Short-term rentals have an important asset that many hotels don’t: operational efficiency.
Instead of coming from decades of built-in systems and a massive headcount, most property management companies are agile and work with a scalable, startup-like approach.
That said, the ordinary short-term rental company has a ratio of 1 full-time employee to 10 units under management?* This is largely due to the distributed nature of a portfolio, inefficiencies of operations and other technological factors.
Everyone thought the 1-10 ratio was the golden standard. But then Breakfast Hotel, Hiroshima’s largest property management company, reached new heights of possibility: today they operate at 60 properties per staff member, all the while improving their guests’ experience.
So what is Breakfast Hotel doing to achieve this level of efficiency, and what can other property management companies do to replicate it?
*According to Transparent Intelligent Data
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Breakfast Hotel decided to go beyond just a smart lock provider to provide keyless entry to their guests—they partnered with Operto to fully automate the check-in process. Not only did they survive—they’re expanding, and have recently opened new properties in Hiroshima despite the pandemic, operating at 60 properties per staff member. We explain how it worked below.
The Conflict For Breakfast Hotels: 300 Properties and No Human Check-Ins
As Hiroshima’s largest short-term rental company, The Breakfast Hotel hasn’t exactly been a stranger to success.
Quite the contrary. Before partnering up with Operto, the company was already at an impressive 40 units per 1 full-time equivalent employee.
However, when the coronavirus hit Japan in January last year, instilling confidence in bookings became a challenge. According to the company’s COO Edward Hsieh “Literally no-one wanted to have any personal interaction with our (Breakfast Hotel’s) team” and Breakfast Hotel was compelled to look at automating their check-in process even more.
They had 300 properties to fill, and they had to implement contactless check-in to stay in business. It wasn’t just a matter of trying to decrease operational costs (which were already a fraction of most property management companies): they had to automate it all for their guests to consider booking with them.
That meant there would no longer be a key hand-off, or any keys at all. But changing locks on hundreds of properties, on top of your booking workflow through your PMS, is a complicated endeavor, especially when you have a tight team and little time.
Connect your operations
Operto helps skyrocket operational efficiency so you can expand inventory without increasing overhead.
Want to see how?
Breakfast Hotel needed more than a smart lock—they needed a partner to help them make this shift quickly, efficiently, and without having to change their internal systems and PMS.
While initially a play to survive the pandemic, providing a humanless and keyless entry proved much more than that: they now have 3x the average booking volume on Airbnb.
The Solution: Smooth Keyless Entry Systems, by Operto
The heroes of our story needed a quick solution that would: reassure guests, protect their employees, and of course, leverage their existing success.
So, Breakfast Hotel made the decision to work with Operto—and you could say that our intelligent technology soon became their “superpower”.
The company installed Operto’s keyless entry systems on all their properties and, as a result, reached a booking average that is 3 times higher than Airbnb (according to AirDNA). COO, Hsieh also comments:
“In addition to this, our cleaning staff, which were already very strong, are now even more effective at cleaning units. For this period of time, in the midst of the pandemic, the guests we are welcoming are of course no longer international but include healthcare workers and local guests who need to self-isolate away from their homes and families. They feel confident, through the use of the Operto software and Yale and igloohome locks, that we are providing them with a completely hygienic and safe environment.”
Operto Connect™ can give your guests complete control of things like check-in, door locks, and temperature control throughout their stay. They can also make requests from hotel staff and make additional purchases - all from the convenience of their smartphone.
Not only can this eliminate the front desk altogether, but Operto Connect™ also integrates this with a staff view which increases efficiency throughout the hotel. For example, housekeeping staff can be informed when guests have left their room or checked-out of the hotel, enabling them to better prioritize tasks.
Imagine hitting a booking average that’s 3 times higher than Airbnb like Breakfast Hotel, all without compromising on standards of service. That’s what technology can do for you - it can massively scale your business, and guarantee all-around happier guests.
Both Edward Hsieh and fellow manager Ooshi Takayama reported a significant increase in their already high efficiency.
With 60 properties per member of staff, Breakfast Hotel has managed to keep their staffing costs low as well, without compromising on guest and owner satisfaction.
- 3 times higher booking average than Airbnb.
- Higher efficiency from cleaning staff.
- Far less staffing costs than the majority of short-term rental operators.
- Guest health, safety, and peace of mind guaranteed.
- Higher revenue and accelerated acquisition of inventory.
As we said—it was more than smart locks that helped. It was a partnership.
The Moral: Adapt in times of Crisis & Adopt Technology, Whenever Possible
Pre-COVID, The Breakfast Hotel was comfortably welcoming guests from all over the world, with 90% coming from France, the United States, and Australia. The business, which was founded in 2015, and hosts a variety of accommodation types such as rental apartments, apart-hotels, and Japanese-style “capsule hotels”, was booming.
Intelligent technology has turbo-boosted Breakfast Hotel’s operations and future-proofed it should this pandemic hit another peak.
The fact is, technology doesn’t replace traditional hospitality. But instead, it adds to it and enables a higher volume of guests to enjoy a better guest experience. The reason why a number of accommodation providers fail to leverage growth with minimum staff is mainly down to the distributed nature of their portfolio, inefficiencies of operations, and a whole host of other technological issues.
However, thanks to the smart implementation of technology, Breakfast Hotel has not only achieved greater peace of mind, they’ve also cut down their costs on employees and can now invest that into other areas of the business. It’s a win-win solution.
We must also remember that Breakfast Hotel’s strength (right from the offset) has been their ability to adapt quickly and achieve high occupancy rates - while still claiming a strong RevPAR. There’s a real lesson in this.
The brand’s approach during a global health crisis has been nothing short of inspirational; and the owners remain confident that Breakfast Hotel will continue to “weather the storm” and welcome international visits to Hiroshima’s historic Peace Park, once again.
Tech-enabled hospitality is the future
The travel landscape is heavily reliant on technology, now more than ever. Not only do automated solutions streamline operations for companies like Breakfast Hotel, but they also provide greater peace of mind for health and safety-conscious guests.
Your accommodation business too can turbo-boost efficiency with fewer members of staff, thanks to Operto’s intelligent technology.
Don’t forget to share this success story and empower other guest accommodation providers to embrace technology, for the greater good.
Connect your operations
Operto helps skyrocket operational efficiency so you can expand inventory without increasing overhead
Want to see how?