How Rentals United is setting a new record for property onboarding
Rentals United offers channel management software designed for professional short-term rental managers. The company’s open technology platform provides high-quality connections to more than 60 channels and over 100 technology providers. Established in 2015 by the founders of four European vacation rental agencies, Rentals United offers advanced global distribution tools to more than 150,000 properties worldwide.
Anette Törsleff, Head of Partnerships at Rentals United explained how they worked on an initiative with Booking.com to onboard more properties faster than ever.
Tell us a bit about your relationship with Booking.com.
Over the years we’ve built a strong relationship with Booking.com, based on our shared understanding of the vacation rental business and its needs. We have a common vision of using technology, collaboration and new opportunities to help property managers achieve their business goals.
When it comes to technology and innovation, Booking.com is a key partner for Rentals United. Together we’re committed to growing both our partners’ businesses and the short-term rental segment as a whole.
What have you been doing to onboard more properties to Booking.com?
Rentals United took part in a Booking.com initiative to onboard more properties in priority locations than we had in the past. We took a number of actions to help us achieve this. The key success factor was aligning the different departments involved in the various stages of the customer journey, and making sure they fully understood every step of the process.
The three main teams involved were our Connectivity team, marketing department and key account management consultants and onboarding specialists. The key account management consultants and onboarding specialists are already well educated about Booking.com and the extranet features. Together they have a clear understanding of how to promote the benefits of working with Booking.com. That allows them to help property managers meet the content requirements, prepare to push the connection live and effectively manage their inventory.
Our Connectivity team has expert knowledge of Booking.com’s API. They’re closely involved with the onboarding process – their goal is to connect as many properties as possible without a hitch.
Finally, our marketing department plays an equally critical role in the onboarding process. They use blog articles and email campaigns to educate existing and prospective partners on the capabilities of our connection with Booking.com. They’ve been instrumental in advertising the unique functionalities that property managers can access thanks to the Booking.com connection.
Working with Rentals United on property onboarding has been a great adventure. We’ve worked hard to make the process even smoother and easier for properties, focussing on mutual alignment and providing high-quality support. And we’ll carry on doing more of the same in the future. – Laia Puchal, Connectivity Partner Business Manager at Booking.com
What have you actually done differently because of this project?
This project wasn’t really about changing our existing connection process. Instead, we spent a lot of time discussing how to streamline different stages of the partner’s onboarding journey. Because of that, this process was top of mind for everyone involved. What’s more, it gave our teams extra motivation to promote our partnership with Booking.com as much as possible. They’ve really been able to promote our connection process and the speed of it, while setting realistic expectations with property managers. On the marketing front, we were able to shift our focus from advertising our connection capabilities to educating property managers on issues directly relevant to their business. These include advanced rates, promotion options and the Genius and Preferred Partner programmes. A fast and efficient property onboarding process has always been important to us, and overall this project proved that we’ve been on the right track with that.
How did you measure the success of the project?
It was important for us to make sure the different teams involved in the project aligned their goals. We applied the objectives and key results (OKR) methodology across the whole company, and each team defined realistic metrics for their own contributions. For the Connectivity team, the highest overall priority was making sure we resolved connection requests quickly. From that perspective, the key measure of success was ending each day without any new tickets in the queue.
Rentals United and Booking.com provide faster and more efficient onboarding and connection than any other channel. Using the Rentals United platform to manage our properties on Booking.com is clear and straightforward – it’s the most reliable we’ve ever experienced. – Home Plus Property Management
What did you learn from the experience?
Our biggest learning was that preparation is key. It takes a while to get everyone on the same page, and it’s important to allow ourselves time to properly prepare for projects like this. That’s especially true when it comes to marketing activities that need to run alongside everything else we’re doing.
What’s next for Rentals United?
We’re already working on another project with Booking.com, and we’re now well positioned to be the go-to channel manager solution for vacation rentals. Partnerships like the one we have with Booking.com mean we can offer high-standard connections with dynamic automation. And because we’re research- and information-driven, our knowledge offering to clients also includes helping them make business decisions that drive growth.
What’s your advice for others in the industry hoping to achieve similar success?
Knowledge and transparency are key if you’re going to offer property managers top-quality connections and business optimisation. In a fast-growing marketplace like vacation rentals, constantly gathering knowledge and using it to enhance our own technology is critical. While we’re doing that, being transparent with ourselves, our clients and the wider marketplace enables us to grow quickly and earn real brand loyalty.
Do you have your own success story to share?
- Rentals United participated in an initiative and sped up property onboarding to Booking.com by streamlining collaboration between three of its teams.
- Aligning team objectives was key to measuring the project’s success, with the overall goal being to reduce the connection request backlog to zero.
- The project has cemented the value of property onboarding as a priority for Rentals United. It has also set them up as the go-to channel manager solution for vacation rentals.