It’s been a crazy year. We started coding RU (Rentals United) about a year ago and we started beta testing around February 2013. Now it’s almost mainstream. We’re seeing industry leaders like Homeaway connecting to gain access to our properties and we are up to our necks in partners who are wanting to push in their inventory.You might be wondering what RU is, or if you do know, you might want to know how it differs from other tools on the market like say, Kigo or Instamanager. Well let’s have a go at explaining that….
When you plug a USB stick into a computer you just expect it to work. Long gone are the days you had to install drivers or even make dipswitch settings. The computer guys finally got it right. Unfortunately for the Vacation Rentals industry we are still in our equivalent of the Windows 3.1 era. Companies who want to sell their vacation rentals have to manually upload their photos and descriptions to each website they want to work with. For the most part they also have to upload pricing and availability to each too on an ongoing basis (not good, right?)
RU was made to solve these problems. You plug into it and it should, in theory just work. Plugging in involves either a manual upload of your properties, or if you already have a system of your own, a connection with our API (application programming interface). Once you’ve done that you need to agree commercial terms with the sites you want to work with (we are building tools to streamline this too), and you can start selling your stuff on their websites.
RU also handles the selling process, allowing you to communicate directly with your counter party for the transaction. We’re a kind of “Babel Fish” of vacation rentals, translating the language of one system into another.
And how do we differ from Kigo or Instamanager? Those guys have a business model on selling you their PMS (property management system). They want at least 300$ a year before they’ll do anything for you. They build in things like channel managers as a free service to help you distribute your prices and availability far and wide.
At RU we see the world a little differently. We are focused on getting you connected to as many sales channels as possible, and to pushing your details out to them in full: pictures, descriptions, bedding arrangements and of course prices and availability. We currently give you a very simple PMS for free and we actually don’t charge for any of our services at all at the moment. We also connect agents to agents and even provide a comprehensive channel manager (for free of course). We’re a different beast altogether.
How’s progress? Well we’re ahead of schedule. Our partners page is already flowing into what we had predicted would not be done before 2014 and we still have a few weeks left to get a few new companies integrated. Next year traffic and bookings should build up rapidly. We’ll announce features, tools and progress here in upcoming posts, and we’ll also create some videos for owners and agents with tips on how to improves sales and service. Until the next time, thanks for reading!