This week let’s meet Natalie😊
Natalie, a part-time short-term rental host since October 2021, successfully manages her property while balancing a tech startup job. Her entry into hosting was motivated by the need for additional income and the promising rental market in her area. Natalie’s approach blends personal interaction with guests and smart use of technology, like PriceLabs for pricing and Teeho door locks for security. She values the hospitality aspect of her role, advising new hosts to enjoy engaging with guests or consider a property manager. Continuously experimenting with her business model, Natalie is an exemplary figure in the dynamic world of short-term rentals.
Let’s hear her story! 🔊
So Natalie, tell us, how long have you been hosting? How and why did you start? How many properties do you manage?
I’ve been hosting since October 2021. I was working at a tech start-up and needed an additional source of revenue. I knew many people running short-term rentals in this area. It’s a very good market, so I jumped in! I just own and operate one now, but I’m currently looking to buy my second property.
Are you an owner or a manager? Is this a part-time or full-time occupation for you?
I am both an owner and a manager. This is a part-time gig for me so far. I look forward to that changing in a few years as I buy more properties!
What is the best thing about hosting, and what are the biggest problems you face?
I love communicating with people, meeting them, and delighting them! That is the best part. The two problems I face are recognizing and putting a stop to undisclosed parties and getting my cleaning fee high enough to pay for cleaning without diminishing my bookings.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you started hosting?
I wish I had help setting up my Airbnb and VRBO profiles and connecting them correctly! I learned the hard way, so I help anyone who asks so they avoid the mistakes I made in my first 24 hours!
What is the most important advice/tip you would give someone interested in becoming a short-term rental host?
This is a hospitality business. If you’re going to self-manage, you really need to love meeting and engaging with people! Otherwise, hire a property manager. Also, don’t be afraid to test. Run experiments. Change your pricing. Tweak your marketing languages. Keep testing to figure out what works!
Besides Hosthub, are there any tools, devices, or software (eg. Remote keylocks, cameras, local guide apps, power meters, etc) you use? What is your experience with them?
Yes, I use PriceLabs to automate my pricing. That has been very helpful for not losing revenue for future bookings. I also have a website where I blog to engage my guests, and I use Teeho for my door locks.
Which channels do you list on? How much has your revenue increased since listing on multiple channels?
I list on Airbnb and VRBO. I’ve listed on both channels from the beginning. Switching to using Hosthub and PriceLabs has increased my revenue.
Besides listing on multiple channels, what other things can a host do to increase his/her bookings and revenue?
There are many things to try:
- Change your listing to market it as animal or kid-friendly
- During your slow season, open your individual rooms instead of just the full space
- Build relationships with other local STR hosts, and send one another overflow leads. Then reach out to local hospitals and colleges to get added to their housing lists for parents or patients.
- Blog and share your blog posts on your social media channels
- Use PriceLabs, so you can access Dynamic Pricing
You can find out more about Natalie’s properties here:
Direct Booking Website
Here are some photos to give you a better vision of Natalie’s properties (click for larger versions) 🧐