A: We currently manage properties in almost every building in the River Run area. We also manage select properties in the greater Keystone area including large single family homes and properties in Mountain House and Lakeside Village. We have no desire to become a “large” company but for those keeping score we maintain over 140 properties.
A: We were founded just months before the great recession began in 2008. Our fledgling business survived and thrived in some of the hardest economic times of our generation. We draw great strength from the struggle to succeed during those hard times.
A: There is no direct connection between our company and the resort or any other entity in Keystone. We are 100% independent. Of course we want to cooperate with our friends in Keystone and we often work together to make Keystone a better place. However, if there are competing interests or perspectives, our allegiance is to the homeowners who we represent first and then to our guests.
Our company has no control over issues like ski lift operations, building rules, pool hours, or anything outside of the four walls of the properties we manage. Having said that, we most certainly do have resources to facilitate the resolution to most issues. It is our job to solve problems. Though we have no way of forcing other entities to fix something or change something, we do know how to get things done. We encourage both our clients and guests to ask for help with all things. Most of the time we are able to provide valuable assistance and insight.
A: When it comes to our clients, we offer unprecedented availability to our management staff. Clients may choose to call or email the office to reach an experienced staff person or manager, or they can call the direct number of the general manager or the owners of SCMR. We consider it part of our job to interact with you when you want to be interacted with. Thus, if you’re a night owl and prefer to discuss a topic via phone at 11 p.m. or 2 a.m., that can be arranged. If you prefer to communicate through email, we can do that too. We’re here for you.
A: We try very hard to make the process easy for you. We know selecting a management company is a big decision. We are ready and willing to take things as quickly or as slowly as you prefer. Having said that, if you want to get things done quickly, we can generally answer all your questions within an hour and you can fill out the required documents in just a few minutes. Also–we come to you on your terms. Do you prefer to meet in person, speak by phone or converse through email? We are happy to do things the way you want. We want to facilitate healthy long-term relationships with our clients. We are committed to meeting you on your terms. If you live in the continental U.S. and wish to meet face to face, we will come to you!
A: Every guest is charged all appropriate sales taxes. SCMR properly accounts for all sales tax and pays each owner’s sales tax every month. All internal processes are handled professionally via CPA and professional bookkeeping services. All accounting needs are handled by our company and there is no additional charge for these services.
- All reservations and the income generated from those reservations are viewable in real time on our secure owners portal.
- Around the 15th of each month owners receive a detailed monthly statement that is clear and easy to read. We do not use any indecipherable codes or jargon.
- Around the 25th of each month owners receive a direct deposit with all income from the previous month.
- Every January each owner will receive an IRS 1099 with all the required information for you to report on your federal income tax.
A: We hold every dollar accountable. Our employees are cross-trained and when they are not performing their primary job, they are working on one of our many projects. Managers don’t sit in their office hiding from problems. All staff members play an active role in operating the business. This creates a highly efficient organization.
We don’t cut corners and we don’t reduce services. In fact, we are happy for anyone to compare our services to any competitor. We are certain you will not find us lacking in any area. Quite simply we offer premium services at non-premium costs. We think the real question is this: Since SCMR is not a charity, and it does in fact make a healthy profit and it has been in business for the better part of a decade, why do competitors charge double or triple what we charge?
It is important to understand that in order to get a true picture of the cost difference between management companies, we must find a way to obtain an apples to apples comparison. It is not fair to say we only charge 16.95%. Nor is it fair to say that Competitor A charges only 25% or 50%. We must look at the entire cost structure from each company and then compare the final costs. In our case, the final cost for SCMR to manage a property on our Platinum program is about 20-22%. Our next closest competitor has a final cost for a similarly featured program of 30-35%, and our most costly competitor, Vail Resorts (aka Keystone Resort Property Management), costs more than 60%.
A: Our system was not possible in the 90s. The various technological tools we now take for granted simply did not exist. In the past it may have been necessary to charge drastically higher fees. However, our big competitors have stuck with an outdated business model for reasons only known to them. What we know is that we leverage the internet, mobile devices and the innovations that have come from these basic advances over the past couple of decades. Here is one small example for you to consider: All of our cleaning staff carry wireless devices that provide them their cleaning schedule for the day and enable them to document with text, photos and video any issues while out in the field. This information is captured and transmitted to our managers in real time. Systems like this allow our staff to operate efficiently and better in all ways. With the doors opened by technology, small entrepreneurs have been able to enter the Keystone market and improve efficiencies through innovation and competition.
We’re happy to report that this technological tools have proven successful for us. When we were starting out, clients were told that we were a “fly by night” operation, “marketing via vacation rental websites generates low quality renters,” and that our “services are substandard.” Each of these claims have turned out to be false. We invite anyone to ask us the hard and skeptical questions. We are happy to have the opportunity of your consideration.
A: This fee allows us to streamline our relationship with our clients. One of the major complaints from property owners who we surveyed is this: “we get charged every time a service person steps into our property.” In many cases owners pay thousands of extra dollars per year for maintenance items, which require very little skill to fix. One of the major property management companies charges $49-$59 per hour just to fix a clogged drain. This does not feel right to us. Thus, we have created a system that is fair to everyone. For your maintenance fee, all basic maintenance for your property is included. You don’t need to worry about pesky $39 charges to swap out a simple door lock battery or $50 to relight the fireplace. Furthermore, keycard control and keycards are provided to you and your guests at no additional charge. Our exclusive double-sided keycard allows you and your guests the convenience of accessing both the common areas and the room with a single keycard. This is the same convenience you get from our competitor who charges 50% of your rental income to manage your property.
A: Our reservations staff is available to answer rental inquiries and help our clients with a wide range of issues 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We are generally open eight hours a day to answer calls, but we also have dedicated on-call staff for after hours. Additionally, we don’t just take reservations–we help guests plan their vacations and function as a semi-concierge for clients.
Our philosophy is to provide the type of service each guest wants. Guests who want to speak to a live person can do this seven days a week. Guests who want to make a reservation at without any human assistance can do that 24/7. Or, for those want to communicate via email, we’re available for that too. We come to the guest on their terms. Our conversion rate per inquiry is multiples higher than our competitors who focus on just one method of booking guests.
A: Occasionally guests accidentally lock themselves out of a property. Since we know this happens on occasion we have implemented several backup procedures to minimize the impact of these incidents. An emergency lockbox with keycards is located at the entrance of each building that guests can access in case of emergency. Additionally, the guest can call our office or our maintenance number and have keys delivered to them. These procedures are clearly explained to each guest in their rental agreement. This system works quite well and is preferable to requiring guests to walk to a central location in the resort to get additional keycards.
A: One of the most basic principles we want to permeate our company culture is fairness. We believe if a guest damaged something due to their misuse or negligence, then it is their responsibility to pay for the repair or replacement. If something wears out due to normal use, then this is normally the financial cost of the owner. Sometimes there are gray areas, or perhaps something involved our negligence, and then we absorb the expense as a cost of doing business. Furthermore, because we implement a comprehensive maintenance program with all the properties we manage, many of the costs that would normally be the owners costs are covered by us.
A: This is a multistage process. There is not just one silver bullet. We start out by attempting to ward off the problem guests with advertisements that clearly tell them that we only want responsible guests and we will only rent to individuals 24 years and older. We then present our owner centric rental agreement. This rental agreement has several sections that explain our procedures and our rights to collect for damages. After each stay, cleaners and inspectors are armed with wireless devices and they document any observed problems. In extreme cases, SCMR will charge the credit card on file of a guest or make moderate attempts to hold a guest accountable. SCMR has an attorney on retainer who will write demand letters and give legal advice. If for some reason it is not possible to collect from a previous guest, then the owner may pursue any legal remedies through the courts. SCMR will provide all documents and evidence as it pertains to the issue. SCMR will fully participate in any legal action the owner wishes to bring. SCMR is not a collection agency and thus its collection practices do stop after reasonable efforts.
A: You have probably heard the saying, the customers is always right. Well we don’t subscribe to this ill-conceived idea. We believe that all adults should act respectfully, behave courteously, and give each other significant amounts of latitude in most things. The concept can be applied in both directions. We understand that sometimes our guests are having “bad days.” We want to give them the benefit of the doubt. We also expect our guests to give us a little slack if we make a mistake. Here is what does not work for us: If a guest attempts to blackmail us or otherwise make a mountain out of a molehill, we do not participate in this nonsense. This kind of person is rarely satisfiable and eats up a great deal of our time. Additionally, when a guest wants some kind of special treatment that would negatively impact one of our owners, we just say no. On the other hand, to the degree that we can help someone who has a genuine problem, we want to help. We try to embody the principles set out in Sacred Scripture, of particular focus is the fifth chapter of Matthew. These include treating others as we want to be treated, not as we are actually treated. So we attempt to be kind and generous even when others are not, but we also hold people accountable and do not allow others to manipulate us with threats.
A: The vacation rental/hotel industry has experienced a massive shift. More and more travelers use vacation rental websites, travel websites and hotel websites to book their accommodations. As this change in consumer behavior took place, the insurgence of social media was also in full swing. Social media has become a vital part of the decision-making process of consumers today. Previous guest reviews are the type of social media used in our industry. Thus, the quality, quantity, relevance and reliability of online reviews is critical to successfully marketing and renting a property.
A: It depends! Let’s consider an example of a property that has 20 reviews. 15 of the reviews are excellent, 3 are average, 1 is below average and 1 is a poor review. Consumers will discount the one bad review and pay attention to the overwhelmingly high number of excellent reviews. However, if a property consistently has negative reviews, then of course these reviews will hurt the property’s rentability.
A: It is important to recognize that a “bad” property should get bad reviews. This fact is what gives reviews their power. If a review system is credible and honest, then the reviews will be relied on by the consumer. We think reviews are only helpful if they are honest. In the rare case that a property receives frequent negative reviews, we work with the homeowner to improve the property and then post information about the improvements within the property’s listing and responses to reviews.
A: Our review system allows us to easily evaluate all reviews. We can quickly determine patterns of problems that need to be resolved. When a guest leaves a negative review, we respond to the review within the review system. Our response is posted right next to the review itself. This helps future guests see that we pay attention to reviews and are interested in addressing issues.
A: We believe communication is the first line of defense to avoid negative reviews. We invest in a 7 day per week operation to answer phone calls, emails and handle on-site issues. Additionally, we deployed a mobile app that gives guests the solutions to most of their common issues. Finally, we make it clear in our rental agreement that we can only help guests if they inform us of a problem. The rental agreement requires guests to give us a chance to address their concerns prior to leaving a negative review.
A: We are real people and we post real responses. If a guest posted a false, unfair, uncharitable review that inappropriately stigmatizes a property that we manage because the guest is just a mean person, then we are going to call it like we see it. In most cases, if our response challenges the reviewer or the content of the review, that is because there is a back story documented in our system with the guest or we know that the content of the review was false.
A: Yes, detailed surveys are sent out to guests after their stay. These reviews are automatically posted to our website and to major vacation rental websites.
A: We receive about 1,500 reviews per year. Reviews are posted on our website and are connected to the particular property the guest reserved. These same reviews are also populated on major vacation rental websites like VRBO, Homeaway, Vacayhero and more. Additionally, Airbnb has its own independent review system that has hundreds of reviews about our company and the properties we manage.
A: Guests can reserve a property in a variety of ways: they can contact us directly and reserve by phone or email, but we find most guests book online using popular sites such as VRBO or Airbnb, or they book directly on our website. However they choose to book they’re required to sign a rental agreement and pay at least half the total reservation amount. Final payment is due within 30 days their check-in date. Each reservation is confirmed via email or phone, and then, prior to check-in, each guest is emailed detailed instructions regarding check-in/out procedures, driving directions and other information.
Our clients can see their property’s reservations in real-time via our Owners Portal that can be accessed from our website. The Owners Portal is also the preferred method for homeowners to make their own reservations.
A: In most cases the minimum rental age is 24 years. All guests must be registered with their names and ages. The owner-centric rental agreement must be agreed to and credit card information is kept on file. You’re welcome to read our rental agreement for all the details.
We know that if we allowed 18-year-olds to rent properties that this would result in a short-term increase in occupancy. In fact, our biggest competitor rents to 18-year-olds and actively solicits large college groups to come to Keystone. We believe this is a shortsighted policy. Keystone is a family resort. When 850 wild college kids from XYZ University come to Keystone and behave like barbarians, then the result is many unhappy families who must put up with the noise and protect their children from improper behavior. This deteriorates the reputations of Keystone. Furthermore, it is these fledgling adults who cause the lions share of damage to properties.
A: Maintenance issues are addressed in the order they are received during normal business hours. If it is after hours, and the repair is not an emergency, then it will be handled the next day. If it is an emergency, then it will be handled immediately by our 24/7 on-call maintenance staff.
A: You have a few options:
- You may log in to your private web portal and see all your property information including existing reservations, monthly statements and make your own reservations.
- You may call our office and speak to a staff member.
- You may send us an email and we will be happy to respond to all questions the same day.
A: It is your property. We respect that. We do not pretend like you have to ask our permission to use your property. If you want to use your property every weekend during ski season, then we will be happy to rent it as much as possible during the week. Due to the fact that we are a business and intend to make a profit, we will not allow owners to use our services free of charge while owners are actively renting their properties out for profit. All revenue generating stays are subject to our low 16.95% management fee.
A: Guests want a streamlined check-in process that is fast, flexible, easy and efficient. So that’s what we offer. Our business is substantially different than a hotel, so a check-in desk staffed 24/7 is an unnecessary waste of resources. We have a 24-hour automated check-in system. Guests simply pick up their arrival packet, that includes their keycards, via a secure lockbox and they’re on their way! Check-out is even easier: Turn the dishwasher on and leave the keycards on the counter. That’s it!
A: It is our job to make sure that everything within our control, from an initial inquiry to checking out, runs smoothly for our guests. To aid in that endeavor we’re available to be contacted directly and we make use of several automated systems.
Our autoresponder responds within minutes to each guest inquiry with price quotes, links to listings and suggestions. We’re then able to follow up with any of the initial inquiries from guests that included specific questions. We’re also able to make use of online payment processing, online rental agreement signing, powerful online search tools, streamlined check-in/out, and in 2015 we set up the Guest Information Portal. This portal is an online system that provides guests with a wealth of information regarding their stay. From driving directions to a list of amenities, check-out procedures, wifi information and more, guests have most of what they need right at their fingertips. And if they can’t find what they need in the Guest Information Portal, they can easily reach us using the contact form within the portal or by calling us directly.
A: We believe in a market driven pricing structure. We do our best to understand the Keystone rental market and the market for each individual property. We employ dynamic pricing, which simply means that we increase and decrease prices regularly based on several factors. We believe that it would be better if everyone in Keystone used a market driven approach. Unfortunately, most of our competitors make utterly futile attempts to control the market by setting prices according to what they want, rather than what the market is willing to pay. This means that other than peak times, the properties they manage sit idle.
Here are some specifics that affect our pricing:
- Economy: Good economy equals higher prices while a recession equals lower prices.
- Dates of rental: High demand times equal higher prices while low demand times equal lower prices.
- Gaps Between Reservations: Weekend gaps equal higher prices while weekday gaps equal lower prices.
- Advanced Reservations: Reservations made far in advance equal higher prices while last minute reservations equal lower prices.
- Quality of a Property: Renovated properties equal higher prices while non-renovated properties equal lower prices.
- Special Features: Ski slope views, walk to the lifts, ski-in/ski-out all equal higher prices while parking lot views, bus to the lifts, queen beds all equal lower prices.
- Using “The Force.” No really we mean it. Pricing is part science and part feeling. Anyone who claims to have a formula is just wrong.
A: The short answer is yes. Remember we work for you. Having said that, in most cases it is a bad idea for you to either manage your own pricing or to cripple our ability to make pricing decisions based on what we see going on in the market. We have the benefit of seeing what is happening with a large number of similar properties. This helps us respond to trends faster and more accurately.
A: Yes. We have a few very active clients that enjoy doing this and we are flexible enough to offer two programs that give owners more control over their property and also have the benefit of a lower management cost.
A: Our marketing strategy is not centered on Google. Virtually all of our competitors spend their marketing capital on building their brand. They do this by fighting for top placement in Google. That is fine. It’s just not what we focus a lot of resources on. We market each property individually and we are focused on each property performing at the highest level possible. Implicit in this philosophy is that some properties will perform better than others. We think this mirrors the way the world actually works and we are okay with that.
Time and time again, we have heard the same complaint from incoming clients. These clients say that their previous management company doubled in size and then the rental volume for their property went in the toilet. We believe this is primarily a result of a company that focuses on building its brand instead of individual marketing. Once top placement of the brand is achieved in Google, roughly the same number of potential renters are going to visit that company’s website, no matter if that company has 50 properties or 300 properties. Branding a company website does not allow rental inquires and rental guests to scale up according to the number of properties on the website. In fact, the same quantity of potential guests are divided by a larger and larger number of properties. Our system scales exactly according the number of properties that we manage because we market properties individually.
A: You may store your own personal sheets and towels in your owners storage. However, our system is not capable of sorting linens on a per unit basis. We use very good quality microfiber sheets and upscale towels. We also offer an Ultra-Premium linen package and Ivory White Bedding program that rivals the most elite resorts and hotels worldwide.
A: We launder and dry clean twice a year and we provide two additional no-charge bedspread and blanket cleanings when owners ask for the cleaning or when our inspectors determine cleaning is warranted. Most of our competitors launder and dry clean these items once a year. SCMR is the only company in the Keystone area that offers this level of cleaning and we do it at about the same cost as our competitors who only clean these items once per year.
For properties on the Ivory White Bedding program, the process is a bit different. This program consists of a soft, white-striped duvet cover with a medium thick and high quality down alternative duvet. The duvet cover is is replaced with a freshly laundered duvet cover after every guest stay. Not only do these white linens lend a modern look to the property, the program features an uncompromising standard of cleanliness.
A: We have in the past, and may do so again. When we do work with them, we put conditions in place that benefit our clients. These discounters can only offer our properties during low volume times like May and October. All owners are given the choice to opt-out of these promotions.
A: We always want the highest price possible. However, we must temper this desire with a healthy dose of reality. There is no sense in offering a property in October for the same rate as we get during peak ski season. Doing this always has the same results: zero revenue.
Instead of generating nothing during the off season, we offer enticingly low season pricing and have maintained approximately a 20% occupancy rate during these times. Compare this to our competitors who maintain a 5% or less occupancy rate.
We are not saying that you will get rich from rentals during the off season. However, if we can generate an extra 10% or 15% in total revenue during these off months, then that is all marginal profit. That means these dollars go straight to your bottom line because you already incur the costs of owning and maintaining your property, regardless of whether it is rented or not.
- We believe most consumers recognize that package pricing is often just a mechanism used to confuse and ultimately extract more money from them.
- We offer real discounts that save real money. Our lodging prices are almost always lower than our competitors because we do not add large nightly surcharges and huge resort fees. These extra fees often add an additional 20% to the cost of a stay.
- Discounts are often a shell game in which costs are subtracted in one place but added back in another. For example, one competitor offers “kids ski free.” Unless you have kids that already know how to ski and they are between the ages of 6 and 12, then you will get no value out of this. Furthermore, the value you do get is diminished by the fact that you have to pay a $15 or $20 per night room charge. How much did you really save if you paid $60 in room charges for 3 nights when your kids’ lift tickets are only worth $49 in the first place?
A: In the spirit of our core belief that truth is power, the following is what we have learned about cleaning properties in Keystone. In the first three years of operations, our company hired and fired four different independent cleaning companies. There were always problems. We regularly consulted with the management and owners of these companies to discuss the need for improvement. They would make promises to fix problems, but in each case, we parted ways because our standards could not be met.
In 2011, we decided to create our own in-house cleaning division. At the time, it was overwhelming to more or less double the size of our internal operations, but in hindsight it was the right strategic move. This decision allowed us to hold each and every housekeeper accountable. It also allowed us to implement quality control systems that were not possible with contract cleaners. We now have a robust cleaning system that is drastically better than using contractors. We are the only property management company in Keystone that has brought all aspects of the cleaning and housekeeping process in-house. We own and control our own laundry facility and employ dozens of housekeepers as direct employees. We also employ full-time quality control supervisors as an extra layer of oversight. No other company in Keystone can make this claim.
A: For many of the same reasons we moved housekeeping in-house. For years we worked with outside companies who laundered our linens. Either they did a poor job and because of contracts were not motivated to improve, or their rates would skyrocket after a short time. After a lot of research, we decided that moving laundry in-house would not only serve our clients and guests better, but would also result in cost-savings down the road.
In the fall of 2015, laundry operations began and we’ve never looked back. Sure, acquiring a building, retrofitting it for commercial laundry purposes and figuring out staff scheduling was quite the undertaking. But we dealt with each of those obstacles as they came and now our laundry operations runs like a well-oiled machine.
A: We wish this was an easy question to answer. It is not. The factors that determine revenue range from things that are within the owners control, within our control and factors that are external to anyone’s control. Having said that, we can give you some guidance. Here are some reasonable expectations. Condos in River Run should generate something like the following: 1 bedroom condos approximately $25K-27K, 2-bedroom condos approximately $32K-38K, 3-bedroom condos approximately $50K-58K, and 4-bedroom condos approximately $60K-68K. Ski-in/ski-out condos generate something like the following: 1 bedroom condos approximately $35K-40K, 2-bedroom condos approximately $50K-$55K, 3-bedroom condos approximately $70K-$85K, 4-bedroom condos approximately $95K-$125K and 5-bedroom condos approximately $115K-$140K. These numbers are based on real world historical data that we have produced for our clients.
A: No we charge the same fee for all paying guests. There is a great deal of work that goes into marketing and managing a property. We are happy to accept and handle any guests that you send our way. Our base management fee is still lower than any other competitors.
A: We are different, and not just for the sake of being different but because we think our difference makes a difference. We want to be transparent. Breaking out our service fee into three primary categories is a good way to achieve transparency and to hold your dollars accountable. When you pay us a marketing fee and a maintenance fee, you will always get at least the things that we promised for those fees. Furthermore, breaking fees out and offering a menu of options enables you to manage costs based on the services you need and not require you to agree to a “one size fits all” inflexible system.
A: Our Ultra-Premium Linen program is modeled after the Four Seasons Hotels and dramatically surpasses all linen standards in the ski industry. The towels are thick, soft and luxurious, while the sheets have a very high thread count and an alternating satin stripe pattern lending a touch of elegance. No one else in Keystone offers this kind of quality. This program will set your property apart from the competition, and will be something you and guests enjoy every day.
A: Our Ivory White Bedding Program is modeled after high-end hotel chains and consists of a soft, white-striped duvet cover with a medium thick and high quality down alternative duvet. The duvet is removed after each guest stay and replaced with a freshly laundered duvet cover. The entire bed will be made with fresh white linens for each new arrival. Showcasing an uncompromising standard of cleanliness, the Ivory White Bedding Program will set your property apart from the competition, and be something you and your guests enjoy every day.
A: We have a program designed for homeowners with properties in and around Keystone, who are eager for peace of mind while they’re away from their second home. If your home is sitting empty for extended periods of time, and you’re not able to regularly check in, this program will exceed your expectations. We designed our Home Care Program from the ground up, to be flexible and offer optional services typically found only in the most exclusive resorts. It is no longer necessary in Keystone to choose either high service condominiums with limited privacy and autonomy or maximum privacy single family homes with no services and high frustration.
Learn more about our Bronze Management (Home Care).