Short-Term Rental Success Banner

The Formula For Short-Term Rental Success

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 548.

Elliott Caldwell and Michael Lafonte are the co-founders of Home Team Vacation Rentals, a short-term rental business.

Elliot runs the day-to-day operations and has a team of nine full-time employees in the US and five full-time virtual assistants to help with guest communication.

Michael's role is Chief Revenue Officer and he helps with marketing and spreading the message of the business through social media platforms.

They launched the business officially on August 1st and have seen significant growth since then, currently managing 82 properties with a goal to reach 100 by the end of the year.

They aim to provide unique experiences and quality guest experiences for people from around the world.

Here's the video for this episode:

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Intro
01:02 – Guest Intro
06:43 – What was your first short term rental?
10:58 – What has changed in terms of your team?
17:43 – Are you looking at your prices enough?
22:28 – If somebody wants to scale
27:55 – How did you meet?
32:43 – How do you stay up to date?
42:06 – 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: Okay, everybody. Welcome to the new episode of the Boostly Podcast. This is the podcast that gives hosts the tactics, the tools, the training, and most importantly, the confidence to go out there and get more direct bookings. My name is Liam Carlan. Uh, mark Simpson's co-host, and today we are shining the spotlight onto a very special guest.

[00:00:20] I'm really pleased to have them both here. We've got Elliot Caldwell and he's a founder. And Michael a Lafonte, who is the co-founder of Home Team Vacation Rentals. Now, this is a business which you're gonna want to go and Google and go and check out. Um, you may remember Michael, who has been on the podcast before.

[00:00:40] He's featured, uh, we discussed the, uh, b B Investor Academy and had an amazing chat about all things social media and short-term rental at the time. He's back and he is. By his, uh, his business partner Elliot. And today we are talking about their short-term rental business. And also we're gonna be talking about [00:01:00] the formula for short-term rental success.

[00:01:02] So let's dive in. Welcome along Elliot, and uh, welcome back, Michael.

[00:01:08] Elliott: Thank you. Thank you for having us. Yeah.

[00:01:11] Liam: Awesome. So thank you for joining me today. Um, so let's start how we normally do, which is can you briefly just tell us a bit about your role within the business, um, what your favorite thing about being a host is as well.

[00:01:23] And if we start with yourself, Elliot.

[00:01:25] Elliott: Uh, yeah, so, uh, founded home team, uh, we started tinkering with it. Uh, Michael and I probably, uh, beginning March, April of this year, then kind of officially launched on August 1st. And, uh, so I'll run everything day to day. And then Michael, um, you know, as he runs Airbnb Academy, And has his sales team, and then he's also talking to our sales team and helping us out with a bunch of leads, uh, via social media.

[00:01:51] Um, but I run the day-to-day and, um, you know, I have a team behind us. We have a team of, um, uh, nine full team, um, employees in the states. [00:02:00] And then, uh, we have five, uh, full-time virtual assistants, uh, to help out with guest communication. Um, and yeah, so August 1st we kind of, uh, Launched officially, and it has been a wild growth since then.

[00:02:16] Uh, since August 1st, we've grown it. Uh, I just looked with 82 properties that we have alive. And we're, I have a big push of a discount to the end of the year to try to get to a hundred properties, uh, by the end of the year. So that's a long stretch goal. I don't know if we can get there, cuz Christmas and the new year, but, uh, we actually had six come in today.

[00:02:35] Uh, so they got, got us to 82, uh, working. Yeah. Working on that. And, you know, uh, there's a struggle in that as well as, as we grow and, uh, especially the, the fast growth that it's been. Uh, so, so yeah, that's, that's

[00:02:50] Liam: what, that's exciting. It's exciting and, and that's just amazing in general to, to do that. So if we come to yourself, Michael, if you can give us a brief introduction and what your role is within the business and, [00:03:00] um, also your favorite thing about hosting.

[00:03:03] Michael: Yeah, yeah. I guess, um, technically my, my role as Chief Revenue Officer, I mean, I k head up a lot of the marketing front too, and, and help with just spreading, uh, the message of home team vacation rentals out with the. Through social, various social media platforms, um, and with a lot of my own clients who are now clients of the, the vacation rental business.

[00:03:23] Um, and then favorite thing about hosting is, is providing unique experiences and quality guest experience, um, to people from around the world. Um, uh, different locations too. It's, it's really cool hosting other properties in addition to ones that we invest in ourselves, uh, cuz we can share, you know, put our special touch on, on all these properties and, and share 'em with.

[00:03:43] Definitely

[00:03:43] Liam: we're gonna be diving into some of those, uh, what the special touches are and, uh, you know, what we can learn from that. Um, so let's just hear a little bit more about the business itself, Elliot. Whereabouts is the hospitality business? Is it, um, and you mentioned the 82. Are they sort of spread across a lot of [00:04:00] locations?

[00:04:00] And what sort of guest avatar do you tend to host? Uh,

[00:04:03] Elliott: Yeah, we're mostly in the southeast of the United States, uh, Florida, uh, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. Um, we have a few properties in, uh, Seattle, Washington, uh, some in Scottsdale, Arizona, New Hampshire, Maine kind of spread out. You know, we, we have no problem being a nationwide company, uh, in leveraging, uh, technology, uh, to best, uh, service across the country.

[00:04:27] And I would say our most popular avatar is a family. Um, and, you know, building family experiences. We have larger homes, not many, um, you know, studio one bedroom homes, but more 3, 4, 5 plus bedroom homes. Um, and so the cabins, the, you know, on the lakes of, uh, New Hampshire and Maine and the cabins of the, of the Carolinas and Tennessee, where Michael has a few properties and we manage a few properties, and then closer to the beaches in.

[00:04:56] Liam: And just to dive, uh, still sticking with yourself there, Elliot, what, what was [00:05:00] your first property? What was it like, or, or what is it like if you've still got it? Yeah,

[00:05:04] Elliott: so I, I also own seven properties. Um, so, uh, part of those, um, not in, include those 82 don't include, um, mine and Michael's property is Sophie, include those.

[00:05:14] Were a little closer to a hundred. Um, so I own, and my first one was in, uh, Mars Hill, North Carolina, just above Asheville. North Carolina. I actually found Michael on TikTok in December. Funny story, December, 2000. 20. Um, he had just kind of got started on his, I mean now, you know, over a million followers and that, which helps us with, uh, you know, everything we do on the marketing front.

[00:05:37] Uh, and then that was December, and then January, February, March kind of did my own research and then on March closed to my first property. And, uh, it did it I think the first 12 months, $170,000 in revenue. Um, you know, and that was before the market had the uptick. So I got a good deal on that too. I think it was 400.

[00:05:57] Uh, $26,000 I bought it [00:06:00] for, and it just appraised for 600 something. Um, amazing. Wow. Yeah, so,

[00:06:06] Liam: so, yeah. Awesome. Awesome. So, um, let's go back to yourself then, Michael. Uh, same sort of question and, and just before we move on, actually, I, I have seen the Sky Box cabin. Whose is that? Is that yours, Elliot? Yeah, that's, that's my first one.

[00:06:19] Yeah, I mean that, that is terrific. And again, go and check out anybody listening to this, go and check out. Um, Home team, vacation rentals, and I think there's a link to the Sky Box cabin. I think that's how I came across it. But it just looks beautiful. It looks like literally a family vacation up in the sky.

[00:06:33] Amazing views. And, um, yeah, just, just really good. So, um, Michael, same question. What was your first one? And, um, yeah, I just love taking it back to those sort of grassroots. What was your first, uh, rental, uh, short term rental, I should say? Yeah.

[00:06:48] Michael: We went live with our first one, uh, three years ago, just over three years, and a couple days ago was in Nashville, t.

[00:06:55] It was a four, four bed, three and a half bath. Um, about 10 minutes outside of [00:07:00] downtown Nashville. Um, and we cater, cater a little bit more towards, uh, bachelorette parties, special occasions, uh, some family travel, but most of the time it's like the special occasion or special event type groups, uh, that are coming in and booking that place.

[00:07:16] Nice.

[00:07:16] Liam: Nice. So, um, from, from humble beginnings to amazing, you know, uh, uh, amazing things, but which both of you, so let's talk about the formula for short-term rental. Um, so in your own experiences, but things that, uh, people will be able to learn from. Let's start with what. Uh, you considered when you first, uh, went to invest and where to invest.

[00:07:39] How did you decide on, on what to, um, on, on what areas to really go for, and if we stick with yourself first, Michael, on this, and then go to Elliot afterwards?

[00:07:49] Michael: Yeah, I think for me, you know, there's really two different types of markets. The urban markets, which are more, you know, around metro or city areas, and then the traditional vacation mar markets.

[00:07:58] So mountains, [00:08:00] beaches, lakes, uh, things of that nature. Um, for an urban market, which is where I started in Nashville, I really looked for. Two key things. One is a, uh, strong tourism, but that's also trending upwards. And then a growing population. I think a growing population, um, is gonna bring in new business investment.

[00:08:16] Um, and it'll be a more fruitful investment for the long term, not just today. Um, and then the growing, uh, and steady tourism is obviously what's gonna help support some, uh, you know, the higher average daily rates that we're, that we're looking for in a property. Um, and the vacation rentals, we're just looking for, uh, you know, a few different criteria like location within that.

[00:08:36] uh, does it have a nice view where, why are people visiting, like you said earlier, building that customer avatar. Mm-hmm. before designing and furnish, furnishing the place is really crucial. Um,

[00:08:47] Liam: that's cool. That's cool. And, uh, Elliot, have you got anything to add to that? And also just to stack the question, what do you find works in terms of the amenities that your guests [00:09:00] most sought, uh, most sought after by your.

[00:09:02] Yeah,

[00:09:02] Elliott: I think, you know, adding on to Michael, um, leveraging data has been key for Michael and I, um, especially on Air, d n a. Um, and then, you know, I mean, me and Michael, we've put in together, uh, two offers ac um, the past. Month and that those offers were based everything Michael said, but mainly, uh, looking at air, d n a, looking what the numbers were, um, and, you know, making that right decision.

[00:09:28] Um, but, you know, making a place stand out is huge. Uh, whether that is adding a fire pit, adding a, putting green, Down here in Florida, we've had a local guy that'll do a putting green. We tried to do one the first, we did one on our, one of our first properties that we managed, and it was like $8,000. And I thought that was ridiculous.

[00:09:47] I found the local guy do an even better job, uh, of like $2,500. And so we put as many putting greens as we can. Um, especially down here where we, we live in Florida, we're close to, um, the VASH bars, the [00:10:00] PGA tournament. The copperhead course in Palm Harbor of Florida. And, uh, so a lot of people come down in February, March, so we want to, you know, so it's very, it's a high rate at that point, and so we're gonna be one of the first ones to get booked because of course, golfers coming down, they want to have a putting green in the backyard.

[00:10:15] Um, so yeah, anything you can do to stand out and, uh, and be creative, whether it's, uh, you know, I've seen soccer fields, you've seen par three courses and or par three holes, you know, and obviously that takes a lot of space. Um, Trying to be creative, trying to be the first one to do something, um, I think is important.

[00:10:32] Liam: That's so cool. That is, I mean, like you say, you're thinking about why people are coming as probably, you know, golfing tournaments. They're gonna enjoy that side of things and just have a put and green is, is so cool because I don't know of, I think you're the first person who said, Hey, a put and green in the back, in the back garden.

[00:10:47] Do you know what I mean? That's, that's really cool to have so, When you got started, the in with your own properties, obviously your day-to-day roles, and the team would've looked very different. What has changed in [00:11:00] terms of your team and also your perception of what you need to grow? The difference between managing just a few short-term rentals to now what you're doing, which is really scaling a big business.

[00:11:12] Elliott: Um, it's hard cuz you know. , our seven properties now are like our babies. Mm-hmm. . So it's hard to, you know, give that, um, um, responsibility, uh, to someone else and, you know, but at, at the same time, it's impossible to run, um, you know, almost a hundred properties, um, while focusing on, you know, what this guest said, what that guest.

[00:11:34] And so, um, I mean, our team is. An A team and, uh, we just had everyone down. Uh, last week actually I had a Christmas party and had everyone down from some leadership training and, uh, I wouldn't trade any of them for, you know, anyone. And, uh, so really leaning on them, um, and then leveraging, um, you know, leveraging technology.

[00:11:53] Uh, and we use Guestie as our, uh, pm m s and, um, our, um, virtual [00:12:00] assistants in the Philippines and Venezuela. Um, you know, now we have 24 7 customer service cuz they're 12 hours ahead. Um, and then so some of them work through the night and, um, you know, it's great to have that. And then so we don't have to worry about guest communication, anything comes up.

[00:12:14] Uh, Abigail, our director of customer. And guest communication kind of is the middle man between anything that's important. Um, and so that's, that's been the hardest thing though, is, uh, you really given the way of that responsibility, at least

[00:12:27] Liam: for me. That's cool. And, uh, same question to yourself, uh, Michael.

[00:12:32] Is there, has there been any perceptions which have changed from, you know, the early days to, to now you're managing such a different larger business?

[00:12:40] Michael: Yeah, I think just Elliot kind of hit home with it. Uh, for me it's just going from business operator to business owner. Mm-hmm. , uh, and really trying to, um, manage the business versus managing the day, like the active day-to-day.

[00:12:55] So we're more, you know, perched up ahead and, and, [00:13:00] and delegating, um, tasks to team members and then teaching them to be experts in certain tasks so that way as we grow, we can grow thought. Uh, cuz if you, you know, if you try to grow too big on your own, eventually you're gonna hit so many bottlenecks and your customer service, um, and the quality of, uh, stays that you, you know, as a host, uh, put out there for guests, uh, is gonna go down.

[00:13:22] So, like Elliot said, hiring, hiring a players and just hiring, uh, awesome people that are not afraid to make mistakes, not afraid to fail, um, are coachable and just willing to learn and, and go out there and execute day to day. And, um, you know, Stay on par with the vision that we had for, you know, each of our 13 or 13 combined properties early on, and we try to apply those same strategies, um, and effectiveness on the management side to all the properties that we manage.

[00:13:51] Um, so yeah, I think that's, that's

[00:13:53] Liam: about it. And sticking with the team side of things. So was there, in the early days, uh, when you're [00:14:00] sort of looking after, like you say the, the day-to-day operations compared to now when you're in the business, was there a particular hire at a certain time, which you go, Hey, I'm so glad I did that Higher at 30 properties or at 40 properties.

[00:14:13] Is is there, is there one that sticks out at all, if any?

[00:14:17] Elliott: Um, God, there's so many. Uh, yeah, I would say. Our director of guest communication, I've already mentioned Abigail, she is a, me and Michael are like, Abigail, you're working too hard. Like, but she's having a baby in March and so we're worried about that.

[00:14:33] Uh, but you know, being able, that's the hardest part in this business. And some people like it and some people don't. And they're not to say I don't like it, but it is tough. You know, when, especially I have a three year old and a one year old and, Hey, hold on quick crying. I gotta talk to this guest real quick.

[00:14:47] And. They don't understand that. Right. And so, um, I think that's been the, you know, being that, having her as a buffer in between, uh, US as well. Um, that's been, you know, good. Um,

[00:14:59] Liam: and [00:15:00] that was a director of, of guest communications then what, what sort of level of properties would, would you say was, would the right time to, to bring somebody like that on?

[00:15:09] Elliott: Um, I would say as early on as possible. I mean, you know, if, if you're a business owner listening, You know, you know your math and your accounting better than I do. And so as soon as you can afford, uh, to bring on someone, um, to that, to that matter, uh, I would do it as soon as possible.

[00:15:27] Liam: Amazing. Amazing. And, uh, is there anything to add, Michael, in terms of, of a hire of, of a particular hire that you'd say, Hey, do this one at this stage?

[00:15:36] Michael: No, I think guest communications is probably the toughest. Um, it's a, it's a, it's a tough position to fill because guest communication is really critical to, to host. That plays a a lot into how people review your properties, uh, especially on the OTAs, um, which is crucial for how you rank in search and, and future bookings as well.

[00:15:57] So you definitely wanna make sure the quality of service, um, [00:16:00] is consistent. So I think, uh, I would agree with Elliot that, that that's probably been the most critical, um, to Phil and it's a tough position to fill and operate. So she's done an amazing. That's

[00:16:11] Liam: cool. That's cool. And then sticking with yourself, uh, Michael, the, we mentioned tech and you use Guesty as your, your p m s.

[00:16:18] Is there a piece of tech, which is your favorite, um, or one that you just go, you know what, I'm so glad we've got that it does this, but this is, you know, it solves this problem for me. And if so, what would it be and why?

[00:16:30] Michael: Probably dynamic pricing software. Mm-hmm. . Um, because it takes a lot of the guesswork and a lot of the older PMs.

[00:16:37] It's not hard to compete with. And really dominate a sector of a market because if you're just pricing the same price every single day, like a traditional vacation rental would the whole year. Like I looked at one today for as a, a comp for a property for a client, and we were looking and they had the same price the weekend of July 4th on a lake as they did like January, the [00:17:00] second week of January, the coldest part of the year.

[00:17:01] And I'm like, that doesn't make any sense. You're not gonna get booked at that price in January and you're probably not charging enough in July. So dynamic pricing allows you to not. Dynamically change your pricing based on some of the demand and you could set certain criteria, but also looking at future looking information and booking trends, um, and what competitors are priced at certain days of the week, all from one pane of glass.

[00:17:21] So that has been the most critical, I think, for myself and also for the company as we grow and scale to manage multiple properties effectively. Uh, from a revenue management perspective,

[00:17:33] Liam: you know, you make such good point there because. I speak to hosts sometimes where they've got one or two properties and say, they say, should I get dynamic pricing?

[00:17:40] I go, well, do you have time to assess the market? Are you looking at prices enough? And, and you, you may not need it at certain levels, but certainly once you've got a few properties, it's just, it makes things so much easier, doesn't it, to just manage things from, um, let's say from a distance across multiple markets, which is really cool.

[00:17:58] And same for yourself [00:18:00] then, Elliot. Is there, is there a particular, you've mentioned Guesty, um, Guesty. Is the PMs, is that your favorite or is there another piece of tech which you go do? You know what, I'm so glad we've got that.

[00:18:10] Elliott: Um, we wouldn't be able to do what we do without turnover b, Airbnb and, uh, having the marketplace of cleaners and maintenance teams across the country.

[00:18:19] Um, when we launched in, uh, Seattle, there was, um, uh, we didn't, you know, we didn't know anyone out there. It was actually one of our Florida, which is a great. Uh, to have in the business, one of our Florida properties, they said, Hey, we have a property in Seattle. Can you manage it too? We're like, yeah, sure. Um, so that, you know, we're doing a good enough job for them in Florida to be able to, you know, go into Seattle and, uh, we didn't know anyone, put it out on, turned over B b and had 48, um, um, you know, applications pretty much to clean.

[00:18:47] Um, and then one of the, you know, a few of them have like a maintenance team, so it's easy to, you know, have that, those boots on the ground. Um, even though we're, uh, you know, thousands of miles. Um, and to be able to, to launch in Seattle. Now, we've picked up a few more [00:19:00] there just by doing a good job there.

[00:19:01] You know, you, you take all, it takes one, you, you do one, you do a really good job, work this out, and you know, that's how the growth happens.

[00:19:07] Liam: That's cool. Get, get the foot in the door with the one and then then grow from there. And you've brought some really nicely onto kind of the mindset that you need to have around short-term rental because, You know, I talked to hosts sometimes who are comfortable managing just one, maybe two, some managing a few others like yourself who are happy to manage across large dis distances and multiple different properties, uh, different markets and things like that.

[00:19:31] What would you say is the, and sticking with yourself here, Elliot, what would you say is the key things that you need to have mindset wise? Is there. Skills or traits that you would say that you've brought with you from either previous careers and, uh, you know, maybe before you got into this business, which has really helped your mindset?

[00:19:50] Or is it something that you've learned along the way?

[00:19:52] Elliott: Um, I think it's something we probably learned along the way. You know, as much as we want to be a strong [00:20:00] business, we are first and foremost a hospitality company. Every single person that comes and family that comes and stay out of their properties.

[00:20:09] They are extremely, extremely important. You know, I, I was telling our team last week, you know, some people save. For months to be able to afford a two or $3,000 beach or mountain vacation. And that is special. You know, maybe the fir their only vacation of the year. And so I think really, uh, being client focused and guest focused, um, not necessarily worrying about, uh, the revenue, the night, you know, how much money we're making.

[00:20:34] If we take care of our guests, if we take care of our clients, we, we feel that in the end our revenue will be where we want it to. I

[00:20:42] Liam: really like that cuz too many people see guests as a number, not as, not as an experience. And like you say, people will have saved this could be their only holiday. So yeah.

[00:20:51] Really, really good point. And uh, going across then to, uh, Michael is there, what would you say to somebody, let's, let's just rephrase the question. What would you say to [00:21:00] somebody who is worried about managing in other areas? You know, who, who is? We've just mentioned turnover. Airbnb helps you with that marketplace with finding.

[00:21:09] People in those places. So what would you say in terms of mindset, if somebody was worried about managing from too far, what advice would you have for them?

[00:21:16] Michael: Yeah, I would say, kind of go back to what I said earlier. You know, you have to take yourself, um, out of the business and work on the business. Uh, so you're not working on the day-to-day as much, even if you started local.

[00:21:26] I mean, if you goal is to scale, think if you scaled to 10 or 20 properties, you're gonna have to delegate work and outsource and systematize the business regardless of where the properties are located. And that's something that I found early on was I, I would try and do some tasks on my own when I lived close to my properties in Nashville.

[00:21:44] But then we traveled for a year, uh, and it forced us to manage everything remote. And nothing really changed for us, you know? Cause we had the, we had established those systems before we left. So I would say that's the mindset shit. You have shift. You have to adopt. Um, is to systematize it in a [00:22:00] way, leverage tech and software in a way that can, uh, automate as much as possible and then lean on certain resources like your cleaners, your handymen, uh, to be your eyes on the property and make sure everything is kosher, uh, before each group of guest checks in.

[00:22:13] Amazing.

[00:22:15] Liam: And one of the things which I've been really impressed with, obviously, is the scale, the speed of scale that, that your, your company's gone. That, uh, home team vacation rentals has really scaled. Looking at that side of the business, if somebody wants to scale, what are the things that you need in place to be able to scale in the way that that you have?

[00:22:35] And if we stick with yourself, Michael, and then go across to Elliot. Yeah, I think you

[00:22:40] Michael: need to have a good team in place, or at least a start to hire one or two people, even if you can still handle things yourself. If you were to start taking on, let's say you bring on a client with one property, it's one thing to onboard a property and then you have to stand it up, then you have to manage it.

[00:22:55] There's different pieces to the puzzle. So once you start to get investors that, Hey, [00:23:00] I have a five or 10 property portfolio. Onboarding 10 properties is a job for one person to focus on for like a week, right? Mm-hmm. . And you can't, you have to delegate that work to someone who like teach them to, to be the expert in it.

[00:23:13] Once those properties are onboarded, okay, now we have to manage it, manage the revenue dynamic pricing, marketing. Um, so as we've grown, we have a director of marketing, we have a director of guest communications. We have a project manager who does a lot of. Getting the property ready, right? Finding cleaners, uh, things like that.

[00:23:31] Making sure it's, uh, furnished, right? And then we have one who does a lot of the sales calls talking to new investors that are, or homeowners that are interested in working with us. So you really have to start to carve out the different sectors or segments of your business, and then start to staff it in a way that enables you to grow.

[00:23:48] Cuz eventually, like we were saying earlier, you're eventually going to reach certain bottle bottlenecks that you, you're not gonna be able to, like, you're gonna run out of time every day. Yeah, the quality's gonna start to go down, so you're gonna [00:24:00] eventually have to start hiring. So I would say hire like one key person who can help you with everything and then figure out what they're really good at.

[00:24:06] And as you scale, hire a second person, a third person. I think that's what we've done, uh, quite well. And Elliot's done a great job, uh, you know, taking responsibility of training the team, making sure they're doing things correctly.

[00:24:15] Liam: I like what you've done there, which is break it down into the bite size chunks of, Hey, you, you are the, uh, you know, the sniper of, of this skill.

[00:24:23] You know, you are the person who is gonna be the person who markets or just onboards. And, uh, as you grow, you're, you're absolutely able to do that. So, coming across to yourself, Elliot. Similar question again, slightly rephrased, is why should, um, somebody consider getting investors and how sh how do you go about finding them, you know, how do you go about finding these, uh, homeowners or real estate owners with, with eight or 10 properties?

[00:24:49] Elliott: Yeah, I think, you know, there's two things. One, obviously, um, Michael helps out a lot of that, uh, putting, you know, posts on his stories and Instagram and TikTok and, um, so that's one way of doing it. But then two, [00:25:00] um, how I just mentioned, you know, you do a great job, people are gonna hear about it and the word of mouth gonna go.

[00:25:05] And, um, obviously our director of marketing does a really good job on. Um, you know, putting our, not just our guest reviews, but also our testimonials from other owners. And, uh, so it's gonna, the word of mouth through testimonials and doing a great job. You do a great job once, you know, the word's gonna get out and it's, it's gonna multiply all right.

[00:25:22] Now there's two people and then they're gonna get one person. Now there's four, now there's four are gonna get one, now there's eight and it's just, uh, know a 10 x game at that point. Um, and then, you know, if you think about it, and going back to Michael's answer, you know, you have five key. You know, sections of a company in short-term rentals.

[00:25:41] You know, you have your guest communication, we already talked about. You have your marketing, uh, you have your operations, and then you have your sales, and then you have, um, just your, um, general, uh, accounting and bookkeeping. Mm-hmm. . Um, and that is where I think is important to hire early as well. Um, is accounting in bookkeeping, at least for me, [00:26:00] because if.

[00:26:01] I, I think I'm really good at operations and sales, so if operations need some help, I can slide in there. If sales need some help, I can slide in there. I am awful at accounting, bookkeeping cuz it takes, like, it takes someone that'll sit there for longer than an hour and not get distracted, um, and then not see a squirrel over there and, you know, all of a sudden talking about squirrels and then, you know, so that was important for us, uh, to hire that early on, uh, to hire, you know, and I would say that too, for anybody, you know, take what you're good.

[00:26:28] And then find out what you're not good at. Hire what you're not good at first. Um, whether that's guest communication, uh, general operations or sales or bookkeeping. Hire that person first, especially if they can also be a, um, kind of Swiss army knife. We have a few of those . Um, and you know, we're, we're growing so fast and we're still on the smaller side of a team, so we have a lot of Swiss Army knifes right now.

[00:26:48] Um,

[00:26:51] Liam: That resonates with me about putting off the bookkeeping, you know, like I will do anything to be distracted from doing the bookkeeping and, uh, that's why I've got a bookkeeper now and, uh, [00:27:00] accountant . Yeah, you, you need these people on the team, don't you? To, to stop yourself from losing time doing the stuff, which is just not, um, Not where your, your skillset lies, you know, that's, that's really cool.

[00:27:11] Elliott: Hopefully, especially now with this time of year and going in the next year and getting 10 99 s out, you know, you get 10 99 s out to all your owners, um, anybody, you know, all your cleaners, all your maintenance people. You start doing 80, 90, a hundred properties. It's a lot of 10 99 s into your employees and everything.

[00:27:25] And so if you're not, you know, structured well to, uh, have that, you know, as you go throughout the year, everything organized and everything clean. You're gonna be in a, in a mess of trouble, uh, you know, trying to, you know, work in some long nights trying to get everything, uh, together before, I think they gotta be out before like January 30th or something.

[00:27:44] So

[00:27:45] Liam: yeah, like you say, it is, uh, a lot of responsibility, but with the right team in place, you're, you're able to do that. So, talking about team, obviously, uh, you're, you're both sort of business partners. How did you, uh, how did you meet in terms of that? I know you mentioned [00:28:00] earlier on, at the start there, but what made you decide to become business partners, not just, you know, sort of, um, peers and, and giving each other advice?

[00:28:08] What made you decide to, Hey, do you know what this could work as a, as a, as a business?

[00:28:14] Michael: Go ahead, Mike. So Elliot reached out to me early on. It was right on the brink of when I started doing coaching for short term rentals. Um, he reached out and I think we hit it off. He, we both played baseball through college, so just having that college athletic background and similar mindsets there, uh, had a lot in common.

[00:28:33] Um, and, and he invested some money and some coaching, and that's really all he needed. You know, he's coachable. It took what he learned and blew it up as he, as he mentioned earlier, he scaled to seven properties in what, two years? Um, doing amazing numbers, amazing cash flow. Um, and I personally had never wanted to get into the management business, um, because I was always under the mindset of, well, I'm gonna manage myself personally, cuz there's so many bad legacy [00:29:00] property managers out there.

[00:29:00] Not that they're bad people or you have a bad business, but they have not adapted to. A new way of operating in the short term re vacation rental space. Um, so they're in, there's a lot of inefficiencies there. Um, so I like to teach people how to self-manage, but there does come a time when you should probably consider outsourcing two property management organization.

[00:29:20] Um, so Elliot approached me. He's doing a great job for some people. He was doing more like co-hosting management for, um, and he is like, Hey, what? You know, like really scale this as a full-blown property management company. And at first I was like, nah, I don't think so. Um, I don't know if I want to do that.

[00:29:34] And then he started to break down some of like the numbers. I was like, actually it's a pretty great bus business model and I think we could do a great job. Um, and Elliot's great at team building and operations and, and all that, and I think I can just help add fuel to the fire. Um, which is why I think he was interested in, uh, working with me in the first place.

[00:29:52] And all it is, is deploying the same strategies that helped him and I both be successful early on, and then deploying that for our property owners to hopefully, our [00:30:00] goal is to increase the revenue for their property so much that if they're already using a pm our service essentially is for. You know, um, and if they're self-managing, hopefully we can do as good, if not, if not a, a bit better, again, to try and make almost our management service, uh, for free at that point and completely passive it for them.

[00:30:18] Um, but our goal is to maximize the ROI and, um, return on investment that, uh, our homeowners have put into their, you know, their properties. They invested a lot of money into these properties. We wanna make sure we do a good job for 'em, but not to get off track. But, um, I think that initially early on, just having similar backgrounds and mindsets and work.

[00:30:35] Um, and you know, we like to joke around a lot, so we just get along super well. Um, and after getting to know each other for a couple years, um, it was an easy decision, in my opinion. Nice,

[00:30:44] Liam: nice. A anything to add to that, Elliot?

[00:30:47] Elliott: Yeah, no, I think, you know, me and Michael, um, you know, it's, it's scary getting, you know, we knew of e we knew each other, but by, by no means were we like best friends or boys or anything.

[00:30:57] And so, you know, it's hard and maybe [00:31:00] it. Scary to get into business with someone you don't really know. Um, but it couldn't have gone, it couldn't be going better, um, at least in my opinion, um, than I could imagine. And, you know, our wives, you know, love each other. Um, we had the team down and, uh, Last Saturday, our wife s hung out while we went and played golf.

[00:31:20] Nice. And, uh, we both asked our wife, well, your favorite part of the weekend. And it was that Saturday when they got to hang out. And I was like, oh, . There's so many fun things in your, your favorite part. And so, and Michael has a, um, a new, uh, uh, how old's Kennedy? Three months, two months? Three months?

[00:31:35] Michael: Yeah.

[00:31:35] She's about to be three months old.

[00:31:37] Elliott: He's almost three months old. And then I have a three year old and a, and a 10 month old. So we're very, you know, have the same thought process of being family centric. And you know, that's actually one of our company virtues. And so, you know, we are very, you know, we. Do amazing business, even if we already call it a billion dollars in revenue, but we lose what we have at home, like it's none of that's worth it.

[00:31:58] And so we both take, uh, you know, [00:32:00] I take that to the heart a lot of, uh, you know, making sure we put our family first. And so that's been good for us as well. So,

[00:32:05] Liam: I really like that. And it's, it's obviously everything you're doing is with intent. Now you can clearly see that's it's working and scaling, which is really cool.

[00:32:13] And like you say, having, uh, some of the virtues within the business. I can remember, Michael, one of the answers, um, which sticks with me from our, our previous chat was, who would you take to dinner? And your first answer was, your wife, you know, that was a, that was a really good, um, I actually went in and told my other half and she was like, was, would that be your answer?

[00:32:29] I was like, yes. . It would now course, Yeah. But in general, um, it's really awesome to to see how well you guys work together. And with so much going on, obviously in the business, big team, scaling quick, how do you stay up to date with all the latest trends and ahead of the competition? Is there any kind of things that you listen to?

[00:32:50] Any blogs or, or, or podcasts or is it just something which, um, is there any habits that you do, which keeps you up to. I think

[00:32:58] Elliott: it's, you know, a mixture [00:33:00] of everything you just mentioned, but also networking, um, in, in the industry. Um, you know, word gets out pretty fast, you know, in this industry especially, especially, Michael's obviously done a great job of that with everything he's done with.

[00:33:13] um, you know, Hostfully and Gasti and then, you know, those relationships that that creates into other relationships. And then same, uh, you have a couple business partners, um, with some properties and, you know, just, and they have other business partners and other properties. And so just networking and, you know, listening to what's going on in the industry, um, has been huge for, at least for me.

[00:33:33] Um, but yeah, it's probably the, the biggest one. Love it.

[00:33:38] Michael: Yeah, I mean the biggest thing for me has been network. Um, you networks your net worth. I think we talked about this with someone on a, on a podcast the other day. But, um, I think that's helped me learn and grow immensely. Um, and it's just, I've been fortunate with.

[00:33:54] You know, the content creation and all my content is centered around short term rentals for the most part. So being [00:34:00] able to establish, you know, brand deals is great. So I can make money and help market the products I'm already using and loving every day. But I've fostered some amazing relationships with leaders at those companies on the marketing front and owners of certain companies, and, um, just picking their brain about what they're seeing in the industry.

[00:34:15] Like, how can I help? How can you help, type of thing. And what I've noticed is a lot of people are just really just good people and genuine. Um, and most of the people in this industry who have done quite well and maybe run a successful software or or other investors are pretty open to sharing, um, information and, and letting you tap into their network as well.

[00:34:37] Um, so it's kind of that abundance mindset, just understanding there's enough business and, and, uh, success that everyone can, can partake, um, and that we can all grow faster, uh, together. Um, so I think that's been the most, uh, they're the biggest thing that has helped, uh, me personally and I think us together.

[00:34:55] I love

[00:34:55] Liam: that. I love the, the network is your net worth a hundred percent. And, um, yeah, I feel [00:35:00] I've learnt so much, uh, from you both this, uh, this, this, this evening over here, but, um, I know it's midday where you are or, or mid-afternoon I think. Um, but yeah, let's just finish with a couple of more lighthearted, fun questions.

[00:35:12] Just before we, uh, I wanna be respectful of your time and, um, before we go, so what would you say is your top holiday destination? Where do you like to travel to? And if we start with. I

[00:35:24] Elliott: would say one of our properties in Asheville, North Carolina, simply because when we bought our first one, our son was, um, you know, had just turned one.

[00:35:35] So, you know, we have a, a lot of memories up there and so it's nice to take the family up there and see how things changed. But I would say that,

[00:35:41] Liam: Nice. Yeah. And for yourself, Michael? Uh,

[00:35:44] Michael: for me, it's just a place I've gone to since I was a kid and my mom's gone to since she was a kid. Uh, it's Lake Wind Pasi up in New Hampshire, and it's a, a great vacation rental market, actually.

[00:35:53] Uh, but it's a place I, I would love to build a house someday, um, to take my kids and kind of pass along, [00:36:00] uh, that same tradition.

[00:36:02] Liam: Nice. Nice. Um, if you could, this is more of a, a random question, but if you could travel back to any time period, including travel forward to the future, which time period would you travel to and why?

[00:36:13] And we'll start with Michael on that question. Sorry to put you on the spot. .

[00:36:18] Michael: Oh man. Any time period.

[00:36:20] Liam: Any time period. Yeah. Any, any moment in history and anywhere in the world, .

[00:36:26] Michael: That's a good question. This might sound weird, but like the roaring twenties in New York City, maybe. Nice. I just, I love, and this is a weird way to answer already this, but I, I love seeing old video or photos of how people dressed up every day.

[00:36:46] Um, and I wear like sweatshirts and shorts every day. Like I'm a kind of a bum when it comes to that. But people would wear a full on suit with like a. Even to like sporting events. The whole crowd was, was in a suit and tie. It just looked so [00:37:00] cool to me. Um, but yeah, I don't know. That's, that's one of the time periods.

[00:37:04] I think it would be cool to go back and experience for a little bit, and also before all this tech existed, I think it'd be nice just to see what the interactions with people were like before. First looking at your phone.

[00:37:13] Liam: I like it. I can picture it as you're saying. You know, there's the, the well dressed, you know, sort of

[00:37:18] Michael: Yeah.

[00:37:18] Like the Peaky Blinders kind of look, you know?

[00:37:20] Liam: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, brilliant show. Brilliant show. Um, same to you, Elliot. What, what time period or, or any, any time period and anywhere in the world. Yeah. I

[00:37:27] Elliott: think, you know, We've had a lot of good success with short-term rentals, so I'd go back to like 2011, 2012, and kinda the beginning, short-term rentals and by as many as I possibly could from n then to now and I, at the auto audibles meetings, I could, in 2011, I'd probably could retire, uh, and never worry about money again.

[00:37:46] Right now

[00:37:47] Liam: if, if only in, in hindsight, if only we knew at the time . Yeah. Amazing. So we always like to end with this, this question. And uh, Michael, since we asked you the the motto [00:38:00] last time and um, I can remember you saying it was, why Not us? Which was an amazing motto, you know, why not up the us? Uh, what we're gonna ask you slightly different is who inspires you and why?

[00:38:14] Michael: Man. Oh man, that's a good question. I mean, I feel like a lot of people inspire me.

[00:38:23] You know, I, I guess like an easy way out, but usually I think of my parents, you know, I mean, they have a strong relationship with each other. Um, family focused, um, have always worked hard and kind of preach things like do the right thing, um, and, and treat people well, you know? So I think just taking some things that I didn't even know I was learning when I was younger and just implementing in my own life has helped me, uh, tremendously in both relationship friendships.

[00:38:51] Um, and business too. Um, so yeah, I really

[00:38:55] Liam: like that. Yeah, that's, that's, that's, that's a good answer at the end of the day, so that's cool. And for [00:39:00] yourself, um, Elliot, if we go with the question which we always ask, which is, is there a motto or a mantra which resonates with you or inspires you? Yeah,

[00:39:09] Elliott: I'm a really big Michael Jordan fan, and I just feel like over the course of his career, and, you know, even now he has so many, like, don't be afraid of failure quotes.

[00:39:20] You know, I think I'm gonna butch these, butcher these, but I think you said, you know, the key to success is failure. Um, then he said, I've missed more than, you know, I think it was like 9,000 shots in my career. And, you know, then you hear all the, the baseball stats of all the big important baseball players that have failed and struck out, you know, more than any time in, in the, more than anyone.

[00:39:41] And I think that's just important. Like, don't be afraid to fail and, uh, take action. And, uh, you know, you might fail and that's okay. Cause you'll stand back up. It's like a rocky, it's not how hard you hit. It's hard. You can get ahead and keep moving forward. And I think so, I think Big Rocky fan too, by the way.

[00:39:56] And who's, I've got that quote

[00:39:57] Liam: behind this camera. Yeah, yeah.

[00:39:59] Elliott: Who's, you know, who's [00:40:00] not, who's not a Rocky fan. Um, but you know, it's important because this world's gonna knock you down and it's gonna keep knocking you down and it's gonna keep knocking you down, you know? Yeah. Me and Michael can say, we've had all these great things, but we've been knocked down before.

[00:40:11] Cool. Um, and so, I mean those stories, we could, we could, we could tell Airbnb stories and V R B O stories all day long about being knocked down. Um, we actually were outside my backyard talking about stories like that. And so, um, but we got back up, dusted ourselves off and then, uh, you know, and that's how we'll handle everything moving forward.

[00:40:32] So,

[00:40:32] Michael: yeah, one of those quotes I think that I liked the most from MJ was, you miss a hundred percent of the shots you don't take. Yeah. Oh yes. Yeah. And that's what most people. Like you never want to be the guy at the dinner table in your friend group for 50 years knowing everything about something, but have never tried it or take action.

[00:40:49] Yeah.

[00:40:50] Liam: Hundred percent. I love, uh, hey, I could, I could keep this going for, for a while. I've really enjoyed doing this and we should, that's a great theme, uh, Elliot, about the, you know, we could talk about [00:41:00] Airbnb horror stories at some stage, do an entire show about that. Cause that could be cool. But

[00:41:03] Elliott: Mi Michael has the craziest stories I have.

[00:41:06] I don't have that too many craziest stories. Like I have like, okay, crazy. Like Michael has some insane stories. So yeah. Maybe.

[00:41:13] Liam: We are definitely having you both back on for that then . Hundred, hundred percent if you're up for it. So, um, yeah, that brings us to the end. Uh, thank you so much. Uh, before we go, I've gotta ask how can we get in touch with you?

[00:41:25] How can we follow you? Um, what's the best way to do so?

[00:41:28] Elliott: Yeah, we have a, our director of marketing does a great job on Instagram and all our social platforms. Uh, but Instagram is where, uh, where the most, um, you know, dms on Instagram. And, um, most of the time it's me replying to more of our owners or investor, uh, dms.

[00:41:44] Uh, you know, then we have a guest team that responds to guests sometimes on there. But yeah, Instagram at home team, vacation, rental.

[00:41:51] Liam: At home team vacation rentals. Got it. Yeah. Awesome. We'll add it to the show notes as well. Um, so yeah, that brings us to the end. Is there any final thoughts or anything to [00:42:00] add before we close out the, uh, the recording?

[00:42:03] Michael: I don't think so. Thanks for having us on, Liam. Thanks man.

[00:42:06] Liam: Thank you. Yeah, thank you both. I've really enjoyed it. I've learnt a lot as well. So thank you so much for coming on, and thank you to, if you're watching this either on the live or listening in on the podcast or on the YouTube, uh, channel, then it's just, I know there's so many places you can put your attention and I really thank you for putting it with Bruce Lee.

[00:42:21] Hopefully you've learnt a lot from, uh, from Elliot and from Michael. I certainly have, and we look forward to seeing you on the next podcast. Thanks very much and uh, bye-bye. Having a blast. Gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast. Bruce Lee led Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard on the tee Is loose leaf

[00:42:37] picking

[00:42:37] Michael: up those

[00:42:37] Liam: rhymes?

[00:42:38] Don't write it, just do it loosely.

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