Bachcare changes: Property managers at odds with company over planned changes

National holiday rental business Bachcare says costs saved by streamlining its services and directing guests to a free call centre would be reinvested and are not simply cost-cutting measures.

Matthew Clews, Bachcare general manager, said new systems were being brought in next month to improve the business – although at least one property manager and a property owner are unhappy.

Bachcare says it has holiday homes in 50 locations, offering “the largest selection of pre-serviced holiday homes for rent across New Zealand”.

The property manager said guests would not have the same direct contact with managers as they do now and changes from September 30 were more about cost-cutting than relationship improvements.

A bach owner asked why would she would stay with Bachcare after the changes.

But Clews said funds saved by streamlining the business would go towards wider improvements: “The funds will go back into the new model and are not retained by Bachcare.

“The rationale for our changes to the contracting model was to reduce administrative tasks and to provide a more equitable revenue model. This was to ensure independent contractors were paid for the services provided. Already more than 60of those who previously contracted to us have elected to take up new contracts as managed service providers,” Clews said.

The Herald last month reported on the new systems at Bachcare.

But the property manager said he remained unhappy.

He raised 11 issues about the new system, arguing guest experiences would not be as good from September 30.

He said he also wished to remain anonymous and his name should not be disclosed to the Bachcare management.

He complained that from September 30, all guest pre-stay, in-stay and post-stay assistance would be handled by the support office and an 0800 number instead of a manager like himself. That was not an improvement, he said.

But Clews said there was a good reason for that change.

“The changes were made after guests provided us with feedback that they required access to support24/7. We believe this can be provided more efficiently in a centralised environment rather than relying on a single point of contact, to provide or subcontract these services, who might otherwise be unavailable.

“The guest services support team will be just a phone call away and is aiming to maintain its current response time of eight seconds,” Clews said.

The property manager said managers now get 6 per cent commission to cover what they do but instead will be paid only for tasks they perform, cutting their income, the manager complained. That will require more administration time than before if they must account for all of these tasks.

But Clews said the rationale for changes to the contracting model was to reduce administrative tasks for the managed service providers.

“The level of administration required as part of running a holiday manager business was previously identified as an issue in manager feedback. The new model aims to address this issue,” Clews said.

At present guests could call holiday managers directly if they had questions, the manager said.

“If a guest had an issue during their stay a quick call to the holiday managers would have them visiting the house and the guest first to see if it was a simple fix or required a professional [brought in].

“With Bachcare telling managers that we are not on-call and paying dismally for this service – less than the cleaning rate – to attend at all hours, weekends, statutory holidays and having the option to refuse a call-out, it is likely that tradespeople are going to be called more often and in some cases unnecessarily at the owner’s expense,” the manager said.

But Clews said the new model was designed to benefit owners, renters and independent contractors, “streamlining processes, creating efficiencies and a more consistent customer service. There has been no increase to owner fees.”

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