For Jay, it all started about a little over 3 years ago. He and his wife decided to list their Shimokitazawa apartment on Airbnb, which was newly gaining traction in Tokyo at the time. The expectations for success were relatively low: the couple figured that maybe somebody would rent out the property every once in awhile and when that time comes, Jay and his wife would just migrate to their family’s home a couple of hours away in the mountains. As it turned out, the two ended up living in the mountains…full-time.
Of course, they didn’t mind the extra cash, but Jay and his wife wanted the option to go home or to live in central Tokyo at the very least. So apartment number two was purchased, with the idea that it would be listed on Airbnb from time to time as well.
Not surprisingly, the popularity of the second property followed suit: Jay and his wife ended up living back in the mountains, away from central Tokyo yet again.
History repeated itself for the third time and their Airbnb business grew from there. Jay developed a more sophisticated short-term rental system and out of that, Happy Tokyo was born. The company became more fine-tuned as it expanded, and luckily, Happy Tokyo has successfully grown exponentially while maintaining its high quality.
Maintaining quality and personal aspects of a business is a key struggle for fast growing hospitality companies. For Happy Tokyo in particular, messaging etiquette was held to the highest standard, as it’s not only the first instance of communication but also the main way of interacting with guests throughout their short-term rental experiences.
We needed to develop a sophisticated systematic messaging system to maintain the quality of the guest experience and also, as volume increased, to answer the guests’ questions before they ask them.
As Happy Tokyo scaled, messaging efficiency became more of a concern and they knew they needed something more structured. To keep the experience personal, they hired a professional messenger. But one individual was not enough and it became increasingly clear that building an entire messaging team was the only option. Who would best make up the team, however, was less clear.
While forming a team of fellow hosts seemed appropriate (as hosts have a firsthand understanding of both the Airbnb experience and expectations), Happy Tokyo soon found that most hosts had already developed their own styles of guest communication, making them difficult to train in the company’s preferred prose.
On top of that, experienced hosts typically cannot afford to offer full-time dedication, let alone 24- hour availability. But 24-hour availability was Happy Tokyo’s goal, as quick response times are vital to the company’s reputation.
Guesty’s messaging is great. They know us super well and they’re just awesome.
For Happy Tokyo, quality communication over Airbnb requires a knowledge and a focus of the platform itself, as well as a certain level of flexibility that would allow for their particular stylized messaging. That’s what made Guesty a perfect fit. “Guesty was already at a place where we wanted our messengers to be, in terms of technology and knowledge of the industry and of how Airbnb works.”
Building a 24-Hour Team
Using Guesty is less of an outsourcing relationship and more of a partnership.
Guesty is a solution that extends beyond a quick-fix and instead offers long-term and around the clock collaboration: “Using Guesty is less of an outsourcing relationship and more of a partnership.” Our team partners with companies and helps every step of the way, thus creating both a safe and comfortable environment from which business can grow and expand. “There are many advantages of using Guesty, including the fast response times and 24-hour service.”
Yes, absolutely Guesty has absolutely allowed us to expand.
Guesty’s team already manages thousands of listings and our business structure allows for us to manage infinitely more. This capacity allows Guesty to grow with clients: “By working closely with you Guesty, we’ve been able to maintain our quality standards while incorporating a system that allows us to grow. We’ve finally found a way where we don’t need to reinvent the wheel once we reach a certain threshold.” Happy Tokyo is currently doing a major push in Kyoto, with 10 properties in the works already.
The ability of Guesty to expand alongside clients breeds a certain confidence that helps drive success: “We would not be expanding so aggressively and into new cities if we didn’t feel confident that Guesty would onboard quickly and handle the new listings for us without breaking down.”
In addition to expansion opportunities, this confidence has allowed Happy Tokyo to focus on other aspects of their business, such as room setup and design of their properties and improving the service standards for their guests.We’ve saved time using Guesty – we don’t have to do a lot of direct messaging and that takes a lot of time; it also takes a lot of focus.
Guesty offers a team that is available at all times of the day, which helps maintain high communication scores and online Airbnb reputation.
There has been improvement with response times, and that’s huge.
The time saved and shifts in focus have afforded Happy Tokyo some major advancement in business. Within the next few weeks, Happy Tokyo will be putting up their first website listing all their short-term rental properties. Their business has taken on some other new directions, as well. For one, Happy Tokyo has adopted the role of property manager for the first time. Though this new management role is simply experimental at this time, it nonetheless marks an exciting time for the company as they explore new and different opportunities.