Making Guests Feel Like They Belong

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In this Boostly podcast, Liam introduces Amy Corbett from All Belong Co. (, a hospitality business with around 30 short-term rentals in various US locations.

Amy's unique journey in campus ministry and raising adopted children shapes her business approach. Delegating tasks and building a strong team were crucial to scaling the business. She emphasizes embracing individuality and standing out in the market.

Amy's passion for inclusion led to the creation of the All Belong website and the upcoming project, the Dream Home, celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. and supporting black businesses.

The podcast highlights the importance of authenticity, uniqueness, and creating welcoming spaces for all guests.

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[00:00:00] Liam: Hello guys, we're back with another episode of the Boostly podcast. This is the podcast that gives hosts the tools, the tactics, the trainings, but most importantly, the confidence to go out there and get more direct bookings. So today we are, have got another host in and we're going behind the host. We're going to.

[00:00:16] Find out what tools, what tactics they use within their business. Uh, they've got some very unique and very special to share. And I'm excited to, uh, to, to dive into this today. What I really would love everybody watching either on the Facebook live or listening in on the podcast to really be thinking about is, is.

[00:00:33] About how we make our guests feel and some of the cool things that we can do to include everybody within our brand. And that's, that's certainly some of the stuff we're going to dive into today. So, um, hopefully you'll be able to get some, uh, some awesome tips for your own hospitality business and listening to, uh, the inspirational journey.

[00:00:52] So today we're going to welcome along Amy Corbett. She's from all belong. co and, uh, it's worth going to check out that awesome website and, um, yeah, excited to, to dive in. So without further ado, let's do it. Welcome along, Amy.

[00:01:06] Amy: Thank you. It's good to be here.

[00:01:08] Liam: Thank you for joining us. So can you tell us a bit about your business?

[00:01:12] Where in the world do you host? What kind of model do you use? And, um, anything, uh, sort of anything special you'd like to share about your business?

A bit about the business

[00:01:22] Amy: So we live in Lynchburg, Virginia here in the United States. Um, we're kind of in the central region of Virginia at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

[00:01:33] Um, so very beautiful. We have about 25 short term rentals in the area. Um, some of them belong to us and then mostly we are a co hosting business. We have also I'd say about Currently about five other properties that are in other markets and other states that we are co hosts for as well.

[00:01:57] Liam: Just remind us again.

[00:01:58] How many are you up to now? And where abouts are those units based? I know you mentioned somewhere out of out of area.

[00:02:05] Amy: Yeah, so we have around 30. Um, I tend to lose count because You know, they're always coming on and and so forth. So, um, about 25 are in the Lynchburg area. So some would be in the downtown and some would be up towards the mountains.

[00:02:22] But then we're also in markets like Williamsburg, Virginia, Cape Charles, Virginia, which is a bay town. And then we're up in South Carolina. We have a lake house in Ohio. And we have one just outside of Memphis as well.

[00:02:38] Liam: That's cool. That's cool. So quite quite a widespread area and I definitely want to dive into that in just a moment.

[00:02:44] But before we do, I'd love to find out, take me back before you got started in hospitality. What did you do in a former life? And what gave you this, this hospitality bug, I guess?

[00:02:55] Amy: Yeah, so we were, my husband and I did 17 years of campus ministry, so serving college students and just loving on them while they were at school so that's what we were here.

[00:03:09] We've been doing it. Yeah, for 17 years. There was a time. I think you have to know about us as well. Our family has a very interesting story to it. We are not your typical your typical family. So, um, our two children are ours through adoption. We went through years of infertility. Our daughter actually lost all of her hair at age two.

[00:03:35] And so she is a teenage.

[00:03:40] Girl now in America, um, with no hair and rocking it. And, you know, just we love to stand out and be different. Um, and that's been a part of our journey. Our son is, um, 10 years old and he is African American. So, um, you know, you can't help but notice, notice us wherever we go. So it's through our family's journey, really, um, in ministry and just the things that have come along.

[00:04:12] Um, we have really had to press into what, what does it look like to be different and to be not only okay with that, but yeah, let's rock it. Let's embrace. Standing out and find the strengths in that, um, and, and that has only carried over as we can talk about into, um, our hosting business.

How to make the transition

[00:04:35] Liam: You're now up to over or around 30 sort of units that you're managing.

[00:04:40] There'll be people listening to this who are inspired and thinking, well, you know, I've got one at the moment. How do you make that transition from just one or two to, to getting up to, to where you are now, Amy? What would you say is some of the challenges along the way that you've had and how did you overcome them?

[00:04:56] Yeah,

[00:04:56] Amy: I mean, that is a huge process because, um, each at each, um, tier or level of, um, frustration, you know, I would start to drop balls as, you know, you get to a certain. And you just can't hold it together. And that was always my sign of something's got to give, something's got to change. I don't have a business background per se, but I'm learning that I think I was on an entrepreneur at always at heart.

[00:05:27] Um, but that's when I've had to then. You know, get help. And I'm really big now on putting aces in their places, finding the people who are can really excel in the areas that that I can't. Um, and so as we hit You know, I would say around the seven property, eight property mark, that's when I probably brought in my first, um, what I call co hosts to handle the guest messaging, and that was a hard thing to turn over because I'm extremely, um, you know, I care so much about the verbiage that we use with our guests and wanting to create this tone of belonging and, um, and inclusivity.

[00:06:13] So, um, So that's something that I've, I've worked a lot with on our team.

Who’s on the team now?

[00:06:19] Liam: Let's dive more into the team that has got you here. You mentioned that on those early days, you were the one painting, you were the one setting up the unit. Who's on your team now and how do they help you? Yeah.

[00:06:30] Amy: So, um, we are now up to having four co hosts.

[00:06:35] Um, one of them is our head of hospitality. She kind of runs the, the group of co hosts. Um, The so to our full time employees to our contracted workers and um, and then we've got a maintenance team. My husband kind of heads up the maintenance portion of the business and also just some of the finances.

[00:07:00] We've got a bookkeeper, we've gotten, I've just brought on a professional revenue manager to our team part time. So, as we've grown. You know, oh, and of course, cleaning teams, we, we contract out and work, um, closely with three or four

[00:07:18] Liam: cleaning teams. Obviously there's been five years, six years now, since, since the start, what advice would you have for yourself?

[00:07:24] If you could go back and tell yourself, uh, you know, just one or two pieces of advice that could really help you along your journey. Oh man,

[00:07:32] Amy: I think I would tell myself it's okay to be different, you know, stand out, um, go back to your listings And think, why should someone, why would someone want to book your place?

[00:07:48] Um, and make that super clear. Um, I think that has just been this, this, like I said, a life struggle that's, that can bleed over into our hospitality business. And now that's my, my biggest passion is. Um, don't, don't look at everyone else's listing and think that yours needs to look just like that. Um, it's okay to be different and, and guests will, will revel in, in the differences that you bring.

[00:08:20] Liam: All Belong is, is awesome. How did that, so that came about because of the, the situation and the struggle that you've had. And now you've got your own website, I see.

[00:08:29] Amy: Yes, yes, we do. And actually, um, the next project that we're working on, I love what you just said about it's it's good and okay to put yourself into your projects.

[00:08:39] Um, the 1 that we're working on right now is definitely kind of from our family's story and our heart. Um, we are. Renovating a historic home here near downtown as well. Downtown Lynchburg, and we're going to call it the dream home. And the reason being, we want it to be focused around Martin Luther King Jr.

[00:09:03] And the civil rights era. And. You know, I am, I'm working with some of the black businesses here in, in our community. Um, we want part of the proceeds to give back to support, um, the black businesses. And like we want the hair care products to not always be those that that cater to, um, to white hair. Um, so I want to create spaces where truly all belong.

[00:09:35] Um, and so I'm really excited about what. What that space will, will bring, um, to a different clientele.

[00:09:42] Liam: Thank you so much. I'm sure, especially that the message I've got from this podcast is about creating inclusion, creating, putting yourself into the business, you know, and, and your, your core reasons why.

[00:09:53] Um, and reaching out to the community and, and I love what you're doing there, so I'm excited to, uh, read more in your chapter from hospitable hosts when, uh, when that comes about. And um, yeah. Thank you again, Amy, for, for coming. Thanks very much. We'll see you on the next one. Bye for now. Having a blast.

[00:10:08] Gonna get it on the Boostly podcast. Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee 'cause it's so hard on the teas. Loose loosely. Looking up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.