Case Study

Open API and partnerships

How an international vacation rental management company built an in-house platform based on the Hostfully API

Ian Haet is the founder and CEO of Emerge Rental Network, a virtual vacation rental company that handles all aspects of digital property management ranging from distribution, pricing, lead conversion, and guest communication. The Emerge Rental Network helps property owners efficiently list and rent their properties while facilitating payments in markets with limited access to common transfer systems used by the vacation rental industry.

Emerge Rental Network is unique in its niche in how it uses technology and automation to provide its clients visibility into the operation and financial health of their investments.

Before Hostfully

A great idea missing the technology to make it a reality

During one of Ian’s trips to Latin America, he realized there was an untapped niche: virtual management in non-English speaking countries. At the time, vacation rental owners in countries like Colombia and Panama offered 5-star amenities but struggled with engaging listings, distribution, guest experience, marketing, and optimized pricing. On top of that, some vacation rental listing sites used payment systems that weren’t offered in those locations. that meant the average host couldn’t list on those sites, which limited distribution, and consequently, income generation.

What if Ian could connect those hosts to the lucrative North American and European travel markets? As for payments, if Ian achieved critical mass to make it less costly, he could arrange the international monetary transfers. Unfortunately, there wasn’t an out-of-the-box software solution that could handle all three functions of the vacation rental management company he envisioned. What Ian needed was:

  • Manager’s portal: edit listings, adjust pricing, communicate with guests, handle reviews, ping owners when check-out occurs, and oversee property efficiency and financials.
  • Vacation rental listing site connectivity: intake reservations and calendars, update pricing changes, and block off calendar dates for direct bookings or owner holds.
  • Owner’s portal: double-check listing accuracy, visualize past and future booking metrics, summarize earnings and expenses, send owner holds, oversee guest reviews.

After Hostfully

An open API that communicates all datasets

As a true entrepreneur, Ian took on the challenge of building his own vacation property management software. Having spent years in San Francisco, Ian had a strong tech background and understood the work ahead. But building the software wasn’t the challenge. He knew he could build a platform that would handle his requirements. What was needed was a way to communicate with the major listing sites like Airbnb, HomeAway/Vrbo, Booking.com, etc.

After a bit of research, Ian came across Hostfully’s API. Its open and innovative structure made it easy for his developers to build on top of. Additionally, the integrations with other niche vacation rental software handled by the Hostfully Property Management Platform (PMP) meant that Ian could automate features like dynamic pricing and payment processing. After working closely with the Hostfully development team, Ian’s software went online, and Emerge Rental Networks was born.

In its current state, Emerge Rental Networks uses the Hostfully API to import vital booking information, handle multi-channel distribution, push listing updates to the vacation rental sites, receive lead information, and facilitate integrations with niche software like dynamic pricing and payment processing

However it doesn’t stop there.  As a virtual vacation rental manager, Ian needed quick and efficient guest communication.  Emerge Rental Networks added their own custom guest communication integrations, which are also facilitated by the Hostfully API:

  • Twilio API: for communication over WhatsApp
  • Amazon Email API: to handle email exchanges

Finally, the Hostfully API seamlessly integrates vacation rental data and operations with two other Emerge Rental Network core businesses, which are also custom software built by: 

  • Host Secure: a platform for easy local government compliance
  • Latin Hosts: a digital recommendation service for guest experiences that offers tours, transport, products and local recommendations

Bonus

Two startups form a symbiotic relationship

Over the years, Emerge Rental Networks and Hostfully evolved symbiotically. By constantly adding new features to the custom software, Ian and his team are on the frontline when it comes to finding new ways to use the Hostfully API for automation and growth. As Ian puts it, “we push the API to its limits and often come up with special requests and new requirements. Hostfully is always there, listening to feedback, and updating the API.”

The Hostfully advantage

Hostfully’s industry-leading and award-winning property management platform (PMP) is built on top of an open API designed by developers for developers.  Customers with Premium accounts can import and export their own vacation rental management data and create powerful custom software solutions unique to their businesses. Ian and Emerge Rental Network showcase how the Hostfully API and its PMP facilitate a custom property management platform. However, the open API can also communicate and exchange:

Standard and custom amenities

Custom fees, pricing data

Guest profiles

Cleaning jobs and work orders

Booking leads

Webhooks

Local recommendations (includes geodata)

Guest messaging

Photos

House rules

Reviews