Rented is a leading provider of Revenue Management as a Service (RMS) for property managers of vacation rentals. They are a team of consultants working behind-the-scenes to increase revenue for the managers of vacation rental properties.
With properties listed across the six continents, Rented reached lofty heights in early 2020 by bagging #61 on Inc’s Annual List of Top 5000 fastest-growing companies in the US.
Though the COVID lockdown made business-as-usual pretty unusual for Rented, Karen Fleck (the Chief Financial Officer) and her team found creative ways to retain their customers, using Chargebee.
Rented wanted to implement a subscription model in which managers will be charged a flat fee monthly, per property managed. The team started with Quickbooks Billing to manage their recurring billing process. However, the tool did not automate billing and invoicing operations and resulted in the addition of a lot of manual revenue workflows:
Invoicing demanded a full-time job. That means reviewing the payment info of their many customers, manually sending invoices, and keeping at it until they received their payments.
Slow invoicing and slower follow-ups increased the number of delayed Account Receivables (AR) that were, in turn, choking their cash flow.
Reporting: The lack of an automated process to track and record payments led the team to spend more time to ensure accurate revenue numbers. This in turn made it harder to work on their projections and forecast.
Karen recollects, “I knew that change was essential. Our AR was higher than it should have been, and my team was frustrated by following up with customers every week. I needed a tool that could automatically charge a monthly subscription fee for each property with the least amount of effort from our end. All without sacrificing our customer experience.”
Karen shares her onboarding experience with Chargebee “New software onboarding is never easy but we were up and running in a few weeks with the help of your onboarding team. It is an extremely user-friendly product that I can figure out anything I want to perform on the tool. If I don’t know, your support is always on standby.”
‘Set it - Forget it’ automation: Every possible step in Rented’s invoicing process — onboarding, to a one-month free trial, invoice generation, and subsequent recurring payments, is automated.
Effectively manages Account Receivables using a combination of features baked in the Chargebee app:
To Identify: The team can quickly identify the source of delays by mapping out AR by invoice status and age using Chargebee’s AR Aging report.
To Fix: Using the Smarter Retry and Dunning process, the team recovers revenue from failed payments on autopilot.
Accurate Cash Flow Forecast: The finance team uses Chargebee’s dashboard to track cash that comes in. In fact, Karen calls Chargebee ‘the gateway to income.’ The 360-degree visibility into invoices and subscriptions, the AR aging, and the deferred revenue reports offer Karen a true picture of Rented’s cash flow and the number of months of runway available.
The Pay-off During COVID
The Discounting Strategy that helped Rented retain 80% of its customers
Like every sector in the travel industry, the vacation rental industry is grappling with countless challenges because of the coronavirus crisis. Using Chargebee, Karen implemented a discount strategy that helped dodge the otherwise higher customer churn:
Rented offered all its customers a discount on their subscription plans for the first two months of the pandemic. In Karen’s words, “Some of our customers had their markets shut down. We saved a lot of our customers who would have otherwise left us. And we also gained their loyalty. One of our core values is ‘Better for all’ and Chargebee ensured we stick to it by enabling us to offer timely discounts on our plans.”
By drilling down discounts to the line-item level, Rented was able to make custom offers to customers who added a new property to their profile.
They offered time-bound discounts for customers in different European countries depending on local Covid-19 conditions.
As a CFO, it does not make sense for me to hire more people and build additional features over a billing system. To work with other billing tools in the market, I would need to hire a tech team to maintain the code, etc. It is an expensive option. Today we save around $60,000 every year by not choosing any other billing tool.
Karen Fleck, Chief Financial Officer, Rented
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