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Residential Real Estate
May 13, 2022

The Changing Vacation Rental Industry- Part Two: Integrating Technology and Automation

Sponsored Content provided by Mike Harrington - CEO & Owner, Carolina Retreats

Carolina Retreats is at the forefront of integrating automation and technology into the vacation rental industry.  Many changes have occurred in the last 20 years and operations have become more responsive, efficient and ultimately have led to a better experience for guests and owners.
 
How Carolina Retreats Integrates Automation and Technology
 
Let’s take a quick snapshot of a vacation rental guest’s experience at a Carolina Retreats property. Each guest has access to a guest portal from the moment they create a reservation. This portal provides a wealth of information, including deposits paid and amounts/dates due for future payments. In addition, guests will find the property description for the rental, amenities,
nearby activities, attractions, and restaurants.
 
Next, we provide pre-check-in information. This includes items such as maps, weather forecasts, door entry code, gate code (if applicable), parking instructions, and office hours/phone number. Just after check-in, each of our guests receives a check-in text. This message welcomes them to the property and to the beach. It provides the WiFi password along with the opportunity for guests to offer their feedback regarding the property and ask any questions. It also confirms they have, in fact, taken possession of the property. All of our properties provide an electronic guest book, instead of the binders that guests were used to seeing years ago. This handy document reiterates all the information previously
provided, plus adds much more. It covers how to use the home electronics, the thermostat, security system, the fireplace (if applicable), kitchen appliances, hot tub (if applicable), and electronic gaming systems. It provides garbage pick-up days and instructions. It explains both the check-in and the check-out procedures. It allows the guest to explore the local area in search of an activity, attraction, or restaurant that appeals to the family.
 
The pre-departure message thanks guests for their stay, and explains the check-out procedures including how to address linens, garbage, thermostat, leftover food, hot tub, electronics, and door locks. It explains what time check-out is, what is considered late check-out, and what the possible consequences for an unauthorized late check-out are. It also offers the option to reserve the property for the same week next year.
 
Automated messages and information aren’t just for guests. We also try to streamline the owners’ experience, as well.
Each of our owners has access to a dedicated owner portal, from where they can check the day-to-day performance and management of their property. A sampling of the information available here includes:
 
● Booking schedule
● Revenue reports
● Maintenance orders
● Housekeeping orders
● Calendar of owner and guest reservations
● Revenue estimator
● Website and OTA listing settings
● Guest surveys
● Management agreement
 
In addition, we provide our owners with a real-time notice for each new reservation.
 
The More Things Change…
 
At Carolina Retreats we find that the more things change, the more they remain the same. We were founded because we wanted to see families have a clean, safe property to enjoy a family vacation together at the beach. For all the changes and advances in technology and automation…one thing has never changed. Our wish for each and every guest and family to come away from this beautiful little corner of the Carolina coast refreshed, renewed, and reconnected. The bells and whistles are wonderful…the “icing” so to speak.   But the tides, the surf, the sun, and the company of the ones we love is the whole cake.  Carolina Retreats is here to see everyone gets a slice.
 


Mike Harrington is the CEO & Owner of Carolina Retreats, a specialty lodging and vacation rental management firm serving more than 300 vacation property owners throughout the Cape Fear region. Before founding Carolina Retreats in 2015, Mike spent 10 years on the Outer Banks as CEO and General Manager of Resort Realty, a high end real estate sales and vacation rental company with 600 properties under management, five offices, and more than 100 full-time employees and real estate agents. Mike is a Past-President and Board Member of the Vacation Rental Manager's Association (VRMA), the largest international trade association for the vacation rental industry, as well as Past-President for the North Carolina Vacation Rental Manager's Association (NCVRMA). He is frequently asked to speak at seminars and trade conferences on the latest vacation rental management trends in marketing, operations, and strategy. Mike holds a MBA from East Carolina University, as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management and serves as an Advisory Board member for East Carolina's School of Hospitality Leadership.
 

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