A 98% occupancy rate, 25+ properties managed and 8 employees to deal with the increased workload — Weaverbird Rental Services has certainly come a long way since it started using iGMS around two years ago.
To learn how iGMS has helped to go Weaverbird from strength to strength watch a presentation by the company owner Shawn Graaff at STR Legends, an event for professional hosts and short-term rental property managers.
Weaverbird Rental Services began as an Airbnb focused management company back in 2015, managing properties in Cape Town Central and on the seaboard side of Cape Town. We have since expanded into East Africa, looking after properties in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Somalia.
Weaverbird Rental Services is committed to effectively managing the assets of our homeowner clients providing a comprehensive service. We also understand the need to deliver an amazing guest experience. However, if you want to secure bookings and make a profit, in addition to providing a great guest experience, you have to manage assets correctly.
After being in business for some time we discovered that property management can be incredibly challenging! There’s always so much to do — guests to communicate with, bookings to be taken, calendars to be updated and cleaning/maintenance to organize. We soon found ourselves playing catch-up as we battled to keep on top of everything. There was no way we would let our customers down, but we were faced with so many demands on our time, these included:
We were constantly inundated with queries and questions from current and potential guests and regularly spent up to 7 hours per day dealing with guest communication.
Also, we had to factor in sending out instruction messages and reminders. All of this proved extremely time-consuming.
We were managing property calendars with a huge amount of fear, due to our anxiety over double bookings. We promised our clients that we would do our best to maximize profits and get those all-important ‘heads on beds’ by adopting a competitive occupancy and booking strategy.
However, despite our determination to fill up our vacation rentals, we found ourselves slowed down by our concerns. We couldn’t follow a competitive occupancy and booking strategy at the desired pace as we did not have a proper channel manager.
Organizing cleaning and maintenance proved to be another time-consuming chore. We found ourselves constantly checking in with our cleaning team letting them know that the property was ready for cleaning, confirming what chores needed to be done, relaying the type of clean we needed.
We had to do the same for maintenance related issues and found it cumbersome.
Finally, we realized that we simply couldn’t keep managing the rental properties and grow the business at the same time. We needed to simplify the business and find a way to take control of our rental properties.
A channel manager seemed to be the ideal solution but we were initially hesitant about spending our hard-earned money. One of our concerns was that the services of a property management software company would prove expensive. We had to ask ourselves — would the juice be worth the squeeze?
We shopped around and found iGMS (who were called AirGMS at the time). After doing our homework we were impressed by what seemed to be a cost-effective solution. We were particularly drawn to the way iGMS dealt with us as a customer, they were always quick to respond and eager to please. As a company, we pride ourselves on adopting these qualities when dealing with our own clients.
Our experience with iGMS has been more than just valuable, it’s been a revelation. The software has enabled us to take our game to a whole new level, providing access to a whole host of features:
The unified inbox feature allowed us to simplify guest communication. We no longer have to switch between platforms to check for messages. We can see all the correspondence in the same place and at the same time.
Automated messaging proved to be useful too. Rather than sending out the same info multiple times we used templates to create messages to be sent at a set time. Now we can send a WiFi password reminder to coincide with guest check-in. In the past, we’ve had to answer this question numerous times despite the password being printed in the welcome book.
The multi-calendar tool provides real insight into the properties. We can easily identify gaps in bookings. This prompts us to make a choice.
We can adjust the price to attract potential customers or we can use this downtime to carry out a deep clean or maintenance work.
Organizing cleaning and maintenance became so much easier via iGMS. We save so much time! We can confirm cleaning task lists, contact the cleaning team, confirm what time guests are checking out, etc. The booking overview allows us to work out if we have enough staff to cope with busy periods. This allows us to take a proactive stance if we need extra help, rather than leaving everything until the last minute.
The software also allows us to fire off reports and get to the important data quickly. We no longer have to go digging for information and can check out details, such as monthly revenue, in just three clicks.
Aside from the benefits listed above we’ve found there are other great reasons to use iGMS. For a start, we must mention that the company adopts a flat-rate fee pricing structure. Clients are billed each month based upon the number of properties they have. With iGMS there are no hidden charges.
We’ve also been bowled over by the top-notch customer service. The company really does go out of its way to help you with any queries and questions you may have. They always get back to you and double-check if everything else is good and the Live Chat service has proved to be super-efficient.
iGMS is also very open to feedback and welcomes your ideas on how to improve the software further. In fact, we feel as though we have entered into a partnership with iGMS rather than just invested in software to enhance our business. We’ve been impressed by their deep understanding of the short-term rental industry. And we’re particularly fond of the mobile App (we like the concept of working on the go).
Here at Weaverbird Rental Services, we strive for continuous improvement and we’re pleased to say that iGMS has helped us to facilitate this. iGMS has certainly provided us with a welcome boost, enabling us to:
Well, it’s a resounding yes from us! iGMS gives you a great opportunity to extend and optimize your business. Looking back we feel we should have taken the step to this software much sooner. iGMS has enabled us to grow our business and make the most of what we’ve got. Our investment was definitely worth it!