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Vrbo

Team management for property managers

The problem

Vrbo has many homeowners who have posted properties to the Vrbo platform, looking for travelers to book their properties. These homeowners come from all kinds of backgrounds, have different managing styles, and own different numbers of properties. Some homeowners own a few properties, while there are some owners who own tens or hundreds of properties. These homeowners are called property managers. They often find themselves struggling to manage many properties in a short period of time, which is a major pain point among property managers.

Interview with property managers

We invited some of these property managers, who each own tens of hundreds of properties, into our user testing lab to understand what their needs are that are unique to themselves only. During the interiviews, these property managers expressed that they really need a system to manage groups of properties with ease. Here is the summary of their feedbacks:

Too much travel

Many property managers had to travel from city to city, state to state, to manage their huge portfolios of properties.

Lack of motivation

Many owners expressed that they lost some motivation to keep managing their properties. But they also wanted to keep the businesses running in these properties.

Little app usage

Property managers had lower usage rates than the rest of owners. On a daily basis, property managers spent merely 18 minutes on each property on average, while other owners spent 1 hour and 6 minutes on each property.

This product allows property managers to hire a team to manage properties. The property manager can view a list of all the team members, which tool each member can access, and which properties are assigned to each team member. The property manager can always add new members, or remove current team members.

The property manager can view details of a specific team member, view exactly which tools this team member can use, and which properties are assigned to this team member, and make any adjustments needed.

This video shows the team management product in action.

Why are we focusing on property managers?

Property managers made up merely 8% of all property owners, but owned 23% of all 2 million properties on Vrbo, which are 460,000 properties. It was essential for property managers to stay motivated.

8%

of owners

46%

own

of all properties

How did the release go?

When the team management feature was released to the property managers for the first month, their reactions were mixed. Our monthly active owners haven’t changed much, at roughly about 1.5 million. About 30% of them reacted favorably at first, saying that this was what they wanted the whole time to help them manage their properties. The rest of them were not so fond of the feature for the following reasons:

They are not used to the drastic change their managing style.

Some property managers are not ready to invite others to join them in managing their properties.

They can’t remember how to access the team management feature.

Being a new feature, the team management feature is hard for some property managers to locate, even after using it a few times.

I addressed these user concerns

A majority of their concerns were not about the usability of the feature itself, rather about getting accustomed to the feature, or giving trust to those who are part of their team. Therefore, we thought the feature itself isn’t the problem; the problem is how to introduce the feature better.

We promoted this on their newsfeeds.

We tried to generate more awareness by designing a newsfeed card that showed up on their newsfeeds, centered around the message of saving more time and effort with the help of a team. The newsfeed card has a link that can take the user directly to the team management page.

I designed an onboarding experience.

I created a step-by-step on boarding experience that highlighted essential functions of the team management process. The user can follow through each step to understand how to invite a user, choose permission levels, and assign properties.

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