SAS® Analytics helps Twiddy & Company orchestrate the ideal vacation
Exceptional customer service. It’s the one thing that can always bring a client back. This is especially true for small businesses, which have traditionally been able to provide better customer service with a personal touch.
Adding to its unique brand of customer service in the vacation home property management industry, Twiddy & Company is using analytics to enhance its clients' experience. The result? Old-fashioned hospitality through a better understanding of its data.
Easily track expenditures.
Forecast and streamline routine property services.
Improved maintenance through vendor evaluations.
Reduced error-related financial losses by 15 percent.
Deliver great experiences to homeowners and guests.
For nearly 40 years, Twiddy & Company has specialized in managing a portfolio of exceptional rental vacation properties on the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina. Its formula for success has remained the same: local ownership, beautiful vacation homes and a dedicated, experienced staff committed to a personalized approach to property management.
Commitment to customer service
To deliver on this commitment, Twiddy & Company uses SAS Analytics to provide home management and maintenance on behalf of owners while ensuring repeat visits from rental guests. With a portfolio of more than 1,000 managed properties, SAS helps Twiddy & Company support operations, helping the family-run company manage budgets and expenditures related to property maintenance.
“Over time, we captured a lot of cost data via Microsoft Excel,” explains Chief Administrative Officer Clark Twiddy. “We are a small business, but we have a ton of transactional information and pricing data. We decided there had to be a way to make our data more intelligent, and to automate the cost analysis process. As a result, we wouldn’t have to rely as much on manual processes to better understand what is and isn’t working, and where we needed to focus our efforts. We can now track expenditures month-to-month and year-to-year without doing a massive data pull into Excel, which used to take one person a couple of days to perform.”
Reducing errors and financial losses
Maintenance is big area where Twiddy & Company uses SAS to make better decisions. Staff can evaluate which vendors to use for what projects based on cost effectiveness, efficiency and quality of work. The effort has reduced financial losses – due to human processing errors of contractor invoices – by 15 percent.
“We work with about 1,200 vendors, and we want to assign the work to these vendors in the most effective way possible,” Clark Twiddy says. “SAS gives us a sense of what's working and not working on a dynamic basis, and that's something we didn't have before. We've been able to reduce our invoice processing error rate and catch costs that are far outside the average, for any given service, before a homeowner sees the bill.”
The results of this analysis directly help the property owners that serve as the foundation of the company’s rental business. “If you're a homeowner with Twiddy & Company, imagine the confidence you'd have knowing that when we coordinate service to your home, we're doing it in the most cost-effective and efficient way possible. That gives your guests the best experience to keep them happy – and coming back to vacation at your home.”
Dynamic access to information
Another benefit for homeowners is transparency about their costs. “When an owner calls to inquire about their service costs, we can show them their expenditures and that they are in line with market averages,” Twiddy says. “The accurate, timely and transparent information provided by SAS delivers tangible value to our clients. Dynamic access to information is a real competitive advantage.”
Using analytics, the company is also able to forecast and streamline the management of routine services, such as cleaning hot tubs and pools, before guests arrive for vacation.
“One of our first projects was to automate the scheduling of pool and hot tub service,” Twiddy says. “We can pull the scheduling information and automatically email vendors on a weekly basis. Before, one person would be faxing work orders on a daily basis. This has invented time for us that we didn't have before – it's providing real savings that we can measure on the bottom line.”
Twiddy & Company also has a special homeowners portal where its customers have online access to their account information. They simply log in and see data pertaining to their homes, such as revenue generated and expenses. Directly sharing this information with homeowners empowers them to make well-informed decisions about their investment properties.
“Homeowners can easily see booking behaviors for their home, and compare that to comparable homes and locations to determine whether they’re in the ‘sweet spot’ of their segment,” Twiddy says. “The data is dynamic, and they can even see predictive booking behaviors, which helps them determine the ideal price to list for their property to book quickly. It’s all about data transparency and driving value to end users.”
Competitively pricing vacation homes
In the Outer Banks rental market, Twiddy & Company competes not only with other local firms but with much larger international firms and online travel channels, such as HomeAway and Airbnb. To compete well within this deep-pocketed and data-intensive segment, Twiddy & Company relies on remarkably specific home-pricing information generated through SAS.
“Our pricing systems have changed completely over the past few years and now include elements of machine learning and even so-called deep learning,” says Twiddy. “SAS helped us get to that point with its ease of analysis and common system approach.”
What we deliver is hospitality – that's our passion and our business. SAS has helped us, through better analyzing the logistics, to deliver it with a higher degree of confidence. Clark Twiddy Chief Administrative Officer
At the forefront of Twiddy & Company’s approach to the market is hospitality. The company wants to deliver the best experience – to both homeowners and guests – to create better relationships between the two. That leads to happier customers and more productive lifetime relationships.
“What we deliver is hospitality – that's our passion and our business,” says Twiddy. “SAS has helped us, through better analyzing the logistics, to deliver it with a higher degree of confidence.”
Better, more useful information doesn’t just help homeowners and vacationers. SAS Analytics is helping staff perform their tasks more effectively – and helping them focus on the things that really matter.
“Smart and motivated people want to be measured and held accountable,” says Twiddy. “Over 80 percent of our staff use SAS, and employees have bought into the system and like it because they can track and see the impact they're having on the business. If we can work smarter, the company and our homeowners will benefit.”
Photos courtesy of Twiddy & Company.