Hospitality Secrets: Creating a Unique Space For Your Guests

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In this Boostly podcast episode, Liam interviews Garrett Holden from Trippy Homes. Garrett and his wife started their business in short-term rentals to quit their nine-to-five jobs. Based in San Antonio, Texas, they host both leisure and work-related guests.

Initially skeptical, they listed their own home on Airbnb and achieved great success. They have explored various models like ownership, rental arbitrage, and management but found that ownership allowed them to create unique spaces.

Garrett values the freedom to design his own time and recommends using Operto for smart locks and thermostats. This tool helps save on electricity costs and streamlines the check-in process.

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[00:00:00] Liam: Okay, everyone, welcome to the latest episode of the Boostly podcast. This is the podcast that gives you the tools, the tactics, the training, and most importantly, the confidence to go out there and get yourself some direct bookings. My name is Liam Carolan. And I'm Mark Simpson's co-host. Today we are going behind another host.

[00:00:19] So this is the Boostly behind the Host mini-series where we get to talk to interesting and inspiring hosts from all over the world. Uh, today we are talking to Garrett Holden from Trippy Homes. Uh, we're gonna be talking some various bits and pieces. We're gonna find out his story and talk about how to host while creating some fun and unique spaces for your guests.

[00:00:41] So let's get started with you. Uh, just introducing yourself a little bit about where in the world you host and what kind of model that you use, um, and who tends to stay there.

Garrett’s Intro

[00:00:53] Garrett: Yeah, sure. So, uh, my name's Garrett Holden, as you mentioned, me and my wife Sherry. We have two kids, uh, four-year-old and two-year-old.

[00:01:01] Another baby coming in July, so we're super excited about that. Uh, we also have two dogs and yeah, we started our business, trippy Homes just to get more involved in real estate. Specifically in short-term rentals and to be able to quit our nine-to-five jobs. Uh, so we're actually in the great state of Texas in U S A.

[00:01:18] All our properties are in San Antonio. Uh, most people haven't heard of that city, but a lot of people have heard of Austin, Texas and Live Ma Live Music Capital, the world, and all the tech companies that go there. We're actually about an hour and a half south of there. Uh, so that's where all of our properties are located.

[00:01:35] As of right now. It's where we grew up and we'll probably be here for as long as I can tell.

Who do you host?

[00:01:40] Liam: Who do you tend to host? Is it more leisure or is it some of these sort of tech companies, sort of people working and, and things like that? Yeah,

[00:01:46] Garrett: so we find a lot of, um, I guess a mix. So a lot of people that are coming here for work, uh, their companies will.

[00:01:52] You know, house them for a couple of months at times. Um, we also find a lot of leisure people, uh, being so close to Mexico. Um, we have a lot of guests that come from Mexico, um, to visit San Antonio and visit family here. Um, yeah, that, that'd be two of the biggest, I would say that we host. Um, we try to focus our avatar though on families that are travelling, but I can tell you a funny story about how we got started if you'd like.

[00:02:16] Yeah, definitely fill the same, um, Yeah, so I guess spoiler alert, we wouldn't have gotten started if it wasn't for my wife. Um, my wife's family, she, they gifted her a home, um, in San Antonio, but we had to move to another city for my work when I graduated from university. Mm-hmm. So we had to figure out what we wanted to do with his home.

[00:02:35] We didn't wanna sell it and we didn't wanna rent it out long term because we still wanted to be able to use it for ourselves, for family, or for times that we came to visit, um, as well. So my wife decided to list on Airbnb. I thought it was a terrible idea. That was back in 20 18, 20 19, and I was like, no one's gonna rent this place.

[00:02:55] I mean, why would anyone rent it? But as you can probably guess, she won that debate. And so we listed it and hoped to just make enough money to pay the property taxes and, you know, any other kind of maintenance that comes up. But it ended up doing a lot greater than that the first year of posting, um, the house was fully paid off.

[00:03:13] Uh, we had no mortgage on it, so we could have just kept collecting that income. Mm-hmm. Um, and left it at that, but we just decided to grow the business from there.

[00:03:21] Liam: Your model, at the moment that you've got the seven units, is it all the same sort of model or do you do a couple of different models? Is it, is it rental arbitrage, or is it management?

[00:03:29] How do you do it? Or is it purchased homes?

[00:03:31] Garrett: Yeah, great question. So I can walk through how unorganized we were. Um, we started in the ownership model in that home that we owned. We then dabbled in rental arbitrage a little bit. We had three properties, um, that we did rent that rental arbitrage master lease model with.

[00:03:49] And then we do some management as well right now. So currently we manage three properties. Uh, we own four and we're almost done finishing up a renovated school bus actually that we're gonna start nice renting out. That's, we can talk about more of that later, but, um, So, yeah, with those three rental arbitrage properties, we just offloaded them cuz we just decided that model wasn't aligned with what our goals were.

[00:04:12] Mm-hmm. They were profitable and all that, but we just found that we had less control over things like maintenance and doing some unique remodelling and decided to just focus on the ownership model. The properties we manage, two of those are for our mothers. So we just, we just manage those outta the goodness of our hearts.

[00:04:28] You know, they've helped us so much, we want to give back and help them a little bit. Um, and we managed one other property for another family, but we decided that the management rental arbitrage just wasn't, wasn't in line with what we wanted to do. So, um, and we have to, you know, report back to landlords felt like we were just kind of in another job.

[00:04:47] Mm-hmm. So we just focused on that ownership model to create those, you know, fun and unique spaces that you can't do too much with like a cookie-cutter home.

What has been the main benefit?

[00:04:55] Liam: What has been the main benefit? That journey that you've been on has, do you feel as though, looking back, you think you should have always gone down the arbitrage route to learn what you have now?

[00:05:09] Or would you say you'd have rather avoided that altogether?

[00:05:12] Garrett: Yeah, no, I mean, I. Absolutely. I mean, I feel like the arbitrage model, it's not wrong, you know, it's not a bad thing, the management model either. It helped us get to where we are, you know? It made our income to be able to buy more properties. So a lot of it's lower, I guess, cost to entry than.

[00:05:28] Putting a huge down payment on a house and all that. So I have one of my best friends,, I got him started in the arbitrage model and he's doing great. Yeah. Um, and good. And he wants to buy a home next year. And hopefully, with that income that he made from there, he can do that. So it's, it's nothing wrong with it.

[00:05:43], I think it's a great model. It's just, you know, eventually you, you find what you want to focus in on and you, you know, you learn from what you've already done and decide from there.

[00:05:54] Liam: When you've switched or when you're, you've got your career at the moment and you're looking to, to grow this business, what does success look like to you and what would, where do you want this business to, to go?

[00:06:06] Garrett: Yeah, so I guess success to me is just really having the time to be able to design my time, how I want to use it, not someone else. So for example, like I said, I work a nine-to-five job. They tell me I have to work from nine to five every Monday through Friday, or whatever it may be. And. At the end of the day, this kind of feels like I'm just building someone else's dream.

[00:06:27] And don't get me wrong, I appreciate my company for giving me that opportunity. Then, that's the stable income benefits. It's a huge value and it's, it's helped a lot just grow our business, you know, to have that income coming in. But, um, but yeah, I guess just. Having that time to be able to design my day myself and choose what I want to do.

[00:06:47] And that's not saying I wanna just be lazy and, you know, drink margaritas on the beach every day. I'm, I'm a, I'm a workaholic. Even when I'm off work. I'm always trying to do something work-related, but just being, having the ability to, to dictate my, where my time is spent, um, that's what I really, truly value and what I think success means to me.

What tech do you use?

[00:07:05] Liam: What tech in your business do you use? Which, uh, which allows you to do that? Is there a favourite system or app or piece of tech?

[00:07:14] Garrett: Yeah, I have a few systems and pieces of text. So one of the ones I've been using a lot recently is Operto. Mm-hmm. They're kind of like, um, they do a lot of like smart locks, thermostats, um, all kinds of other noise monitoring.

[00:07:28] It's like a hub for all of those things. Uh, we use 'em for our smart locks to create unique codes for guests, and that automatically gets sent out to them through our PMs Hostly. Uh, we also use them to control our temperature with our smart thermostat. So we live in Texas. It gets super hot here and it's not very efficient to leave the air conditioning running when there's nobody in the house.

[00:07:49] Um, I've had months where our utility bill is like $400 and there won't even be anyone in the house. So they're, uh, there's software. Um, Changes the temperature when a guest leaves the property and we'll turn it back on to whatever temperature you set when they get, when a, the next guest checks into the property.

[00:08:06] So it saved us a lot on electricity costs. Better for the environment I'm sure as well. Um, so yeah, we've been using them a lot and loving their service. Um, as far as. Project management. Sorry, go ahead.

[00:08:19] Liam: Just, just, just jumping in with Operto. I mean, that is amazing and I, I've heard of Operto. Um, it's not one that I use in my business, but that is an amazing, uh, time saver, isn't it?

[00:08:29] Cuz even today, I mean, before we jumped on this, I was talking about as we record this, we're in December, uh, 2022 and it's freezing where I am. It's, it's not ever so warm where you are and. It's just so important, isn't it, to have some sort of way of having when your guests check in it feeling welcoming and warm, uh, and at the same time not costing you, uh, the earth every time they've checked out.

[00:08:53] And then there are long periods of, of it being used without, um, without anyone being in. So Operto sounds awesome and uh, certainly I'll check him out and I'm sure people listening will do. Just before we go, were there any questions that we missed or, um, anything else, any final thoughts before we finish Garrett?

[00:09:12] Garrett: No, I, I don't think so. I appreciate the time though, and I'm looking forward to hearing this when it comes out. Yeah. Thank you


[00:09:18] Liam: so much for spending your time with us today and, uh, thank you too. If you're listening to this on the Boostly podcast, we know there are a lot of places you can put your attention and we thank you for putting it with Boostly.

[00:09:28] If you do want to carry on finding out more about hospitality, more about Boostly, more about how you can. Get direct bookings. You can always go to Facebook, search for the group, the hospitality community, and you are welcome to come and join. There is a free open group. There are lots of us in there, uh, all sharing our thoughts on hospitality subjects, so feel free to come along there.

[00:09:50] And, uh, yeah, that's it for today. So thank you so much. Um, that's Bye from me. That's buy from Garrett. We'll see you on the next one, everyone. Bye for now. Having a blast. Can I get it on Boostly?

[00:10:00] Garrett: podcast? Boostly. Let Boostly cuz it's so hard on the tee loose leaf, making up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.