Since January of last year, I've served as chairman of Escapia.com, the leader in the web-based vacation rental software business.
This month has been a big one for Escapia, with its launch of ClearStay.com, a consumer site for the booking of vacation rentals.
Bill Furlong, Escapia's President & CEO, summarizes the important milestones:
The last several months have been incredibly busy and rewarding ones at Escapia. My apologies for a long email…but there is a lot to tell!
By far the biggest milestone we hit was launching the beta/preview of our consumer site, www.clearstay.com. We’ve launched ClearStay.com with a great selection of inventory, with several thousand homes. All of those units are fully integrated with Escapia’s property management software and therefore have real-time availability information, rate quotes down to the penny and are bookable online. There’s no easier way anywhere to book a vacation rental than on ClearStay.com.
- How about Spring Break on the Big Island of Hawaii? Maybe you want to bring the neighbors and the kids so you need a place for four adults and two kids? And you want to go from 3/15 to 3/21? No problem. ClearStay.com has five pages of homes on the Big Island that can accommodate your crew and are available for those exact dates. You’ll see on ClearStay.com that the cost ranges from $788.32 to $11,045.94 (a four bedroom home in a Four Seasons resort!). No back and forth on email to find that out. No phone calls to managers in Hawaii during business hours. No wondering whether the availability information is right because on ClearStay it always is. No wondering what the total price will be when it says $2,500 to $3,500 per week on some web site because on ClearStay you get exact and complete price quotes. And when you are ready to book, no need to call the owner or manager and send a check for thousands of dollars to someone you don’t know. With ClearStay.com you can book the place at 11 p.m. on Saturday night if that’s when you’re ready to book.
- Want to head to Central Oregon with the kids to ski at Mount Bachelor over New Years weekend this winter? ClearStay has 7 pages of rental homes in Bend and Sunriver that accommodate 2 adults, 2 kids and are available from 12/28 – 1/1. The total price for those four nights ranges from $1008.25 - $2054.38. Ready to go? Book it online at ClearStay.com.
- Thinking that skiing in Tahoe over President’s Day is a good idea? ClearStay.com has 20 pages of condos, homes and cabins in Tahoe that are available over President’s Day weekend from 2/15/2008 to 2/18/2008. Absolutely have to bring your dog along for the trip? Good news…20 of those units are dog-friendly! Wondering if it will cost extra to bring a dog? The price quote automatically includes any additional pet fees. And you can book online at the click of a mouse! That was easyJ
ClearStay.com is the first site powered by EscapiaNET, our API. EscapiaNET makes it very straightforward for web sites to include Escapia clients’ units. Several other sites are in discusssion and should be launching over the next few months.
Part of the ClearStay.com launch is introducing a new way that property managers can work with Escapia. Until now, the only solution we have for managers is our complete property management software suite. It is a phenomenal tool for managers and the linchpin to providing a better consumer experience. But it is a big decision for managers. So we have introduced EscapiaNET Express – a way for managers to take advantage of our distribution network without adopting the whole platform. At launch, EscapiaNET Express is a quick and easy way to list on ClearStay. In the months ahead, we expect to add additional distribution points. You can see more about that new program at http://clearstay.com/JoinClearStay.aspx.
While launching our consumer business is the biggest and most visible product milestone in the past several months, we have also released a number of enhancements to our core property management software. Most notable is the service order accounting module. Letting managers track the charges and billing for maintenance projects and integrate those into their accounting and owner statements has been a needed addition to the platform and we’re excited to have it. We’ve also released a new feature that lets managers produce multiple pieces of correspondence (e.g. welcome letters) and print them at one time rather than individually.