Blog

We want to keep you posted and publish occasional newsletters that can include news, information, opinions and data. Read everything we know.

Subscribe to Blog Emails

It Is Time for Double Tips

By William May
Published: 02/26/21 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Gratitude, Health, Kindness Comments: 0

A new vacation rental landlord was appalled to find out that the management firm put "Housekeeper Tip Envelopes" into homes. She presumptuously concluded that the housekeepers were not paid sufficiently.

That reveals she hasn't the slightest idea of how to be in the hospitality industry. Certainly housekeepers appreciate tips, but tips are not really there for the money.

  • Tips show appreciation.
  • Tips show recognition of the hard work.
  • Tips show respect for undesirable work.
  • Tips are the price you pay to avoid the job.
  • Tips show you are a kind person.

Housekeeping is the kind of work that this privileged snotty rental owner can simply not imagine. Maybe if such owners went out, scrubbed floors, unclogged toilets, and pushed a vacuum until their hands grew callouses, maybe then they would see, or at least begin to feel what it's like to be disrespected.

During the Covid crisis, it has been reported that customers are tipping service personnel, like restaurant servers, delivery drivers, and dry cleaners, far lower than ever before. Of course, some consumers have less money available to leave tips, but for everyone else - shame on you.

People have lost jobs. Some have taken positions at lower wages. Some work part-time when full-time is what they need. That means now is the time to show more respect for service people, not less.

Double Tip

Without much forethought our family has been tipping higher than usual nowadays. But this ungrateful client gave us a brand new idea. Not only is it time to tip everyone well, maybe it's time to start a movement - it's time to tip everyone double.

Maybe it was always time to double tip everyone. Tip double! At minimum. Always!

The Best Reward

On the way home tonight we stopped for take-out at a drive-through fast food restaurant and tipped $20 on a $25 order. We also handed over giant smiles and a very big THANK YOUS.

The wonderful young clerk said, "Oh, that’s too much." To which we had to say, "Oh no, that’s just right."

But the best part of tipping double is that you will get more out of it than the recipient. Generosity always benefits the giver.

And now it can and should benefit us all double! Maybe next time we should make it triple. How about you?

Read more Leave comments

Author: William May
Blog #: 0809 – 02/26/21

HelpBookMe Implements Version 3.0 or S2D2 Pricing System

By William May
Published: 06/03/20 Topics: Software, Sunspots Vacation Rentals, Vacation Rentals, Vortex Managers Comments: 0

Although the Vortex Organization first inserted yield management tools into their HelpBookMe lodging management system years ago, today they announced release of version 3.0 of tools referred to as S2D2 for "Seasonal, Strategic, Dynamic and Distributed".

Salman Arshad, chief engineer notes, "Artificial Intelligence pricing is based on the simple idea of Supply and Demand. But predicting supply and demand is a complicated undertaking because variables change frequently and quickly."

Yield Management, sometimes called "Dynamic Rates", increase or decrease based on the general economy, local and regional economic factors, the features and amenities of each property, local events and circumstances, prior day, week, month and quarter pricing, competitor rates and, even, the weather.

S2D2 rates are based on artificial intelligence that queries over 8 billion dollar points every evening, chooses the factors affecting every individual property, and then applies them to our geographic markets right down to the individual vacation rental home or lodging unit.

"Of course our pricing is based on sophisticated and ever changing algorithms, but we still apply manual review, oversight and, sometimes, intervention," said Kate Quinn, account manager at Vortex. "That is why our product name acknowledges all of those important factors."

"Studied" means constant inspection of what competitors are charging for similar and dis-similar properties. "Strategic" rates are set differently depending on time of the year, the season, and in accordance with local events.

"Dynamic" means that rates are adjusted regularly based on occupancy, advance notice and other factors. "Distributed" requires properties be widely advertised on every productive website and through conventional media to ensure that those who might demand the property know it exists.

You cannot have one of those elements without the others, otherwise the science of yield management would be incomplete. After extensive testing, results show that S2D2 version 3.0 can increase both occupancy and rates, resulting in more profit for property owners.

"It is counter-intuitive to recognize that S2D2 does not care what the day of the week is, what the season is or even if there are holidays." explained Arshad. "Instead, with constant calculation, the software foresees trends and adjusts rates to be at the sweet spot that fosters both occupancy and optimal rate."

Another reason yield management works so well is that, surprisingly, travelers have become accustomed to it and, in fact, learn to use variable rates to change their behavior. In other words, demand for lodging ebbs and flows based on rates.

The HelpBookMe technology and especially version 3.0 help charge the highest possible rate on the most popular dates. Modest rates are charged during shoulder seasons. And low rates are set for slow seasons to attract guests who would not otherwise consider booking.

Yield management shines during good economies, but quickly recognizes and reacts to negative events such as economic downturns, regional weather, and any happenings beyond anyone's control.

William May, a Vortex leader admits, ""Every owner loves the idea of high rates, but pride of ownership can be wounded when they look at lower seasonal rates. But once they see the growth in annual income, owners become quick converts to our S2D2 dynamic rates."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Vortex Managers is a network of trained vacation rental management companies and provides its clients with the resources of giant lodging corporations without the cost or delay. HelpBookMe is a proprietary lodging management software system perfected with thousands of hours by expert engineers. For more information on Vortex, call or Email: Info@VortexManagers.com, or Website: www.VortexManagers.com

Read more Leave comments

Author: William May – Manager, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0746 – 06/03/20

HelpBookMe Invents Bumper Days to Facilitate Covid Cleaning

By William May
Published: 04/01/20 Topics: Comments: 0

In response to the Covid-19 virus, Vortex Organization's Redstone Software engineers have designed and installed a new system in their HelpBookMe property management software. It adds unoccupied dates between bookings to allow separation for guests and additional housekeeping time. These are called :"Bumper" days.

Vortex is a network of inn, resort and vacation rental management companies who share methods, staff, marketing and technology to provide sophisticated services to lodging owners and want maximum income with minimum fuss. Operators of this website are members of the group.

Trina Flanagan, a partner in the firm, said, "We have always employed strict hospitality grade cleaning and sanitizing standards used to clean the inns, resorts and vacation rental homes that its member management companies serve.:

With the arrival of covid-19, Vortex managers began allowing homes to site vacant at least one day after prior guests depart and before housekeepers or new guests access the home.

But with the advent of online travel agents like AirBnB, VRBO, Booking.com and others, lodging reservations are procured from many sources and automatically downloaded into the Vortex HelpBookMe Software

Penny Taylor, a partner administering reservations at all geographic locations, add, "Although not practical in all locations, the Bumper system, allows bumper dates to be added automatically in all geographic areas and in all properties where that policy is desirable."

Even with the lessening of travel restrictions, the new software capabilities increases safety while making the bumper method to be more selectively implemented.

"Our engineering team researched, coded, tested and implemented the system in record time" noted Ozair Khalid who oversees reservations software. "Neither the corporate management companies or major software providers have rolled out a similar tool. Too bad for their manager customers."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Vortex Managers is a network of trained vacation rental management companies and provides its clients with the resources of giant lodging corporations without the cost or delay. HelpBookMe is a proprietary lodging management software system perfected with thousands of hours by expert engineers. For more information on Vortex, call or Email: Info@VortexManagers.com, or Website: www.VortexManagers.com

Read more Leave comments

Author: William May – Manager, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0747 – 04/01/20

Vacation Rental Picante Sauce

By Wm. May
Published: 09/01/17 Topics: Property Management, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Vacation Rental Picante Sauce
Yet another corporate vacation rental management company has announced gobbling up tens of millions of dollars in investment, in hopes of dominating the vacation rental management industry in America, and perhaps even the world. But they are risky for property owners.

Beginning as far back at 1989, Pace Picante sauce began running television commercials. In one, grizzled cowboys threaten to lynch the camp cook when they learn he has been serving them picante sauce from "New York City?"

The cow pokes become offended because Picante sauce should be made by "places in San Antonio with fresh vegetables and spices by people who know what picante sauce is supposed to taste like."

Watch it here.

While the huge vacation rental management companies want to convince property owners that they can manage every home just right, even though they are located hundreds of thousands of miles away, the truth is - they can not.

One of these giant companies even has over 300 negative complaints and reviews online about shoddy housekeeping and lack of response. The average for vacation rental managers is zero, one or two over time. Something is seriously wrong with having 300 unhappy guests, because that means there are far more who don't take the time to post complaints.

For another competitor, their complaints reveal a wolf in sheep's clothing. Although they profess to be managers, they quickly throw owners and managers under the bus whenever there are any complications, as the following complaint answer proves:

COMPLAINT: "2 days before my trip receiving a voice and email telling me that my reservation had been cancelled because of a double booking."

ANSWER: "Booking was canceled within 48 hours prior to her arrival when it became apparent to the Host that there was a conflict with a previous client who'd booked."

And then they accidentally revealed the wrong problem, (our company) "The Host (homeowner) is the party responsible for resolving any conflicts. [Our company] is a marketing and booking service that Hosts use to assist with reservations. . . The rental agreement. You accepted . . . Clearly states that the booking is directly between the Guest and the Host."

And then they reveal the unreliability of their services by saying "Double bookings are an unfortunate side effects of the vacation rental and travel industry as a whole."

Well, duh, no that is not correct. That is excuse making

Although no one is perfect in the lodging industry, double bookings are NOT common and they are certainly not an unfortunate side effect. They are the result of a company pretending to be a lodging manager when they are, in fact, too far away and too powerless.

LOCAL IS BETTER:

Vacation Rental Firms have proven to be a locally branded business. Owners and guests prefer to deal with a local reliable professional firm that is on hand to attend to them. Members of the Vortex Organization have found the best way to do that.

They are independently operated to ensure great houses, hospitality cleaning, happy guests and happy owners. Our first office opened in 1964, but we are the most tech-enabled managers. We are in it for the long haul..

But the network ensures that managers have all the tools such as dynamic pricing, post listings on hundreds of advertising websites, and answer guest inquiries 24/7. In fact, local firms have access to local tourism promotion, websites and contacts the others can not match.

That means our managers produce more bookings as well as more peace of mind.

So if the vacation rental "manager" you are using to book your home is not actually located in the area where you rental home is situated, or even in "New York City", its time to go local.

Call a local professional vacation rental management company to learn about all the comprehensive and reliable services you have been missing.

- - - - - - - - -
And a few more just for fun:

1989 Pace Picante Sauce

1990 Pace Picante Sauce

1993 Pace Picante Sauce

1993 Pace Picante Sauce

1994 Pace Picante Sauce

1995 Pace Picante Sauce

Read more Leave comments

Author: Wm. May, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0530 – 09/01/17

El Nino Looms; Don't Fret Too Much

By Taylor May
Published: 12/01/15 Topics: Comments: 0

A magazine For skiers, snowboarders and everything snow started in 1964 now an online source of with news, comments, articles, photos and videos. If you slide, visit our Website and join the email list to get instant mountain info year round. Read more Leave comments

Crowing about VRA Mobile Websites

By William May
Published: 11/01/14 Topics: Comments: 0

It may not sound earth shaking but Redstone Systems, creator of the HelpBook.me software has just added their evolutionary new mobile websites to their system and has donated the capability to the VRA.org website and those that use VRMLS.org. Check it on your mobile phone now. Read more Leave comments

A Map, a Map, My Kingdom for a Map

By William May
Published: 07/20/14 Topics: Comments: 0

Folded like origami (Japanese paper art), maps have been an indispensable tool for travelers for centuries. But today with Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) and Smart Phones, travel can be much easier but it does require some common sense. Read more Leave comments

Outdoors-For-All, the Heroes Among Us

By William May
Published: 06/09/14 Topics: Comments: 0

Donate your home to charities for their use and fundraising and post your generosity on VacationRentalAgents.com. See how the Ski-For-All Foundation gave property owners the great satisfaction of helping disabled kids and adults to ski. Read more Leave comments

What I do for a living

By William May
Published: 04/08/14 Topics: Comments: 0

After a tragedy that has taken dozens of life in the small town of Oso Washington State, first-responders open the door to untrained volunteers after realizing they are better equipped at working in such difficult conditions. Read more Leave comments

Top Reasons to Do-It-Yourself Vacation Rental

By William May
Published: 03/15/14 Topics: Comments: 0

Renting the house seemed like a good idea. Cut out the middle man and rack in the big bucks. Guests will love the place, housekeepers are a dime a dozen, advertising is easy. Here are the top 10 reasons to handle everything personally. Read more Leave comments

Varoom Vacation Rental Cooperative Springs to Life

By William May
Published: 02/23/14 Topics: Comments: 0

Even with the thousands of advertising websites catering to vacation rental owners, guests often search in vain to find the perfect accommodations. Now the website www.Varoom.biz, the world's first Vacation Rental Cooperative matches guests with property owners and managers to increase bookings. Read more Leave comments

Coming to Skippy's Class ill Prepared

By William May
Published: 12/11/13 Topics: Comments: 0

Looking back it is astonishing to realize that a world class scholar was teaching in a small community college off the beaten path in the Northwest corner of the country. She would have wowed any student in the finest college anywhere. Read more Leave comments

How clean is clean enough?

By William May
Published: 03/15/13 Topics: Comments: 0

Take the Deep Cleaning test. Most owners fail in their primary homes and, let's face it, second homes often get short shrift. Top property managers clean to high hospitality standards because failing to do so makes for unhappy guests and refunds. Read more Leave comments

Vacation Rental Housekeeper Spills the Beans

By William May
Published: 02/16/13 Topics: Comments: 0

As professional lodging managers it's not too often that we get a full glimpse of what life is really like for Rent by Owners who manage their personal vacation homes. Here is a Q&A with a top housekeeper who has horror stories to tell. Read more Leave comments

The Vacation Rental Dollar Store

By William May
Published: 01/16/13 Topics: Comments: 0

Who knew that Dollar stores were such a good source of items needed to outfit a Vacation Rental home. This author learns a lesson and receives great customer service too. Read more Leave comments

Manifest Photos for Lodging Properties

By Joseph Romain
Published: 12/16/12 Topics: Comments: 0

Everyone shoots advertising photos for their properties, but smart owners and managers also shoot manifest photos to document anything and everything about their properties for insurance and customer service use. Read more Leave comments

Setting Property Refund Policies

By William May
Published: 11/08/12 Topics: Comments: 0

There are good reasons why Guests may be due a full or partial refund on their stay. And other reasons which can severally and unfairly affect the property owners bottom line. Setting reasonable and logical cancellation and refund rules is just good business. Read more Leave comments

Vacation Rental Huts on Wheels

By William May
Published: 10/15/12 Topics: Comments: 0

How about a vacation rental on wheels, and no its not a mobile home Not exactly. Tom Kundig is an architect who had an interesting problem and more interesting solution. They're called Rolling Huts. You'll want to know more. Read more Leave comments

Vacation Rentals Enhance the Neighborhood

By William May
Published: 08/15/12 Topics: Comments: 0

Going to a grand hotel for grand service will never go away. Stopping for a quick night at a convenient motel makes long trips easier. And now Vacation Rentals allow property owners to share their homes with responsible guests. It lights up the neighborhood, keeps home in good condition and shows the communities hospitality. Read more Leave comments

Netiquette - How to Write an Email

By William May
Published: 07/18/12 Topics: Comments: 0

RSVP: Not everyone remembers what this means, but if you need a response include it and/or remind the user to respond such as "Please let me know your thoughts one way or the other." Read more Leave comments

1 2

DETAILS: We work to keep this information up to date, but details do change from time to time based on circumstances, often on short notice, and sometimes beyond our control. To verify any answer or other information you may need, please call or email us anytime. Allow a reasonable amount of time for response. Only legitimate inquiries will be answered.