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50 Most Influential Companies of the Year 2021

Gearco — Award-winning Cloud Property Management System

Gearco — Award-winning Cloud Property Management System

Property managers play a significant role in managing your real estate property. As with almost all types of investment, putting your hard-earned money into real estate can bring some major risks. Hiring a property management company can be the best solution for property owners who live far away from their property or do not prefer to deal with the responsibilities of being a landlord.

Gearco is a Cloud Property Management System that allows you to manage True Extended Stay® Hotels, Independent Hotels, Housing & Rental, Vacation Rental, Bed & Breakfast, and Self Storage properties within one system while handling day-to-day business functions. We interviewed Eric Almond, the CTO and Co-Founder of Gearco, to understand more about the company and its services. Here are a few excerpts of the interview.

Q. What is the idea behind establishing Gearco?

Gearco was established to provide a real management platform with solutions for a non-technical industry, specifically true extended stay properties, that operates very differently than traditional lodging properties. Gearco’s Cloud Property Management Platform empowers owners and their teams to easily manage guest operations, drive revenue, control risk, and embrace workflow SOPs systematically for long-term stays.

At first glance, true extended stay properties share many commonalities with traditional hotels and lodging properties. But a closer comparison reveals many more key differences between these two types of lodging, distinctions that make all the difference in managing day-to-day operations, financials, inventory, and so much more.

Q. Where does it stand today in the market?

Extended stay guests are far more likely to remain on the property for an extended period of time (hence the category), staying anywhere between seven nights and forever. In today’s marketplace, Gearco is the leading provider of True Extended Stay® technology for mixed markets with the busiest extended stays in the industry. Our customers maintain consistent average occupancy over 92%, an average length of stay running over 679 nights with two or more guests, longer-term stays exceeding 10+ years, and properties sized from 30 to over 1000+ units with an average of around 160 units a property.

Q. What kind of products do you develop to show how different Gearco is from others?

For a quarter-century, Gearco has focused primarily on the effective management of true extended stay properties while working closely with valued customers to build under the umbrella of team spirit between our development team, extended stay owners, and managers from all over. As a result, the Gearco platform continues to yield tried and true targeted solutions and services that drive and control nearly every aspect of their business.

Although there are many differences, one key differentiator between Gearco and other systems is true automation. Many management systems provide the means to drive revenue and account for revenue but not the actual automation of controlling the workflow and/or business rules that can be specifically applied at the property or global enterprise level.

It’s no secret that a business’s primary function is to make as much money as possible within the shortest time frame. Contrarily, customers often try to negotiate a lesser cost, defer payments to a later date, or refuse to pay altogether. True extended stay properties gain control over this by setting a near-universal policy of taking payments upfront. Gearco eliminates this frustration by systematically enforcing an “automated renewal process” policy that enforces any company policy driven by the length of stay and payment method rules.

Q. How does your cloud property management system assure guests a happy long stay?

First, our Guest Portal is an easy-to-use, online, digital interface through which guests may review balances, view folios and histories, make payments, receive instant digital receipts, and request maintenance—all in real-time—without ever having to leave their rooms.

Second, Security Patrol is another app that offers hotel owners and managers real-time guest confirmation, providing hyper-focused guest insights such as photo IDs of all registered guests, unit information, stay dates, and status indicators such as “in house” or “checked out.” Vehicle tag numbers in the parking lots may be searched directly in the app as well.

Q. How does The Channel Manager streamline the reservation?

Gearco’s channel manager technology streamlines reservations rates and inventory for extended stay properties using Gearco Rate Matrix and Length of Stay (LOS) Protection. Gearco Rate Matrix is a real-time automated rate modifier to control and split dynamic rates between long-term in-house guests and the OTAs while adjusting for occupancy. Gearco LOS Protection manages inventory for unexpected departures and ensures that long-term in-house guest stays remain safe to prevent overbooking.

Q. Brief us about your solutions and their features. How are they truly an innovation?

Our solutions continue to be innovated by using real automation to either transact, control, guide, or enforce company policy. Another example of this is the ongoing tax law changes with OTAs. Some OTAs are responsible for tax collection and submission for prepaid programs. Gearco automates the tax rules to ensure the guest is not overpaying and that Sales and Tax use reporting is accurate.

Q. How is Gearco’s credit card safe to use? What measures have you taken for customers’ safety?

Part of our Cloud Paper technology includes Scanned ID Technology, which captures high-resolution images of ID cards and other forms of identification and auto-populates the guest folio with the pertinent information. Another aspect of our Cloud Paper technology is the eSignature for Proof of purchase/stay. Signatures are digitally stored with registration documents and purchase receipt signatures. These Cloud Paper documents are sent directly to customers electronically during the transaction and then by email or SMS / text up to seven years later. Gearco’s credit card vault is used to safely and securely store credit card information with the processor rather than in Gearco’s platform, making our system safe from credit card theft.

Q. How does Gearco evade business risks right from the root?

For true extended stay properties, the complexities of accounting, collecting, and paying taxes are far more involved than traditional hotels. Doing it all by hand can be tricky with the complicated tax rules that vary from city to city. So this complex fractional math is entirely handled by Gearco’s platform, keeping extended-stay business owners in local/state’s good graces.

Automated late fees are yet another way of mitigating the financial risks associated with non-paying guests and can even become a revenue stream when guests are negligent, disorganized, or simply unwilling to follow the rules. Prior to using Gearco, this was problematic, even if management decided to take legal action due to being forced to follow eviction rules governed by landlord/tenant laws—which, by the way, continuously changed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Automated late fees can enforce and track late fees by global automated policy rules.

LOS Protection—or Length of Stay Protection—manages unexpected departure inventory. In this case, LOS Protection blocks any guest from renewing beyond the maximum time they would become a legal resident. In many cases, a simple check-out and subsequent check-in is all that’s needed to reset the clock; other areas require the guest to reside elsewhere for a specific number of days prior to returning. Of course, we hope our long-term guests won’t cause any problems, but for the ones who do, LOS Protection gives extended stay owners and managers the upper hand when it comes to forced evictions.

Meet the Co-Founder

Eric Almond is the CTO and Co-Founder of Gearco. He oversees all aspects of the company’s technology and risk/security. Eric has over three decades of experience in the hospitality and travel industry to focus on developing industry technology solutions to elevate extended stay and travel companies. He helps define Gearco’s strategic direction and business plans with strong beliefs in providing a strong foundation for maximum business flexibility for all clients.

“Gearco develops products to enable owners and their teams to manage guest operations, drive revenue, and control risk for long-term true extended stay properties.”


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