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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."

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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

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

Clean, Wipe, Soak, Scrub, Brush, Scour, Polish

By Ron Lee
Published: 04/18/20 Topics: Covid-19 Virus, Housekeeping, Property Management Comments: 0

How to Clean and Sanitize Vacation Rental Homes

Since our first office opened in 1964, we have been rigorously cleaning and sanitizing properties for decades. This is nothing new to us. In fact, our homes are cleaned to a degree higher than most people have at home. It has always been our commitment to have every home safe and ready for guest arrival.

Get a Real Getaway

If you need a vacation, holiday escape, spring break, fresh air and time alone, vacation rentals are the best option. Bring kids or not. Bring the family or just your spouse. Most homes are free-standing, so you can avoid crowds. Even in our condos, the homes are open corridor, so there is no need to pass through common areas, like lobbies and dark hallways.

When Guests Depart

After guests depart, housekeepers arrive at every home to clean, wipe, soak, scrub, brush, scour, mop and polish bathrooms, kitchens, bedrooms, common spaces and even decks and patios, linens, towels and surfaces. Hot tubs are disinfected. This entire process - called "out Clean" - takes many hours. Then homes are spot checked by managers to ensure good work. When departing, all staff members use bleach rags, so that even the door knob and key-safe are sanitized. Wow!

Sanitation Cleaning Products

We use a variety of products to clean, disinfect and sanitize. All are approved for high health standards. We still use bleach for some areas because it is still the gold standard for killing every kind of bug. In fact, if you enter a home immediately after housekeepers depart, for a few minutes you may detect a slight cleaning smell. That is your assurance of sanitization.

Bathroom Super Scrub

Cleaning bathrooms is not a fun task, but we carefully clean all sinks, mirrors, toilets, drawers, bathtubs and shower enclosures until they sparkle. But they have also been sprayed and later wiped with disinfectant. Soiled and unsoiled towels are removed before cleaning starts to avoid cross contamination. This is a hands-and-knees job, but housekeepers pride themselves on meticulous cleaning.

Proper Wipe Downs

You might think that spraying and wiping surfaces with disinfectant is sufficient, but it is not. Instead, disinfectant must be left on surfaces for a period of time before it is wiped away. This gives time for the liquid to kill all the germs.

- Door knobs inside and outside.

- Window switches.

- Light switches and sockets.

- Lamp switches.

- Cupboard doors and surfaces.

- Table tops including night stands.

- Appliances - top and sides.

- Counter tops.

- Reachable walls.

- Outdoor furniture.

- Stairs and deck handrails.

- Toasters and coffee makers.

- TV and other remote controls.

- Stereos and computers.

- Door bells and key safes.

- Toys and board games.

- Pet toys and blankets.

- And more.

Vacuuming, Mopping, Sweeping

Are you ever tempted to do floors fast? By slowing down the process and covering every floor surface carefully, dirt, grime and germs are removed. We keep equipment new and well maintained to get the best results. Housekeepers are never limited to cleaning hours. Instead, they are encouraged to take all the time they need to do the job right.

Kitchens and Dining Rooms

Kitchens get splattered on, baked in and used heavily. It is a big job, but to get kitchens spic-and-span is essential, from the stove to oven to refrigerator, but also microwaves, cupboards, fans and light fixtures. Cleaned inside and out. You will notice we remove condiments, such as ketchup and mustard left from prior guests, because leaving open containers violates health standards. You'll have to bring your own, but you'll know they are new and fresh.

Hot Tubs and Spas

Every hot tub is completely disinfected after each booking by trained staff members. Sand or debris is removed, filters are inspected, and chemicals are adjusted. In addition, the hot tub cove, top and side surfaces are disinfected. If you arrive to a tub that is not yet fully heated, please wait because we had to empty and refill it. Takes time to reheat.

Towels and Linens

Washing and drying linens and towels is an obvious step, be we wall all of them, even if a bed does not appear to have been slept in. They are transported to the washer-dryer using rubber gloves and laundry bags, and they are returned to beds in baskets to avoid cross contamination. Along with quality detergent, additional disinfectant is added to all washing to ensure germs are eradicated.

Deep Cleans

In addition to our rigorous out-clean, homes receive deep cleans regularly to cover hard to access areas, including heating ducts, cupboard sides and ceilings, high surfaces, fans, carpets and more. This takes many hours, and ensures the cleanest possible property.

When Guests Depart

You may notice that we do NOT as guests to do laundry or to remove linens and towels to the laundry area. We do it all to ensure that every textile has been washed and cleaned properly without dragging it through the house.

Call Us Quick: 206-504-2744

If at any time during your stay, if you find any issue, call our 24-7-365 day phone number for assistance. If necessary, our staff will happily come to the property to ensure all is right. And if you want daily cleaning, we can arrange that too, for a small additional fee.

Avoid Crowds, Stay in a Private, Vacation Home!

Year round, in every season, and no matter what is happening in the rest of the world, vacation rentals offer a respite from the rate race, a chance to get away and to enjoy a sparkling clean, sanitized home.

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Author: Ron Lee, Vortex Managers
Blog #: 0742 – 04/18/20
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HelpBookMe Invents Bumper Days to Facilitate 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 not rolled out a similar tool. Too bad for their manager customers."

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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

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

YourShare Launches Program for Timeshare Resort Vacation Rental Mastery

By Kate Quinn
Published: 10/29/19 Topics: Comments: 0

Vortex Managers, has announced the formation of a new program for struggling timeshare resorts that helps them rent out unused weeks. The "Yourshare" program helps resorts get their fair share of the fast growing vacation rental market.

It combines savvy vacation rental executives, along with revolutionary software that solves the puzzle of how to promote timeshare units into the vacation rental website channels as well as hotel channels. Plus it provides local and regional advertising that no other management firm provides, all without upfront costs or ongoing fees to the resort.

Every timeshare magazine, website and conference includes extensive discussion and diagnosis of why timeshare resorts are struggling.

After the rapid development of resorts starting four decades ago, the properties now suffer what the industry summarizes as "Aging Properties and Aging Owners" notes William May, the YourShare leader who heads up the program..

Owners who purchases shares long ago have grown older, often on fixed incomes, they travel less and may even be unable to travel to the property they once adored. All the while older properties require escalating maintenance and operating costs, far greater than inflation. With no way to offset their costs, owners are giving away shares but even that often proves impossible. So they are stuck.

In resorts, many unit sit vacant many nights of the year. Some resorts have tried to dent the vacation rental industry and some large timeshare management firms profess to be in the rental business.

"Unfortunately, most resorts don't know how to do it and the timeshare managers have not invested as heavily as they should to master rentals, " Says Penny Taylor, of Yourshare. "They were caught napping while vacation rentals stole their consumers."

"By charging large monthly flat fees to resorts, timeshare managers lack the motivation to do every possible thing they can to secure rentals." observers May, "They have sat on their hands while the vacation rental industry has taken away their visitors.".

Some management firms own all or parts of timeshare exchanges so taking rentals is not in their best interest. When they do attempt to compete in vacation rentals they often advertise only to the hotel channels, while ignoring the vacation rental market which is growing much faster.

On the other hand Vortex, which operates the Goldener Inns and Sunspot Vacation Rentals networks grew up in a very different world. "In Vacation Rentals, managers work on a commission only basis, so we only make money when the owner clients do." says Penny Taylor, "We have to perform and get results for owners or else. That means we can never rest. "

There are timeshare advertising websites but they seldom produce much income for several reason. First they can not compete with the giants and never create sufficient visibility. They ignore regional and even local marketing because its expensive. And they brand themselves as timeshares which is not attractive to many guests in the vacation rental market.

Instead, the Yourshare program partners with all the giant websites to make properties ubiquitous to consumers. The resort handles the property like always, and Yourshare does the advertising, reservations and guest coordination.

The program creates regional and even local central reservation websites, and even new websites for resorts, so they can be personal and local as well as global. They are not promoted as timeshares but as :"vacation rentals" which is of course accurate.

"Dovetailing timeshares into the vacation rental system, proved more complicated than would be imagined," said "Salman Arshad, chief web software architect at Vortex managers on the YourShare project. At a vacation rental every date is available unless the owner blocks it off, but in timeshares no dates are available unless an owner opens the dates. They are backward.

"We operate in numerous markets with free-standing homes, or condos inside buildings and even other specialty lodging places including guest ranches." added Arshad. "So operating a system that handles both methods proved complicated, but we solved the riddle."

Vortex employs its own inhouse software staff, and re-engineered its HelpBookme.com systems to allow timeshare condos to be easily marketed into both the vacation rental channels as well as hotel channels. "We are the only people who have it" notes Taylor, "We put every home on AirBnB, VRBO, and hundreds of other websites."

Yourshare launched quietly in 2018 as an Owner Direct website, contracting directly with share owners and selling their dates to the public. "Frankly, the consumers see no difference. If marketed properly, to them a timeshare is just another nice vacation home," notes Taylor. "In fact, timeshare resorts are usually well kept up, in good locations, pleasant staff and with plenty of amenities."

The timeshare industry's big mistake is that they ignored vacation rentals, and its too late for most to catchup unless they have help from seasoned vacation rental pros.

The Yourshare concept came about over some time. "At first we offered our services directly to the resort, but they never responded, and all while the "Aging properties and aging owners" problem was biting them.

Within a year we were procuring more nightly rentals than the onsite manager, and producing more income to owners. "We approached another resort, again without response, so we launched there too as Owner Direct."

"Recently a competing resort in that community called and said, 'Hey we would like to get some of that money' so now we are working directly with them and with good results." said May. Their onsite management team were well seasoned and anxious to have a plug and play system like Yourshare.

Yourshare re-built that resort's website, advertised them on hundreds of website and even created Dynamic Range Photos, 3D tours, floor plans, printed materials and other tools that have proven to be so effective in the vacation rental lodging business. It was done in very quickly.

After perfecting the entire Yourshare process, the company is now expanding geographically and has launched its services nationwide. "We like to work for resorts who recognize they need help, but we are also happy to work directly with owners if asked. So if the resort board doesn't ask us, we go in and help owners anyway."

"Best of all," said Taylor, "Vacation Renting brings in more visitors to each Resort and every one of those visitors are potential timeshare buyers." In the long run, that could be the biggest benefits to legacy resorts.

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YourShare.biz is operated by Vortex Managers headquartered in Seattle, WA. Along with its affiliate Sunspot Vacation Rentals and Goldener Inns networks, YourShare offers vacation rental booking, advertising, marketing and reservations to timeshare resorts looking to increase their income without upfront costs or ongoing fees. For more information, call YourShare at 818-922-8292. See owner details at www.YourShare.biz and other resorts at RentYourShare.biz.

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Author: Kate Quinn, YourShare
Blog #: 0713 – 10/29/19

AtTheBlue.com at Blue Heron Resort

By Libby Rogers
Published: 04/22/18 Topics: Hood Canal, Timeshares, Vacation, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Yourshare.biz which offers resort and owner direct vacation rental bookings for timeshare properties announced today that it has opened a new website for the Blue Heron Condos on Washington State's pristine Hood Canal. Read more Leave comments

When Cheap is Ohhhhh So Good! (And warm!)

By Jerry German
Published: 10/01/17 Topics: Comments: 1

From the earliest days of my childhood, I have never been a winter person. Yeah, winter is beautiful and there are some fun things to do, but I hate cold, love hot. And I love to swim. And I like beaches Read more Leave comments

Wonderful Puerto Morelos on the Yucatan

By Ron Lee
Published: 09/01/17 Topics: Inns, Mexico, Vacation Rentals Comments: 0

Although still a fishing village, the government declared the reef area and mangroves an ecological preserve with the intent to locals to keep development to a minimum. But comfort and fun are at a maximum. Read more Leave comments

Seaway Dance Hall at Copalis Beach Rocked Out

By Wm. May
Published: 03/01/17 Topics: Comments: 0

Just West of the Green Lantern Tavern in Copalis Beach Washington State is a World War Two Quonset hut where Rock and Roll reigned supreme in the 1960's. Read more Leave comments

Creepy Vacation Rental Videos

By Wm. May
Published: 05/27/15 Topics: Marketing, Vacation Rentals, Videos Comments: 0

Videos are now being used as background graphics for many websites including for vacation rental advertising that depict guests inside homes in seemingly innocent moments like lounging bed or playing with their children. But does it cross the line? 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

Government Officials Driving Tourism Economy Away

By Ron Lee
Published: 06/01/12 Topics: Government Comments: 0

Tourism is a clean, responsible industry that brings in visitors anxious to shop, attend events, tour attractions, rent lodging, and pay the taxes that go with them. So why do local government officials want to drive away vacation rentals and turn away the easy spending guests who want them? Read more Leave comments

Glorious Days on Washington State Beaches

By William May
Published: 05/15/12 Topics: Comments: 0

It is time to plan your summer at the beach? Vacation Rental managers are not yet sold out but will be soon. To get your choice place get off the couch and make that call today. Read more Leave comments

Sunbanks Resort - Little known Secret Location

By Penny L. Taylor
Published: 03/31/10 Topics: Comments: 0

Warm weather took me on a drive to Central Washington state, to little known Banks Lake and SunBanks Resort. Toasty hot in summer it boasts warm water unlike most big lake resorts. Read more Leave comments

Everything Robert Fulgham Learned in Kindergarten

By William May
Published: 11/01/09 Topics: Comments: 0

I stumbled onto an Internet posting the other day that told me it has been twenty years since Robert Fulgham wrote "Everything I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten". Read more Leave comments

Remembering the "Thank You" Game

By William May
Published: 09/01/09 Topics: Comments: 0

Surprises are great. And thank you's are best. In an industry like property management that requires attention to detail, constant supervision and reconciliation of occasionally conflicting goals between guests and owners it is too easy to forget the little personal things that make life worth liv Read more Leave comments

Ocean Shores and Westport are Beaches Like No Other

By William May
Published: 08/01/09 Topics: Comments: 0

A truth in advertising disclaimer is required first. Although I haven't lived in the area in almost 40 years, I must admit that I did grew up in several towns on the Washington Coast. Up until 4th grade the town of Raymond was where my parents lived and, you know how that goes, so did me. After the Read more Leave comments

Barack Obama Endorses Vacation Rentals

By William May
Published: 11/24/08 Topics: Comments: 0

The next President of the United States has effectively endorsed the entire concept of Vacation Rentals by renting a private home in Kailua on the North Shore of Oahu, a Hawaiian Island. He is staying there for a week with his wife Michelle and two daughters. He is staying at a secluded beach re Read more Leave comments

Leavenworth Oktoberfest is just around the corner

Published: 09/17/08 Topics: Comments: 0

With the leaves slowly changing from green to spectacular shades of red and yellow, it makes us think about Oktoberfest in Leavenworth. Sure, we could be thinking about hot apple cider, soup and dreaming about the warm summer days a Read more Leave comments

What Makes Vacation Rentals Unique

By Ana M. Kinkaid
Published: 06/11/07 Topics: Comments: 0

Vacation Rentals are the newest member of the hospitality industry. Here are some of the ways that vacation rentals offer an attractive alternative to traditional lodging. LOTS OF ROOM - One of the biggest differences between a vacation rental and almost all other forms of lodging is the space ava Read more Leave comments

Vacation Rentals In Afghanistan

By William May
Published: 09/05/04 Topics: Comments: 0

I kid you not. The LA Times is reporting that Estullah Rooz, after years of fighting Soviets, rival Mujahedee and the Taliban, the man known as the Commander Mullah is going corporate. And how you say? Well, he's building the first Swiss designed and pre-fabricated Vacation Rental homes on Lake Qarg Read more Leave comments

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