that that developer was selling in conjunction with us offering package management services.

Andrew:

So we were, we still have the pipeline of about to know the 35 pillars, which are under construction in the next 18 months. Mmm. And we’re finding that interest is now returning and we have buyers coming back contacting and asking about return on investment and proposals. We’ve had, I’ve done four in the last week.

Andrew:

So we kind of hit at a sensitive stage when we were just on the, on the, on the rise, we’d hide a lot of people. And when the pandemic of course we had to like other companies cut costs and cut staff and now where just waiting it out. So that’s, so this is a company again, that’s Zen guests. So a was on the rise when it hit. So but you you guys and just stay and wait as you took action there. So can you share maybe how, how is it working now? Dependent? It’s good. I mean, it’s much better than we expected. So we have over 80% of our builders are occupied. And actually we just got another one of our the village. They were finding it difficult to feel wow. Wow. I think we’re up to about 86% now. Mmm. And we expect to maintain that occupancy for at least the next two or three months because these guests are renewing every month.

Andrew:

They they know the case pool is shrinking as case. No one’s coming in. Obviously people are leaving, but it’s slow. So we still have a significant school here that that gets full is made up of people who have decided to stay in Bali over the whole pandemic period rather than go back to their home countries. And that, that gets, Paul is manly ration now more and more. So I would estimate it’s about 70% ration. So once we realized that, I mean, we could see that very early from about, from March, we saw that basically the incoming tourists dried up. We changed our marketing, we marketed a lot of Facebook. Some of the Facebook accommodated 20 or 30,000 members there. There’d be and we found most of our guests through their, through direct bookings for monthly stays. The, the rental revenue we’re getting is not great, but it’s enough to cover costs and it makes a small profit for our owners.

Andrew:

So the owners are happy because they’ve, like I said, the covering cost tonight, someone in the Villa. So in terms of security, it tends to feel the maintenance, et cetera. The Villa is, is still being maintained and looked after and protected. So it’s very interesting that you very actively sort of try, try to find demand where what worked was like Facebook groups for example. It’s something we’ve heard in different sessions as well. That’s, that’s a owners or managers were keen on saying that, Oh, conference be on the platforms and online travel that forms to get bookings. Now you have to make, do and find other ways. So it was the main effort I said conducted by you. How did you get this organized? Pretty straight forward because I mean, you just post, they’re just Facebook groups. Very, very active. And so we just posted the villas and also responded to a request which were posted.

Andrew:

And so it took a while and probably each booking took five to six visits to the Villa, so five to six different desks viewing before we would actually get a booking out of that. So I was quite a bit of work and then a lot of questions, a lot of negotiation because the guests are very well aware of what, you know, what leverage they have. It’s a huge amount of villas that are empty at nine minutes. But once we got those biggest scene, they, they had to stay basically because they, you know, once you’re in the village, it’s difficult to move. And if everything’s going well, if the service is good, if the bill is nice and everything’s working, there’s not a lot of intensity to move even. We expect, we always expected that they’d be a lot of pushback on the renewals in terms of negotiation for lower rights. But that has happened to some extent, but not that much. But basically maintaining the rights that we, we had initially.

Andrew:

One thing we did find is that our one bedroom villas are by far the easiest to rent out because people want to basically be living alive. So capitals [inaudible] with a small child in one builder that they want to be have their own place away from other people. So half of our two bedrooms were set on bedrooms with one bedroom locked off. And the only village that we have unoccupied, there’s only two of them. One’s a three bedroom, one’s a four bedroom and they just, they’re just not a popular because nobody wants to stay in as a group.

Thibault:

I think it’s, it’s very interesting what you’re sharing. Cause also it’s one of the advantages of being on the ground, being like somebody who is able to get bookings both to actually have team a team or being yourself on the ground and be able to with the team, facilitate viewings and negotiate and all these kind of things. Or even to close the doors to other bedrooms to make, to turn a Villa into one bedroom, which obviously is not easy if you a cut form. Right. So I think there’s a, so when you’re nimble and on the ground as sort of an advantage you have, because organizing viewings of your States, it’s kind of tricky if you’re not there, even at different times zone.

Andrew:

For instance, if you’re doing it through Airbnb it’s not, it’s against the terms and conditions to actually arrange a meeting outside the platform before a confirmed booking. So you know that that is very limiting and because people are not going to move into a monthly Villa without looking at it, it’s just, it’s not going to happen. So it basically rules out there. BNB booking.com has an, has an issue in that some of our owners not really keen for instant booking at this time. They’re a bit worried about who they’re going to get because they’re offering a low rate [inaudible] whether it’s valid or not, they’re worried that they’re going to get people who are going to cause some trouble. And so they don’t want instant booking, but there’s no option on booking.com so to screen guests or to talk to them first. So so yeah, it’s, it’s difficult to use the normal OTs to get this done.

Thibault:

It’s interesting. I may have a question as well about domestic trout travelers. I know a few minutes it now maybe, you know, I guess I’ll just see. So you sing the again, very interesting. You seen that the pool itself, stranded travelers is, is lowering now. I was wondering whether now looking at different markets in the region, Indonesia always had a very strong domestic market for traveling for Ramadan for this, like a lot of travel happening, not necessarily to buy the Vilas, but the hand is up people with money in Jakarta for example. Right. So what do you currently, do you have any demand that’s from domestic travelers?

Andrew:

It’s just starting. It’s just starting now. So actually the place that I rented out yesterday as a Indonesian Mmm. Indonesian guest, the, the thing is that Bonnie has been very difficult to get into. It still is. So even domestically because as you know, I mean, as you may or may not not, but in Bali the pandemic is very much under control. There’s only been four deaths here and they’re very few infections. And when there are infections that’s jumped on very, because it’s the local community structure with the local community. Police is very strong and very effective. So one of the things that they’ve done is been very, very rigid about letting people into the province of Bali, domestic or international. So the ferry crossing from Java is you can’t get in unless you’re actually, you have a Balinese residency permit. So that is just starting to open up now.

Thibault:

So to explain to people, I’ve never been, this kid is like one road or basically one way, one ferry to come physically on the ground from, from Java to a bigger Island to a body. So if this is closed or controlled and if there are not many flights coming in, that’s a very easy way to get ahold of who’s coming and going on to the Island.

Andrew:

Yeah, that’s right. It’s starting to open up now. And so straightaway we’re seeing some inquiries coming in. So hopefully that will grow to be a bigger market.

Thibault:

And does it mean, for example, that you would be switching to travel loca channels or what could be, are these people booking direct? What’s Facebook in Indonesian?

Andrew:

What’s the, what’d you see here? Interesting. You should say that. I mean travel like I’m actually talking with Trevor Loker at the moment. They’re much more hotel and so guest house type accommodation. So it really, there’s not many, it’s not a great Villa booking site. We are going to move on to there particularly we’ve got a few apartments which we think would do well on there. But I mean Indonesians use Airbnb. I mean they’re very, very familiar with it and booking.com very much so. So we think that with those two platforms we’re covered. Very interesting. So in terms of of so we talked about channels. What else are you doing right now in your business during the dependent?

Andrew:

Well obviously we were cutting expenses. I mean, that’s something that we started in March. As I said, we cut our team size by about 50%. We postponed all unnecessary spending. And our monthly expenses now are about 30% of what they were previously. And then with the rental revenue that we have coming in, I mean, it’s very small compared to what it used to be, but it still covers much of those costs. So we’re in a position to sustain ourselves for about 18 months, which hopefully will get us through. Mmm. And then also we have to continue to focus on customer satisfaction. It’s something that, because customers can’t leave reviews. It’s not like Airbnb guests too. You’re always worried about a bad review or booking.com these customers direct bookings, they can’t leave reviews, but it’s very, very important to keep them happy because we need them to renew because they, even if they don’t renew and we find another guest, it would typically take two weeks to find that new guest.

Andrew:

So yeah, we’re very keen on getting those customers renewals. And then the other thing is we’ve got a big focus on owner satisfaction at the moment as well, because they’re, sometimes they’re pretty down in the dumps. A lot of them have lost their jobs. Okay. I have a lot of time on their hands. The last thing we want them to do is start looking around at alternatives for property management. So we just make sure that we keep them very happy. We communicate every week, we update them on what’s going on in Bali. And we let them know about their guests have their guests to going. Yeah. We just keep that communication up. And so far the cassette has been very, very high. Okay. That’s, that’s very interesting. I Andrew and a full property managers. What Shane? The, you know, the, the ideas of having to, you know, you take care of guests, experience handling, handling expectations,

Thibault:

Olders probably the owner’s expectations. It’s something very familiar and very concrete. I really like it. It’s a, and these are great concrete actions that relate to it

Andrew:

And other, sorry, there’s something much more concrete so that I missed the way we are doing for the owners, which is obviously focusing on their expenses. So I was a paying operational expenses on those villas. One thing that we’ve done is we’ve negotiated with our, the internet company that we used for all our dealers, 50% reduction in internet fees, penalty-free suspension and resumption of service. So and then, you know, we look at things like the swimming pool pump and how long it’s going, how long it’s running for. We’ve cut it from an average of seven hours to four hours in HP lab because that consumes electricity. Various things. We’ve gone through every base, every basically every expense site and cut costs where we can and made sure that the iron is no, we’re doing that for them and they were, were working for them.

Thibault:

That’s, that’s fantastic to hear. So the expenses side and when it goes to operations, for example, what has changed in operations? Because I can imagine that for example, capturing to a monthly state instead of short States, that’s different kinds of services or fees or even the new standards, cleanest standards that are now the norm to face covered 19. This could be some trainings with changes. So how’s it like on the operational side of the business?

Andrew:

Okay. So from early March, we had our staff wearing gloves and masks in the Villa to give the guests some confidence. And also of course we implemented more strict cleaning standards, particularly around touch points and using disinfectants across the Villa with a new guest because their monthly, we also only cleaned three times a week. And that’s partly to protect the staff and partly to protect the guests from too much contact, but also it’s to reduce our expenses because we’re getting so much less for the villas. We can’t afford to do daily, daily turnarounds on each pillar. It also reduces out laundry because if we’re only there three times a week, he gets done. He has the chance to give us exchange towels, et cetera, three times a week.

Thibault:

When it comes to the future. What challenges do you see and what are you, how are you addressing these challenges that you have identified?

Andrew:

So we don’t see any major challenges due to the virus itself. Unlike hotels where you have a much more constrained spaces and much more intimate, closer interaction with people we don’t think villas are going to be so impacted and any impacts to do with changes planning processes or maybe you know, the number of days required between gas check-ins and things like that. They’re very simple to handle through just operational changes. We don’t see those as challenges in themselves. What did we say the challenge is? Is, is the obvious one. There’s going to be less guests for a long time. So the market is going to be much smaller and we need to work out how to survive and hopefully prosper in this new market. Mmm. So basically we’re doing that through three steps. We’re looking at our expenses and profit margin and, and, and working on those and making sure we have our expenses tightly under control.

Andrew:

And it, all of our contracts with Villa with builders yielding a suitable profit. We want to like a lot of, I think Villa owners and property management companies to move away from such a dependence on online travel agencies like Airbnb and booking.com. I think a lot of people got burned and disappointed and disillusioned when they found, for instance, Airbnb overriding their cancellation policies. And then you get examples of people having their accounts shut down and you know, you could, if you’re dependent on, for instance, Airbnb, that can be the end of your business. So it’s a good wake up call. I think it’s it’s forced forces us to look more at how we move away from dependency on these online travel agencies to more direct bookings. So that’s the, another thing we’ll be looking at. And then the other thing is differentiators.

Andrew:

So how do we differentiate ourselves as a villain management company to draw what business there is in this, in a much smaller market. So then I’ll address each of those points one by one. The first one in terms of expense and profit margin, first thing we did in starting in late March was contract renegotiation. So basically we looked at all of our contracts and some of them were just untenable because we had to get out first customers. We had agreed on commission only contracts, commission only contracts. We can’t support at a time like this because there really isn’t it very little community. There’s very little commission. So we just had Frank discussions with each of those owners and we came to agreements on temporary contracts to get us through the pandemic, which had a fixed monthly portion. And then we’ve also agreed that as the pandemic comes to a close, we’re going to have another negotiation about what the new contract shipped off and it’s not going to look like the old one.

Andrew:

They know that. So in a sense that’s some good that’s come out of a situation because those contracts were not profit and not really profitable for us. They were what we used to get us started as a company staff reduction I talked about. So we’re down to a much smaller staff that’s given us an 18 month buffer that we can ride things out with. One area where we’re actually continuing to spend money but which will save us money is accounting and expense management. So we started in December putting in a new accounting system and, and new expense management processes. When you’re managing a lot of villas, you have a lot of separate sets of expenses to manage and it gets quite complicated. So we’re simplifying the whole process and we’re using accountants and a tax consultant who have a very long history with luxury Villa complexes.

Andrew:

So they’re setting up this system for us. It’s already pretty much in place and it’s just made a huge difference to us in terms of our visibility and control of our expenses and our ability to jump on things early before they actually become problems because our reporting is great. Now. It’s also setting us up for our 2021 target, which is to start taking on luxury builders. No in the 800 us and not plus market because the people we’re working with, they’ve already worked in this area. Those owners, the owners of those luxury builders are a little more demanding when it comes to accounting and tax management. Mmm. The other thing we’re doing is working with Baron on the operation side is looking at how we can streamline our operations to make as effective as possible. Baron is going to give a little bit of a description about, Baron’s our operations manager.

Baron:

Hello. Hi Thibault.

Thibault:

So, so yeah, thank you for being here. And also a very quick disclaimer. We of course know each other a bit because we have a history and a good one. So you were actually the Villa manager for my villas for quite a few years as well as a social media genius and a good friend to, to say the least. So it’s, it’s interesting to see you now having grown and being this role with Andrew as a not only doing the operation but streamlining a business. So I’m very, very curious to hear more about what you’ve been doing in the company for Zenguest. So can you share a bit more with us? 

Baron:

So we began this process by connecting one on one interviews with our villa attendants. Where are we? We need to know whether they met whether they master and executed a standard operational procedure properly.

Baron:

Right. So days after the interview went straight to the field and I worked as a villa attendant joining the team for two weeks. 

Thibault:

So you were there, so you, you, what did you see when you looked at the teams, what they were doing on the ground? Is there, what did you notice like, Hmm, maybe we can do something better?

Baron:

Well, during the process I find out there is several variations in executing standard operations by our villa attendants . and also find out that our villa attendants were sitting around and wasting hours of their time just waiting for the guests to be ready to start the cleaning process. And I noticed that is an inefficiency in that process because we give the luxury to our guests to choosing time cleaning and yeah, which time cleaning, and allow them to change the requests last minute.

Thibault:

 so they can choose whatever they want, have some cleaning, and then it would change it, which is I would say, can I expect to behavior normal-ish behavior?

Baron:

Would I find it rude anyway, but, Oh, no more simple. 

Baron: 

For example we like normally we have like standard and we come like 11 o’clock in the morning, but when we arrived there to lighten and arrive the guests said, Oh, you know what, actually, can you wait for another 30 minutes or another 45 minutes? And then basically we just are sitting in the parking lot, or in the small alley, when we don’t have the staff center, we just sitting there waiting, you know, till they allow us to come to the property.

Thibault:

So when you saw that happening again, still, no. Well, what, what was your reaction? What, how’d you, what’d you do about it? 

Baron:

Well, yeah I’m using that information. So there’s three points there. So we well while we’re doing this process, first our time wasted, right, on standby, add the villa unnecessarily, that’s one. The second one, the variation in executing the standard operational procedure by our staff for completing the room, it ends up badly because we need to get in and out the property several times just because we forgot the mop outside or we forgot a towel inside.

Baron:

So yeah. And Oh with this information so we agree that our villa attendants were not properly equipped to be as efficient as we expected. So what we doing is we setting right now, we’re setting up the standard for cleaning schedule for each villa and we’re notifying the guest to their agreement on that schedule. So we can allocating our villa attendants accordingly, right? So, and then we also have getting the, the SOP and also improve the skill of our villa attendants to creative training. 

Thibault:

Tell us more about that. Yeah, so creative training. 

Baron:

We have a leadership program, for the attendance where all the villa attendants equally get opportunity to lead and allow them to grow. Be more productive and take more ownership over what happens on the property.

Thibault:

That’s fantastic. I mean, it’s not only reorganizing the stuff and I mean we talked about coaching, you know, staff. Sometimes it’s something to do for the, for the business with the low demand, right? Oh, so using that time to change your operation, retrain people. You’re so upskilled basically, right? The getting on the ship to, to staff at sea. I think it’s amazing what you guys are doing at Zenguest. Anything else? You, you, you, or the changes or the future you, you guys see? 

Andrew:

I just want to add to a little bit about that. I think what Baron’s doing, I love it and I would never, ever have the patience to do it myself. I can’t believe he stands out in a car park for two hours in a baking sun. But he did it every day for two weeks and did the cleaning and did everything else as a villa attendant.

Andrew:

But this is the only way you actually find out what goes on and can use that. That’s the information that’s going to form the basis of a much more productive company. And we are actually challenging that assumption that it’s very important to guests to be able to decide exactly when you come in and clean. I don’t believe that. I don’t think that’s part of what makes a great visitor experience because look anywhere else around the world you won’t find it. It’s only Bali, look in Thailand, you won’t find it. Cause labor costs are high there. So we just don’t agree and we’re going to using what we found from what Baron’s done. We want to tell her I guess. So if we can come from 10 to 12, we can come from 12 to two. We can come from two to four.

Andrew:

Which one do you want? That’s when we’ll be there. If you’re not ready, that’s okay. We’ll come back tomorrow. Mmm. And I think that’s, I think the guests are going to be fine with that because as long as they have the right expectation and they can plan around that, I don’t think there’s any problem there. And I don’t think you’re never going to get a guest raving about the fact that I love the cleaning services. So flexible. I could tell them to go away and come back whenever I want it to. It’s not, it’s not one of those things you remember about a trip. So I find this fascinating what Baron’s doing and I think it’s gonna make us a lot more productive and we’ve, we’re going to have savings that we can put into things that I think really do constitute great experience for our guests, which I’ll go into in a second.

Thibault:

Yeah. Yes, Andrew. So I love this message is that cost saving and better operations and also probably better satisfaction as well to go to guest experience because in a way, if you think, well, I can schedule like cleaning what I want. Maybe it’s better than just saying, Oh, it’s randomly somebody knocking at the door. Right. So who knows? Maybe it’s actually better. So are the guests issue inside anything else? So you were about to share more about about this, what will you, what you’re doing.

Andrew:

So what we’re doing is, this is something to, I was going to cover under differentiation because it’s part of what we do to to make us an alternative to existing dealer management companies and Villa Villa stays. It’s a 24, seven concierge service. So basically what we, what we want to offer our guests is cleaning is a cleaning daily cleaning service, which is very thorough, very fast, very professional, but it’s done at the times that, you know, the guests degrees. And then it’s backed up by a 24, seven concierge that they can contact from inside or outside the Villa. We had this operating before the crisis. We’ve kind of shut it down a bit at the moment because it’s not really necessary for monthly bookings. But basically having that access to someone who can help them and who will get back to them within just a couple of minutes is what we find.

Andrew:

It’s important to guess. And we get bright reviews based on that. The other thing about the 24 seven concierge is that it allows us to take advantage of or to do things that other Villa companies don’t do. For instance, we say the time between when it gets books and when it gets checks in as this largely wasted time in most billable Kings, most of the time someone books a Villa and then there’s basically a message or to exchange over maybe two or three or six months. And then they check in. We actually use that and this is what we were doing before the pandemic. We used that time to send a regular stream of messages through to the guest suggesting providing options, helping them do their planning. For instance, we, you know, the pre, we offer Cree shopping, but not just offer Cree shopping.

Andrew:

We’d give them a selection of things that they might want to buy because when you just offer pre shopping, it’s actually makes things more complicated because the, I guess then has to think about what they actually need. But we know what they basically need because we have experience. So we give them the pre shopping list and offered to do their pre shopping for them at the special occasions. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings. We give them two or three choices as to how they want to celebrate those. If they want anything special, if they don’t, we give them a complimentary, there’s a complimentary thing that we do for, for any special celebration, but we, we, we can offer over the top packages if they want them, but we basically take the planning, the need for them to plan out of it, then give them options that we’ve thought about.

Andrew:

And then we know other guests to enjoy. We give holiday suggestions, we give weather updates, we give packing tips depending on the season. If they’re coming with kids, we give kid friendly activities. If they have special dietary requirements, we let them no. What around the biller caters to those requirements. What’s new around the Villa, what new restaurants and cafes have opened that they might want to try. Even things like handy Indonesian phrases or useful cultural tips. Anything that keeps that relationship building over that really valuable time so that by the time the guest actually arrives at the Villa, they feel like they’re part of, they have a real relationship with us. They’re grateful to us for helping them plan the trip. And in practical terms, if an issue does happen when they’re at the Villa they tend to be very, very forgiving.

Andrew:

And I won’t mention it in reviews. If they do mention it, it will be in a private comment to us that’s not, not made public. So I don’t know why people don’t take advantage of that period to actually build a relationship with the guests. But with our concierge team, we can do that. And we have a whole range of templates that we use to do that. And then the other thing is that we, because we have a concierge team, we have, we’re very quick to respond to guests. So we respond typically within about five minutes. And I think people underestimate what a difference that makes to someone who’s asking you a question is something you don’t forget. It’s I’ve got a long background in customer service and this one of the things I always drill into people, if you ask a question and you get a response straight away, it means a lot more to you than waiting a couple of hours and feeling like you’re just a number in a support center queue.

Andrew:

And you might not even remember what the question was about by the time you get an answer. So we have that advantage. And then during the stay, of course we have support for the guests 24, seven. If there’s a problem with the air-con, if they have a problem outside the Villa, maybe they have a medical problem or get a Wallace stolen, whatever. We have the staff there to help them with that. So we think that that sort of service is what yes. Will remember and appreciate it. That’s, that’s fantastic because we’ve been able to cover, and this is easy to use to cover so much about, so, so much about basically

Thibault:

Improving a business, right? Improving a property management business and in a way stuff’s so much about Covid-19 as much as like, well, you know what, let’s use this as a way to reorganize, improve and power staff, improve the guest experience. I think it’s really fantastic and it’s some of this probably you were, you had already planned or was waiting pipeline, it just could be happening faster. So it’s, it’s, it’s very I mean it’s, it’s very impressive to see that happening. I just wanna make sure I’m thinking you for again showing you all the insights and tips and if people want to reach out to you later, what’s the best way to get ahold of you? What’s that? Definitely via WhatsApp or through the website. I can, I can chat with us okay. For LinkedIn. Okay. Okay. So we’ll send the links to the video. So, well, again, thanks again. Thank you so much for your time.

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