COVID-19 Vacation Rentals / Hospitality Industry Update April 1, 2020 – What do to with downtime
April 1, 2020 Updates on COVID-19 / Corona Virus updates for the Vacation Rentals / Hospitality industry from Micah Berg Founder & CEO of https://www.thevru.com/ and Justin Jones Founder and CEO of https://imegonline.com/ In this update we talk about ideas to help with your possible downtime during this crisis.
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Justin Jones 0:05
Okay, so welcome everybody to another episode of the vacation rentals updates during the COVID-19. I’ve got Micah Berg here with me from real joy vacation rentals, and the founder of vacation University and myself, Justin Jones with internet marketing expert group. And today we want to talk about what are some great uses of downtime. You know, because as this chaos kind of settles, there’s gonna be this like, time that we have that we could use strategically that our future self will thank us for So Micah, I’m gonna let you start it off there and what are some things that you would recommend people doing during this downtime? That, you know, we’ve all went really, really tactical in the past couple of weeks and forgot, you know, strategic things, but what are some strategic things if we have some downs Time with staff ourselves that you think are high priority that we should consider.
Micah Berg 1:04
Yeah, I mean, if we’re if you’re looking at the same news, it looks like April, for the most part through the entire United States is going to be shut down for vacation rentals. So you got 30 days, I think. And Justin, you probably agree. A chaotic part of this is over sometime in the next seven days. Yeah. Yeah. For all the random news and the additional stuff that’s happening and all this stuff. I don’t know if the curve flattens or not. I don’t know about the virus itself. I just mean from a business perspective,
Justin Jones 1:34
especially the vacation rentals for sure.
Micah Berg 1:36
Yeah, I mean, you’re gonna get to a point where you’re closed down, everybody’s cancelled. Nobody’s calling you for money. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it? So, but the issue there is, there is this like, subconscious like you kind of want to just sit and wallow in it when it slows down and that might be okay for like the first day. You know, get some rest, maybe two days, get some rest, like enjoy doing nothing. catch up on like some TV watching or whatever. But at some point, if you stay in that zone, and you stay in your pajamas, your brain kind of turns to mush. You may get depressed, there might be, you know, just some, like, issues with like staff morale and stuff like that. And so, a couple of things that we’re looking at doing is painting the office, right, we literally can never get a chance to paint the office because we’re either too understaffed and all over the place like in our winter season, you know, we have still have inspections, winter inspections, all this but we’re at our bare minimum staff. And so it’s just kind of hard to get people in the office to move their stuff around and all this and we we want to paint it ourselves right in this scenario, especially not going to spend a ton of money on painters but who can’t paint in the vacation rental industry. And then you know, we get busier when you’re hiring low priority, or there’s so many people in the office, you can’t possibly shut it down for three days. And so you end up painting one wall and then getting distracted and then your office looks like crap forever. So things like that painting your office, organizing your office spaces. I can’t tell you how much trash is in most property management company offices. Just a ridiculous amount of like stuff came like refrigerator parts that didn’t fit and ever got sent back and you name it stacks of stuff just crap everywhere pillows and blankets and all this stuff. So, you know, going through organizing your office organizing your workspace redecorating, painting, getting things like ready, do you have software that needs to be updated on certain computers? Or have you been putting off switching from your regular phone to a ring central or like a voice over IP, any sort of infrastructure upgrades and a lot of this stuff is cheap, or you’ve already paid for it? Or you can pay for it later and just go ahead and get that stuff done. Like knock it out. See you got some notes. Oh In your processes, so a lot of companies that are growing or newer, you kind of have ideas of your processes, but you’ve never really written them down or they’re haphazard, like one person has one way of doing it, another has another, sit down with that group, either by zoom or, you know, whatever, six feet away in a big old circle. And, you know, talk about the processes and decide on one, pick one, one way to do an inspection, one way to do a clean one way to make a reservation or how your cancellation goes and just refine all these processes. If there’s 30 or 40 tasks in your business that y’all do on a regular basis. You can go and review all of those over the next month easily and define them and you’ll come out of this thing solid, you know vacation rental University, you can get access to it free thanks to Justin. Using the coded 19 co v ID one nine code gets free access to the monthly You can go in there and watch videos on all of our processes and download the templates for everything checklists, templates, forms, etc. all right there. So speed it up incredibly fast. What else you got, like on the marketing side, you know, a lot of companies are doing that in house, maybe they haven’t looked at their ads or their descriptions.
Justin Jones 5:21
So a couple of things that we’re doing is, uh, trying to filter it through revenue, because everybody kind of needs it right now. One is doing a deep dive on all your insurance, make sure you have proper insurance, renegotiate insurance, making sure you have enough coverage. Looking through those. We’re going through all of our contracts to make sure they’re signed, they’re up to date, if not fixing those. We’re going through all of our expenses in detail, saying well, where can i say Where can I cut? Where should I really negotiate more? Because that’s usually like you don’t wake up on a Monday morning as a vacation or marketing agency and go Hey, let’s go peruse through our expenses and save a buck. Right? Anybody been through the insurance to make sure we’re properly covered? Yeah. Have we call them to renegotiate? Right? Anything like that, to save money, um, education is huge and to promote vru because it’s free right now. Um, DVR comm totally free Cova 19 is your promo code is to give back to help you you can go in there and look at like, hey, and maybe you can’t find immediate money but maybe it’s a systems in a process you’re analyzing, you’re like, let’s look at our housekeeping process. Is there inefficiencies I could work out that when we do come back saves time and money? Yeah. I’m all kinds of things just looking at the business. And the way that I like to do that is through a, what I call thinking time, so I just sit down with a couple of high quality questions like how might I make my housekeeping processes more efficient And you just write down ideas. And then at the end, you pick two or three good ones, and then go execute. Now, you know, how might I, you know, reduce my cost of goods sold by 10%. Maybe you don’t get to 10%, maybe get to 20. Maybe you get to two. And as write down, well, I could do this. And do that for 30 minutes, do nothing. But think on that question for 30 minutes, and then go execute. Those are things we typically don’t have time to do. So while the financial loss sucks, and the chaos sucks, and the sickness sucks, and all that, it is, there’s still a lot of opportunity out there to do things like this that you normally don’t get to do.
Micah Berg 7:37
Justin Jones 7:40
And maybe, I know for me, one thing I’m hoping to get on my list if things come down soon enough, is to also reach out to those clients that maybe you haven’t talked to in a minute. Mm. They haven’t tried to contact you, but you just had to reconnect, reach, sit down with your management team that maybe you haven’t got to talk to them. A minute about some, just Hey, how are things? How can I add value here? Where are we at? But there’s so many ways to spend your time, but I would definitely put it into two perspectives. One is that this can be kind of a depressing time financially, staying busy and helping others always helps with depression. Mm hmm. Yeah. And even if it’s not some like, bad depression, but it’s like, Man, this sucks. I’m kind of down I just want to like do nothing like why am I even doing this this worth it right kind of depression comes from not
Micah Berg 8:29
accomplishing something or not progressing. And this is kind of what we’re stuck with for the next day
Justin Jones 8:34
busy and help others. Yeah. And then lastly, I think that it is a great opportunity to really look at your business as a whole. And go Where are the opportunities here? Yeah. And what have I been? What don’t I see? is a good question to think on for 20 or 30 minutes. No, What don’t I see That’s coming around the corner. Because what’s interesting in these times is we look at like, we’re so focused on like, how do we survive the day? We forget about the future. We’re we’ve got to do that right now. Not saying at all, we should be sitting around thinking about future. But things are going to come down and April’s pretty shot and tourism, you agree with that? I agree with that. So in a week or so, we’re going to have a couple of weeks of downtime, but I think it’d be wise to invest into more strategic thinking. Yeah,
Micah Berg 9:31
yeah. And a couple other ideas is rebranding or refreshing your brand, especially if you’ve kind of had it on the list? Hey, now’s the time, like, refresh your brand, get all this stuff loaded up, get with your marketing people and look at your logos and all that and launch out of this thing with a fresh feel. It’ll make you feel good to work on that. And it’s a cool time to do that. And so maybe not a full rebrand, but any of those things you’ve had on your list like that. Go write your story. Like who Are you and what’s your company about and start like writing that down. That’s a cool story that’s been in my sales packet to new owners for 11 years. I mean, the day I met the first one, I, I just wanted them to know who I was. And it’s changed over time. But write that down, write your story down and give it to people. Get a head on blogs, like if I mean, hopefully, at some point, you have content writers, you know, those, outsource that those are kind of cheap. But if you don’t, and you haven’t been blogging seriously sit down and write out a couple of small blogs, or at least get some ideas sketched out on 16 ideas that you have. And that way you kind of front load to work on that while you have downtime.
Justin Jones 10:39
quick story. And this was the other thing I was going to add in your mind to me, is that right now is an amazing time to get ahead of your competition. While there may be at home watching Netflix, there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re the type that would rather you know you don’t value the growth and the revenue and those kind of things. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. But if you’re not that person And you do want to be the best in the business constantly grow and add more value. Now is a time while everybody’s kind of distracted and sitting on the sidelines to get laser like focused and strategic beat this chaos and work twice as hard to where when this thing does come back around, you’re even further ahead of them more closer to that number one competitor you’ve been chasing for a while. Yeah, and hope that people sit on this. I hope all my competitors are like, this sucks. I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I’m so depressed. I’m just gonna watch Netflix.
Micah Berg 11:34
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. or drink myself into a stupor?
Justin Jones 11:38
Yeah, something. But ah, I’m not gonna be that one. And those who don’t, this is a great reminder that this is a great opportunity to get even further ahead.
Micah Berg 11:49
Yeah, well, and if you stay busy, I mean, whatever is gonna happen is gonna happen no matter how worried you are about it. So stay busy and do stuff that’s productive. And look at your descriptions. You know your property. descriptions, your rates, especially your rates, holy crap. I mean,
Justin Jones 12:04
oh, property descriptions and photos huge.
Micah Berg 12:06
Because when do you do that? You never almost never do I hear companies say, Oh, yeah, this property has been on my program for five years. When’s the last time you wrote the description about it five years ago? No, I mean, like, you kind of should review that every year. And if you haven’t, this is your time
Justin Jones 12:21
to development. they redid the pool, they redid the clubhouse that it’s
Micah Berg 12:26
got the pictures of the like, brass rims shower door that doesn’t exist anymore. I mean, it’s time to like, get a list of those things and start knocking that out. And I’m not saying spend a ton of money. Most of this stuff is cheaper, free, I mean, your your bones core staff is probably still around sitting sitting around, doing very little you’re sitting around doing very little, some of your contractors. You know, maybe they’re on unemployment and they don’t mind helping you for free just because, you know, you can’t pay them. But if if they’re writing blogs for you, or writing content, whatever, maybe they’ll do some stuff just because So, you know, don’t be afraid to ask for some help. Even if you can’t pay just they’re your friends now. We’re all being employed by the federal government for another month or two. So thanks, Uncle Sam, but you know, maybe they’ll volunteer chip in and do some stuff with you or for you. So like a paint I can’t have paint parties, right cuz that’s not social distancing. So I guess you just cycle through that I don’t even know how I know we’re painting or painting our office but I think we’re doing it a cup like one team that works together or something at a time or small deal so So anyways, those are just some ideas. I don’t have anything else Justin How about you
Justin Jones 13:41
know the big thing is just I mean there is there is a lot of chaos and a lot of what we describe as negative there’s is equal amount of opportunities if you’ll stay focused and open. And the one thing I’d even my team, just a recommendation maybe the closest out is don’t bring don’t bring me anything. But I can’t control. Yeah, I don’t need to hear about like, hey, they’ve extended it another 30 days. Okay, cool. Don’t care. But what can I control? Yeah. And focus only on what you control and the rest is a waste of time. Yeah. What I can control to a good degree is my expenses, how I spend my time how I communicate with my owners, my staff, my team. Those are things I can control and then the rest is just gonna take care of itself.
Micah Berg 14:29
Yeah, yeah. All right. So dig and do some housekeeping in your business, clean up the processes. Do all these honey do lists that you’ve had sitting around forever clean up your desk and get ready to come out of this thing gangbusters because, as I’ve said before, nobody’s flying to Europe or Asia for probably what will become a year or more. Cruise Lines are probably going to stay shut down or very limited. So you know, it’s our chance as local providers here in the US to rake in Joe and people want to travel and they can’t go anywhere but local drive to markets, or you know, maybe they’ll fly.
Justin Jones 15:06
Yeah. And we haven’t listened to the other updates for the past week or so this is in that, but I just want to add this in case you haven’t is that you know, nobody’s really in a great situation. But if you had to say, who would you want to be if you had to be in this situation? I’d want to be in vacation rentals. I’d want to be in a leisure market. Yeah. Preferably drive to or at least in the United States.
Micah Berg 15:32
Oh, yeah. This The only ones coming back are right here.
Justin Jones 15:34
Oh, we are Yes. Getting hit. And yes, it’s not fun, but we’re super blessed to be in that category, I
Micah Berg 15:41
think. Yeah, absolutely. So and then you know, we mentioned it a couple times in this video, but go to www.hev.com sign up for the Masters monthly and Justin and I made are giving you a discount coupon so it’s completely free. So that coupon is Cod. Id one nine Cova 19 sign up for that go get in there. You’d be shocked at how much stuff’s in there to help speed up your business and you know, get some things, some ideas brewing and help you with your processes, those sorts of things. So stay safe out there. We’ll see you tomorrow. Thank you