Approaching Vacation Rental Management with a Start-Up Mentality
When Jed Stevens jumped headfirst into the vacation rental industry and started Koloa Kai in 2015, he knew he wanted to approach the business with an entrepreneurial mindset. Applying methods from his business education, Jed drafted a business plan with a forward-thinking perspective and anticipation for future growth. Coined the ‘6 Steps to Building a Sustainable Vacation Rental Company’ (a topic featured in Matt Landau's Unlocked podcast), Jed's protocol outlined an approach that mapped out solutions to tackle the initiatives and obstacles he foresaw arising in three-to-five months.
Jed tackled the core areas of his 6 step plan as he launched Koloa Kai: market analysis, building blocks, structural members, routines and procedures, interior design, and marketing and sales. When the pandemic hit, Jed took advantage of downtime by acquiring properties, staffing his team, all while focusing on giving employees adequate time to learn and implement new tools. Jed knew that doing so would empower his staff to operate more efficiently and ultimately keep Koloa Kai on a projected path to deliver premium properties and experiences to guests, and top-of-the-line management services to owners.
Disconnected Technologies Was In Conflict with Jed's Model
One of the major pain points Koloa Kai faced was using software with limited capabilities like Microsoft To-Do and Outlook. These programs were used to assign and track Koloa Kai's operational tasks, but Jed quickly foresaw inefficiencies from these static systems as the company expanded its footprint and brand. "If you're really trying to be a professional in the vacation rental business, you have to have the right tools in place to operate - you can't just wing it...not these days," said Jed.
Jed faced a growing problem; there was a gap in the disconnected technologies that Koloa Kai relied on. The management company used LiveRez to handle bookings and accounting, but it didn’t have a solution to meet the CRM on the back-end and lift the technology to aid Koloa Kai's operations. The operational problems that arose, and headaches from using Microsoft Suite as a work-around started to stack-up, and Jed knew that these issues would only grow with the business.
"Before using Breezeway, little things like replacing a light bulb on the front porch would get lost in the shuffle and stack up to impact the guest experience in a big way." - Jed Stevens, Co-founder, Koloa Kai
Finding & Integrating Smart Tech as a Blueprint for Growth
Prior to Hawaii's pandemic shutdown in the winter of 2020, Jed had begun looking to grow Koloa Kai’s inventory and staff. When examining his current workflows, Jed realized that the modus operandi wouldn't scale. Selecting service partners that could save the company money and time was important, but working with solutions that would grow with Jed’s vision was critical. “We need to partner with forward-thinking technology companies as we grow," said Jed. "I’ve chosen our vendors not just based on what they can do now, but also what they’ll deliver in the future.” After learning about Breezeway through the Vacation Rental Marketing Blog (VRMB), Jed put the property care and operations platform at the very top of the list.
Breezeway’s operations platform works in conjunction with LiveRez, generating the efficiencies that Jed had hoped for when drafting his 6 step plan. With reservation and guest information feeding Koloa Kai’s operations via Breezeway, Jed can easily associate tasks with reservations and automatically notify his staff of assigned work. “The thing I like best about using Breezeway’s direct connection with LiveRez is the automatic notifications when a reservation comes in or when one gets canceled. We’re now a lot smarter about how we manage a last-minute requests for a late checkout.” Seamlessly toggling between the platforms helps Jed surface operational data when he needs it, and keeps teams aligned.
Committed to a forward-thinking and scalable approach to all phases of the business, Jed relies on Breezeway and LiveRez to keep Koloa Kai “healthy”. The integration between the PMS and operations platform helps eliminate redundant work for staff, store important information in one place, and offer outward facing communications that elevate the guest experience. “If your goal is to scale a professional vacation rental management company, then you never stop looking for opportunities to drive efficiencies and boost profit. That’s just part of the recipe for healthy growth, and using best-of-class tools lends itself to a sustainable company.”