Q: What are the skills and qualifications required to operate a SkyRun Vacation Rental Location.
A: Running your own SkyRun business in a resort can be extremely rewarding. Our most successful location owners have characteristics like a strong work ethic, the ability to focus on details, a general aptitude for business, marketing and sales and the ability to work with and manage a staff. Experience and/or business education is a must. Our business is very much automated, with most of our communication happening on email and using websites. Therefore, to operate a successful location, you must be very comfortable with using a computer to work.
Perhaps the single biggest characteristic though is the unrelenting desire to do what it takes to provide great vacations to the families you serve as well as to protect the investments of your client/owners as if the property was your own. If you enjoy providing hospitality and introducing people to the area that you love yourself, you will succeed.
Q:What investment is required?
A: One of the great things about the vacation rental business is that there is no inventory to buy or factories or stores or offices to build. You are renting property owned, maintained and paid for by your client/owners! While you're adding your first 10-25 properties in the critical start-up phase where most businesses require large amounts of start-up cash, you don't even need an office! You can provide keys via a lock-box or coded door locks and use subcontractors who are plentiful in resort locations for cleaning and maintenance.
There are also very few fixed costs. Most of the costs are variable (like cleaning and marketing) so that as you add more properties and get more bookings, the costs rise only as your revenue rises to cover the costs. For an investment of $75K-$100K (depending on how fast you want to grow and how large the territory is) you can get a vacation rental business started quickly. The initial SkyRun license fee is $50K of the $75K liquid capital that is required for a SkyRun license.
In addition, you will pay 4.5% of your gross rental receipts for ongoing royalties and support (min $350/mo). There is also a mandatory 1% that goes into a national marketing fund (which is matched and then spent on your behalf).
Q:What do I get from SkyRun for my license fee?
A: Many things to help you get going both quickly and efficiently:
- You get the exclusive use of the SkyRun brand in a defined territory which is an entire resort or city or vacation area. Generally it's a maximum of 60 miles from one end of a territory to the other. As a part of SkyRun, YOU now have 900 properties in 13 locations and over 100,000 past guests and a 7-year track record of guest success that you can use to recruit owners and guests.
- Account on google apps for business with professional versions of google docs, email, calendar, groups and drive for SkyRun use.
- Access to SkyRun group purchasing power. Our purchasing power means SkyRun locations don't pay 'rack'... Use our pre-arranged discounts on things like credit card processing, travel insurance costs, vrbo advertisements, vrma membership and the glad to have you guest services app.
- Access to the SkyRun network of marketing partners. We are fully integrated to every large established marketing channel in the industry like vrbo.com, homeaway.com (and their network of dozens of other sites), tripadvisor.com and flipkey.com and inntopia.com (where you can get onto 250+ IDS sites like expedia.com and hotels.com and travel agents) and new up and coming sites like tansler.com and dwellable.com. We're also fully integrated to the 'glad to have you' guest management system/app.
- 4 day one-on-one training program conducted on your site or ours (your choice).
- Access to our materials you'll need to get started (owner contracts, owner and guest marketing books and postcards, brochures, position descriptions, operational and owner documents as well as logoed shirts/pens/pads/etc).
- Unlimited access to the SkyRun team on the phone or on your site. We become an extension of your team... we will be your entire I/T dept and an experienced senior team for marketing, sales, accounting and operational functions available when and where you need us.
- Participation in our national marketing program. Your contribution (1/2% of your gross reservations) is matched by SkyRun and the money is put into a bucket that is spent on national marketing to grow SkyRun brand for everyone. In addition to PPC marketing for SkyRun.com website, other examples that will save you money are that we provide your SkyRun logo-ed shirts/jackets/hats, SkyRun pens and pads for your rooms. Logo-ed grocery bags, stickers, plastic cups. Room brochures promoting all SkyRun locations and participation in periodic email campaigns that go to all SkyRun guests from all locations and coordination of our Owner Exchange Program which helps you recruit property owners.
- 1,000 initial Business Cards for the location owner(s) and a template website to order more.
- HD camera, laptop and iPad pre set-up with SkyRun software - When you start training, you will do so on a SkyRun supplied laptop, iPad and camera! Of course you can also use your own, but seeing how we have it setup will provide a great starting point for you or can be used with employees. We provide and train you how to use our SkyRun HDR camera kit which includes an HDR-capable SLR camera and wide angle lens and tripod and HDR procesing software and professional case as well as training for how to take your own photos as part of setting up a new property that you bring onto your program. The laptop is for you and the iPad is for your maintenance or houskeeping management to use 'on the road'. All recommended SkyRun software will be installed and setup to work with your email and websites.
- SkyRun Phone System: SkyRun provides a professional VOIP HD phone system including all local and international inbound and outbound calling for FREE to SkyRun locations (SkyRun business only, fair and reasonable use provisions apply). As part of the SkyRun phone system, you have your own local phone number(s), your own SKYRUN toll free vanity number as well as access to the main SkyRun toll-free and international phone numbers. In addtion, you will have automated housekeeping reporting via phone, multiple phone numbers to track your marketing campaigns and use of the SkyRun electronic fax number at 844-SKYRUN-1 which uses either email or a website to send and receive faxes.
Q: Are there any other fees?
A: The items above are all that are required to be a SkyRun location and are all included in your 3% royalty fee + 0.5% national marketing spend (matched by SkyRun). There is one other thing you can optionally choose to use as it fits into how you want to run your business.
- Centralized Reservations Call Center: Any SkyRun location that is on the SkyRun phone system can also particiate in the centralized reservation call center. You can participate either as a user or as a provider of reservation call center services. The reservation center is run as a 'co-op' with the location taking the reservation (the provider of reservation services) getting 6% from the location that gets the reservation (the user). The fee of course is just for reservations taken by a person in the reservation center. So you can earn as well as pay fees depending on if you are taking reservations or using the center to take reservations for you.
...and of course you pay your own location expenses like location marketing, your employees, credit card processing, offices, office equipment (other than what we provide at start-up), office and cleaning supplies, the optional use of the glad to have you app, etc.
Q: You mean I don't even need to take my own reservations if I don't want to? How does the reservation center work and how is it better than me doing my own reservations?
A: Using the SkyRun Phone system, you set up where you want your phone numbers to ring or who responds to your email leads. The phone calls can ring your phone and/or your staffs phones and/or other SkyRun locations that are providers in the SkyRun Reservation Call Center. Ringing can be simultaneous (first person to pick up gets the call) or sequential, ringing you and only ringing the center if you don't pick up.
So you know that if you or your staff want to pick up the call, you can, or if you're busy with something else, the call will be answered by another SkyRun location. The phone system shows the SkyRun location as being for YOUR location (as well as their name and any info we have about the guest like all of their previous stays in any location, if they have a current reservation, or if they are a current lead) so the agent that picks up the call will answer 'SkyRun Vacation Rentals YOUR LOCATION'. The agent will have access to all of the past emails and phone calls related to the call and will be sitting at their desk with a headset on an HD-Voice VOIP phone and dual-screen monitors all logged on to everything. So in most cases, the center rep will be able to handle the call better than even you can.
Note that the center is for RESERVATION calls only which is everything prior to the day of arrival. Locations handle their your own guest services calls, however it is very common for a guest to call the toll-free number and then the center rep answers and transfers the call to you.
Remember that all of this is only possible if you're on the SkyRun phone system which is a pre-requisite for participation in the reservation center.
Q: Sure it's fun, but is the Vacation Rental Industry a growth industry?
A: YES! Vacation Rentals are a $23 BILLION/yr industry according to a May 2013 PhoCus Wright (phocuswright.com) study. Homeaway (NYSE: AWAY) is a leader in advertising vacation rentals with over 500,000 vacation rentals on their site. You may have seen Homeaway (who owns VRBO.com) on their Super Bowl ads featuring Chevy Chase (as in 'Vacation'). Noted travel authority Arthur Frommer said Vacation Rentals was 'The most pronounced trend in travel...'.
Do the math and vacation rental industry has added 10-20% new customers every year even through the worst recession in 80 years. Because vacation rentals make financial sense even when you're budget it tight. Creating family memories is a growth industry even (especially?) in the worst of times.
Q: What sets SkyRun apart?
A: Many things, most importantly among them:
- Our locations run lean. You will have approx 1/2 of of the staff as your competitors meaning your biggest costs will be 1/2 of your competitors.
- Our website is the best. Works on both mobile and web with advanced features to drive bookings. Google knows the site and it's SEO optimized.
- Our reservations center provides 12 hour/day 365 day/yr reservations using our state of the art lead email and phone lead tracking system (SkyForce)
- Our back-office system (SkyTrax) enables you to be a technology-focused property management company.
- Our documents and contracts get you going fast.
- Our critical mass of group purchasing power saves you money on ads, credit card processing and many other services.
And most importantly, we're here to help you as your very experienced business partner.