From enhancing management efficiency to maximising bookings potential, a coliving property management system (PMS) underpins daily coliving operations and future growth.
But it also helps coliving developments before they even open their doors. As soon as operators understand their coliving space, they can use a coliving PMS to align their set-up to ensure they get off the ground smoothly.
In this article, the third part of our coliving series, we’ll explain when you should start thinking about integrating coliving software, how to prepare for implementation and tips for picking the right coliving PMS.
- Integrating coliving software
- Preparing for implementation
- Choosing the right PMS
Integrating coliving software
While coliving developments can take up to 2.5 years from planning to launch- depending on location, number of units and complexity (i.e. new-build or renovation) - most will go through these principal stages between inception and opening.
- +18 months - Devise business plan - which outlines property location, number of units and ideal resident profile, margins and a 3-5 year growth strategy.
- 18-12 months - Work with designers to lay out the space to fit this plan, including amenities and furnishings.
- 12-9 months - Focus on service delivery, thinking about how to manage operations and build a thriving community.
- 9-6 months - Prepare marketing and sales strategy, considering which channels to use and collating all necessary information to advertise rooms, such as floor plans and virtual tours.
- 6-3 months - Advertise units to generate interest with enticing photos and descriptions of the property.
- 3 months-launch - Start taking bookings in the final quarter before launching to maximise occupancy from the get-go.
- Launch - Open doors to first residents.
So - at what point should you integrate your coliving PMS?
Subject to the size of your portfolio, you should integrate coliving software 6-12 months in advance of your launch date (larger portfolios should start earlier). This helps operators prepare for a seamless launch with a high starting occupancy as follows:
- 12-9 months - When considering service delivery, start looking for a coliving PMS that caters to your unique business and operation needs, enabling you to manage your properties without limitations.
- 9-6 months - Having chosen the right coliving PMS for you, the software will then serve as a checklist for launching your business by outlining what information you need to compile to start taking bookings.
- 6-3 months - With a coliving PMS in place, you can start promoting your properties to your target market using the channel manager, send personalised marketing emails and quotes to interested parties, and gather data on preferences and requests.
- 3 months-launch - A coliving PMS is essential by this point, converting web visitors and taking rent deposits via a booking portal. Features like an availability calendar avoids double bookings as it syncs with external channels.
- Launch - By the time residents enter your property using the digital check-in and remote access control features found in your PMS, your operational teams will know how the software works and use it remotely to manage your coliving spaces and deliver exceptional guest experience.
Preparing for implementation
Before integrating with a coliving software, follow these three steps to make the process as frictionless as possible.
- Analyse your immediate needs. The technology you require depends on your business plan and coliving space. Do you want to allow remote access control, whereby residents can access both private and public spaces using a keycard? Do you want a digital reception where residents can use a live chat feature to speak to management? Do you plan to manage the property remotely, assigning tasks, checklists and room keys to housekeeping and maintenance teams? Knowing what you want will help you find the right PMS.
- Consider your 5-year plan. A coliving PMS doesn’t just prepare you for launch, but supports your future growth plans too. If you plan to expand the number of units or open new locations in the future, then you need a system that can scale with you and address your scaling pain points (i.e. managing 100 monthly invoices manually might be feasible, but what about 1000?). Your PMS should also enable a small team to manage a large number of future units and customers - as you grow, your PMS should increase the ratio between staff (expensive outgoings) and more units (profitable incomings).
- Treat the PMS as a management consultant. A coliving PMS will be fundamental to your business success, so don’t just pass on the responsibilities for implementation to your development team - someone in a senior position will need to lead the integration process, so there are no barriers or hold-ups for a swift set-up. In addition, while you choose a PMS to suit your needs, you should also be willing to let the PMS guide your trajectory. Given your PMS has been fine-tuned to suit industry needs, it will also help you decide how best to market your rooms, manage operations and take bookings, and optimise your business plan.
Picking the right coliving PMS
We’ve worked with several customers who initially built their own coliving PMS. It’s a monumental task, requiring months of development time and cost with no guarantee that it will be fit for purpose. On the other hand, choosing a PMS that is specifically suited to running coliving operations gives you a headstart against competitors, saving you time and resources along the way. Here are three things to think about.
- Coliving-specific. A hotel PMS might help you take week-long bookings or assign housekeeping rotas, but what about flexible month-by-month bookings or organising community events? Your software should be industry-specific, purpose-engineered for coliving business models, markets and pain points. This also guarantees that all ongoing development - i.e. new features and integrations - help you grow your business instead of just a third of the new features a hotel PMS develops.
- Tried and tested. A coliving PMS is the bedrock of your operations. Choose an industry-leading system that’s seen various different modes of operation and has no configuration limits. Your PMS provider should also have expert coliving knowledge to advise on company-specific issues and development know-how to tweak the system (i.e. an open API for integrations or add-ons), as well as providing responsive maintenance and excellent customer support.
- Streamlined onboarding. It’s all well and good choosing a coliving PMS six months in advance, but if it's a complicated system that takes a year to onboard then that foresight is squandered. When selecting a PMS, you should therefore choose a provider that guides you through the system, ensures you understand all the features, aligns the system to your operating procedures and, in short, knows what they’re talking about.
Time to integrate a coliving PMS?
Ultimately, integrating coliving software is about foresight, flexibility and features. Taking the time to analyse what you need, finding the right partner and using your PMS as a framework to adapt your business plan will help you launch seamlessly and grow without limitations.
At res:harmonics, we’ve married 15 years of coliving know-how with the latest tech developments to create an all-in-one coliving PMS system that maximises your revenue opportunities.
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