What is the island effect?
Ironically, some of the most desirable places to visit are also the most sparsely populated or prohibitively expensive to live and work in. These include Island or peninsular destinations, ski and mountain towns, and popular rural getaways.
This creates a challenge for vacation rental operators when it comes to sourcing and retaining talent locally. A small or highly seasonal workforce usually equates to high hourly wages that eat into profits, and high attrition rates that increase the cost of doing business e.g. training and gabs in coverage.
Constant turnover means that your guests may not be receiving the level of support they need during their stay. Extended teams are an alternative to local hires and call centers – but growing and managing extended teams comes with unique challenges and considerations.
What are extended teams?
Today’s workforce has gone global, thanks to mobile commuting and workplace technology. Extended teams or team members are individuals that can support local operations or businesses remotely. In short, extended teams are the future of work.
The help desk has gone virtual. Local information is now accessible through the cloud. Omnichannel communications facilitate guest-host interactions 24/7 through digital channels. Company culture has also shifted. Employees are no longer bound by physical location and team leads and owners are have settled into the realities of virtual work.
Extended teams have access to mission-critical company and customer information. In the case of vacation rentals, extended teams can connect to guests through voice, chat, email and sometimes even video. Extended teams can support incoming and outgoing communications for customer support, sales, and marketing functions.
They can also support internal business functions e.g. accounting, budgeting, content development, building dashboards and custom apps. Company culture has also shifted as a result of COVID. Digital work has accelerated ten years into the future in just six months.
Extended team members are effectively that, an extension of your team.
Extended teams vs. call centers vs. task workers
Extended teams are a hybrid between traditional full-time employees, call centers, and temporary task based workers. Compared to call centers, extended teams are dedicated virtual employees that usually work full-time for a single organization.
This creates a ton of value for vacation rental operators because hospitality is somewhat unique from other industries in that the product is dynamic – i.e. it changes regularly with the times based on seasonality, pricing, availability, amenities, and other variables that managers can tweak to deliver optimal guest experience. This also includes vendors and your property support network e.g. local maintenance teams, locksmiths, police, and fire.
Hospitality teams need to be tuned into these dynamic variables in order to provide the most accurate information to guests quickly and confidently. Extended team members work exclusively for one customer hence have the opportunity to learn the product and grow with the company.
For the most part, call centers can only offer surface-level first line of support. Call center agents often only take inbound calls and, in the case of vacation rentals, can only go so deep in supporting guest inquiries, because they do not have access to brand-specific information e.g. property types, amenities, and local market information.
Call center operators that service vacation rental managers often carve out a niche e.g. evening or weekend emergency call coverage. Extended teams can do this and much more. They are in tune with your operations and are motivated to succeed in growing your business – as would your in-house employees.
Extended teams for vacation rental and multifamily property managers
Building and managing extended teams comes with unique challenges and considerations. Over the past decade, Extenteam has been building out a global talent network and optimizing processes in sourcing and matching talent with scope of work, data security, employee retention, team structure and workflow, and other aspects unique to the business of managing vacation rentals.