How Urban Butler uses latest tech to build a sustainable business
Created in late 2017, Urban Butler is a professional property management business based in Auckland, New Zealand. The company manages a portfolio of 50 properties all within the central business district of Auckland.
|N of properties connected||50|
|Headquarter Location||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Tech Used||Rentals United + Guesty + Beyond Pricing + YourWelcome|
Manage bookings across multiple channels
Connect to new channels not provided by their PMS
Provide seamless bookings and communications
We really struggled with juggling bookings across different platforms. Rentals United helps us with our multi-channel marketing in order to connect to certain OTA’s that our PMS does not support. This ensures seamless bookings and communications across multiple channels that we were not able to achieve before.
Urban Butler found Rentals United through their property management system provider Guesty. Rentals United as their channel manager allows them to advertise on more platforms, connect with more potential guests, and provide a seamless service for their guests. Rentals United was a perfect fit with Guesty who is a long-standing partner of Rentals United and further allowed them to connect to Expedia, Google, etc.
+increase in occupancy
+increase in number of bookings
+increase in international guests and bookings from travel agents
Urban Butler’s Jon Lawry founded the company based on his learnings from his experiences traveling. He found he really valued the sincere, intimate, and local experience he discovered on his travels and wanted to bring this same value to properties in his hometown of Auckland.
In a short period of time, starting with just one property at the end of 2017, Jon grew his portfolio to 50 managed properties. They are a team of four, covering marketing, property management, operations, and business development, and have not yet needed to raise capital.
As the company grew, juggling multiple channels was challenging and cumbersome so they sought out to find a channel manager to help their connections across different platforms as well as ensure visibility. Through Guesty, they found Rentals United and have grown their annual revenue by maximizing occupancy.
Urban Butler found that utilizing Rentals United in conjunction with their property management system, has not only increased their bookings and occupancy massively, but has also helped them to manage their workflow from cleaning schedules to daily guest communications. Rentals United has really helped them connect with guests who they may have not been able to reach/ advertise to previously, by expanding their distribution to more channels, such as Expedia, Google, Vrbo Home Away, as well as all of the corresponding subsidiary channels.
They currently use Guesty as their property management system, Beyond Pricing as their dynamic pricing, and YourWelcome as their digital service that allows them to streamline the operation process, guest experience and much more.
One of their main business goals is to increase their higher-end offerings to ensure they provide a five-star guest experience.
As far as their targets for 2020, the company’s main goal is to weather this pandemic whilst balancing their supply (apartments) and demand (guests). As for a long-term goal, they want to be known as the go to five-star boutique accommodation and experience provider throughout beautiful Aotearoa (New Zealand!), expending into Queenstown end of 2020/start 2021.
During the current challenges, the one thing they noticed that helped with their bookings/ revenue was to be empathetic towards their guests and their situations. Understanding customers’ needs and being flexible and kind is what really helped them stand out.
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Are the listings site's commissions included in your pricing?
No, they're not. Some listing sites add their commission on top of the prices you save. These channels want your net rates. Other channels will charge their commission from the prices you save. For the later, you have the possibility to mark your rates up to cover for their commission. We inform you in details how the channels work after you sign-up.
Are other connections included in your pricing?
Rentals United integrates with tech providers that help manage short-term rentals automatically. These providers include Property Management Systems, Payment Providers, Yield Managers and Operational Tools. In order to use them, you have to sign up and contract their services, and pay them separately.
What does your pricing include ?
The Rentals United fee includes storing your property info, using the Channel Manager and all of our other tools: Guest Planner, Booking Engine, Guest Communication, Quality Checker, iCal sync and Multi-Calendar. There's no set-up fee: you will get training during the first month of signing up and larger accounts will get a Key Account Manager to help them grow.