Since 1987, Resort Realty has provided vacation rentals and professional real estate services in the Outer Banks. Since inception, their goal has been to deliver 100% satisfaction to all guests and clientele. Over the years, Resort Realty has grown into four full-service offices, managing more than 450 properties with 35 full time employees. In 2008, Resort Realty was accepted as a member of the Chicago-based Leading Real Estate Companies of the World ̈, a network of nearly 700 of the best-known local and regional real estate firms with 5,500 offices and 170,000 associates nationwide.
Business Challenge The majestic and multimillion dollar properties that line the shores of the North Carolina Outer Banks can prove to be big money-makers for their owners if they are able to keep their properties occupied. This can prove to be a tricky task, especially when lease agreements fall through.
As Michael Harrington, CEO of Resort Realty, knows all too well, it is not uncommon for much-desired, waterfront homes to go unoccupied during peak summer weeks if the contract process goes awry.
Not only did Resort Realty, which books roughly 7,000 reservations each year, take a hit to the wallet when a delay occurred, but so did the rental’s owner, Harrington says.
“We can only sell that rental week one time, and then it’s gone,” he says. “So if we tied that week off the market while waiting for a guest to sign, and then don’t end up booking it, we might have lost that opportunity to book it altogether.”
That is a major reason why Resort Realty, which manages more than 450 vacation rental properties, ranging in size from two-bedroom condominiums to 12-bedroom estate homes, contracted with DocuSign for its electronic signature and contract execution services.
DocuSign Solution Harrington says he initially considered implementing an e-signature offering after seeing the technology deployed in other industries. He conducted research online and performed a cost-versus-return analysis. In the end, what ultimately led him to DocuSign was their impressive list of clients.
“It just made me feel better about their system than all of the others I was looking at,” he says. Resort Realty contracted with DocuSign to provide electronic signature and contract execution services.
Results The DocuSign service has come to the rescue, reducing the signing time from “a few days to a few minutes,” Harrington says. “The quicker we can get the reservation confirmed, the better for our owners. They don’t have to worry about the reservation dropping off. Our owners love it because they can see a confirmed reservation on their home a lot quicker than they normally would.”
Owners can now reap an additional benefit by using DocuSign. For the first time, Resort Realty has begun digitally delivering annual renewal contracts to owners. Once owners electronically sign the contract, Resort Realty can approve the next year’s rental rates, allowing the company to announce availability on its Website so vacationers can jump start booking for the next vacation season.
The 35-employee company is now working with DocuSign to integrate the e-signing service with their customer management software. Currently sales agents perform multiple steps before being able to electronically deliver the lease agreement to a customer. When it is finally completed, the workflow process will become exponentially more efficient, Harrington predicted.
“It will be a one-click send from our software,” he says. “Then, it’ll be 100 times easier for my reservationists.”
Asked what he would tell his peers about the product, Harrington says he would encourage them to try it out, as it is straightforward to use, and DocuSign works diligently to ensure that customers are well trained in deploying the tool. But he figures he soon will not have to do much persuading. While Resort Realty may hold a competitive advantage right now, Harrington expects most rival agencies to use similar technology in the near future.
“DocuSign is going to become the standard,” he says. “It works. You get a lot of stuff that you think is going to be great and it ends up not working, especially with technology. DocuSign does what it needs to do. We love it.”