How Marbella Lane Aced The Business Model of Minimal Listings & Maximum Revenue, Doubling Their Revenue During COVID-19

November 01, 2020 |

In 2016, Yanan was working at high-end fashion company, Hermès, while simultaneously managing her first short-term rental on Airbnb. At that time, Willy Chang was continuing his decade-long career in Silicon Valley with a background in big data engineering. Fast forward to 2018 and Sun was managing a boutique hotel in San Francisco. That same year, she teamed up with Chang to focus on vacation rentals, ultimately resulting in them founding Marbella Lane, a property investment and management company that specializes in providing hotel-like experiences by capitalizing on guests’ emotions with the perfect recipe of location, aesthetics, tech-savviness and frankly, understanding the template of what works.

Only a couple years later and Marbella Lane boasts a diverse portfolio of urban short-term lets, glamping stays, aparthotels and vacation rentals spread out in city, desert, mountain, lake and ocean locales across 5 US states and growing. Destinations include Colorado, The Great Smokey Mountains and Joshua Tree.

The Challenge

The few residences Chang and Sun were managing quickly morphed into several others as those around them saw the profitable results they delivered. This, coupled with not knowing exactly where the business was heading at its inception, resulted in a lot of experimentation until the managing partners landed on the business model that worked for them: minimal listings with maximum revenue. In other words – quality over quantity. 

In order to provide top-notch experiences, the Marbella Lane team knew they needed a tech solution to help them streamline and scale their operations in order to save them the time and energy of hopping from channel to channel and manually communicating with guests. They had heard of Guesty and after Chang tried it and saw the platform’s positive user experience, he realized that partnering with Guesty was the right fit. “Guesty wants to be the best – the whole team, from the CEO and CTO to the wider group – wants to be the #1 software for the management of short-term rentals,” says Chang.

The Solution

After onboarding with Guesty, the team got started utilizing the platform’s features. They note that automation helps enormously and is highly necessary for their business to run on a daily basis, specifically when it comes to auto messaging guests and staff.

The Marbella Lane team also relies on Guesty’s Multi-Calendar to manage all reservations across all channels in one place, and the native mobile management app to handle business needs on the go.

“Guesty has saved us many headaches. If we didn’t use Guesty, I would have a headache every day,” said Chang. 

The Results

The use of Guesty’s property management software, coupled with their approach to understanding how guests connect to properties and why, has enabled the company to successfully navigate COVID-19. Case in point: with listings in remote locations with a view, near national parks and in drive-to distance to cities, Marbella Lane has achieved a commendable 90-100% occupancy rate and doubled their revenue this year. 

In fact, the team has been able to expand during the pandemic with a specific focus on desert retreats – glamping, luxury camping, bubble houses and RVs. This is in addition to the company’s already diverse portfolio of traditional vacation rentals, aparthotels and apartments in urban locations. Overall, the team notes that the personas they have seen the most of include families seeking more space and business travelers craving comfortable, aesthetic places to work – ideal for the listings they manage.

In the next year, Marbella Lane plans to expand in states including Georgia, Florida, Hawaii and Tennessee and grow their portfolio by 100%. In addition, they look forward to working with developers to manage entire buildings and partnering with real estate funds to continue expanding their enterprise. What’s certain: their focus on top-notch guest experiences and catering to the travel personas that emerged from COVID-19 will continue to resonate with guests.

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