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Zen and The Art of Holiday Home Management

Lesley Joy has a cat called Zen who isn’t zen - she makes a lot of noise because that’s what Snow Leopard Bengal’s do – and runs Bay of Islands Holiday Homes with her husband Barry from the scenic town of Russell, 247km north of Auckland, New Zealand.

“We started the business in 2005 after being approached by a couple of real estate agents to help manage holiday rentals.” Lesley explains that, unlike most markets, New Zealand real estate agents often don’t manage holiday home rentals.

“I have a background in sales and marketing and worked in real estate when I first arrived here. I had also been in hospitality and knew what people expected and wanted, so just ran with it.”

Russell was the first permanent European settlement and seaport in New Zealand. It had a rather loose reputation in its early years and was at one point known as the “Hell Hole of the Pacific”.

But those boisterous and licentious days are long gone and Russell is now a quiet, historic and very scenic village with year round residents numbering less than 1000.

During peak holiday period, especially summer, Lesley says Russell’s population can swell to between 5000 and 10,000, with a 60/40 mix of domestic and international visitors.

Bay of Islands Holiday Homes, one of the region’s leading property managers, switched to RMS Cloud technology a year ago and couldn’t be happier.

“It’s a program I would heavily recommend, and the staff support is very, very good,” says Lesley, who takes care of the marketing and admin while Barry manages property maintenance.

“One of the biggest things that pushed me to RMS is the fact it offers a very simple trust account management system. The documentation is very clear and concise.”

Lesley also uses RMS Cloud to manage bookings and distribution through online channels for the curated portfolio of 22 properties managed by Bay of Islands Holiday Homes.

“We did have 50 properties at one point but decided to move some off because they didn’t meet our standards.”

Having fewer but superior rentals has simplified the business and allowed the couple to better serve existing clients and they have no plans to change their current approach.

Steady she goes is the mantra with forward bookings looking good.

“There are just two of our properties which haven’t yet been booked across the Christmas New Year period - it’s going to be another big one,” says Lesley as Zen loudly meows in the background.

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