Vacatia is a timeshare company putting a new spin on hospitality. Hovering somewhere between an online travel agency, a property management company, and a real estate brokerage, Vacatia connects customers with their next vacation destinations—and also partners with resorts to help them thrive.
According to Miky Kuo at Vacatia, FotoNotes technology came in handy for the company in a rather unique use case.
Assessing a dated property
“We were looking at renovating a set of properties. There was this one in the Poconos in Pennsylvania,” he remembers. “We took over management, and it was kind of a dated property.”
Encountering a property that needs work is not uncommon in the hospitality business. The challenge was that most of the Vacatia team members worked remotely. Somehow, they had to figure out how to take inventory of the condition of each unit in the rather large property. In total, 54 units needed to be evaluated—four per building, townhome-style—each with two bedrooms, two baths, and a kitchen.
While considering potential solutions, Kuo remembered using FotoNotes at a previous company. Its features, he thought, might work for this use case too. Vacatia decided to work with FotoNotes to create a template that could be used to streamline the process of collecting data and organizing photos for each unit, and then they would have an on-site staff member physically take inventory.
Getting a custom set-up
After signing up with FotoNotes, Vacatia noticed right away that the onboarding process and client care stood out.
“I worked with Robin Droppa and Lauren Kane,” Kuo says, “and it wasn’t too hard to get set up.”
Vacatia and FotoNotes worked in an iterative process, with FotoNotes aiming to set up Vacatia’s template exactly as needed for this particular rental inventory project.
“Lauren and Robin were great in that process and in getting it done,” states Kuo. “There was a little bit of back and forth with them and their back-end tech team to do the custom work we needed, but it wasn’t hard…it went pretty smoothly.”
Staying organized across units
When the time came for the actual inventories to take place, Vacatia was ready.
“We had an employee go through each unit, take pictures of each thing that needed to be assessed, and then rate whether it needs to be replaced, repaired, or do nothing,” Kuo says.
While the process took some time due to the detailed nature of the inspections and the extensive property being examined, the Vacatia team was ultimately left with 54 detailed reports with photos.
“You know, what was helpful about it was we were able to categorize each thing that needed to be assessed—rather than have the employee go in and say, take a bunch of pictures, organize the pictures, and tell us what needs to be done,” reflects Kuo.
Once Kuo had the detailed reports in hand, he was able to export the information to a spreadsheet and then assign an estimated repair/replace cost to each line item.
Retaining value over time
While Vacatia ultimately put that particular renovation project on hold due to unforeseen circumstances, Miky Kuo is glad his team used FotoNotes.
“I think that the end product is still useful to us. It’s almost a year and a half later, and it was worth my time to go back and download and archive [the reports] for our records. The inventory part of it is still very valuable data to us.”
Considering FotoNotes’ value a little more, he adds: “If we had the time and the need, I’d ask our teams across all our properties to just take inventory and do it for everything.”
When asked about the most valuable feature of FotoNotes, Kuo names the phone app, which allowed the company to solve their problem remotely in the first place.
“I’m going to say the phone app–being able to go through in a very organized fashion to take pictures, and basically instruct the onsite inspection team, unit by unit, in a very organized way—and then being able to spit out the report that has it in a very organized fashion. I don’t think there’s anything we could’ve done to replicate that.”