How to get more sponstayneous stays tips on branding and seo

How to get more spontaneous stays – tips on Branding and SEO

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 584.

In this Boostly podcast episode, co-host Liam Carlan interviews Zach Busekrus, the founder and CEO of Sponstayneous.

Zach is a marketer by trade and has helped colleges and universities market their programs and offerings.

He and his wife decided to hit the road and live full-time on Airbnb after Covid hit.

During their year-and-a-half-long stay on Airbnb, they learned that travelers can score a remarkable deal on a home if they have flexibility with their travel and dates.

They found that by waiting 72 hours before booking or by sending a direct message to the host, they could book a place at a more affordable rate.

Zach's website,, is a tool that allows hosts to notify potential guests of their last-minute availability at discounted rates.

Hosts can increase their revenue and keep their properties booked.

The website also helps travelers find affordable short-term rentals.

Zach also provides tips for hosts to tailor their listings towards travelers looking to stay for long periods of time, such as providing high-speed internet, a work desk, and a comfortable chair.

Here's the video for this episode:

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Intro
00:36 – Zach Intro
03:33 – Any aspects which are important to you?
05:55 – How did you come up with the name
07:01 – How does it work from a host's point of veiw
11:18 – Outro

Whilst you’re here

Follow Boostly on the following channels to get more tips, tactics and knowledge on how you can increase your direct bookings

Visual – YouTube

Audio – Boostly Podcast





Transcript from the Episode


[00:00:00] Liam: This is the Boostly podcast. It's the podcast that gives hosts the tools, the tactics, the trainings, but most importantly the confidence that you can go out there and get yourself some direct bookings. So I'm Mark Simpson's, co-host Liam Carlan, and today is the Spotlight series where we shine the spotlight on services and people that you need to know about if you're in the hospitality space.

[00:00:20] So, uh, today we've got the founder and c e o, Zach Buzi Cruz here to tell us all about Hi, sponstayneous. Um, dot com. This is an awesome, awesome website, which you as a host need to know about. So, Zach, introduce yourself if, uh, and your business.

Zach Intro

[00:00:36] Zach: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you. First and foremost for, uh, for the time.

[00:00:39] Liam I'm a, I'm a big fan of the work that you and Mark are doing, uh, and, and of course the show, uh, yeah, a little bit about me. So I, uh, I'm a marketer by trade. I have spent the, the last, uh, actually almost 10 years. I started when I, when I was in college working at a. Boutique agency that actually serves the nonprofit and higher education sectors.

[00:00:59] So that's been a lot of fun. I've helped colleges and universities market their programs and their offerings. And um, then when Covid hit, my wife and I were living in a small one bedroom apartment in Washington DC and all of a sudden we were both on Zoom calls all day. And we were, you know, it.

[00:01:15] Interrupting each other to, uh, uh, uh, constantly. It was difficult to focus and we both kinda like, looked at each other one day and we said, you know what? We, we gotta get outta here. Like we, we have to find like a slightly larger space anyways. Mm-hmm. So we were looking around and um, we had this crazy idea of like, well, what if we just broke our lease and hit the road and just, you know, tried this whole like digital nomad thing.

[00:01:36] Right. And, um, my wife is, she's actually an attorney, so she was able to like, work up, uh, the, the necessary language to, to get us out of, uh, our lease. And so then we, we hit the road and we actually spent the next year and a half living full-time, um, on Airbnbs. And what I mean by that is we literally lived on the platform full-time.

[00:01:56] We actually, we never booked direct. Um, this was before I even knew, knew anything about this world. I know, I know. I feel like. It's terrible now, but like, it was literally, we would, you know, spend our time scrolling on Airbnb, figure out where we were gonna stay, you know, the next week, and we'd, we'd book it.

[00:02:10] Um, and we, we had a fantastic, you know, experience overall. But one of the things that we learned along the way was that, If you had flexibility with your travel and with your dates, you could score a, a pretty remarkable deal on, on a home. And so we would find these places that were normally priced at, let's say $500 a night, that if you waited 72 hours before booking, you could get it for $250 a night in some cases.

[00:02:35] Right? Or if you DMed a host and you said, Hey, I, you know, would love to stay in your home. I can't afford to stay, uh, in your home at this particular rate if it's not booked. By 24 to 48 hours before you'd like it to be booked, I'll book it instantly at, at this price, right? Mm-hmm. Um, and doing this, we would send these deals to our friends and our family and.

[00:02:58] People were just amazed by these remarkable places that would, that seemed a little bit more affordable if you could be, again, flexible with your days in

[00:03:05] Liam: travel. There's a couple of elements that I wanna touch on that you've just mentioned, which was, first of all, the work stay, um, you know, the work as.

[00:03:13] Uh, since the pandemic, the rise in the people who are traveling and working and staying for long periods in the short term rentals is, is just rising and rising. You know, people are able to work from wherever there's internet now, which is so important. Yeah. Was there anything in particular, was there any themes when you picked somewhere to stay?

Any aspects which are important to you?

[00:03:33] Was there any aspects which was really important to you? And I think this is useful for people listening. So they can tailor their listings towards, uh, travelers like yourself who are looking to stay for long periods of time. What, what sort of amenities did you look for?

[00:03:47] Zach: Yeah, that's a, that's a great question.

[00:03:48] So one of the things that everyone expects me to say when they ask this question is like, oh, a dedicated workspace. However, I, I don't think that that's important. I think the reality is people don't want to feel like they're in an office, and so, like, the reason people aren't going back to their offices is because they, they enjoy working remotely.

[00:04:06] So I, I think it's less important to carve out like a, I don't know, like a desk and a super nice, like little like, you know, workstation and it's more important to make sure that you have excellent wifi. Obviously this is limiting depending on, you know, where in the world you are. But get the best wifi you can possibly get and make sure that you, there are spaces that are conducive to setting up a laptop.

[00:04:25] So what I mean by that is, hey, maybe you've spent, if you have an island right in, in your home, um, maybe spend a little bit more time. Figuring out how could you design the, especially if you're building something from the ground up, how could you design the island in a way that's conducive to two people being able to kind of like work f across from each other on their laptops?

[00:04:42] Something like that, right? Or, hey, how are you effectively setting up corners? Um, and, and, and really sort of like spaces to sit in your home with like a lot of natural light, right? A lot of people are on Zoom calls, right? And being in a dark. Kind of room on a zoom call is, is weird. So are there places where people can pop open their laptops where they'll get a, you know, a good stream of natural light so they look good on their podcast interviews or, or, or their zoom calls, right?

[00:05:07] So optimize, optimizing the spaces that you do have, rather than feeling like you have to. Create a, a, a new like dedicated workspace. No one, you know, wants to just sit at a boring desk. Um, so that, that's one thing. And then the other thing that I would just add quickly here is that if you do, uh, want to tailor your stay more towards kind of the work Kitchener, uh, Finding, having an external monitor, right.

[00:05:30] And like, uh, uh, the, the appropriate like H D M I cord so that people can take their laptop and plug it into a larger screen and have that kind of double screen effect that many of us love from our days in the office. Mm-hmm. I think that that is, uh, a fantastic investment. It's incredibly cheap. It's not expensive, but you know, being able to store something like that in, in a closet, maybe even with an external keyboard, um, could be a huge value add, would be a huge value add to somebody like me.

How did you come up with the name?

[00:05:55] Liam: Let's talk about sponstayneous yeah. First of all, awesome name. How did you come up with that?

[00:06:02] Zach: Ah, thank you. Um, well, it's, uh, it, it was honestly, it was kind of just a, i, I, again, I work in marketing, I work, I help. Many have helped many organizations develop brands. And what we really want to be true and, and what is true about sponstayneous that we wanna keep true is this isn't like, we're, we're not trying to build like another OTA a right?

[00:06:20] Like, the idea is not necessarily to like build a competitor to Airbnb. The idea is not to to, you know, um, build another like listing site. Really what we wanna do is we want to find, find a way to. To, uh, create opportunities for hosts that do have last minute availability to connect with the best, most qualified, flexible travelers so that.

[00:06:40] The host gets a booking and that the traveler gets some semblance of a discount, right? Whether that's coming in directly, whether that's like a discount on the backend, whether that's just like, you know, maybe more amenities in the home than they would have otherwise received. So when we were thinking about, you know, okay, this is really important to us, what, what name kind of makes, uh, makes sense here?

[00:06:59] We loved the, the word sponstayneous.

How does it work from a host point of view

[00:07:01] Liam: How does it work from a host's point of view? So is it, is it for anybody? Is there. Particular criteria that hosts have gotta meet to be able to, to get onto the newsletter? Or how do you select, I guess, the deals which, which come up?

[00:07:14] Zach: Yeah, that's a, that's a great question.

[00:07:15] So, um, I will say right now, at this particular moment, we've been. We've been Airbnb exclusive in that the way that our, our tech runs is we are, we're scraping Airbnb, right? And the reason for that is actually, is actually twofold. One of all the other like, listing sites out there. It's, it's because we've built first for the guests.

[00:07:33] We we're, we're trying to build first for like travelers, right? Mm-hmm. It's kind of, uh, our, our, our mantra here. Um, and so because of that, like Airbnb's the most effective as far as I'm concerned with understanding like, All right. Which, which are the places and the hosts that are most reliable? Right. So what we do have is we, we require everyone ev every listing on the site to have a 4.95 star rating or higher.

[00:07:55] Mm-hmm. Um, and that's just because that's what we care about is, is, is kind of like a quality over everything else. And then we are really sele selective with the actual stays that we feature. So like we, you know, we absolutely feature. Apartments and, and town homes and stuff like that occasionally, but most of the stays that we're gonna feature are like, are a little bit more unique, right?

[00:08:13] Um, maybe like an A-frame or like a barndominium or like, you know, some, some, some cool kind of, uh, you know, sexier if you will, sort of like accommodation. Um, but again, but again, not exclusively, so how folks get on the. Get on the list is it's, it's purely organic at this point where we, we do all the scraping ourselves, but the way that we work with hosts is, is twofold.

[00:08:32] One, you can join our host, partner program, and what that means is anytime that your listing is available during our curation, again, we curate twice a week. Across the world, your stay will automatically be included in, um, in, in our curation. So basically you pay an annual membership and then anytime your your place is free, we, what we always do, we always curate four weeks, uh, ahead of time.

[00:08:54] So, you know, today, tomorrow morning, a newsletter will go out and it'll feature weekend long stays across the next four weekends, right? So if you. A part of our host partner program and you have a place that's available over those next four weekends, it'll automatically be included in, in our, our curation.

[00:09:11] So that's one way that we work with host the other way that's a little bit more interesting. Um, Is we built a product called Ping, and what Ping does is ping, it integrates with your Airbnb calendar or whatever calendar you want, like your, your single source of truth as a host. And what it does is it allows folks to come to, like, let's say you have a direct booking website, like a Boley website, right?

[00:09:31] Well, on, on that site, what we can do is through this little widget, someone can sign up and I can say, oh hey, like, Liam's place looks really, really cool. It's booked out during like the time that. You know, I, I'd like to be able to stay there, but I'd like to be notified immediately if new dates become available or if a cancellation occurs.

[00:09:48] So a lot of hosts, right, when a cancellation does come in, they'll post on Instagram or they'll send, you know, you know, if when they get around to it, they'll send an email blast to their, to their contacts and they'll say, Hey, you know, next weekend just became available. Book it now. Right? And that's great, but.

[00:10:03] Oftentimes, like, you know, if you could have, if you could have that happen instantly, the minute a booking comes through, it would, it could save you a lot of time, right? Um, so we built a product that does that. So what Ping does is it allows guests to be notified when their favorite Airbnbs become, uh, available.

[00:10:20] So it could, you know, ping lives on your direct booking site. And then what's kind of cool about this is it uses the power, it leverages the power of Airbnb and it, the power of Airbnb's, uh, calendar and, and algorithms and whatnot. But then you can ship people to your direct booking site. So like when I opt in and I say, Hey, I wanna be notified if any week in October becomes available for Liam's place, right?

[00:10:41] I'm using Airbnb's calendar to tell me like when that availability might exist. The minute there's a cancellation on Airbnb or any other ota, there's gonna be an email that gets sent directly to me that says, Hey, Zach. Liam's place is now available. Book it here, you know, via Airbnb or book it here via Liam's direct booking site and save 20% or, or whatever it is.

[00:11:02] So that's, that's the second product that we've, that we've built for hosts so far. And, um, yeah, again, this, all this stuff is, is is quite new. We're, we're in beta for paying. We've got about 15 customers, uh, that we're in this pi, you know, private beta in, uh, right now. But, uh, gonna be expanding that, uh, very, very soon to, to everybody.


[00:11:18] Liam: Thank you so much for today and, and thank you too. If you're watching this on the Facebook Live or listening in on the the Boostly podcast, I know there's a lot of places you can put your attention and we really thank you for, for spending it with Boostly. I hope you picked up some wonderful tips today and I'd just like to say thank you again, Zach, you've, you've been amazing.

[00:11:35] So, uh, anything I missed or any last moments before we sign off?

[00:11:39] Zach: No, other than just thank you so much for the work that you all do. I, I believe for what it's worth too, and you know, Liam and, and Mark, no one paid me to say this guys, but like, Direct bookings are, are the future. If you're interested in building a hospitality brand and figuring out the right tech stack that you need, the right solutions that you need in order to do that, we're really just at the cusp of figuring out everything that we need in order to be successful here.

[00:12:00] So I think that what you guys are doing is incredible for the community. I can't, you know, en endorse you all enough, and I, yeah, I'm, I'm excited to, in a very small way, help contribute to that. So thanks for the opportunity and thanks for the time. Thank you for

[00:12:12] Liam: that, uh, wonderful endorsement as well. I mean, uh, he, he genuinely wasn't paid for that and I didn't know his paper, so thank you Zach.

[00:12:19] And, uh, yeah. Bye for now. Thanks everyone. Thanks guys.

[00:12:22] Zach: Having a blast. Can

[00:12:23] Liam: I get it on

[00:12:24] Zach: the Bruce Lee podcast? Bruce Lee? Let Bruce Lee, cuz it's so hard on the tea is loose leaf making up those rhymes. Don't write it just to, it loosely.

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