Payments

Evolve Vacation Rentals

August 5, 2019

When it comes to vacation rentals, there’s the Evolve way or the hard way. 

With more tech-savvy, travel-bug-bitten tenants flooding online vacation rental sites like Vrbo and Airbnb, it’s no surprise the rental industry market is growing. It’s never been easier to own, rent, and see profits by investing in vacation rental properties. But a long time problem still persists – homeowners struggle with finding the time to properly market and maintain properties, and after hiring full-service property managers to help – some of which charge almost 50% per booking – profits aren’t quite what they expected. Enter Brian Egan and Adam Sherry, who in 2011 founded Evolve Vacation Rental to solve this very problem.

Brian and Adam knew the solution was to revamp the traditional property management model. They created a business focused on helping property owners with marketing and booking tasks and communication with preferred on-the-ground service partners (housekeeping and maintenance for example). If needed, customer service teams work with tenants to ensure a seamless guest experience. It’s worked, and to boot, their solution is available to owners at an industry-low 10% booking fee.

But what Evolve attributes its success to is the team behind their business. 

“The thing we hear most is that our people make the biggest difference,” said Brian Becker, Chief Marketing Officer in an interview with BEN Colorado. “We have a very customer-centric team that is dedicated to building loyalty and creating positive service experiences. Both owners and guests find this approach to be a breath of fresh air.”

Evolve Before Blackthorn

Payment processing is a big part of Evolve’s services and success, and team members often help the homeowner set up how they’re going to send and receive money during the onboarding process. Lots of monetary transactions occur between all parties involved, and the data and fund transfers associated with them are complex. Prior to Blackthorn, teams were getting feedback from homeowners about: 

  • Cumbersome property owner sign-up processes
  • Problems dispersing funds to appropriate bank accounts
  • Monthly invoicing issues

These and other things were taking time from everyone’s plate. Evolve knew that in order to scale, they needed a partner who could provide solutions to the problems unique to their business.

Why Evolve Chose Blackthorn

Aside from being able to solve the sign up, funding and invoicing issues, Evolve liked that Blackthorn Payments provides a flexible, customizable app that’s 100% Native to Salesforce, complete with all the perks of using the popular payment gateway, Stripe.

Blackthorn helped Evolve automate their business rules. Through a series of custom automation rules, Evolve can scale their operations through automated homeowner transfers. Additionally, they can now manage customer onboarding including document uploads, disputes and dispute evidence, payouts, and reconciliation natively to Salesforce.

A few key features that stood out were:

  • Full integration with Salesforce
  • Ability to customize processes to our environment
  • Flexibility on internal payment processes
  • Ability to leverage additional features such as Stripe Radar to prevent fraudulent transactions
  • Extremely responsive support team

Evolve’s Success

The proof of Evolve’s success is in the numbers. Today, their portfolio includes more than 10,000 properties, over $500 million in rental income for homeowners, and an average guest review rating of 4.62 stars. Blackthorn is proud to support their rockstar team in their goals of having a customer-first mentality.

“Because of Blackthorn’s full integration with Salesforce, we’ve been able to streamline numerous payment processes resulting in efficiencies and improved customer experience,” Peter Hodel, Evolve’s Product Manager said. “Our payment processes now scale with our growing business.”

A couple key ways Blackthorn Payments helps Evolve save time and grow:

  • Rules engine to determine how much to transfer for homeowner entities, automatically utilizing Stripe’s Connect APIs
  • Significantly reducing the time it took homeowners to establish a live account, thanks to Stripe’s efficient onboarding process
  • Making all transactions and data associated with those transactions quickly and easily viewable in their Salesforce org - in a PCI-Compliant fashion - connected to each homeowner’s record
  • Native Salesforce, Stripe dispute resolution
  • Native Salesforce PCI-Compliant payment processing to assist with traveler management by phone across their 400+ service agents

Evolve is changing the vacation rental landscape by making it easier for everyone involved, at an affordable cost.

Blackthorn Stack and Features Used

Blackthorn Payments - A payment management application native to Salesforce.

App enables Evolve team to

  • Automate transaction flows
  • Native Salesforce dispute resolution, including dispute evidence document uploads
  • Stripe payout visibility within Salesforce, per homeowner, for customer service agent servicing to homeowners
  • Traveler payment processing (charges and refunds) in a PCI-Compliant fashion using Blackthorn Virtual Terminal, which utilizes Stripe.js

App enables property owners to

  • Receive payments from vacation rental guests
  • View and download statements
  • View payout timing

Find out more about Evolve at https://evolvevacationrental.com

Reach out to us at sales+payments@blackthorn.io to watch a demo, ask questions, and help you get going on a free trial.


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