Something definitely changed this week. And it wasn’t just the clocks.
My team at Propierge also helps to manage the properties that we look after at my Holiday Property Management business WCS Bespoke in Sotogrande, Spain and as founder and business owner of both Propierge and WCS Bespoke, I am acutely tuned in to the sometimes subtle, but more often than not, glaringly obvious changes in mood and tempo of my team, that follow the holiday seasons as they move through their cycles.
And something definitely clicked up a gear this week.
Other than the distinct excitement in the office about the imminent release of the final season of #GameOfThrones, the air definitely started to prickle a little this week like it was being charged up again.
By the way, if #GoT has passed you by, you have about 10 days to binge watch the last 7 series that have led up to this moment and you will be ready for the final showdown… Enjoy!
My team at WCS Bespoke are Holiday Property Management Pros and have been doing what they do for years. So maybe a certain instinct has become so ingrained within them, that they can sense when things are about to get a little more… “challenging” again. Or, maybe it was just one of our full service clients arriving with very little notice that offered a stark reminder of what was to come with the next season and this was all clearly in focus once more!
With just a couple of weeks until Easter, this time of year reminds me of starting an old car. No matter how much maintenance and care you give it when it is not being used regularly, there are always glitches and groans to deal with before it is running like a well oiled machine once again. The key is to get to this “well oiled machine” state, before the full chaos of the peak season is upon you!
My team at WCS Bespoke have been relying on Propierge to organise, automate, and provide reassurance on the Operational Holiday Property Management side of the business for a few years now and we are happily in the comfortable position of seeing the benefits as business as usual. We also have the Propierge PMS in place to take care of our Holiday Rentals activity and the Propierge integration with ZOHO Books, streamlines our billing of activities and our accounts.
However, as part of my job with Propierge I talk with many Holiday Property Managers who are still working with their own systems that they trust and rely on. In general, these are based on spreadsheets, paper, whiteboards, post-it notes, messenger groups and good memories. I can only too clearly remember what a nightmare it was to deal with last minute changes and arrival notifications late at night when I was at home, but the whiteboard was fixed to the office walls and the spreadsheets did not communicate the changes to everyone involved – and this involved more than just reorganising the cleaning activity!
My team would not go back to having to work like this under any circumstances – and neither would I.
But is it too late to even consider making such a change and commitment to another way of working if you don’t have any automated systems or software in place already? Would I choose to take on a new property management software solution or any other system this close to the most important time of the year?
More than likely, yes. But this is not for everyone.
I decided to move my business and client accounts from my trusted spreadsheet based system that had served me well for just over 10 years, to a software based accounting system, a few years ago in June. It was a lot of work, but if you asked me to do this again pre or mid season? Yes, I absolutely would.
The efficiencies and elimination of “leakage” is now business as usual, but my business accounts demonstrate this benefit every month of the year.
But what about the Operational Software?
WCS Bespoke is the test bed for all new software development for Propierge. So we can absolutely guarantee that all new development is tested in the very real world of Holiday Property Management, before it is offered out to any of our Propierge Property Managers.
However, as we have to plan our test, release and sales cycle around our Propierge Property Managers peak seasons, this means that my team at WCS Bespoke are often asked to trial and test new functionality and business processes during our own WCS Bespoke peak seasons. Once again, this is not for everyone, but I am very lucky to have a very professional and adaptable team who just take this in their stride now.
I have been on board with the concept of the need for change in the Holiday Property Management industry and the benefits that software and systems that work for you and how your business works in the real world, for a long time now – and I love it! But I also appreciate that there is very little in terms of business solutions that are genuinely “plug and play”. The need to adapt and think laterally is essential to get the best out of any business based software solution.
So, would I recommend making a change to a new system right now to another Property Manager peer, as the season is just beginning to get warmed up?
- If you are prepared to dedicate the time necessary to set yourself up and put the right people in charge to oversee the change (which may be you as the business owner), then yes.
- If you run a professional Holiday Property Management business that is fully operational 12 months of the year with various and different activities throughout the year, again yes, as you are more than likely to really benefit from the short term effort this involves.
- If you are happy to take this a step at a time and not try to do everything at once, then once again, yes.
But if you don’t want to, or can’t put the time and focus on this right now, or only really have activity in the summer peak seasons, it may be best if you get on with this season with the systems/processes you have in place and look at this again in the autumn.
However, don’t leave it too long after the summer as, as we all know, the quiet season is over in a flash and summer is no longer coming, it is now here!
Summer is key to the success of any type of Holiday Property Manager, whether you just focus on the Operations, the non-Rental guests, Holiday Rental guests, Bookings, or a bit of everything. The important thing is to consider whether you have the time, capacity and patience needed for the transition from one way of working to another, whilst still ensuring that all of your guests have a holiday to remember, for all the right reasons!
Whenever you are ready, the team at Propierge are here to help you through this process to make sure that you do this at the right time for you and your business. We understand the pressures first hand as we work in the same business that you do. Please do get in touch and we can help you decide on the right time for you to move over and start enjoying the benefits that come from a solution built by people who understand first hand, what it is like to work in Holiday Property Management.