COVID-19 – Smoobu Statement from our founders Philipp and Fabian

Holiday apartments and the impact of COVID-19 – Statement from our founders Philipp and Fabian

March 16th, 2020 Posted by Landlord information 27 thoughts on “Holiday apartments and the impact of COVID-19 – Statement from our founders Philipp and Fabian”

The current situation for holiday rental companies in response to COVID-19

So no one could anticipate this happening. Smoobu and the entire tourism industry have arrived at one of our most challenging stages in our sector.
We have all seen the media reports and kept up to date with the news, so will leave the tips on hygiene and how to deal with the situation on a personal level up to the professionals!

Our thoughts are with our amazing Smoobu customers in this challenging time and we have sat down and formulated plans for how you can best handle the next steps.
We would like to take the time to communicate tips on how to handle bookings, and for the best possible preparation for the post-coronavirus period. We hear you - Not only are bookings often missing, bookings are cancelled and any cancellation rules on the major portals have also been voided.
However, as landlords we can now cancel without incurring fines, which is a good step for our society, because we all want to reduce the impact of COVID-19. Although it will likely take months to completely bounce back, the situation will hopefully improve in a few weeks. This is how to see it with consistent adherence measures in China. Travel restrictions are already being lifted there, which gives us hope.

Our internal measures and what has happened so far

Quick to act, we have had our team working from home weeks ago and have been working hard ever since. More than a month ago, we cancelled all trade fair visits to protect our employees, luckily (and through discipline) we are relieved to say our team are all healthy and happy. We have also invested in equipping our staff at home, in order to continue providing great support with no disruption. For us it is business as usual!

Now we have moved to a completely remote working culture, we ensure that Team Smoobu can continue to be your part of your business, but also that we will be out of this crisis more than others, together with our partners and customers. Nevertheless, it comes as no shock that this crisis is hitting us enormously. New customer deals have decreased. As a startup, we depend solely on our customers and we will do everything we can to maintain your trust and loyalty even during this crisis.
After planning and talks, we are back with a new game plan to be better than before. The more disciplined we continue to work, fully committed, the sooner we can repair the losses after the crisis.

So what does this all mean?

We’re happy to announce some new features will be rolled out in the coming days and weeks. You can view your subscription as an investment in the future, and we see the crisis as an opportunity to stand up more to competition. Take the chance with us, even more so now! 

What we should all do as landlords now

After careful consideration and planning, here are some concrete tips and first steps for you.

We will continue to detail and formulate these points in the coming days and weeks. Perhaps you have thoughts or wish to contribute also?

  • Set up your calendars as long in advance as possible. We have recently automated the process for continuous backup - https://bit.ly/38LoPqU
  • Change your cancellation policy. Maybe it sounds contradictory at first. These should not be stricter, but as flexible as possible. Guests will then book with you for the summer. And in the event of an ongoing corona crisis, strict cancellation policies are void anyway.
  • Use the time to set yourself up as well as possible for the following:
    • Add more portals on a commission basis
    • Automate your processes. From smart locks (Igloohome is live, Nuki goes in Beta on 25.03. - Register now) to registration slips, messages, payment processing
    • Renew your photos, write new text for your Airbnb and other listings - We are happy to check them, send us a link and give tips
    • Expand your guest service - Create the Smoobu Guest App, offers services such as luggage storage, airport pick-up, updated corona information for guests, tours, let your imagination run free - https://bit.ly/2ILzqaz
    • Check your insurance policies. It's may be too late for Corona, but we can now learn from it for next time.
    • Contact your former guests and secure Direct Bookings now. From next week you can offer guests Voucher Codes in the booking tool :)
    • Checks prices, use connected services like BeyondPricing completely without risk. Good for now and later - https://bit.ly/38TVYk2
    • Organize your employees. We are currently working on a connection / cooperation with TurnoverBnB - https://bit.ly/3aUCIED
    • More tips to follow, what would you give to the Smoobu community?

 

Regardless of the current situation, we had long planned to build a forum for our Smoobu community to exchange ideas and facilitate conversation and support among property owners and managers.

This will go live in the next few days /weeks, and will be moderated by us.
While we will always help you on current issues, we are aware of the importance on community and support, to help each other out also. In these uncertain times, we want you to feel as connected and supported as possible – regardless of where you are in the world.

Know that guests will come back to holiday apartments first. Because these are simply safer compared to hotels, resorts, cruises and many other places due to the geographic location, or isolation. In addition, while a lot of bookings have been cancelled, many holidays will have to be rebooked.

Be ahead of your competition.

We are developing faster than ever before, and our roadmap is long.

In the coming days, we'll inform you about updates, plans and launches to give you an even better Smoobu version than ever before. Our investment is in the future! You can help us too, by sharing any suggestions. Or tell us how you are dealing with the current situation, also as a comment under this post.

Here's to a great second half of 2020.

Stay tuned, we will update this article again with further news. 

All the best,
Philipp, Fabian and the entire Smoobu team

 

Here we go back to Smoobu!

Useful links

 

 

 

27 thoughts on “Holiday apartments and the impact of COVID-19 – Statement from our founders Philipp and Fabian”

  1. These are very good pointers. I will see how I can incorporate into my business.

    1. Philipp Reuter says:

      Good to hear 🙂
      All the best to you and your rental business.
      Philipp

  2. Thanks for that.
    Now that we are facing cancellations it will be nice to have the following:
    1. Keep the cancellation data in Smoobu including the cancellation fee value
    2. When guest inform that they will not arrive but don’t cancel their booking- give us the option to open the room and resell it to other guests

    Thanks a lot
    We love Smoobu

    1. Philipp Reuter says:

      Thanks for the feedback 🙂 Cancellations are kept, activate them on your bookings page. When guests don’t arrive simply “cancel” the booking and all other portals will open up. The original one we cannot really touch. But you can report “no shows” in your booking.com bookings. Happy to discuss these aspects to understand them in detail.
      Thanks for the love ❤️
      All the best from Berlin

  3. Oliver Kenny says:

    Hope you guys are staying safe and thanks for the update. It would be great to be able to send notifications automatically from communication tab. To cleaners owners and anyone else that needs to know. ♥️👍🏻

    1. Philipp Reuter says:

      Thanks for the words. All good here, everyone at home 🙂 🏘 Are you using the messaging function to send notifications to cleaners etc?

  4. Michael Oakes says:

    Thanks for the update, and all your – and the team’s – efforts. It’s much appreciated.

    1. Erika says:

      Thanks for the message and support Michael!
      We’re all in this together. Stay safe, and as always – reach out if you require any support with Smoobu.

      Best wishes,
      Erika from the Smoobu Team

  5. James Mathers says:

    As we have no bookings I think I might cancel my account with Smoobu. If this goes for more than another week the fees seem redundant to me. No guests means no needs for smoobu. How will you handle this?

    1. Philipp Reuter says:

      Hi James,
      thanks for your feedback. We are pretty sure that handling e.g. guest communication, future potential bookings, optimizing website, guest app, handling cancellations, our support etc. is worth the relatively small fees per unit. But of course you may cancel your subscription at any given time. Contact us via mail and we are happy to evaluate your case with you!
      All the best
      Philipp

  6. Thanks for the really well thought out update. Lots of good suggestions and hope to see more when the community function is activated. We are OK in NZ at the moment albeit many cancellations and closures. Stay safe and as we say in kiwi Kia Kaha (stay strong).

    1. Erika says:

      Kia ora Sheree,
      Thank-you for your message of strength! I think the strongest thing to do is to think/act for our communities, whether local or globally. We are here to support your business as usual, it can’t hold us down!
      Looking forward to launching our Forum soon.

      Best wishes to NZ,
      Erika from the Smoobu Team

  7. Steve says:

    Thanks for the information Philipp.

    1. Erika says:

      Hi Steve,
      Thank-you for your message. Thinking of our Australian customers, all the way from Berlin.
      As always, reach out if you require any support – we are here as usual!
      Best,
      Erika from the Smoobu team

    2. Philipp Reuter says:

      Thanks for hanging in there Steve. Greetings to Australia!

  8. Sacha says:

    Thank you Philipp and Smoobu team – very sensible advice – much appreciated.

    Stay well and this will pass.

    1. Erika says:

      Hi Sacha,
      Thanks for your message. Nothing can hold down one’s wanderlust for long!
      You put it well, this certainly will pass. In the meantime, it is business as usual for us – so reach out for any support requests.

      Thanks and best wishes,

      Erika from the Smoobu team

    2. Philipp Reuter says:

      All the best also from me! 🙂

  9. Simon says:

    Thank you Philipp, Fabian and the amazing Smoobu team.

    I recommend the below updates to Smoobu;

    1) Option to increase price if clients pay with PayPal
    2) Discounts for different periods. For example 10% for weekly bookings between June – December and 15% discount for weekly bookings between January – May.
    3) Different types of themes to choose from for the website.
    4) Option to retain some information when creating a Page with a different language.

    This is a difficult period for the industry but the good times will come again, hopefully soon.

    Thank you and Greetings from the Island of Gozo (Malta).
    http://www.villamarni.com

    1. Philipp Reuter says:

      Hi Simon,
      thanks for your comments!
      1. is easy – Cannot do as it is illegal to charge clients an extra fee for 😉
      The other options are certainly to be considered. Lots of stuff coming up this year in terms of functionality. Current focus is on payments, but more soon to come.
      We need to make it count now to stay ahead of our competition once we get back to normality. Same for you guys as for us.
      Any support you need let us know.
      Cheers to Gozo!

  10. Madge says:

    Hi Team

    Thank you for the news very helpful and the updates sound great.

    One thing I have noticed would help me is under pricing, calendar if could have the option of a multiview like we can in calendar please. Actually the same as the HomeAway calendar.

    Thanks for the opportunity and support.

    Cheers from Madge in Perth.

    1. Erika says:

      Hi Madge!
      Thank’s for the message and feedback. It’s always great to hear from our amazing customers.
      For the pricing table, for now we are keeping it per property rather than multi-view. I see the benefit of a multi-view so never say never 🙂
      I had a look at your website you linked in your comment, and it looks GREAT! You’re a Smoobu pro!
      Reach out if you ever require any support, we’re here as normal
      Thanks
      Erika from the Smoobu team

      1. Hi Erika
        That is extremely kind of you!
        Stay safe x
        Madge

  11. Christian says:

    Dear Team,
    Communication is key. Well done.
    Your list of upcoming releases is very impressive. I am excited to put them into action.
    Good luck and bon courage!
    Christian

    1. Erika says:

      Hi Christian,

      We’re very excited for the upcoming releases also!
      Stay tuned for updates.
      All the best,
      Erika from the Smoobu team

  12. Hi Phillip,
    Thanks for all the tips and your positivisme , we also hope that you will be able to continue with the good work ,we think smoobu an outstanding channel manager.
    one of your tips ” connect to more portals” is one we can use straightaway with bednadbreakfast.eu but only one way sync is supported.
    I just contacted Bedandbreakfast.eu and they are open for a smoobu full price synchronisation , maybe you can look into that possibilty .

    Thanks again for your support

    Nico Schils

    1. Philipp Reuter says:

      Hi Nico,
      thanks for the feedback! 🙂 We have talked to them quite some time ago and will be connecting at some point. It is just a matter of resources and priorities. But will kick this back to product team again.
      All the best
      Philipp

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