Keith Freedman is the founder of HostWell(SM), a vacation rental management company offering a range of short-term rental management services for owners. HostWell(SM) provides full and partial management services for stress-free rental revenue, including dedicated cleaning staff, price optimization, linen services, guest communications, and much more. Needless to say, Keith knows a thing or two about the vacation rental industry.
Today, Keith sits with Hostfully to discuss the importance of creating a safe and fun environment for families with young children, his favorite family-friendly attractions in San Francisco, and why smart home technology can sometimes be inconvenient.
Q: Is there anything you like to do to prepare your properties when welcoming families with small kids (ages 5 and under)?
Absolutely. When running a vacation rental business, it’s important to cater to a variety of different customer types, and families with small kids are an important demographic for us.
At HostWell(SM), we work hand-in-hand with our vacation rental property owners to ensure that safety is a top priority in the vacation rental properties we manage. We make sure that any listing we want to market as family-friendly undergoes a rigorous assessment, and make sure that these properties are properly child-proofed.
This includes everything from installing corner guards and power outlet covers to making sure that there are not heavy or sharp items within the reach of a short person. Kids have a habit of touching and playing with anything that is within their reach, so it’s important to tend to even the smallest detail.
If we feel that a listing has not met our criteria for being considered a child-proofed vacation rental property, we inform the potential guest about what precautions they may need to take should they choose to book anyway.
In addition to increased safety measures for small kids, we also highlight some of the kid-friendly amenities a vacation rental property has on the listing. This can include amenities such as backyard houses, toys and games, and even a list of trusted babysitters in some cases.
Q: What’s your favorite family-friendly activity in your city?
Being based in San Francisco, there are a variety of kid-friendly attractions, and we showcase these activities in our family-friendly listings’ digital guidebook for our vacation rental property guests.
For an example of an amazing guidebook, see HostWell’s San Francisco Guidebook.
One of my personal favorite attractions for small children is The Exploratorium, an interactive and educational museum that features art and science exhibits. The Children’s Creativity Museum in Yerba Buena Gardens is another educational and affordable activity to do with your kids, and the museum includes a bowling alley and an ice skating rink during the winter season.
A hidden gem which is a favorite of kids of all ages is The Marrakech Magic Theater, starring magician Jay Alexander. In every show, Jay will bring kids on stage to participate in a few of the magic tricks, and the way he presents his tricks makes them appealing to both children and adults.
Q: What is your biggest pain point as a vacation rental professional?
While smart home technology has certainly been a big trend in the vacation rental industry, at times it can malfunction or be buggy. We generally install the latest technology in locks and security devices, but the software that manages the hardware can fail us at the most inconvenient of times.
For example, we set smart lock codes for people to gain access for self-check in, but every now and then the software fails to properly register the code, and the guest can’t get in. It turns into a huge inconvenience for them, and in some cases requires a field visit from a technician to repair the software connection.
Q: What did you wish you knew about the vacation rental business when you first started?
That’s a really great question! The vacation rental business has been full of surprises. When I first started HostWell(SM), I assumed that the people we would be in contact with the most, would be vacation rental property owners and vacation rental property guests.
However, I quickly learned that the people I would come into contact the most are our service providers. At HostWell(SM), we provide a five-star guest experience by offering a variety of services, including property cleaning, 24/7 emergency guest support, and even a premium linen service. The vendors we work with have been invaluable, and I’ve learned success in this industry requires a truly collaborative environment in order to provide the high-touch, curated services we offer.
Q: If you had to pick a market outside of your current area of operations to expand to, where would that be?
Currently, we are expanding our operations in the San Francisco Bay region and have opened an office dedicated to the Santa Cruz area. Our upcoming expansions will likely be Seattle, Denver, and possibly even Los Angeles and Boston.
We thank Keith for sharing his advice on children-friendly vacation rentals and attractions. To learn more about their short-term vacation rental services and earning stress-free rental revenue, please check out HostWell(SM).