January 1, 2021 | Vu Hyuhn
QuickStay is one of Wheelhouse’s most successful customers. Utilizing the Wheelhouse pricing engine, QuickStay has been able to build a revenue management strategy that hastened the rapid growth and development of its hospitality business. This guest post was written by Mackenzie Kearnan, QuickStay’s head of marketing.
As a short-term property management company grows, manually changing prices becomes extremely difficult, teetering on impossible. Crunching numbers, comparing average daily rates (ADRs) to occupancy, analyzing trends in the market — these skills are developed and perfected by well-seasoned revenue managers. Unfortunately, growing companies rarely have the time or resources to hire for this type of role.
That’s where tools like Wheelhouse come in, providing property owners and property managers with a robust pricing algorithm. Its dynamic pricing is designed to suit your needs as an Airbnb host — whether you’re a rookie or an industry veteran. Either way, smart pricing will take your property listing to the next level. At QuickStay, we use Wheelhouse as the foundation of our winning revenue management strategy.
Register by clicking the button below to get a 30-day Wheelhouse free trial, then get an additional $1000 in free bookings on our pricing software after sign up!
Like many short-term rental property management companies, QuickStay was born from a passion for travel. What began as a one-off Airbnb listing, evolved into a luxury vacation rental brand with properties all over the city. Before long, this Toronto Airbnb management company was welcoming thousands of guests every year. But with significant growth came significant need for proper revenue management and yield optimization.
As a new Airbnb host, adjusting daily rates is quick and simple. It’s all about experimentation. You can compare pricing with demand to see when your properties get booked and for how much. When you’re adjusting the pricing for one or two listings, it’s easy to spot trends and set rates accordingly. If you start managing multiple properties, things can get complicated.
As your property portfolio grows, a pricing optimization software is an absolute must. More guests mean more reservations with more money at stake. For QuickStay to bring in the highest ADRs, we needed a pricing tool designed for our fast-paced, growing company.
Finding the right pricing software to suit your company’s strategy can be a huge challenge. While growing QuickStay, our revenue manager tested out multiple tools, searching for the perfect match. What we found was that many platforms were designed as a one-size-fits-all pricing solution for hands-off property managers. Sure, some operators are comfortable with the ‘set it and forget it’ approach to pricing, but that wasn’t the route QuickStay wanted to take.
For QuickStay, Wheelhouse was a complete game-changer. Finally, here was a platform built to accommodate all types of renters — hosts, owners and even advanced property managers. And the best part? It’s personalized and customizable.
At first, we could afford to try the ‘set it and forget it’ approach to pricing. While focusing on urgent operational matters, we trusted Wheelhouse’s data-driven recommendations and insights to prevent us from selling nights at unreasonably low rates.
During this period, we were also able to capitalize on the high demand dates by setting an appropriate base price (the nightly price before factoring in demand) and leaning on the software’s seasonality features. Soon, our focus shifted to improving our revenue management strategy, where we discovered that even small adjustments, like increasing the base rate on certain months, proved to be valuable.
Along with having a stunning property and excellent customer service, a successful property manager needs a well-evaluated and adjusted revenue management strategy. Smart pricing shouldn’t become your revenue management strategy, but rather complement your strategy. When we first started working with Wheelhouse, it was important for QuickStay to understand how this new pricing software came into play. Which adjustments could be left to Wheelhouse and what should be customized?
Before long, our revenue manager learned the best practices for Wheelhouse. Using specific features, QuickStay optimized pricing and maximized profit for each property listing. To find out how, check out Part Two: Bringing in the Big Bucks with Wheelhouse.
With the right pricing software in place, property management companies can hit record revenues. Since using Wheelhouse, QuickStay was able to grow its ADR by 50% and increase per suite revenue by 20% year over year.
A successful revenue management strategy considers all factors. Seasonality, market demand, booking window, traveller profile… the list goes on and on. The great thing about Wheelhouse is that it does the bulk of this work for you by accounting for these factors in its pricing algorithm. By leveraging the platform’s easy-to-use and customizable features, property managers can bring in the highest possible ADRs, making the most of any calendar date.
One of these features is last-minute discounts, which QuickStay uses to attract the down-to-the-wire reservations. The markdowns allow you to control how and when Wheelhouse adjusts your pricing. Depending on the time of year, you can select anywhere from a more aggressive to a more conservative approach to last-minute reservations.
In the winter months, QuickStay takes the more conservative strategy, allowing Wheelhouse to lower our prices sooner. During those harder-to-sell months, this ensures our suites are booked at the highest occupancy. When there’s more demand in the market, we go with a more aggressive approach, leaving the rates higher for longer to get those jaw-dropping ADRs.
Wheelhouse’s minimum price feature is the ideal safety net for property managers experimenting with their pricing strategies. When making adjustments, whether daily or seasonally, this makes sure you have the final say. As a luxury brand competing with 4-star hotels on pricing, it’s important we never undersell our properties. If we do, we put our properties, neighbours and owners at risk, as extremely low rates encourage higher-risk reservations. Using the minimum price feature, we never sell below our set value.
Now, let’s talk weekends. In the property management world, weekends are gold. With Friday to Sunday getaways being more enticing than ever, property managers need to set their daily rates accordingly. Using the weekend adjustments feature, we mark up weekends significantly to prevent high occupancy suites from getting booked prematurely for only one night. By increasing these rates, we decrease higher risk reservations, while keeping our calendars free for longer stays. Why welcome a one-night booking when we can have a weekend booking, or even better, an entire week!
On the other hand, if we’re going to accept a single-night, the ADR better be worth it — and it often is. We found that with proper screening and process, one-day bookings account for 15% of our overall revenue. But you have to be careful. Guests must agree to your house rules and go through thorough verification. Thankfully, there are systems available that screen guests automatically, like Autohost.
At QuickStay, we’re constantly changing the base price to reflect the present demand. Looking ahead, we increase rates drastically for the summer months and closer to the dates, we use that last-minute discount feature to adjust pricing. The minimum price and the timing for the price drop always depends on the size of the property. From experience, we know we can sell our three-bedrooms without a problem. Why not hold out for the best ADRs?
For the low season, that’s when Wheelhouse price suggestions work really well. We can set our prices based on the given recommendations and secure bookings months in advance. Paired with carefully-crafted promotions on our booking channels, we guarantee the highest occupancy possible.
Like anything else, price optimization comes with a learning curve. For QuickStay, it was a matter of setting prices to match guest expectations. Every company has limitations and in order to deliver the best experiences to your guests, it’s important to understand these. For instance, if you don’t offer concierge services or luxury onsite amenities to guests, you can’t compete in pricing with the 5-star hotels in your area. Even if you win the reservation, you’re likely to disappoint your guest. An unhappy guest often translates to a bad review, which hurts your revenue in the long run. It’s all about finding that sweet spot — the perfect balance between price and guest satisfaction.
With the right pricing software in place, property management companies can hit record revenues. Since using Wheelhouse, QuickStay was able to grow its ADR by 50% and increase per suite revenue by 20% year over year. Wheelhouse paved the way for us to develop a real, working strategy with trackable performance, while focusing company attention on bringing in more business and increasing revenue across all suites.
Interested in being involved in a Wheelhouse case study? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We’d love to hear your story. Check out our other case studies, including property management company Coucounco in Switzerland and Airbnb host Kim in the Pacific Northwest!
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