This week let’s meet Kelly & Richard 😊
Richard and his wife Kelly, are super hosts and they’ve been in the short-term rental industry for more than 13 years. They own and manage a private guest suite in Boulder, Colorado. Their home is the most highly rated property in Boulder, located in the very upscale and quiet neighborhood of Whittier. Their walkability score is 95% and guests love being able to walk for coffee in the morning, or dinner in the evening. Richard and Kelly want their guests to make this suite their home away from home!
Let’s hear their story! 🔊
So, Richard, tell us, how long have you been hosting for? How and why did you start? How many properties do you manage?
Kelly and I have been hosting for 13+ years. We manage 1 property. It is the lock-off private guest suite in the home in which we reside. We got into VR to make some extra money after we got married. We started taking it seriously after Kelly got pregnant and lost her income.
Are you an owner or a manager? Is this a part-time or full-time occupation for you?
It is a part-time job that provides a full-time income. I manage our property for 2 hours a week and only concentrate on income-producing activities.
What is the best thing about hosting, and what are the biggest problems you face?
The best part is that our property runs pretty much on auto-pilot. We run it like a business and are constantly looking for ways to automate and optimize our listing.
Syncbnb is a key part of that strategy. They are like a Swiss watch.
Another best part is optimizing our income. We never thought we could make $40k USD a year – then we did. Then it was $50K – then $60K. Now we are on pace to break $70K if we fire on all cylinders for the rest of the year.
The biggest problem? None. Honestly, it’s 99% brain-free. (An occasional request for a refund for leaving early) The answer? A bulletproof rental agreement.
What is one thing you wish you knew when you started hosting?
What do I wish I knew? That you have to run it like a business. You can’t just turn on Airbnb and expect a full house.
Competition is brutal. So compete. Be fair and play to win. Somebody has to win – Why, not us?
What is the most important advice/tip you would give someone interested in becoming a short-term rental host?
- Play by the rules. The first rule of any game is to know the rules. And VR is a game. The listings with the most eyeballs on them win- period. We have a spare bedroom in our basement. We are not even close to being the nicest one-bedroom in downtown Boulder Colorado. Why do we win? Because we win the filtered search box. My best advice if you want to build a long-term, sustainable business is: Be a legal rental and pay your taxes. Our listing pages our mortgage. I don’t need a compliance officer knocking on my door shutting me down. You might get away with flying under the radar for a while. But ultimately it will catch up to you and kick you in the Okole. (It’s Hawaiian for you know what)
- Never be a discount listing. Don’t be a bottom feeder. Use an auto pricer like Wheelhouse to automate your pricing so you are now leaving $$$ on the table.
- Never buy a property and sign a mortgage thinking VR is going to 100% float the boat. Things change (COVID), your city changes the rules. A competitor sicks the City on you. Never do Airbnb Arbitrage. The only ones who profit from it are the ones promoting the course.
- Never have a minimum stay. Our 1-2 night reservations account for 19% of our income. It’s impossible to have 90%+ occupancy with a 3 or 7-night minimum stay.
- Hire a First Class housekeeper and pay them VERY WELL.
Besides Syncbnb, 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?
We use a lockbox for self-check-in. I’m not a bellman. We use a digital guidebook for guest communications as it answers 95% of our most FAQs.
We love AirDNA. Another one of the rules of the game is to know who your competition is. We know our top ten and we follow them closely.
Which channels do you list on? How much has your revenue increased since listing on multiple channels?
We list on Airbnb & VRBO and have had 90% occupancy for 10+ years. We are booking 95% occupancy post covid as VR has become “Social distancing” for travelers. We had a single night cancel a month or so back. It was re-booked in 45 minutes and it was a Tuesday…
Never put all of your eggs in one basket.
Besides listing on multiple channels, what other things can a host do to increase his/her bookings and revenue?
What else can a host do? Attend the free training www.prohostprofits.com. Learn how to become a top host from a top host. Because success leaves clues…
You can find out more about Richard’s properties here:
Here are some photos to give you a better vision of Richard’s apartments (click for larger versions) 🧐