Last Updated on
The vacation rental business is booming and has massive money-making implications. Because of that, there seems to be a constant flow of new competitors to the market, all hoping to get a slice of the earnings brought in by major sites. And these newcomers usually have an innovative way to stand out from the crowd. One of these fresh faces, getting some attention lately, is Turnkey. So for those who are curious, we decided to explore what is Turnkey Vacation Rentals, and how they hope to impact the short-term world.
How They Started
Turnkey was launched in 2012 in Austin, Texas. The site was founded by veterans of the travel industry, who were hoping to build a platform that eliminated much of the stress experienced by users, especially homeowners renting their property.
John Banczak, one of the founders and current Executive Chairman of Turnkey, came directly from one of the industry-leading sites, HomeAway. Prior to that, he worked with Hotwire before their merger with Expedia.
The other founder and current CEO T.J. Clark, has been in the business of starting companies for a while. Before his venture with TurnKey, Clark founded Limos.com. As a company, Limos.com saw at least a 50% growth each year. They also eventually partnered with major travel companies like Orbitz and Delta Airlines.
Still headquartered in Austin, Turnkey now employs more than 400 people and is eager to build upon their recent momentum.
As mentioned previously, one of Turnkey Vacation Rental’s biggest goals is to eliminate stress felt by people who use property management/vacation rental platforms. They are seeking to do this through a massive increase in customer service. With almost all tech companies (or companies in general) the trend is to automate everything possible. Turnkey is hoping to take things further in the most effective ways they see possible.
To sum it up in their own words, the founders have said “As travel and technology veterans, we knew technology could automate many of the tasks required to ensure a great guest experience each and every time, tasks that…caused homeowners a lot of stress. Things like a secure entry for each guest, scheduling cleaning and repairs, making sure housekeeping was done well each time, monitoring noise levels…could all be handled via existing technology that was already improving lives in other industries.”
Some may question the strategy of automating their way through customer service. It can seem perhaps cold, and worrisome to users that they’ll have to talk to robots. However, Turnkey has not done away with human interaction. On the contrary, in every city where they have rental properties, Turnkey employs a team of “on the ground” Home Operations Supervisors. They also charge well below the standard 30-50% commission rates seen with other vacation rental companies.
Turnkey For Guests
Because of their blueprint for on the ground support, Turnkey is not trying to extend into every market in the world. Instead, they want to make a significant impact somewhere, provide the best service possible, and then expand when the time arises. Currently, their properties are offered to guests in 55 United States markets. These cities and towns were specifically picked with the guest in mind, as they are top vacation destinations. Of the 55 locations, they have a presence in 20 states. Of those 20, California, Florida, Texas, and Colorado have the most locations.
By now it should be clear that Turnkey takes customer satisfaction extremely seriously. This is evident to guests whenever they rent with them. That is because in every Turnkey property hosts are required to provide easy keyless entry systems, high-speed Internet, and hotel-style toiletries. This is in addition to Turnkey’s 24/7 support and their complimentary digital concierge service.
And guests have responded to Turnkey’s methods. Thus far, Turnkey properties have received a 98% satisfaction score for property cleanliness, in addition to the 90% of guests that have given them a four or five-star review.
Turnkey for Hosts
Turnkey is not just confident in the product they provide for guests, but for their hosts as well. That’s why they have established the Turnkey Revenue Guarantee. This guarantees hosts will make at least $5,000 in their first year listing with Turnkey. They also promise that for those property managers switching platforms, they will make at least what they were making on the other site. There are some eligibility requirements in order to list a home with them, however. All Turnkey properties must be in cities where they operate, be “upper-scale” homes, and are available to rent all year round.
While Home Operations Supervisors provide support to guests, hosts also get assigned personalized help. Every homeowner is given access to a Homeowner Success Manager. These managers are always available to answer any questions and can assist with walking hosts through their monthly home performance reports.
Quite simply, Turnkey makes joining their platform tempting because they take care of everything. When a host signs up, Turnkey will take professional photos and write up property descriptions. Meanwhile, during the time their homes are actively listed, hosts are provided professional housekeepers, 24/7 support, upkeep providers, and will even dispatch emergency maintenance if needed. On the backend, Turnkey will also take care of hosts’ vacation rental taxes.
Another advantage of listing a property with Turnkey is their partnerships. Turnkey will automatically list and market properties on other major sites like Airbnb, Homeaway (and all of their foreign language platforms), AllTheRooms, VRBO, Trivago, Booking, and many, many more.
Because of Turnkey’s rigorously manicured roster of luxury homes, they have attracted the attention of high-end rentals companies also. Recently Turnkey agreed to a deal with Marriott. Many of Turnkey’s properties will now be featured on the Homes & Villas by Marriott International website. Marriott is working hard to become a leader in luxury vacation rentals and believe this is a key step.