This time we talked to Vinko Antunović, the founder and multi-property manager of Check-in Point agency located in Zagreb, Croatia.
How did you start doing this job? How did it all begin?
I have been practicing law for over 15 years in various fields, and at the same time, started and operated my own three accommodation facilities in Zagreb and the Adriatic. Private business in tourism became more and more demanding over time, and it needed more of my engagement. I realized that the fast-growing tourist rental market in the City of Zagreb lacked the professional management of the rental business, which would relieve the property owners/managers from the daily obligations of such a business and take over the execution.
These are services of price optimization, synchronization of availability calendars on all on-line sales channels, production of promotional offers, correspondence with guests and their reception, check-in and check-out, billing of accommodation, invoicing, and coordination of the maintenance of accommodation facilities.
Then the idea of Check-in Point was born, which turned out to be a great idea from the very beginning. In a short time, we started doing business with a large number of property owners who welcomed such a service to ensure more free time for themselves and their professional careers. Our professional approach to business was of great importance to our success. What also helped was our modern street office, which is available to our clients and their guests 365 days a year. It also confirmed our serious approach to then completely unknown business model and service.
How did you choose the property management system and how has it been helping you since you implemented it?
Rentlio was the first software we started using because we had to replace the Excel spreadsheets that we used to enter reservations from various on-line sales channels manually. This process always took us a lot of time, leaving room for errors and subsequent overlooking.
By centralizing the entire business, we have saved so much time that we could, in proportion to that, start doing business with more new facilities. With Rentlio, we have extra time to grow our business. We hope to see more options in the system in the future, and we also look forward to seeing new mobile apps that will incorporate most of the functionality of Rentlio’s web app.
What are your favorite features that Rentlio offers?
The calendar is essential to us, and it is our main focus throughout the day, as we monitor the situation 45 days in advance daily and keep track of statistical reports and the level of occupancy. With Rentlio, we have a functional and easy-to-use tool that can handle a large number of facilities and optimize prices in a short time.
Reservations represent our income, and it is easier to observe the situation of all our facilities from one system. This is our favorite thing about Rentlio because we want to get as many bookings as possible. With more than 100 properties at the moment, operating without a system like Rentlio would be unthinkable to us. Another favorite feature is our mobile scanner and automatic login to the e-visitor system, which would usually be a three-person job per 100 apartments. 🙂
What is success to you when it comes to tourism?
Success in tourism always means a satisfied guest and a happy customer. However, from my point of view, success is a business idea that has come to life and has been established as a completely new product in the rental market.
What have you learned about yourself in your journey to success in tourism?
Consistency, courage, and constant engagement are essential when implementing the initial idea. If this idea came from previous business experiences as a natural need, then it is more than likely to be successful. For the first time, I realized that I was good at educating others and that I could teach people new skills and get the most out of the team. The most important thing is that the whole team is satisfied because, without a happy team, nothing is possible.
What change/trend in tourism do you think will affect you most in the next two years?
There aren’t any specific trends that I would point out, but there will undoubtedly be more of them. The tourism market is increasingly dynamic, and the digitalization of society brings tourism to new levels every day. With new technologies, we need creativity to accommodate increasingly demanding guests who are at the same time more likely to deviate from the traditional ways of booking and paying for accommodation, check-ins, and check-outs. We have also set new trends in tourism with our business model. After registration at the reception, our guests pick up the keys and, with clear instructions, go to the reserved accommodation on their own.
A business model like that was unimaginable five years ago because everyone wondered how someone from Shanghai would know how to come to a 7th-floor apartment on the street in Zagreb on their own unless the owner welcomed them and showed them around. Or, how is it possible for guests to leave the property on their own without anyone escorting them at check-out? This is precisely how we do business, and our guests become a sort of adventurers who, after leaving our agency, go to a reserved accommodation in a previously unknown city, as if they were living in the same.
On the other hand, our clients, vacation rental owners, most of whom live and work abroad, can safely and successfully use their properties and rely on the expertise of our team. For example, the self-check-in will likely become a trend and change things. But, for now, I think our way of doing business is the best because we notice that our guests like to have support in the form of friendly staff who are always at their service during their stay, which is every day of the year until 10 pm. I find it hard to believe that an average guest would replace our friendly staff from the reception desk with some self-check-in system. 🙂
Story created: August 2019