From 15 to 50 Properties: How iGMS Became a “New Staff Member”

Increasing the number of managed units by 25% in a short period is a great result from Airbusybee, who chose iGMS software. Read a new case study and see how iGMS features work to grow vacation rental business!

About Us

Toronto Boutique Apartments logo

We started Airbusybee, a full-service Airbnb management service, to help Airbnb short-term rental hosts to maximize their revenue from their property. We had already been operating Toronto Boutique Apartments for 10 years, providing high-end furnished apartments in Toronto for short-term and medium-term stays, and we were seeing a shift in executive stays to shorter-term stays, mainly because working virtually was becoming so much more effective.

Our Challenges

Case Study from Airbusybee: Our Challenges

A few years ago, as our property management business was ramping up quickly, the number of furnished rentals we were managing completely changed how we needed to manage properties on a day to day basis. There were so many prospective guests, guest check-ins and turn-overs happening every day, that it was taking a ton of our time to communicate and to assign tasks to various people. Multiple accounts, multiple cleaners, multiple guests meant we were spending more time logging in and out of accounts and on phones talking or texting cleaners, then we were helping our guests. We needed help and three of our biggest issues were the following:

  1. Automating tasks

    As we grew we found that assigning tasks to our various cleaning and repair people was taking a lot of time, and was not very efficient. We would manually communicate with cleaners about upcoming jobs and any special instructions. This can be a full-time job!

  1. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile

    This is a very on-the-go business on a day to day level – your client managers need to spend an equal amount of time communicating with guest as they do between the various furnished apartment buildings to manage client needs. We needed a solution that helped us to manage basically everything for our furnished rentals on our mobile devices (ie minimum stays, prices, guest contact info, etc). As our company grew this became a huge challenge – we wanted people out there greeting guests and taking care of their needs, so we couldn’t have them strapped to their laptops. The breaking point came when one of our staff almost got run down by a street-sweeper as he was squatting outside a Starbucks hunched over his laptop..all to send a new offer for a guest!

  1. Quick Client Communication and Calendar and Listing Details Editing

  1. Guest communications: Prompt guest communication is key when running a short term rental business. We needed a fast way to respond and real-time updates to our reservation changes when we communicated with our guests. Some solutions we tried out claimed to have a fast connection with platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway, but we found it wasn’t the case. Often we would wait 5 minutes for our messages to get to the guest and another 5 minutes for their response to arrive – not ideal when a guest can’t find their parking spot!
  2. Calendar/Listing Editing: As we grew the number of our units, we needed an efficient way to manage our calendar for all units – we couldn’t keep logging into different accounts for individual furnished apartments to make small changes. Some of the most important elements we needed to change often and quickly was minimum stay periods, nightly pricing for each unit, to stay competitive. 

Solutions

Case Study from Airbusybee: Solutions
  1. Automating tasks

    This was the biggest change make for us – It was as if we gained a new staff member over-night! With IGMS we just set and assign all the tasks the second a booking came in, the cleaners or repair people see it on their phones (even the ones who were totally not tech-savvy), accept it and we know it’s taken care of. Done!

  1. Mobile changes and management

    The iGMS mobile app was the second big aha moment for us – we could do SO MANY of our guest and listing changes right on our phones. This meant that now we could respond to guest needs faster than we had FEWER units! 

    We found other solutions had nice looking apps, but you were limited in what you could actually do on your phone. We didn’t just want a nice-looking calendar..we needed to grab the guest’s phone number easily to call, or send a new offer quickly, or even the details of our furnished rental apartments.

  2. Quick Client Communication and Calendar Editing

  1. Guest communications: When we started to look for a solution we didn’t really know what API was nor iCal – we quickly found out that a true API connection is crucial – it makes everything real-time. IGMS had super fast updates in terms of guest responses – we could see because when we were logged into one of our platforms, the guest messages would pop up on our phone IGMS app, as quickly as they would appear on the actual platform site! 
  2. Calendar Editing: When comparing IGMS to other solutions (we tried 3 other solutions), we found the IGMS overview calendar the best for not just viewing all the reservations, but also making changes right in the calendar (versus jumping into the individual furnished rental apartment calendar, which is more time consuming). This might seem like a small task but it takes a lot of your staff time when you think of 50 or 100 units.

Results

Case Study from Airbusybee: Results

Once we started to use iGMS for our operations, we saw improvements in many areas of our business – we were managing more units than before, and each unit was operating more efficiently and making more than before! All thanks to the automated tasks and communications.

Once we started to fully use IGMS’ task assignment features, it totally changed the way we worked, each of our staff was able to increase the units they managed by 25%, which was a huge boost to our business. 

Because of iGMS’ all-in-one-place editing capabilities, we very rarely have to log into the actual Airbnb account or other platforms – everything is done centrally, which saves us time and also means more bookings, as we can react to guest inquiries more quickly.

As we grew from 15 units to more than 50 furnished apartments in Toronto, we were actually spending less time per unit thanks to IGMS. It was amazing, it completely opened up our business to be more efficient and smooth. 

Conclusion

Some of the IGMS competitors have shinier logos, very fancy videos explaining their solutions – trust us we have seen it all! At the end of the day, we found IGMS had the most thought-out solution for managing your furnished rentals – the details are really where you see the difference, and this is where they had refined their solution over and over again until it’s easy and efficient to use. They have helped us grow and be the size of business we are. Their staff have always been super-responsive with any issues and we never get ticked numbers that take 72 hours to resolve.

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