Guest communication is a major time drain for property managers large and small. 

Answering the same questions over and over again, giving personalised recommendations to guests, and upselling extra services can take hours out of your day. 

In our previous articles about vacation rental chatbots and check-in apps, we listed some tools that can help you tackle this problem by automating your guest communication. 

And today, we’re bringing you a new vacation rental startup called SABA. They’ve built a platform to help property managers streamline their guest communication and enhance the guest experience, helping them save time and earn 5-star reviews.

Through the example of an urban property manager in Germany and a luxury villa manager in Bali, we’ll show you how SABA can help you do away with your guest communication worries once and for all.

SABA is one of the applicants to the 2021 VRTECH Startup Competition! If you have a startup in the vacation rental tech space, submit your application now.

What is SABA?

SABA is a virtual concierge app that allows vacation rental property managers to look after their guests’ every need without spending too much time on guest communication. 

As the creators of SABA put it, “SABA Host is a digital version of you”

Thanks to a myriad of features, including automated chat, a map with local attractions, an upselling tool, a digital guidebook, and even an online ranking optimiser, SABA can benefit property managers in many ways. 

  • The chatbot function helps to save time by automatically answering your guests’ most commonly asked questions.
  • The map allows you to point guests towards your favourite local attractions, restaurants and shopping spots, which they’ll thank by leaving 5-star reviews.
  • The revenue generator tool allows you to increase your profits by upselling services such as early check-in and late check-outs, housekeeping services, pet items, concierge services and different types of amenities.
  • The digital guidebook allows you to make a great impression by providing all the information that guests need to enjoy their stay at their fingertips. 
  • The online ranking optimiser helps ensure that all your guests leave a stellar review and learn if someone isn’t completely satisfied in real-time. 

Furthermore, SABA is multilingual: it automatically translates all your property information into your guest’s language, so you can provide a more personalised guest experience.

Guests love SABA because it creates an engaging experience and provides easy access to important information so they can make the most of their stay.

SABA works with several hotels and property managers worldwide. To demonstrate how their solution can help you solve your guest communication challenges, we spoke with two of their customers: an apartment manager in Germany and a luxury villa manager in Bali.

How an apartment manager in Germany streamlined their guest communication with SABA Host

Euregio Boardinghouse is an urban property management company with 14 apartments located in Nordhorn, a town in Lower Saxony, Germany. 

The rentals that the company operates were inspired by the empty industrial spaces that were redesigned for residential purposes in the 1940s and 1960s in London and New York City.

“We want to bring this unique living atmosphere to the city of Nordhorn, where our guests can experience functional and fit-for-purpose ‘city lofts’ as well,” Johannes Behnen from Euregio Boradinghouse told us. 

Before starting to work with SABA, Johannes and his team faced a set of challenges related to guest communication. 

For example, guests were always asking the same questions, which became really tedious to answer. They were also requesting extra services such as baby amenities, which took time to organise. Additionally, Johannes and his team wanted to be available to their guests 24 hours a day, and give them as much information as possible before their stay so they would feel prepared.

Johannes came across SABA through a friend who recommended the tool to him. What immediately stood out to Johannes was that SABA’s chatbot solution doesn’t just support static content. You can programme frequent questions into it, but guests also have a free text field where they can type in any question they want to ask

“I can think of so many things a guest wants to know, but if there is something I didn’t think of, the guest can just ask. And if the chatbot doesn’t understand, I can either call back the guest or add the content/question,” Johannes said. 

As a result, the SABA chatbot has helped Euregio Boradinghouse overcome the FAQ problem. They also use the digital guidebook and the upselling features. They now have fewer emails to answer, less work to do before the guest arrives, and they generate extra revenue through upselling.

All in all, Johannes’s favourite feature is the chatbot. “It gives me so much insight into what guests want to know, and I mostly use this information to connect with them once they are here,” he said. “Great thing is also that it’s on the device of the guest without any downloads.”

According to Johannes, SABA is an excellent tool for anyone who wants to automate their vacation rental and works equally well for hosts with just a couple of listings to large property managers.  

How a luxury villa manager in Bali enhanced their guest experience with SABA Host

Bettini Villa is a luxury vacation rental property located in Seminyak, the most popular tourist hub in Bali, Indonesia.

The villa’s owner, Frank Webster told us that while it’s important for them to provide their guests with the modern Bali experience, they’d also like to introduce them to the traditional, lesser-known aspects of Balinese culture.

“Bali can be extremely busy, especially during peak seasons. Our aim is to provide a sanctuary where guests can relax and escape the hassle of the streets of Bali, while being only minutes away from the most popular bars, restaurants and shopping precincts,” Frank said. 

There were two main areas of guest communication that Frank was struggling with before starting to work with SABA. 

Firstly, even though Bali is an experience-driven market, guests were simply basing decisions off TripAdvisor and Google reviews. While these platforms can provide some great information, Frank wanted to offer more unique experiences to their guests that would create a truly memorable holiday and great reviews.

“We were doing this with a simple hardcopy guidebook, which did the job, but not in a particularly engaging way,” Frank said. 

Secondly, just like the team at Euregio Boradinghouse, Frank also used to get lots of questions from guests prior to arrival – from airport transportation to restaurant recommendations. 

“Even though we provided much of this in a pre-arrival email, we were finding people were still emailing us seeking this type of information,” Frank said. 

To solve this problem, Frank wanted to provide a single point where their guests could easily access this information without having to contact them.

Fortunately, SABA was able to help solve both these problems. “Using SABA, we can now add links to all our recommendations, use video so people can really see what they will experience at a restaurant or on a tour, and easily make changes when new things arise,” said Frank. 

The SABA team has even shown Frank’s villa manager how to link the system to different restaurant booking systems, which makes booking tables at the most popular restaurants super easy. 

They have also been able to create a single hub of information for guests. “SABA does this extremely effectively and takes away a lot of time and stress for me and my villa manager,” Frank said. 

While Frank hasn’t really taken advantage of the SABA platform’s upselling features yet, he recognises the potential of this tool to find alternative ways to make more money. He is planning to explore this aspect further once occupancy levels start to rise again. 

Ultimately, SABA has elevated Bettini Villa’s offering and helped distinguish themselves from the competition. And, it has given Frank his time back.

“Without the chatbot, I’d still be spending my evenings and spare time answering my guest enquiries,” he said. 

Frank would recommend SABA to anyone running vacation rentals, “especially people like me who aren’t particularly tech savvy, as it provides a way to service guests better, using technology that is intuitive and easy to manage,” he said. 

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