Tips For Growing Your Co-Hosting Portfolio Including SEO

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Tristian Petrica from Sojourn Properties discusses co-hosting, success tips, and SEO in the podcast. Co-hosting, led by pros, aids capital-limited property owners. Scaling from 3 to 34 units, Tristian later streamlined to 15 due to cost and time challenges.

He emphasizes cost-effective outsourcing for tasks like cleaning and maintenance, citing Oscar, a service provided by, as an example. Learning from mentors like Michael Sjogren, he now spends 2-4 hours weekly thanks to efficient systems.

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[00:00:00] Liam: Hello, and welcome to the Boostly podcast. This podcast gives hosts the tools, the tactics, the training, and most importantly, the confidence on how you can go out there and get more direct bookings. Today, we are going behind another successful host, and we're going to be talking about how to do co-hosting, tips for success, and also how to use search engine optimization to grow your co-hosting business.

[00:00:23] Um, my name is Liam Carolan. I'm Mark Simpson's co-host. And, um, today we are joined by Tristian Petrica from Sojourn Properties. In a moment, I'm going to open up the mic and he's going to give an introduction to his business. So let's get started. Welcome along, Tristian. Thank you, Liam. A pleasure to be here.

[00:00:40] So, um, why don't you introduce your business, um, and anything that people may not know about your business? So where you are in the world, um, and anything you want to include.

A bit about Sojourn Properties

[00:00:51] Tristan: Sure. Yeah, so I live in Arizona. I'm in Scottsdale, Arizona. I've lived here for a handful of years now. I live with my wife and my couple of kids.

[00:01:01] So, uh, yeah, Sojourn Properties is a co-hosting company that I started, uh, right at the beginning of about 2020, which is a fantastic time to start in the heart of COVID. Um, but it was, uh, it brought a lot of challenges, but it was a really good time to kind of get going. And the market here was growing. So it was prime time because 2021 was the best year in market history.

[00:01:27] So, um, yeah, so we do primarily co-hosting and we operate throughout most of Arizona. We're expanding. Up into the north. So Flagstaff, Sedona, that's those are key areas that we're looking to get into, but we operate pretty much within an hour to two hours kind of around the central hub here in Phoenix.

[00:01:49] Nice.

[00:01:49] Liam: Nice. And how many units do you look after at the moment? How many doors?

[00:01:53] Tristan: So we got up. So, uh, let's see last year at the beginning of last year, we had three in February and by August we had 34. And then, yeah, um, I realized that not every property is the same and not all owners are the same. And so, we trimmed back the properties that we were working with.

[00:02:15] So now we have, I believe, 15. So we cut it pretty big numbers, but, um, ironically, our revenue didn't change very much because we were working with properties that didn't fit the bill for what our company stood for. So

What is Co-hosting?

[00:02:28] Liam: first of all, what is co-hosting? Cause there will be people out there who are just, you know, looking after their units.

[00:02:34] Uh, so if you could give a brief introduction to what exactly co-hosting is and what is the attraction for you as a company to, do co-hosting?

[00:02:43] Tristan: Absolutely. Yeah. So co-hosting for me was the only option to get started in this business. I didn't have, I had a nine-to-five job and I just didn't have the capital to drop, especially in Scottsdale where a shanty is 350, 000.

[00:02:59] Um, so, you know, anything you want to get into, as far as a property that's going to be decent and competitive, seven, 800, 900, Um, so it just owning was not the immediate option for me at the time. And that's what I learned about co-hosting. So co-hosting is where property owners or investors purchase a second home or, or any real property, and they want to run it as a short-term rental, but they don't want anything to do with it.

[00:03:31] They just want to hand it off. They want to collect money. They want the tax benefits. Uh, and so they want someone else to run it. So that's where we step in. Say, look, we will handle everything. We'll handle the handle, the cleaners, the guests, uh, any maintenance issues. We'll make sure it's in great repair at all times.

[00:03:48] And most importantly, we are professionals in this space and we are skilled operators. We will make you more money. And so the idea is. We take 25% of the revenue and people say, well, why would they give up 25% will be an amateur operator versus a professional operator? The professional operator is going to make at least 25% more money.

[00:04:12] Because they have the systems and the pricing and the tools in place to optimize revenue, especially direct bookings. And so, um, that's where the benefit comes in as they are going to make just as much money, but not have to do any of the work.

[00:04:27] Liam: Are you still in the full-time job at all, or is now your full-time, uh, sort of vocation, the property business?

[00:04:35] Tristan: Well, actually it's kind of, it's, it's a that's a tough question because so the W2 that I was working, I, uh, back in 2016, I started a digital marketing agency with a few of my buddies from that original, uh, agency that I got hired at. And so we've been, so that again, is that's a turnkey, uh, website development company and digital marketing agency that does.

[00:04:59] Websites generally for dentists and optometrists. That's kind of the two verticals that we serve. Um, and so I was cce, c o o of that company, still am. Uh, so I do a lot of day-to-day in that because it requires a little more effort. When I first got, the short-term rental business going in the co-host business, it was a lot of work 'cause I didn't know anything.

[00:05:22] So I was doing everything. At this time, because of my mentor, Michael Sjogren, and everything he's taught me and the people that I've put myself in the room with, I now probably, mean, to answer questions throughout the day of my virtual assistants. Um, but I probably spend two to four hours a week on it.

[00:05:42] So it's like running. Now, if I want to go get new business, I'm going to have to put in a few more hours to get properties up and whatnot. But I've got my systems, my technology. Which I'm sure we'll talk about and stuff like that, but I've got those things dialled into where the properties run, the cleaners run, the guests are happy, and my team's good to go.

[00:06:03] So, um, I say I spend a little more, a lot more time now back in my. Then the co-host,

[00:06:11] Liam: one of the things I want to come on to is some of the challenges that you've had, you mentioned while doing co-hosting, which is a great model that you've expanded fast. There was that period where you went from like five to like 33 units quickly, and then you've gradually sort of gone back down to 15.

Talk through the challenges

[00:06:29] Can you talk us through the challenges, the, um, the reasons why that has happened? Um, And then we'll move on to how you did the scaling in the first place because people are going to be interested in knowing how you quickly scaled up.

[00:06:43] Tristan: Yeah. So I mean, honestly, the biggest challenge was balancing, um, the challenge of startup costs versus my time.

[00:06:53] So do I pay someone to do it or do I do it because I'm broke and I can't afford to hire someone to do it? I mean, and that's the challenge that I see in, you know, 'cause I'm in Mike Sjogren's mastermind and all the new people that come in. That's the biggest question. Well, how do I I can't throw money at it because I don't have any money to throw at it.

[00:07:12] So what else can I do? So that was the biggest challenge. What I did was what you have to do. You have to suck it up. You got to work long hours to get going and then find people and services to help you out. Um, just recently I found a young man. Oscar, who's been fantastic. He was by trade a landscaper, but he approached me and said, Hey, Tristan, I can do pools.

[00:07:40] I can clean, I can do handiwork, whatever you need. You know, I'm here young, ambitious. He's been a rockstar for us because he's cheap. Now I don't underpay him, but my regular handyman is 75 an hour and Oscar will go run and fill a propane tank for, you know, 15, 20 and I'll pay him for gas and all that stuff, but much more affordable than paying 75 every time you have something come up.

[00:08:06] I mean, that adds up very quickly. So I didn't find an Oscar until recently. So before I had to think of other ways, my cleaners, I utilize them, you know, they were okay, we'll do that. That'll be 10, 10 extra. I'm like, cool, do it, you know? So finding ways like that, um, but then there are other things. So I was dealing with furnishing.

[00:08:29] You know, I was building out these rentals for owners. They'd hand over an empty house and say, fill it. And I worked with interior designers and we would do the designs and then we would accept the shipments. And the very first house I'll never do it again. It was, I just had everything shipped to the house and it would arrive in the driveway and I'd move it into the garage.

[00:08:48] And then I was going to hire handymen to help me assemble it. Well, it was 20 minutes away. So I'd get notification boxes were delivered. I'd go down there. I'd get the boxes. I'd move them into the garage. I'd close everything up. I'd get back in my car. I drive home. I'd crack a beer. I'd sit on the couch.

[00:09:04] My phone goes off another delivery, get back in the car, go back down there. And it was just, that happened to me. Some days it happened three or four times. And I was like, I'm never doing this again. So I learned of consolidated shipping. One of the biggest things I learned of is shipping warehouses.

[00:09:23] Then you can Google these and they are warehouses that will receive your goods. They will unpackage it, build it, inspect it for damage, and then store it. And then when you're all, your stuff has arrived. They have movers who will load it onto a truck and bring it to your house and install it for you.

[00:09:41] It's a little bit more, you would think it's a little more expensive on that first bill, I spent about six grand on all the shipping stuff, plus the handyman I had to hire plus my time. And when we did it consolidated at the next house, it was about three grand and I didn't have to do anything. So putting yourself in the mix doesn't always make things go better.

[00:10:05] Liam: I love it. I love it. Well, thank you so much for sharing. First of all, your story with us, but also all the tips, all the knowledge, all the gems that we've got from today's podcast. Thank you too, if you're listening to this on the boosted podcast, we know there are a lot of places you can put your attention and we thank you for spending it with us here at Boostly.

[00:10:22] So that is it from us today. Thank you very much again, Tristan. And, uh, Bye for now. Having a blast. Gonna get it on the Boostly

[00:10:31] Tristan: podcast. Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee 'cause it's so hard on the tea loose leaf. I was looking up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.