STR Collab: The Cornerstone for Rental Entrepreneurs

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In this Boostly podcast episode, the conversation centers around StayFi's innovative approach to enhancing direct marketing efforts for short-term rental operators through Wi-Fi marketing. Arthur Kolker, the founder of StayFi, explains how the platform collects guest data via Wi-Fi access to help property owners engage directly with their guests, promoting brand loyalty and increasing direct bookings.Β 

The discussion covers StayFi's evolution, introducing features like email and text marketing, and a new “homepage” feature designed to improve the guest experience with relevant property information and upsell opportunities upon Wi-Fi login. Additionally, the episode touches on the importance of leveraging guest data for a more profitable rental business and the seamless integration with property management software for effective marketing.

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What’s coming in this episode?

[00:00:00] Mark: In this episode of the Boosty podcast, you will learn all you need to know about StayFi and email marketing, text message marketing, and their brand-new homepage. So this episode that you're going to tune into is the second in our formerly known as the STR Co-op, now known as our STR Co We've Mary from Mount myself, and now we've brought in Arthur from Stayfi.

[00:00:25] Please watch this to the end, because we give you a link on how you can join the new community that we formed around the STR Colab and how you can get involved with guest requests, experts, et cetera. So let me flip over, and enjoy this. Please make sure that you jump in the comments. If you're a Stayfi, Bruce Lee, Mount customer, and, uh, if you, anybody else that you would like to be part of the STR Colab.

[00:00:49] Make sure you join the community that we mentioned and also as well. Let me know in the comments below.

[00:00:54] Madi: Fantastic. Thanks, Mark. Um, for those that want to keep following the journey and hear about upcoming webinars, what we're going to do with this co-op community and just how we take it forward. Um, really what we've started to do is we're building the cornerstone for all the rental, rental entrepreneurs out there.

[00:01:09] So people that want to level up their businesses past an Airbnb listing and take this industry by storm. We'll be building optimal tech and operational strategies, bringing more experts to the table. We're starting with expert-led webinar webinars. So bringing these CEOs to the table, you get to ask your burning questions and keep growing from there.

[00:01:30] We hope to do some community in-person events in the future. I had the pleasure of doing one in Cabo last year, where we brought about 30 hosts together. I want to say. It was a blast. And so how can we just keep doing more of that in-person community network building? So that's what this co-op is all about.

[00:01:47] We happen to be living here in Facebook. So if you want to join the community, go ahead and scan this QR code. You can join. We post all past recordings of our webinars in there. So you can see webinar number one. You'll get updates of all the community events taking place, future webinars, uh, ask questions in there that you don't get to ask on the webinars.

[00:02:05] So anything community-related happens there. So go ahead and scan that QR code if you would like, and then we're going to get into it.

Optimizing your tech stack

[00:02:12] So I'm going to pass it over to Arthur. Who's going to share his screen to talk more about optimizing your tech stack, but from a direct booking standpoint and what that means with Stayfi?

[00:02:21] So Arthur, the floor is yours.

[00:02:24] Arthur: Awesome. Yeah, thank you, everybody. And thanks for having me and attending. Um, if you don't know, my name is Arthur Kolker, and I am the founder and CEO of StayFi. Um, and StayFi is, well, started as what I would call a Wi-Fi marketing company. So we brought to the short-term rental industry a technology that we're all, uh, have experienced before, which is Logging into the Wi-Fi in a location like a hotel, a coffee shop, an airport, and having to provide information to gain access.

[00:02:59] And we brought that solution to the market back in 2019 because we saw there was a gap where vacation rental operators could not easily collect data from not just the booker, but everybody staying at the property. Wi-Fi is the one tool that we know everyone will use during their stay.

[00:03:18] So it's a great touch point to not only collect guest data but introduce your brand. Um, and then from there, we've added all sorts of new technology that I'm going to walk through today to kind of enhance your branding, drive more direct bookings, and, uh, increase your, or decrease your dependence on third-party channels like Airbnb and Vrba, which is the ultimate objective we're all here to do.

[00:03:42] So without further ado, I will share my screen and kind of walk you through a little background on Stayfi as well as, um, A little primer about how to get started with email marketing and then a little bit about a new feature relaunch called homepage that can just really enhance your guest experience, drive incremental revenue and also engage guests with your brand so that they come back and book directly again and again.

[00:04:10] Uh, so like I talked about before, uh, Stayfi's mission, you know, we want to empower every short-term rental operator, whether they have one listing, or whether they have a thousand listings, with the technology to have a vibrant, independent, and most importantly, a more profitable brand, because we know that as Increase your share of direct bookings and build up your loyal audience.

[00:04:33] Uh, your business becomes more sustainable and more profitable as you pay less OTA fees, and you have more leverage and ability to increase your occupancy rate because you have a whole new channel to market to, which is your loyal audience of guests. And so over time, collecting data is a great way to de-risk your business and become more profitable.

[00:04:54] Because if Airbnb changes their algorithm or Vrbo changes how they charge fees, you know, you're less open to these platforms, you know, causing your business harm when they change things that are totally out of your control. And so, uh, the first product we built is this data collection piece. And now we're building on top of that all the marketing tools and guest engagement tools you need to go to the next level, to not just collect data, but also monetize that data.

[00:05:22] through rebookings and other things I'll talk about during this presentation. Also because we are a Wi-Fi tool, there are some non-marketing-related benefits to using Stayfi. Things like monitoring your Wi-Fi remotely, and being able to get alerted if the Internet's offline in any property.

[00:05:41] We also do occupancy alerting, so we can alert you if there are too many guests in a property. So there are a lot of operational benefits that can protect your homes, improve the guest experience, and ensure no one shows up when the Wi-Fi is not working. But today we're going to be talking about the marketing piece.

[00:05:57] Uh, so just a little overview here, we collect data, we store it all, and we also centralize all of the guest data you have from other sources. So I'll talk a little bit more about this later, but we also connect to almost every property management software out there. So not only Do we collect data from every guest on your property going forward?

[00:06:16] We can go through all the historical data you've ever collected in your property management software, as well as any future bookings, and pull out any real guest emails in that software to add to our marketing tools. And then within Stayfi, not only do we have email marketing, but we also have text marketing.

[00:06:33] So you have two different channels that you can use to market your brand and automate a lot of this marketing, which is what I'm going to talk about today. So if you are starting, or maybe you have a smaller list, how can you do kind of set-it-and-forget-it email marketing? So you can invest in building templates one time that are being sent to every single guest that stays with you.

[00:06:52] So you're not dependent on building new content every month, which can be a headache Transcribed Especially when you're starting and your list isn't that big, Wi-Fi alerting is key. So no guests arrive at a property on they find that it's not working. So we'll let you know if there are Internet issues anywhere that you have a home or an apartment.

[00:07:11] And then finally, at the end of the day, we're going to help you build. Your brand through all these different products. So that guests, no matter whether the booker or one of the other people staying there, they all leave knowing your brand, even if they came saying, you know, they booked a quote-unquote Airbnb, which is what we know the common language people use today.

[00:07:30] They even say that when they booked on Verbo they booked an Airbnb, right? So we want to build awareness amongst all guests that Booking Direct Is possible for short-term rentals, uh, not just with hotels, and that, because there are no rate parity requirements in the short-term rental industry, there are financial benefits to guests.

[00:07:49] When they book directly with you. So how does Stayfi work? What does it all look like? Here's this kind of visual overview of what the guest sees when they get on the Wi-Fi when they use Stayfi. They first connect to the Wi-Fi network as they would normally, whatever you name it in Stayfi. Then they will get a custom branded template, which can be unique by property or across groups of homes that look like this, where you can get the key information you need and permission to remarket to those guests.

[00:08:18] Uh, Then, when the guest fills in this form, they're redirected to this new product within Stayfi called HomePage, so you can give guests all the relevant links to your property right when they log into the Wi-Fi. Things like a guidebook, your website, um, upsell partners from Zyator or the HostCo or Mount or whoever you like, Minoan, uh, so that all the relevant links to your, uh, property are right there when the guest logs into the Wi-Fi.

[00:08:45] And then finally, because we've now collected their data, you can trigger text, email, and Other forms of marketing to those guests and even send this home page with your upsells to guests automatically when they log into the Wi-Fi. Here are some case studies, uh, and we work, like I mentioned, with companies of all sizes.

[00:09:04] So some of these, like Cozy or Heirloom, they have 200 plus properties under management with Stayfi and they are driving, you know, Savings millions of dollars using our product going from, you know, 0 to 30 plus per cent direct bookings over a year. And then we work with some smaller customers of all sizes.

[00:09:24] Uh, this one on the bottom left is actually in the Czech Republic. You know, they're getting, you know, up to 80 per cent direct bookings. Cottage Days has around 20 cottages in Ontario. She already had a great direct booking game at that 60, 70 per cent mark, uh, that Mark Simpson mentioned, and now she's a hundred per cent in her high season.

[00:09:43] Thanks to stay five. So no matter where you are in this book, direct journey, whether you're small, or big, have a big brand presence, have no brand presence like cosy, uh, we can help get you on the path to becoming less dependent on those third-party channels. Now let's talk a little bit about email marketing.

[00:10:01] Uh, cause that's kind of like the meat of what the Statefy data is used for. Uh, the first thing is we gotta build an email list. And there are multiple sources that you can source this important data from. And you can use Statefy to gather data from all these places. Uh, so number one is the current guests.

[00:10:22] And that's using the Wi-Fi as I mentioned before. Uh, and this is an example of a splash page that a guest sees when they log into the Wi-Fi. And this will get data from 80 to 90 per cent of all the adult guests staying in your property. You might be wondering about children, kids, you know, we have different, you can put on birth date, 18 over checkbox.

[00:10:40] Parents usually log in for smaller children on their iPads, right? So you don't have to worry about collecting emails from, you know, five-year-olds who probably don't even have an email. Uh, so all of this is super customizable within the product. It can be unique by home as well. Uh, and then guests only do this once per device.

[00:10:55] So it's not like some annoying systems, maybe you've used at a Starbucks or a hotel where every time you go there, you have to log back in. Uh, with Stayfi, once you log in, you're authorized for 30 days. So guests only do this once per device. Uh, then within Stayfi, our email marketing tool, You can make, uh, pop-ups or forms on your website, uh, because if you're driving traffic to your direct booking website, uh, you want to take advantage of, you know, every possible visitor to your website by collecting their email.

[00:11:25] Uh, and here's an example of a great, like, give get. An option that someone created using Statify. So in this instance, uh, you enter your name and email, and then you'll get a guidebook and 100 off coupon emailed automatically to you. So all those kinds of automation are easily built within Statify, where when you receive an email from a certain source, whether it's a pop-up or a form, you can then trigger the value you want to send back to the guest automatically.

[00:11:49] And that's a great way. You know, if you're spending any money or doing anything to drive traffic to your website, uh, you want to make sure you capture as much value from every person that visits, even if they don't book at that moment, you want to make sure you capture their information. And then finally, this is an incomplete list, but this is a partial list of all the property managers we integrate with the software, and that, as I mentioned before, is another great source of guest data.

[00:12:15] So when you add, uh, email marketing to your state by account. You connect, let's say hospitable, and then we will go through all your hospital reservations. And if you have any real emails associated with those, we automatically pull them in. We also send data back into each PMS. They typically don't have an email marketing tool with maybe the exception of track.

[00:12:35] Um, but of course, um, You know, some of them can tell you, like Guesty, for instance, if someone, uh, if one of the guest emails we send back ends up booking directly with you, even if they were an ancillary guest, they'll come up as a repeat booker. So there are some nuances and differences between each PMS, but the bottom line is, you know, any valuable data you have there that you've collected already is instantly available to market to within Stayfi and will pull in any future real data you collect from your property management software.

[00:13:09] Email marketing and say if I kind of like what is our tool like it's going to be similar to any tool like you used in the past, whether it's MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc. Um, we're built on top of campaign monitor, which is a commonly used marketing solution. So that's kind of the backbone of the product.

[00:13:28] And then we've added a bunch of vacation rental-specific features on top of it. Uh, so that's why we chose to partner with Campaign Monitor. Uh, because it allows us to start with a great base email marketing software, but then it's customizable enough that we can add a bunch of content on top of it that makes it relevant and specific to the short-term rental industry, right?

[00:13:48] Thank you. Uh, we've also partnered with an agency called Switchback within there, and they're kind of our email marketing agency of record. Uh, so there is the option if you go to Switchback Services within Stafi, let's say you have a larger business and you don't want to do email marketing, you want to outsource it to a third-party firm, uh, Switchback can do all your email marketing for you, and they exclusively work with short term rental companies.

[00:14:12] So, uh, if you want to outsource it, they're a great partner that can run all of your marketing campaigns for you. And what's cool about this product is it's free for up to 200 contacts and you get unlimited sentences. So as long as you connect your property management software or have one state if I access point live in your properties, the email tool is free.

[00:14:34] And then once you go over 200 contacts, there are additional charges depending on how many contacts are in your database. Also, it's a great way to get started with email because you can play around with it. After all, it starts free. It's going to be cheaper than MailChimp or Campaign Monitor if you go with them directly for the same number of contacts.

[00:14:52] And then we have all the drag-and-drop rebuild templates you need that are built for short-term rentals. Now I'm going to talk a little bit about kind of like what are the strategies you should be setting up in your email marketing tool and what are kind of like types of content. And there are two types of buckets that email marketing can fall into.

[00:15:11] One is automation, customer journey, and drip campaigns are all kinds of names that you may have heard. And these are important, especially when you start. Uh, we see a lot of people make the mistake of, they start collecting emails. They don't do anything with them, and then they want to send an email six months, a year from now, and then they see a very high unsubscribe rate because a lot of those people have forgotten who you are.

[00:15:35] So it's really important that once you start collecting emails, whether it's on your website, through Stayfi, through your PMS, or some other source, you start engaging with them. And a way to guarantee that you do this is through automation. So, essentially, whenever you receive an email from a certain source, You decide, you know, I'm going to send these series of emails over this cadence, let's say, you know, one email every 30 days for six months, and that way, you know, for six months, every guest is getting a piece of content, and they're not going to forget who you are, so that when you do want to send out, A one time campaign with a promotion, a new property launched, uh, you're not going to see a high unsubscribe rate, and people are going to engage with that content because they remember who you are.

[00:16:17] Uh, so one-time campaigns, like I just alluded to, is the other main type of content people send through emails, and that you can think of like a postcard or a newsletter, right? All sorts of contents I'll talk about that you can include in those emails, because that's another area where people struggle with, especially if they only have, let's say, one property.

[00:16:35] Like, what am I going to send every month, right? Because there's not so much going on. Uh, so we'll talk about different strategies you can employ, uh, so that you have something relevant to your audience to talk about in your emails. Uh, where to start with automation? Uh, the most important one is a, if you use Stayfi, Or even if you collect, like, through a newsletter, right, is automation after that collection point.

[00:17:00] Uh, so automating an email that after you collect, uh, their email, uh, that goes out and says, Hey, introduce your brand, who you are, what you're all about. Assume the guest thinks you're Airbnb, right? Especially if we're collecting, uh, information from non-bookers. So you have to emphasize, you know, that you're the actual, uh, Provider and why they have such a great hospitality experience, and that Airbnb was just the website that they booked on, uh, then some great things to include, especially in a guest Wi-Fi.

[00:17:30] Welcome email or things like local recommendations. A list to a guidebook to that homepage product. I mentioned, uh, your lake local favourite, you know, things to do in the area information about the home because guests are typically in the property on the 1st day. Then what we see is like a post-departure email.

[00:17:48] So, like, 10 days later, uh, 7 days later, something like that. You can send another email that says, hey, thanks for staying with us. Give us any feedback. And then, of course, most importantly, you know, here's why you should book directly with us if you want to come back. And if you do have other properties, that might be a time to, uh, emphasize, you know, hey, here are the other three properties we manage if you're interested in returning.

[00:18:11] Uh, other people ask for referrals at that point, so you can even ask, you know, make sure you explicitly, you know, say, like, hey, if you know anyone else that wants to travel to XYZ area, Bye. Bye. You know, make sure that they contact us here because they can get a better rate than on Verbo or Airbnb. And if you're not driving differences in rates, then, of course, you can also have additional amenities or, you know, items you give people as a promotional value to BookDirect as opposed to saving money by a rate.

[00:18:39] So that's really up to you. But making sure there's some, uh, rationale about why guests would want to book directly versus going through what they may think that they trust more, like Airbnb is important. Uh, other automation that you can set up within StayFive pretty easily are things like booking anniversary or something like nine months post stay you can send another email.

[00:19:00] So you can based on the collection date automate future emails. So you can say, hey, nine months after this guest stay, let them know like, hey, if you want to return, you know, here's a reminder to book directly with us. And you know, you'll save money versus going through a third-party channel. Here is an example of an actual automation email and what the builder looks like within Stayfi.

[00:19:22] Uh, so this is with a customer called Juniper Holiday and Home, which is in Michigan. And they're a property manager. Uh, they started with, I think, like, 20 properties with Statefy, but I think they now manage over 50, so they're growing pretty quickly. And here's what they're presenting, uh, when someone joins the Wi-Fi.

[00:19:38] So, here you can see on the left that they have an email that looks very personalized. This is, welcome to the Dakota. What's cool about it in the Stayfi email builders, we can insert a bunch of custom fields. So this one is just built with a welcome-to-property name. So they kind of build it off one template and because they use these custom fields, they can still make it property-specific.

[00:20:00] And you can even insert links to the guidebook for this home or the homepage for this home so that you know all the relevant information is presented automatically based on the property of the guest staying in. You don't have to make 20 versions of the same email with different properties, right?

[00:20:15] So you can use custom fields to customize each email for the property the guest is in all based on one template you built. Here, they emphasize their concierge services, so you can see, like, in the right, in the first big block, after the introduction in the email, are all these things that you can book through them.

[00:20:35] They don't use a third-party tool to do these bookings, they built it all themselves, uh, so they have all these local offers that you can book as a guest. Maybe you've shared this with the booker previous to them staying, but maybe the seven other people staying in this property, That person ever shared with right?

[00:20:52] So this way, you're now presenting these upsells and concierge services to the other 7 people staying in the property so that you can market those things and get incremental revenue during the stay. And then finally, here, they have this little modal about, you know, dreaming about your next vacation, and because they manage many properties, they want people to go into this website, look at the other cool homes they manage, which are, you know, could be in a few different areas within Michigan.

[00:21:16] So people get excited. About coming back, and we know with a lot of these traditional vacation rental destinations, like in the Panhandle or here in Michigan on the beach, these are things that, you know, families go to every year or twice a year or three times a year, like three times throughout the summer, uh, so, you know, knowing your guests and like, Do they return to this destination often?

[00:21:37] Uh, you want to start building that relationship here. And then on the right here, this is what the actual Bill Leworth and StateFi look like. Uh, you can see here it's very visual and simple. So they enter the Wi-Fi welcome segment, so they sign up for the Wi-Fi, they get this email, uh, but then you can see within five days, now they're sending another email.

[00:21:55] Uh, they are more sophisticated, so they're sending this like, You know, did someone open this email? If they didn't, I'm going to send it again. If they did, then I'll wait another five days and send a different email. So you get very sophisticated in this kind of logical branch of making sure non-openers get the email again as opposed to regular folks.

[00:22:14] Uh, but that's, you know, you can start with something simple and then add more complexity over time. Uh, and then here is what a monthly newsletter looks like from Juniper. So, automation is definitely where you want to start. And then once your list has, you know, 1000, 2000 subscribers, that may be at the point where you say, Hey, it's worth sitting down and cranking out a monthly newsletter to that whole audience that's sent outside of the automation.

[00:22:41] And here are some pretty common things that someone sends. So here you can see in the middle, they have, uh, you know, four properties to talk about the concierge services. A key point here that I want to make is upfront, you can see their second piece is five-star property management. Services, so, uh, when someone joins, uh, they also have an email sign-up on their website, right?

[00:23:06] And when they collect emails there, they don't know if someone's a homeowner or a prospective guest. So when they send this newsletter, it's going to a broader audience of both potential. Homeowner clients and guests. They kind of have this one newsletter to cover both audiences so that, you know, they're always not just plugging booking properties, but also their property management services.

[00:23:27] So that if someone who's getting this or signed up on their website happens to be a homeowner in the relevant area, they can also inquire about property management services, which is important when it comes to growing your business. If you are a property manager.

[00:23:44] Sweet. So that is. Thanks. Everything has to do with email marketing. Um, now I'm going to switch over to the homepage, which is a new product within state five, which I just mentioned before, which is just a new way to engage guests. After they log into the Wi-Fi and also a very cool way to send relevant information to guests before they stay Uh, so you can think of this product as like a link tree if you've ever seen one of those for your short-term rentals And each property gets a unique home page automatically and on here you can again Uh place things like upsells essential guest resources and custom buttons and then obviously information to book again to nail home to You Guess that you are a professional short term rental operator, whether a property manager or an owner operator, as well as generate additional revenue through upsells and, you know, really build your, uh, you know, differentiate your brand from Airbnb and Verbo.

[00:24:44] Uh, within a homepage, we have two upsell partners that are like, you can sign up for within it. One's the Hostco and one's Viator, but then, of course, you can add any other upsell tool, whether it's Mount. Or Minoan which is more about selling goods that you feature in the home, um, as well as in the case of something like Juniper, you may have your concierge page you want to link to, so you can link to all of those things.

[00:25:12] Um, and through all of them, of course, you get a rev share, which depends on the partner. The Host Co is cool because you can sell your goods and services. Things like early check-in, late check-out, extra guests, pet fees, mid-stay cleans, and pool heating. Um, so we see, uh, customers making anywhere between, you know, a hundred to five hundred dollars a month of incremental revenue through selling their goods and services through the Host Co.

[00:25:38] And then Viator is owned by TripAdvisor, and with that, you get Any per cent of share in any tours and activities booked there and they are global. So you can, you know, if you're in Spain or wherever in the world, right, you can feature tours and activities right on the homepage. So you can see here is how it loads.

[00:25:54] If you look at that image there of the phone, it actually, when the guest clicks on this tile. These will just appear there. If they click on that and book within 30 days, they'll get an 8 per cent commission. So you can choose which activities are there or have the top-selling ones presented. So any upsell tool that you use, you know, Stayfi is a great way to get that tool in front of every guest because every guest will see this when they log into the Wi-Fi.

[00:26:19] Right? Um, and then when it comes to essential resources, if you use a guidebook, like Postfully Folio Touch Day. Uh, again, it's kind of like you're investing in this tool. Uh, now the homepage, because every guest will go there after logging to the Wi-Fi, it's a great way to present that in front of every single guest, so you reduce, uh, inbound questions or calls from guests, because they can get all the relevant information about the home there.

[00:26:46] And then what's cool is that all of these homepages are standalone websites, For each property that you can share outside of just the Wi-Fi login experience. So, within Stayfi, in our email and SMS tool, you can dynamically insert the homepage for that property into a welcome automation. So, a good example would be, uh, guest logs into the Wi-Fi.

[00:27:09] You text them through StayFi a link to the homepage for that property so they have a persistent link on their phone to all the information, whether it's a guidebook, upsells, your website, uh, so they can access all of that during the stay and centralize all of that information and make sure it's in front of every single guest, uh, during the stay.

[00:27:28] That wraps up, uh, my presentation guys. So, um, I think we can open up for Q and A.

[00:27:35] Mark: All right. So that was great. And, uh, yeah, the homepage has been one that I was very lucky to get a little sneak peek at STI wealth comp, and I know that a lot of people are talking about it, which is, which is awesome. I will, at Nashville, we were staying at a place property, but used Uh, Stayfi and, um, so I gave my email up and the place that they sent me to was the website that I made the booking on.

[00:27:55] It didn't make sense for me being the customer journey. So I have a homepage to send people to. It's a lovely natural progression. So yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing some, uh, some results from that. So we've got a lot of people in here. And there's going to be some questions. If anybody's got any questions regarding, uh, Stayfi or homepage or anything that's up and coming, please do drop them in.

[00:28:16] Um, but Maddie, is there anything you wanted to add, on top of that? Or, Arthur, is there anything you wanted to sort of mention on top of that? That'd be, that'd be cool.

A way to work them together

[00:28:25] Madi: I was going to ask since we have, uh, two very good books directed. The people on this call are Mark and Arthur. Um, how do you guys work together?

[00:28:36] Like those that use Boostly and those that you Stayfi, uh, is there a way to kind of work them together so that it creates extra magic if you understand that,

[00:28:47] Arthur: well, I'll, I'll start, I'll say, I'll say a few things. So one is, um, obviously the quality of the website that you send guests to from whatever marketing you're doing, whether it's email marketing.

[00:29:00] Wi-Fi login, et cetera, uh, matters a lot. The PMS white-labelled websites that they offer are typically pretty basic and may not engender the level of guest trust that you want. So having a professional website, I don't know what's if you have stats on this, it will obviously increase your conversion rate and also allow you to present more things about your brand outside of just, most of them are just like a very small Simple booking engine, but there's no like about page or like information about who you are and why they should trust you and how long you've been operating and your backstory and all that stuff that makes you build a brand, right?

[00:29:38] So they're not designed for that. I say in general, and then the other thing is being able to collect emails on the website is important, especially if you're investing in any marketing, right? Because you want to capitalize on any of the data you're on any visitors to your website that you're sending there.

[00:29:54] Mark: Yeah, 100%. I think we would have any property management software provider in this room and they would regularly admit, and they do very openly say that the website is not a key element of their business model. Um, I'd love to know the first PMS that provided a free website, cause then everybody bounced on top of it.

[00:30:12] Cause it was just a nice sales, uh, tactic to say, Hey, you'll get a free website when you join our, uh, Join our software is very limited as we all know. Um, but, it may be ideal if you've got no budget. I always say it's a nice scrappy start-off point. And then as you grow, in your business, as you grow in your revenue, when you grow in your budget, that's when you come to, a booster.

[00:30:32] And I would say that's when you would come to a booster. That's when you come to a, you know, a, a stay if I was when you'd start using mount and these other third party providers, so it's, it's all about where you are in your journey. And this is why the co-op has been created because. When you are getting going, whether you're six months in, property worn, looking to get to two, three, four, five, whatever the model is you're doing, it's very overwhelming with the choice that's being made out there.

[00:30:57] And so when Maddie came to us with the idea, I was like, this is ideal because we all see. Questions in Facebook forums, uh, on social media, wherever it may be about people asking for which tech should we use? What's the tech stack? And, you know, we have a podcast series that Boosty called Behind the Host.

[00:31:14] And it's one of the questions we ask is, you know, what are you using? Um, the common thread is. Every 10 people that we ask that question to, we get, you know, nine different answers. So we just wanted to come together and bring experts in who are, you know, the core of our business model at Boosley. I can't speak for Maddy or Arthur, but, we look predominantly for that one to 20, 25 sort of ratio of, of, of hosts of properties.

[00:31:39] And the reason why we do so is because it's, it's, it's, you know, I always say the one to 10 people who've got one to 10 properties have been sort of forgotten about for so long in this industry. Most, you know, there's, there's a time when specific companies wouldn't even talk to you if you went up to them at a booth or a trade show unless you had at least 10 properties under your belt.

[00:31:56] And so this is why we put this together and everybody that we bring in, we all work together nicely. We can all bounce off each other. And so one of the questions in there is, you know, I assume that. Um, HostCo and Mount can coexist together. Absolutely. Everybody here is about collaboration. So, as Arthur said, the most important thing is when you're going to send them to a specific website from whatever marketing you've been doing, whether it's text.

[00:32:24] Email or whatever, you want to make sure that you're sending them to a page or a website that you are confident that you can turn a looker into a booker that you can be proud to send them to. And, that is why, you know, we honestly started doing what we did properly for doing websites back in 2018, 2019, because we saw that a lot of people weren't proud of where they were sending them to.

[00:32:44] So, yeah.

Stayfi questions

[00:32:46] Arthur: I see a lot of questions now, especially a lot of Stayfi. Happy to go through those. Yeah, Arthur, I'll turn it back over to you. Yeah, yeah. Um, so can you explain, I'll read the question then I'll answer it, can you explain how to keep the homepage persistent, not just on the first login, uh, force guests to go to the homepage every time they use the internet?

[00:33:04] Unfortunately, right now we don't have that ability, um, so that's why I'd recommend Especially the texting tool, you can do it in email and text, but I think the text is the best one because text messages are very easily accessible on the phone. It's also a very valuable thing to send the guest, right?

[00:33:21] So, uh, within the text marketing tool within Stayfi, we have a text message called the welcome text, which is when they log into the Wi-Fi, it sends a text. And then in there, there's a bunch of merge fields you can insert. Uh, but you can insert the URL to the homepage, so it could say, Hey, welcome to the property name.

[00:33:40] Here's a link to, you know, everything you know about the home and amenities, and then it will insert that link there. So that's what I would recommend. You can also insert that link in your welcome email if you're sending a welcome email. The question about HostCo and Mount coexisting is 100%. I see homepages with three, like Minoan Host and Mount, right?

[00:34:03] So, people use those products for different things. A lot of people use, let's say, the HostCo for early check-in. Then they might even change it to say, like, buy early, late check out. And they might send people to just the HostCo page. in the pre-stay PMS messaging. So, uh, people use those products and they have different partners and different options and Viator has different options, right?

[00:34:24] Um, and not every location is going to have, uh, like, partners from, like, Viator doesn't have stuff in some places, but then there is stuff in the host code and vice versa, right? So, uh, I definitely would take a look at the full range of options and see, like, what makes sense for your location, because they all have different types of inventory in different places.

[00:34:43] Um, and then some of them, Might give you more of a rev share than others too. So that's another consideration too. Uh, so there's, you know, lots of things that you can look at there. Um, and then, oh, but no one was the other one, which, uh, is interesting just if you want to sell. You know, you can have links to sell like the goods in the property and they also can get you those goods at a discounted price, um, which is an interesting one to look at as well.

[00:35:10] Uh, those Stayfi email website collectors, it does connect to Boostly. Uh, we have different options, like the pop-up is just like code that you paste into the header and then you can even use, I don't know if you, do you guys use some of those like widgets, um, I forget like there's a form widget, but there are multiple ways to do it depending on how you want to collect.

[00:35:30] Mark: I

[00:35:33] think basically if you just think like Jeremy, you asked that question is, um, just like MailChimp, you know, with MailChimp, they give you that little bit of code that you can put on a website and then it will send that information to wherever you want it to go. So it's like, it's this, it's the same, same, it's just different strokes.

How it works

[00:35:50] Arthur: Yeah. So then Stayfi, if you use us, uh, it's a little bit buried. It's basically when you go to an audience. Uh, there's like this form, collection form section, and then you can decide like, do I want it to be a pop-up? It can even be like a standalone webpage that you link to, uh, or it can be like an inverted form.

[00:36:08] So you can have a pop-up, form, separate landing page, all three options. And then you can also style them, uh, to make it look more like your brand. And then some WordPress widgets integrate with Campaign Monitor. And since Campaign Monitor is like the back-end tool, anything that integrates with Campaign Monitor will integrate with Strategy.

[00:36:27] Thanks for your time. But the popup is the most popular and easiest to install because it's just a code that you paste into the header and you don't have to figure out where to stick the form in the website.

[00:36:40] Mark: This is like, I was going to say very quickly for, for those who don't know what header or footer means or code, this is one of the things that we do at Boostly, you just send us, send us that, you send us those fancy things that you see in front of you and we just sort it for you, which is again, one of the benefits instead of going with a, you know, You know, a free PMS that you may not be able to put them on there.

[00:36:57] So yeah,

[00:36:57] Arthur: well, the PMS is you can't insert code. And then the other big drawback is Google Analytics. They don't have e-commerce tracking. I see that the biggest one as you get more sophisticated is you need Google Analytics e-commerce tracking to measure like. Not just the traffic, but did they make a booking?

[00:37:14] And I don't think any PMS website has that built in. So super important stuff, uh, that, you know, as you grow, this is if you do the marketing yourself, or you have a person, you know, that's an area if you're not familiar with, you'll just, you know, get more comfortable over time as it's, you know, you can spend an hour and like, Get the basics of Google Analytics down and, uh, understand, like, what's happening in your website.

[00:37:37] Um, someone asked if they're a new customer and they use Logify, and their website's being built by Boostly. Um, see, you could get the information within Logify. Are you able to get the email information from Airbnb for your booking? So, when you connect Stayfi to Logify, we will go through all your historical reservations, and for any reservation with a real email, we will pull that in.

[00:37:59] Unfortunately, for Airbnb, there will be no emails associated with those bookings, unless Logify has a way to get them. Through some like automated messaging, which I know as owner res does, and it's pretty successful. Uh, they may not. I'm not sure. Verbal and booking. Sometimes there are emails, sometimes there are not.

[00:38:19] Um, and then of course, if you have historical direct bookings, there'll be emails. Or if you added the emails yourself because you collected them another way. Um, so I see big differences between PMS and I probably should at some point publish this data of some PMS to seem a lot better at getting the Booker's emails and others because they have some.

[00:38:39] automated, uh, request to get that information from the booker. And then obviously, Stayfi is still providing a ton of information from the non-booking guests, which if you have large properties could be 5, people per reservation. Um, so if you have real emails there, we'll pull them in. Sometimes there can be a lot, sometimes there's very few, it just depends on the PMS and how many bookings you've had and what source they came from.

[00:39:06] Uh, so, Stayfi, someone asked about how the Stayfi setup works in terms of Wi-Fi. It's a great question. Today, Stayfi works with one brand of Wi-Fi equipment called Ubiquity Unify, which we will sell to you. Uh, and then you plug it into your existing router, and it broadcasts a new guest network in your property, and that's the guest network that will provide the splash page.

[00:39:31] Uh, and then you can keep your existing internet running in the background if you want to, and keep all your home devices on there. It's really up to you. Um, someone asked, they have a very large property with eight routers. Um, if you say work with access points and routers throughout the home, there's a chance that you may already have Ubiquity Unify.

[00:39:51] I'd say it is the most commonly professionally installed hardware in homes and small multifamily buildings like motels. If you have Ubiquity Unify already, uh, it will integrate with Stayfi and we can integrate with your third-party hardware. If not, unfortunately, you'll have to either supplement or replace those and purchase a similar amount of devices to cover that property.

[00:40:15] Uh, so it just depends on the current hardware you have. Uh, if you want to use Statefy, we can then help you get the right amount of equipment, uh, for that very large property if you don't have compatible hardware. Uh, someone asked, and they say they can get, they use Oneres, and so like I mentioned before, Oneres seems very good at getting, uh, emails from bookers.

[00:40:37] Is having Statefy Wi-Fi still beneficial? Um, It depends. So if you rent small condos with have two guests on average, and you're getting all the Booker's emails because you use owner res and they have that ability to get that, maybe the Wi-Fi isn't that important. And you can just use, let's say our email marketing tool, right?

[00:40:57] That's fine. So the Wi-Fi is beneficial if you have a lot of adult guests in your property that you also want to collect data from. Also, if you have issues with Wi-Fi in terms of outages or concerns about occupancy alerts, there are other Wi-Fi monitoring benefits. Uh, you know, we have customers that the main reason they got StayFi is the data collection is cool, whatever, but they wanted a cloud-based Wi-Fi management system so they can monitor the internet across a ton of properties.

[00:41:26] So this depends on what your priorities are and also How much incremental data is there to collect outside of the booker, and is that valuable to you, right? So, uh, that's how I would assess that for yourself. Uh, do you get any pushback from returning guests who do not need to log Stayfi? Uh, so like I mentioned, the author authorization is 30 days.

[00:41:48] So if someone comes back a year later, I don't think they're going to be, you know, that upset that they have to enter in their information again. Um, and it's nice because we don't have it right now, but in the future, we're going to be offering more analytics around return guests. So we want to know when people return because we want to give you that analytics and data to show you, hey, You know, these are all the return guests you had this year, this is when they stayed last when we collect their data.

[00:42:12] So more of that internal analytics are coming within Stateify, so that data can be really valuable and useful, especially if they come back, like, with a new iPhone, right? We can't just use the ID of the device to determine who they are. Um, so yes, but I would say I haven't heard any pushback. Um, and then you can always customize the opt-in and opt-out buttons on the splash page.

[00:42:33] Uh, I typically recommend people pre-check the marketing opt-in with guests having the ability to uncheck it. Uh, so that typically, you know, if guests don't want to be marketed to, they can opt out, right? So we typically very rarely hear about guests complaining about having to go through the splash page process to get online.

[00:42:49] Because it's something that they've encountered in most other hospitality environments they've been to before. Uh, Is the Boostly CRM in competition with State of Mind Marketing? I would say, probably. They are. No, I don't know. I don't know that much about Boostly, uh, CRM. So you tell me, Mark, are we competing with each other or not?

[00:43:08] Nah, I mean,

[00:43:09] Mark: you can use it. Coincide it easy. I mean, basically what we're doing behind the scenes, we've got an email schedule tool. We've got a social media schedule tool, but it is very much in its, in its infancy. Again, you can use both. Um, when you join Boostly, it comes as part of the package.

[00:43:23] Whether you use it or not is up to you. Um, I think one of the things that we, we want to get across here is that everybody that we bring into here. There is no competition. It's all a collab. We should have called it the STR collab because we, everybody that we bring in here, we're, we're, we're not like, we don't see anybody as competition.

[00:43:41] We want to collaborate because, at the end of the day, we want to make sure that you, Jeremy Katrina Blake Steve Colin and everybody else in the room, I've got options available on, on how to build out your tech stack in 2024 for your business to make sure that you, you succeed. So, um, whether you want Throw all the emails in through campaign monitor, which is obviously what Stayfi is using.

[00:44:01] If you want to use the one that we're doing, we're white lab, white labelling, go high level over here. I mean, it's totally up to you. We've got the templates, we've got, um, all of that cool stuff going on. And we've got the AI tool in the background that helps you put it all together, whether you use it or not totally

[00:44:16] Arthur: up to you.

[00:44:17] Yeah. Like for, uh, for my standpoint is there's not, um, As you guys talk about, there's not one right tech stack for everybody. It depends on the complexity of the tools you want to use, how sophisticated of a CRM you need, etc, etc, right? So, um, there's, No one right configuration. So, you know, just like upsell tools or email tools.

[00:44:40] Uh, we're the only WiFi tools. So sorry, there's not that many others to look at, uh, at least that specialize in this industry. Although there are tools that are great for cafes, you know. Uh, there are tons of companies that do Wi-Fi marketing and cafes, stadiums, hotels, restaurants, and people have tried to adopt those to short-term rentals as well, right?

[00:44:58] So, definitely do your research and due diligence and just figure out, you know, not only does this tool have the features I want, but do I have the internal expertise within my team? To use it. And so obviously, as tools increase in complexity, it might take more time to master, right? So those are all things to balance, like, what is your internal bandwidth to do this?

[00:45:17] And what complexity or features does this have that will make this easier or harder for me to use? Sadly, right now, Katrina, we don't have WhatsApp. It's just SMS, although we can SMS any phone number, uh, no matter which country it is. Uh, it's based on a credit system, so you only buy credits for what you want to send.

[00:45:37] Uh, for U. S. and Canadian citizens. Phone numbers, it's just one credit in one send. Then there's a group of countries, including the UK, where it's two credits to send, and then like basically any other country is three credits to send to one of those phone numbers. As you can send it, I think in the future we'll have other options like WhatsApp, but right now it's just text.

[00:45:59] Is there a VA to customize all the pages, text, emails, settings, Stayfi? No, right now it's all self-service. So there's You know, anyone can sign up for Statify and go through the process. There is a whole onboarding flow that makes it very simple. It may seem complicated, like, oh my god, I have to do 10 splash pages and 10 home pages.

[00:46:18] Well, if we integrate with your PMS, we pull in all the images, like, pre-fill all the names. So, and it's all built on like one template, so you have like one homepage template, one, um, Splash page template and then we have this very easy to use like a spreadsheet where you've you can either like to import the image from the PMS or upload it yourself.

[00:46:37] So the process to set up even if you have to set up 100 splash pages and homepages is very simple because you kind of like decide on what it's going to look like for all of them. And then you have this very easy way to customize it for each specific home and we'll pull in as much information as we can from your PMS to do that all for you.

[00:46:54] Um, the next one is about other hardware providers. Yes. We are working on Ruckus, uh, we have a customer who wants Ruckus, so that will be the next one. And then, yes, we do have other, uh, broader other hardware providers we'll add as well. Uh, most of those are going to be, we're not going to sell them, and they're probably not going to be appropriate for single-family homes.

[00:47:16] That's really why we went with Ubiquiti. They're going to be more for people that already have professionally installed access points in, let's say, a motel or a multi-family building. Uh, where they want to integrate their existing equipment, uh, because those products are even less designed for like a single-family home environment.

[00:47:34] Uh, high-level roadmap items for 2024. Yeah, we're working on a few new cool things, although we're not ready to announce them yet. Uh, but, uh, I'd say the biggest one is like the next version of email. Uh, so right now, as you saw, you know, you can drive whatever emails you want to send through Stayfi, and we have a bunch of guides about how to set up automation, etc.

[00:47:59] The next version is going to look a little bit more like Klaviyo if you've ever used that, which is like an email tool built for Shopify stores. So basically, we're going to predefine A bunch of emails you should be sending and have a wizard to help you build them and get all the relevant information, even from your PMS.

[00:48:21] So we're going to make the email creation and sending process so simple that You just plug in kind of like fill in certain fields and we'll create everything for you. That's the biggest barrier we see when we talk to customers or send out a survey of users is, you know, okay, I want to do email.

[00:48:41] I just like don't know what to do. And even with all the guides we have, people still have to do it themselves. So we want to build these wizards to build everything for you, and you just answer a few simple questions. And of course, you'll still have the ability to customize everything if you want to be more sophisticated, but we want to make that super easy for everybody to do, no matter their level of comfort when it comes to email.

AI

[00:49:02] Mark: No plans for any AI robots to take over the back end of Stayfi.

[00:49:06] Arthur: There is already, there is already like an AI email builder because the campaign monitor has one. So there's like an already a thing that you can put in like, Hey, I want my email to say this and it will just write it for you. And then you can like say I want a shorter, longer, more informal, formal, right?

[00:49:20] So they have like, a chat GPT widget. Um, but I'd say like what our users need. That's a little different. It's more like I need to send an email example would be like, I want to send an email that features all of my properties that have open availability next weekend, and then it will just build that for you, right?

[00:49:37] So that's kind of the direction we're heading. So it's very relevant to our industry. Um, I have three properties. Can you explain how CRM works for collecting emails from Spotify, booking, blah, blah, blah, blah. Um, so within our email tool, right, it's pretty simple. We don't, I wouldn't call it a CRM. Um, A CRM would be more like you're capturing their historical preferences, why they booked with you.

[00:50:04] I'd say that's probably something more like Mark's tool could accomplish, whereas ours is more of a simple email tool. I didn't mention it within Stateify, but we also connect with a bunch of third-party tools, including GoHighLevel, which there are a few people that have stuff like that. So you can send all the emails you collect.

[00:50:20] within StateFi to go high level, um, as well as tools like ActiveCampaign, HubSport, HubSpot, Salesforce, etc. So if you already use a third-party tool that you know how to use, you can also use StateFi and send all the data there automatically. But I'd say if you have three properties, you probably don't need to think in terms of a CRM unless they're very high-end, um, just because Uh, you know, do the basics first, like start sending an email and set up an automation, and then as I get more sophisticated, that's the other barrier I see to people starting, is they want to, you know, they put the perfect ahead of just getting anything done, and they think too complex in terms of like what's achievable in the short term.

[00:51:03] Uh, so I think, you know, if you can set up a monthly newsletter and automation, that's where I would start. Then think about how you want to layer in more complexity, targeting, and segmentation as you go along. Um, but don't, you know, don't make the perfect the enemy of the good, right? Do you recommend waiting on Boostly to finish your website, or could this be started with an owner-res website?

[00:51:23] Of course, yeah. So, uh, because we're marketing to return guests, for the most part, within Stayfi, Um, there's a higher level of trust between the guest and you. So, if you start with the owner-res websites, which, Are fine and they work right. They have a decent booking engine. That's good enough and you can still get bookings through that.

[00:51:44] Obviously, the boost will help improve that and also help your credibility with non-repeat guests. But because we're doing mostly repeat travel, uh, The website is relatively less important than if you were advertising to totally new people that have never heard of you, where you need to establish a much higher level of trust, but a more professional website will just improve your results overall.

[00:52:06] Um, I would also just say another good place to start is offline bookings in a way. Uh, so sending plain text emails explaining who you are. from a first-person standpoint, especially if you're on the smaller side, just be like, Hey, this is Richard. I manage the turtle in whatever it's called, you know, just so you know, like we have our website, or you can just email me like the dates you want to come back and you can save money versus.

[00:52:35] Airbnb or whatever. That type of approach works small, really well on a small scale, uh, because it has the feeling as if you just like wrote that email to them on Gmail, uh, and it has very high deliverability and open rates. So that's just one other way if you're not comfortable with pushing the website first.

[00:52:51] You can just push yourself first and have them communicate with you, then send the link to the website to book. Um, and then of course when you have a Bootsly website and you're more confident in your brand presence, you can start sending people there en masse, uh, and you'll get, you know, a higher degree of conversion rate when you do that.

[00:53:09] Madi: Absolutely. I think we made it through all the questions if I'm correct.

[00:53:12] Arthur: Yeah. That was a lot of questions. That's like a marathon there.

[00:53:16] Madi: Thank you everyone for joining. I know, uh, that went a little longer than I had promised. Uh, but I think it was well worth it because we got some amazing questions out there and answered.

[00:53:25] So, uh, I put this up here on the screen in case you missed it in the beginning, but this is where our community is going to live, where we will put this recording and the one Mark and I did last month and then all the future recordings so you can take a look. You can ask each other questions. Uh, we'll keep posting updates about this community as it grows.

[00:53:42] If you want to see anything else from us, put it in the Facebook group as well. Um, and we just want to continue to see this grow. So thank you for taking an hour out of your day to come and meet with us. Uh, hopefully, it was valuable and, um, hope to see you next time. Mark, Arthur, anything else you

[00:53:58] Arthur: guys want to say?

[00:54:00] Uh, yeah, if you just want to learn more about Stayfi, you can just go to, uh, Stayfi. com. And if you want to book a demo, you can go to the demo page and book a demo with one of our reps. Or if you feel adventurous, you can just sign up for StayFi and get started. Because there are no contracts, commitments, or minimums, you can, anyone can just go there and create an account and look around before they even pay anything at all.

[00:54:24] Lovely.

[00:54:26] Mark: Yeah. And like, this is very much going to be community-driven. So if, there's a specific person that you want us to bring into the next round, then please do let us know. We, we, you know, this is not going to be the last one where it's going to be very much, you tell us who you'd like, and then we will go out and find it.

[00:54:41] And, you know, obviously on the next one, we'll hopefully all come back. Alpha Debbie's back as well. And we want to sort of, um, bring in like a couple of aspects, like talk about what we're noticing over the past month in the industry and sort of start to share those views and just keep coming back.

[00:54:55] And, who knows where, where this sort of evolves to, like Maddy was saying, could potentially have some organized, some in-person meetups and, and, uh, really make this a thing. So please do tell everybody about it. If the next time that we announce that we're doing something, please do share the link. Um, appreciate everybody taking time out of their day.

[00:55:14] I've even seen Jodie Sterling, who I know is in Australia. So it must be very early over, uh, for her in the morning. So I do appreciate you all. So yeah, thanks for being part of it again. And thanks to Maddie for coming up with the idea. Absolutely.

[00:55:27] Madi: And, uh, Jeremy, I got you the link in the Q and A.

[00:55:30] So if you guys can't scan the QR code right now, the link to the Facebook group is in there as well. Um, awesome. Thanks

[00:55:36] Everyone.

[00:55:36] Arthur: Having a blast, gonna get it on the Boosley podcast. Bosley is like Bruce Lee causes it's so hard and the T is loose. Making up those rhymes, don't write it, just do it loosely.