Real Talk: Data Entry & Distribution
We've done a lot of people watching. Specifically, property managers. We promise it wasn't creepy, they were aware we were shadowing them. It was important for us to understand property managers and their daily process, so we could better design software that suited their needs.
Real talk? We noticed a fair few pain points! The fact that property managers don't snap under the daily stress is a testament to their steely nerves. It really is impressive. For example:
Let's say you add a new property. If you're lucky, the owner sends you a list of things they'd like highlighted in the listing. Keyword there: lucky. Most of the time, you'll probably just get a link to their ancient website. After slugging another cup of coffee, you start scraping. This means, page by page, sentence by sentence, you take stock of the listing. You keep your eyes peeled for "dishwasher" and "iron + ironing board" so you can add it to the list of amenities. You make the call on whether or not the description is good enough to be posted on various channels, or if it needs more detail and needs to be re-written (chances are high you'll be the one writing it). One by one you click through the photos, deciding which ones you can use, and then make a note of which ones will need to be retaken in order to make sure you have pictures of everything. Once you've taken stock of the individual property and pulled all the details, you can start filling out the information needed on the respective channels. Unless of course, this website has more than one property...then you'll need to start over. Yay.
From there, let's say the property owner wants to be marketing on Airbnb and Booking.com. For each of those channels, one by one you have to go through each field and add the amenities, description, and photos. Different channels also ask for different featured aspects of the listing. Depending on the original listing, it may contain the aspect that is featured, or not. If it doesn't, then that listing isn't going to perform very well on that specific channel. Suddenly, after all your hard work, you've got a property owner calling you wondering why the unit isn't occupied 100% of the time.
The whole repeated data entry and lack of automated distribution bugged us, let alone you. Let's be real, navigating property owners wouldn't be too terrible if you actually had the time and patience to do so. Maybe your software should contain the capability to allow you to do that? We know. We're getting crazy!
When you add a property in our system it's going to ask you for A LOT of detail. The fact that it will take you some time to fill out all of the information is not lost on us. There are a couple reasons we did that:
1) Content is like pizza. Everyone loves it, and channels are no exception. Various channels use differing algorithms that automatically grade the property listing. A listing with a low amount of content rates lower in the search rankings, meaning the less information added about the property, the lower it’s displayed in searches. The more pictures and longer description you have, the higher it’s displayed when someone searches for a listing in that area.
2) As mentioned above, the content algorithm used varies per channel. Depending on the algorithm, the channel values a specific type of content over another. For example, Booking.com likes listings with oodles of amenities, while Airbnb likes a ton of pictures. If you have a bunch of pictures, then your listing will do wonderfully on Airbnb, but if there aren't a lot of amenities listed out, it will do poorly on Booking.com.
By making it easy to add a crazy amount of detail to your property when you very first add it, we're making sure that it will display well on ALL channels.
Plus- extra fun fact, you only have to fill out the information once. Mhmm. You read that correctly.
Think of our software like a hub, where all the different channels are like spokes. All the information you fill out about your listing is housed within JANIIS, and then we integrate with the channels. All the information you filled out is distributed to places like Booking.com, Airbnb, and so on. Furthermore, we mapped on the back end what fields each of the channels ask for, so that way the maximum amount of content per channel is displayed for each of your listings. That means that all of those glorious amenities are played up on Booking.com, and the pictures are displayed beautifully on Airbnb. Automatically.
We're not even done yet. Let's say you have many different properties in the same area. Or, a cleaning fee that is associated to all properties no matter the location. Generally, you'd have to go through each property one by one and add that fee or tax. It would take at least an hour, maybe more depending on how many properties you manage. Instead of having you do that, we've got a Global Library. Basically, you can group associate fees, taxes, rates, seasonality, and restrictions to any property it applies to. Once associated to the listing, it's distributed to the various channels.
"But wait!" you say, "what if I want to add a new photo? Or change a fee? Do I have to update that change individually?" Absolutely not! Any change you make within the listing information is dynamically updated across channels. So, if you add a picture, the minute you click "save", it's sent to Booking.com and Airbnb. A change that used to take you an hour, now takes you all of 30 seconds.
Who now has all the patience to handle questions from owners? You do. Hooray!
TL;DR: Kiss repeated manual data entry goodbye. Plus, any information you fill out is automatically distributed to the channels of your choice, formatted in the way those particular channels prefer.
Did we get your daily process correct? How do you do it differently? We'd love to hear from you- leave a comment below!