Hurricane season is stressful with all of the preparations that you need to take into account as a vacation rental manager. We humbly offer a couple of suggestions as a software provider.
First, hopefully you are using a cloud based system that can be accessed from wherever you have connection to the internet. Please make sure that you have some staffers who will be able to access the internet in the event of a long-term disruption. This should be more than a cell phone hotspot, as there may be outages in cell service.
Second, we offer a few suggestions to help with communication:
- Use your social media accounts to provide updates.
- Call your website provider and discuss a banner on your website that outlines your current strategy for preparation, checking homes, taking reservations and provide your guests with information (like how they can contact your insurance provider if they purchased Trip Insurance through your company).
- Have a plan with your web provider to turn off online bookings. You may want to include information on this in the banner discussed above.
- If you have any portal partners set up (HomeAway, etc.) have a plan to turn off those bookings until you can assess your specific situation.
- Hopefully, you can create a letter in your software to send this same information (to all upcoming guests. Consider sending different letters to different reservation types. Make sure that you record this correspondence (hopefully your vacation rental management software will do this automatically).
- Do you have a Guest Access portal? If so, you can email your initial message to your guests and direct them to the Guest Access login URL. You can post the same initial message from the email in the opening message. This can be a dynamic message that you update periodically during the event
- Are your owners using your Owner Access? If so, adjust your message on the message board. Make sure to send an email to your owners to let them know that this is a good primary source for information throughout the storm activity, and if necessary, during the cleanup afterward. It may help with your call volume during this time when you may not have "all hands-on deck" at the office.
- Consider letting owners submit or reply to work orders using their Owner Access, where hopefullly, you will be able to post preparation or damage photos and other documents as attachments to the work order. They can be $0 work orders or you may wish to have them be storm preparation work orders for cost.
Please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you should have any questions. Post comments below with other suggestions.
Stay safe. We have all of you who will be impacted by #HurricaneIrma in our thoughts.