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How to manage the long-stay booking journey with a PMS

Short-stay and long-stay bookings are two different games. Short-stay is the ‘click and collect’ of rentals – where prospects search for suitable accommodation online, and book for a few nights. But, long-stay bookings are more like a tenancy application – to ensure that guests are the right fit for the community and have the financial and legal capacity to stay long-term, the booking process requires additional legwork, including verification checks, legal contracts, inventories, and deposits. 

Traditionally long-winded and long-drawn-out, long-stay booking journeys once involved specialist tools, sales team back-and-forth, and hands-on management. But with modern property management software, the long-stay booking process is now a seamless, digital journey. 

Here are the five stages of managing a long-stay booking process with a PMS. 

1. Receive initial enquiry

Unlike booking a short-stay unit directly through an OTA like Agoda or Airbnb, long-stay customers are more likely to make an enquiry using specialist long-stay channels like Rightmove or directly through your site. 

At this ‘first contact’ stage, you can direct potential customers towards a Hubspot online enquiry form (which asks for contact details and specific guest information, such as apartment type and estimated length of stay) or provide a Calendly link for booking a consultation with your reservations team. Remember: for a potential long-stay guest, you’re not trying to close at first contact, but instead open up a line of communication. 

2. Initiate long-stay booking process

After verifying that the guest is looking to stay long-term (i.e. over three months) and that you have available long-stay units for their needs (i.e. desired property type, number of guests, and check-in-checkout dates), use your PMS to share an overview of each unit via email, including quotes, pricing, and terms.

The benefit of using a PMS is how it can generate this email automatically and send the potential guest a carousel of images, interactive guides, links to essential videos (i.e. virtual tours), and the ability to book digital viewings, without you lifting a finger. 

3. Verify long-stay guest credentials

After the guest decides to go ahead with the booking, the PMS holds the unit’s availability while the guest completes verification checks, which cover right-to-rent information and Know Your Customer (KYC) checks. 

Verifying these details used to be a laborious manual process with lots of email chasing for passport photos and bank statements. But instead of the usual back-and-forth of printing and scanning, your reservations team simply pre-selects verification integrations via your PMS, which are included seamlessly into the digital booking journey. 

For instance, Canopy’s credit and referencing process calculates guests’ ability to pay while protecting operators from financial risks (i.e. fraud) through biometric ID verification, AI-assisted document analysis, and open banking income verification in minutes.

“The Canopy-res:harmonics integration provides a 'hands-off' tenant referencing service, delivering results quickly but without sacrificing thoroughness and quality.” Lee Power, Head of Sales at Canopy. 

4. Confirm booking and deposit

After passing verification checks, your reservations team selects an appropriate contract from a pre-created list and sends it to the prospect via a document-signing integration. 

For example, Docusign’s streamlined eSignature workflows simplify preparing, sending, and signing tenancy contracts with incoming long-stay residents, avoiding hold-ups or long delays.

After all parties sign the contract, the property management system (PMS) moves the booking status to ‘confirmed’ while storing a copy of the contract in the system. The PMS will also give the booker options around monthly rent collections and can take a secure deposit if required. 

5. Automate pre-arrival information

Your PMS can be used to a huge advantage in the run-up to check-in. Sending the guest automated emails prepares them for their new residency – you can set emails for two weeks, three days, and the day before check-in, for instance. Offer different pieces of advice in each email, such as reminders to pack their swimming gear for your spa, as well as other useful pre-move-in services, such as digital inventory processes

For example, in advance of the guest’s arrival, Inventory Hive sends a branded digital inventory report, complete with HD photos, 360° videos, and detailed descriptions, ensuring both agree on the state of the unit before check-in.

“Inventories used to be tedious manual processes with residents and operators on opposing sides, but with co-produced inventory reports, residents and operators are now on the same team.” Alex Gooch, Head of Build-to-Rent & Customer Success, Inventory Hive. 

One seamless digital booking journey 

Throughout the booking process, your PMS automatically updates the booking stages from ‘enquiry’ to ‘quote’ to ‘pending’ to ‘confirmation’, so you can easily check the status of all incoming long-stay bookings from one centralised system – your PMS dashboard

What’s more, using a free-flowing PMS booking journey will lead to:

  1. Lower management costs - With no sales team involvement and minimal management oversight required, you can focus on more important tasks that increase guest satisfaction and drive revenue. 
  1. Less prospect abandonment - With a frictionless booking process, prospects are less likely to get frustrated with annoying delays, hold-ups, or fiddly requests and abandon the booking journey. 
  1. Better foundations - Having experienced a seamless booking journey, incoming residents enter your property on the right foot and are more likely to have an enjoyable stay.

The res:harmonics long-stay booking journey

At res:harmonics, we’ve curated a digital long-stay booking journey with integration partners like Canopy, Docusign, and Inventory Hive, as well as long-stay channels like RightMove, to seamlessly guide long-term prospects into long-term residents. 

“The long-stay booking journey for coliving, serviced apartments and BTR is traditionally very slow, very fiddly and very labour intensive with lots of small cogs to turn. But not anymore. We’ve created a simple, seamless and synchronised booking journey that makes your life easier and impresses your prospects.” Giles Horwitch-Smith, CEO, res:harmonics. 

The long-stay service journey

From the booking journey to the service journey, deliver exceptional guest experience with your PMS. Learn how to use your PMS to ensure long-stay bookings have a great stay from check-in to check-out and beyond in our next article. 

Download the Ultimate Guide to Long-Stay Bookings to learn how property management software supports long-stays.

Request a demo to speak to someone at res:harmonics about how our software can automate and scale up your innovative living business.

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