Vacation Rental Management System(SaaS) - Web

VRM (SaaS) – Accounting

Project Background

Cozystay was launched in 2015 as a vacation rental platform. It is a subsidiary of the property management company Cozy Living Suites Inc., which manages vacation rentals across North America. By 2018, its vacation rental management services emerged as the most profitable sector of the business.

Managing vacation rentals often requires property managers to use multiple software platforms to handle everything from guest communication to task assignments and payment processing across various rental platforms.
Cozystay’s Vacation Rental Management System (VRM) was specifically designed to streamline this process and simplify the work of the entire property management team.

Development followed Agile methodology.

Platform

  • Web: Desktop

Role

UI/UX Designer

Duties

  • User research
  • Product research
  • Product requirement
  • Product flow
  • Wireframe
  • Design mock-up
  • Prototyping
  • Interaction
  • Usability test

Operation and the work flow between different role

The entire flow starts with sales obtaining property signed from the owner or developer, which is then handed off to the installer. The operation staff completes the final job before the launch process begins on the rental platform. The account manager takes care of the listing posting and booking, and once it is booked, the offline team handles guests before and after their arrival.

Operation and the work flow

Product Overview

Users must register for an account to log into the system. Each account can be assigned one or multiple roles, allowing users to switch between different interfaces and functionalities akin to changing modes.

Product Overview

Identified Issues

Despite using the industry-leading platform Guesty, inefficiencies and overloads persisted due to:

  • Accounting: Manual verification of payments and staff payout calculations were required for each order.
  • Account Management: Account managers handled a vast array of tasks related to bookings and offline responsibilities.
  • Offline Tasks: Manual assignment of tasks based on bookings was inefficient.
  • Property Management: Updates to a property needed to be manually replicated across each platform.

Study Case: Accounting role

User Journey Map

User Journey Map

Design Goal and Strategy

Goal

Automate most of the order receivable process and simplify manual comparison tasks.

Strategy

  • Automation Definition: Clearly define the mechanics of automated order matching.
  • Dual Lists: Separate automated matched order receivables from those needing manual intervention.
  • Comparison Interface: Design an intuitive interface for easy comparison of order data.

Details

  • On the order receivable page, each order is paired with data from both the booking platform and Stripe.
  • When pairing fails due to errors or special payment methods, the bookkeeper can manually match the payment receivable.
  • The system automatically generates a payout report based on recorded commissions, streamlining the payout process and ensuring accurate calculations.

Userflow and Ideation

Userflow

Key Points from Market Research

By assess an accounting software and UI comparison feature from other softwares, here are the key points:

  • Customization: Essential for tailoring the system to specific needs.
  • Clear List Definitions: Ensures clarity in displaying order receivables and necessary actions.
  • Horizontal Layout: Aids in comparison, with each row aligned for easy review.

Prototype Development

Low-Fidelity Prototype: Version 1

  • Layout Design: Divided into three main sections, with the first two (actual and gross receivables) on the left for minimal interaction and the adjustment section on the right for operations.
Low-Fidelity Prototype: Version 1
  • Usability Feedback:
    • Users were confused about balancing receivables.
    • Excessive information led to comparison difficulties.
    • The data structure was not flexible enough to handle unforeseen situations.
    • The “Add Adjustment” button was poorly placed, leading to inaction.
    • Interfaces were truncated on smaller screens.
    • User journey mapping was overly complex.
The initial button of “Add Adjustment” located at a blank area, which not leading users to take action.
Interface was cut off at small screen.
The user journey mapping was too long and complex.

Revised Version: Version 2

  • Improved Layout: Three sections now equally divided and arranged horizontally for easier comparisons, with the total amount at the top.
  • Enhancements:
    • Added a damage deposit section for business requirements.
    • Merged the adjustment section into the actual receivable for better readability.
Low-Fidelity Prototype: Version 2 (Revised)
  • Usability Feedback:
    1. Details of gross receivables needed editable options for specific situations.
    2. More options needed for items in actual receivables beyond deletion.
    3. Edit history for each item was necessary for tracking changes.
  • Adjustments:
    • Changed action behavior to open pop-up windows for added items, maintaining usability in smaller layout areas.
    • The user journey became smoother and more intuitive.
The user journey mapping was smooth
Detail amount must be able to edit
The added item need more options

High-fidelity Prototype

High-fidelity Prototype

Explore the high-fidelity prototype to experience the enhanced user interface and functionality:

Result

The system improved user productivity by 56% (accounting), streamlining operations and enhancing the user experience across various roles within the vacation rental management process.

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