In 2010, Ryan moved to downtown San Diego to pursue a career in consulting with IBM. The job required a lot of traveling, and he was out of town for four days a week, if not more, spending a lot of money on rent in the interim. At the time, downtown San Diego real estate was booming, the demand for apartments was growing, and Ryan’s entry into the short-term rental market was easy.
While traveling, Ryan took care of all the Airbnb profile and booking management while his neighbor took care of the keys. Not too long after, Ryan decided to purchase a home with his girlfriend – something that would prove to be a good investment in the short-term rental market.
They landed on a 3-unit beachfront property that, given the success of his San Diego apartment, Ryan was sure would yield return from the Airbnb market. He and his girlfriend settled in and managed Airbnb rental of the back unit, while a professional property manager managed the remaining two units on the water.
Ryan’s rental success of his own unit quickly surpassed that of his property manager, so he took over online management for the entire property, while the hired manager was left with only on-the-ground tasks (such as cleaning and guest management). At this point, Ryan and his manager were splitting the 20% management fee down the middle, but Ryan was on both the front-end and the backend. The payoff didn’t seem worth it, so Ryan took matters into his own hands and fired the manager.
That’s when Surfcomber Rentals was born. Ryan’s own short-term rental company quickly grew from one building to many and eventually materialized into what included both Airbnb property ownership and Airbnb property management.
“I found – and I was surprised – that when I went from 3 units all in that one building, very quickly to 6 or maybe 7 units, it didn’t become incrementally more difficult to manage, it became exponentially more difficult to manage.”
There are growing pains in building a short-term rental business. Ryan found that after about a handful of units, each additional unit became significantly more difficult to handle. Property managers like Ryan need a guest management system. For this capability to be built in-house, it would require the hunt for suitable candidates, a structured training period, quality control, and the creation of a software system that would allow the team to get smarter over time.
Aside from the cost, this route would require time. Standard affordable, cloud-sourced outsourcing options cannot adjust their solutions to the client: Ryan needed a management company that has the ability to adapt to his business personality and style. And with a full-time job, he didn’t have the time to handhold.
Property managers need a way to grow their Airbnb businesses without being held back by these unnecessary road bumps.
Time & Efficiency
“With Guesty, I finally was able to have my life back: have dinner with my girlfriend without being on my phone.”
Ryan has found this guest management value in Guesty. Guesty covers everything from maintaining 24-hour availability to delivering the right kind of guest responses, to maintaining friendliness. “This justifies the value of Guesty because of each of those things that I don’t have to deal with, that’s huge.”
Guesty is that in-house team needed to sustain a thriving short-term rental business, training commitment not included. We learn who our hosts are and then are able to cut their required input dramatically. “Guesty understands me, they understand how I work, and it has been pretty simple.”
With efficiency, comes time. “With Guesty, I finally was able to have my life back: have dinner with my girlfriend without being on my phone. At least 2 hours per day saved, for sure, even more. So, it was huge…”
It’s a solution that’s neither static nor stiff. For Ryan, that means sending lock codes to guests at the right time, allowing him to make his own templates that dictate how we should communicate to his guests, whatever his property management business requires from its guest management tool. “Guesty has been really flexible in adapting to my needs. And so, that’s made it worth it.”
Deep Integration With Airbnb
Guesty sets itself apart with its capacity to fully integrate with the Airbnb platform itself. Alternative approaches are either less involved or less direct, such as use of external integration software or minor and casual engagement with Airbnb. Guesty’s unique specialty to manage within Airbnb allows hosts to accomplish more in their short-term rental businesses. “Specifically, with Guesty’s expertise within Airbnb’s platform, hosts have the ability to cross-sell with special offers across units, create and manage resolutions for price adjustments, and explain the pricing approach in detail.”
“The expense of bringing a new property online has been much lower.”
Flexibility has brought Ryan progress in various areas. “The reviews are better, I get complimented for being so quick in replies. Getting notified about and help from Guesty in dealing with a bad review, including a recommendation in how to respond that’s worked elsewhere, has been hugely valuable.”
These reviews are on Airbnb’s platform. Like many other successful property managers, Ryan lists across multiple platforms. But our narrow specialty in Airbnb allows our results to be vast. “I’m using Guesty because I get value from your specialized management within the Airbnb platform: interacting with the guests, and so on.” On top of that, hosts only pay Guesty per transaction, so all work done internal to Airbnb comes at no financial risk to the host. In other words, booking management is compensated for only when the host receives payment for that booking.
The work inside the Airbnb platform breeds success outside. Take Ryan’s reported business growth, for example. “The expense of bringing a new property online has been much lower. Guesty does most of the work. Hitting the ground running with the new listings has been pretty simple.”
The simplicity shows: Ryan grew his business five times over since partnering with Guesty.“From 2012 to 2015, I’ve gone from 3 units 15, with revenues of over half a million dollars in 2014. With Guesty’s help, I was able to do this without bringing on a single full-time employee.”
“I am so grateful for the partnership with Guesty that I met the team in Tel Aviv.”