Home » Holiday rental business » The Masked Manager – CHRISTMAS IS COMING TO RENTALS

On the first Thursday of every month we are joined by the ‘Stig’ of the vacation rental world.

This vastly experienced vacation rental manager will be letting off steam, making edgy industry predictions and generally throwing the cat among the pigeons each month…

This month The Masked Manager points his finger in the direction of “the most annoying business development in our industry“.

He was young, professional, well dressed, and articulate and with absolutely no idea of what he was talking about!

This global “marketplace” representative had clearly been on a sales training course for hotels, not on the “approach to closing on rental businesses”. He came bearing gifts of gold frankincense and bookings, all neatly wrapped with a bow, or so he thought!

I’m not going to tell you the name of this business, just let you guess, but this is part of the most annoying business development in our industry. It’s called “confident control and naïve arrogance”.

A summary of the young man’s approach:-

“We are a global leader in the hotel market and are now helping rentals achieve the same goals. Like hotels we can be your marketplace and reduce your need to be involved in marketing online. We have everything you need to distance yourself from all that hard work.” Sound interesting?

So after a little discussion over coffee and cookies we got into the nitty-gritty on how they were going to help us! I unwrapped the offering with anticipation! After all, this early gift could mean I will be able to run my business on autopilot and go fishing every day.

Again précised as I don’t want to visit the psychiatrist more than once a month.

* We only take a 15% commission.

* Any cancellations on your part results in us taking a commission regardless.

* If you do cancel you will need to find them an alternative and if you can’t we will and we will charge you the difference.

* We need the same prices as you, always; we have price parity police (presumably a better job than traffic cops).

* To get great bookings and better ranking, you need to apply zero cancellation terms.

* We send you the credit card details online.

* We rewrite your content after a couple of bookings and add our own flavour.

* You are fully responsible for keeping it all up to date 24/7.

* We want really big photos in the future, so take some more please.

* Now let’s pull the cracker together: We bid via PPC on your property names and business to make sure we can book for you.

My reply

(by now I was feeling like the one who was getting stuffed, not the Turkey!):

* How about you take 5%, we uplift prices to you by that. After all, we do all the heavy lifting. This way we don’t lose anything, you make money and the owners won’t be on my back for loss of income. Also we only allow you to book out of season as we are fully booked in summer anyway.

* Let’s be honest. Why would we keep the same prices as you? We want to book direct, it makes us more money. Your business is just one of the ways we may want to use to add extra income out of season and if you do get a summer booking, why would we give up the lion’s share of the profit to you?

* You are the 4th business this month looking for our portfolio of properties and you charge the most and although I may sound prickly, it’s because I really am!

* Zero cancellation policy or anything under 4-5 weeks is insane, why would we do that? If you are working closely with us as you say, then you need to understand our business. Sometimes boilers break, pools leak, owners have problems and there are other issues. If we have to cancel why penalise us so heavily, I thought this was a friendly partnership where we all work toward the same goal. It’s not beginning to look like Christmas to me!

* I checked a couple of places nearby and you had added a football stadium as a feature! My competitor who runs this was rather shocked that his lovely condo was being advertised as soccer haunt! So we want to have our own copy written and approved!

* You send us the credit card details? How does that work? Let me guess, I login and write them down! We always use PCI compliant methods, doesn’t sound too compliant to me. Please send me your PCI compliance certificate!

* Have you considered the AirBnB approach, charge the guest for the service? Maybe suggest this to the company’s board.

* I don’t want you bidding on my property names; I have spent time and money on this myself. Why would you take 15% or our money and then buy my names so people searching come to you first? That’s almost criminal. If I bid on your name you would sue me!

* And lastly, it appears your site is still very much hotel focussed. Lots of things missing and referrals to hotels and free cancellation messages everywhere. A little misleading I think!

I guess you all know we didn’t see eye to eye and the suit was a little ruffled! Not as easy as closing a deal with hotels apparently! He did say that in the major cities they were doing very well for breaks. Well that’s fine, I’m not in a city and if they can afford it, fine!

Now here’s the interesting bit. A colleague of mine who had a similar conversation and had also sent away a sales guy had a call back with a commission reduction to 10%! They are still clearly not listening and understanding but shows that maybe the low hanging fruit has been already been plucked and the industry as predicted is coming to a crossroads.

They say Christmas comes but once a year and it still does!

I’m opening a hotel; I can’t wait to burn my money and invite him back!

The Masked Manager

What are your views on this subject?
Do you agree or disagree? Use the comments box below to tell us your views.


2 thoughts on “The Masked Manager – CHRISTMAS IS COMING TO RENTALS

  1. Mike Mullen says:

    I absolutely AGREE with the Masked Manager! I threw off a management company about two years ago and can’t be more pleased with the results.

    Check out my recent blogs. I can’t handle web mgmt sites taking my deposits, holding it months then forking it over the day after guests arrive.

    Just my thoughts


    1. Alan Egan says:

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment Mike. I’m glad that you like what The Masked Manager has to say. Have a good weekend and thanks again, Alan

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