Michelle Boyle is owner and operator of Unique Northwest Vacation Rentals – a hospitality company which encompasses three unique brands, each offering a distinct experience to guests.
As a savvy marketer, Michelle sees value in having each brand on its own website. This allows her to tailor the look, feel, and messaging to each niche audience visiting her sites. Let’s explore how Hostfully helped her manage incoming inquiries and reservations automatically.
Michelle managed three unique vacation rental brands—My Tiny House Village, Oregon Teardrop Rentals, and My Tiny Creekside Retreat. Each brand had its own website, direct booking funnel, and reservation calendar. Since each site caters to a different audience, the brands don’t share common properties. That said, being a solo operator meant that Michelle needed a central way to manage reservations and have an overview of her business.
To keep everything in sync, Michelle relied on a complicated system of spreadsheets. When a reservation came in, she had to manually update each calendar on various listing sites and OTAs and keep her spreadsheets up to date.
This wasn’t easy since Michelle relied on an extensive distribution strategy to maximize her occupancy:
Michelle described this process as a time-consuming “nightmare” that detracted from other crucial tasks. She realized the need for a more efficient solution that relied on technology rather than hiring staff. After researching options, Michelle chose Hostfully for its direct integration with major listing sites and OTAs, the ability to accept and coordinate direct bookings, all while accepting iCal reservations.
Now, Michelle effortlessly keeps track of all her reservations on one clear dashboard, thanks to Hostfully’s smart syncing tools. This change has made a significant difference, and Michelle no longer has to struggle with manually updating various calendars.
Michelle’s bookings primarily come from Airbnb and her three personal booking sites. Because some smaller websites don’t have direct connections to vacation rental software platforms, she can still sync them to Hostfully through iCals. As Michelle puts it, “I’d rather have a direct API integration, but since these small sites account for less than 10% of my reservations, the risk of an iCal sync error is tolerable.”
This switch has not only saved her a lot of time but also drastically cut down on fees. In particular, her teardrop rental business has seen a remarkable 30% reduction in fees paid to listing sites. Previously, she heavily relied on platforms like Outdoorsy and RV Share, which charged a hefty 30% fee to hosts. But by accepting direct bookings and managing them through Hostfully, Michelle not only bypasses those fees but also gains the ability to ask important questions to potential guests, such as checking if their vehicle can tow the teardrop or obtaining a copy of their insurance policy.
Michelle sums it up, saying, “Hostfully pays for itself just by eliminating the fees I used to pay to Outdoorsy and RV Share.” This smart move has not only streamlined her operations but also significantly improved her bottom line.
Each of Michelle’s brands has distinct requirements when it comes to guest inquiries. For instance, on her teardrop rental site, Michelle needs to gather technical details about the guests’ vehicles, inquire about their insurance, and gauge their experience with trailers. Conversely, for her tiny homes, she focuses on questions that will enhance the later guest experience.
With Hostfully, Michelle enjoys the flexibility to establish distinct automated communication flows based on the source of each reservation. For instance, inquiries related to teardrop rentals activate a flow focused on technical questions. On the other hand, guest inquiries regarding tiny house rentals trigger a more traditional hospitality-oriented communication flow.
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