Your guide to furnishing a short term rental for maximum exposure

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 591.

In this Boostly podcast episode, the host Liam interviews Jeff Iloulian and Jen Sexton from HostGPO, a group purchasing organization that offers discounts on furniture, linens, mattresses, amenities, and other supplies for vacation rental companies. Jeff is the CEO and co-founder of HostGPO, while Jen co-manages the design program. The podcast focuses on how hosts can furnish their short-term rental properties for success.

The hosts discuss the importance of HostGPO, which covers the US and Canada and provides substantial discounts ranging from 30% to 70% off. They partner with various brands such as West Elm, Creighton Barrels, Articles, Brook Linens, Public Goods, Rugs USA, Standard Textile Linen, and ACE Hardware to offer members a range of furniture, linens, and amenities for their properties.

Jeff and Jen explain that hosts should consider the interiors of their properties to create an overall experience for their guests. This includes investing in comfortable mattresses, soft linens, and stylish furniture. They also discuss how to choose the right suppliers for your property and how to design a property that caters to your target audience.

Overall, the podcast offers helpful insights for hosts looking to improve their properties and attract more guests through furnishing their short-term rental properties.

Here's the video for this episode:

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Intro
01:05 – Jeff Intro
01:29 – Jen Intro
01:44 – A little bit more about HostGPO
05:29 – Interior design becoming the new norm
06:24 – Why focus on interiors
08:48 – 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: Welcome to the Boostly Podcast. If you're joining on either the podcast or we've gone live on Facebook as well, which is cool. This is a podcast that gives hosts the tools, the tactics, the trainings, but most importantly, the confidence to go out there and get more direct bookings. Uh, today we are shining the spotlight on another awesome service that you need to know about as a host.

[00:00:19] And, uh, I'm not gonna go too long on the intro because I've got two people here who I'm really excited to introduce. Uh, welcome along Jeff Iloulian and Jen Sexton, and they're both from HostGPO. This is an awesome service that can help you furnish your short-term rental, and that's what we're talking about today.

[00:00:37] We're talking about how do you as a host furnish your short term rental for success. So, um, let's dive in. So welcome along to, uh, to your itself. Jeff and to yourself. Jen. Hello.

[00:00:47] Jeff: Thank you so much for having us, for having us.

[00:00:49] Liam: Thank you for, thank you for, for being here. So let's start off, um, before diving into the service, if you wouldn't mind, uh, giving yourself a little introduction, your role within the company and, uh, anything else you'd like to share.

[00:01:00] And if we start with, uh, if we start with yourself, Jeff, and then move on to Jen, is that okay?

Jeff Intro

[00:01:05] Jeff: Sure. Yeah. Um, my name's Jeff Lillian. I'm the c e o and Co-founder of Host G p o. Uh, so we're a buying group for vacation rental companies. We get discounts on furniture, linens, mattresses, amenities, and help you, um, set up and furnish and restock, uh, your listings.

[00:01:20] I've been in the vacation rental industry about nine years, and I've set up over 250 vacation rental homes. Amazing. Thank

[00:01:27] Liam: you. And, uh, Jen, for yourself.

Jen Intro

[00:01:29] Jen: Yes.

[00:01:30] Hello. I'm Jen Sexton. I co-manage the design program here at Host G P O. Um, I am also a host myself, and I am incredibly passionate about design and creating overall experiences

[00:01:42] for our guests.

A little bit more about HostGPO

[00:01:44] Liam: Amazing. We couldn't have two better people to, uh, talk about how we can furnish a holiday home for success or a short-term rental for success. So, um, let's just start off by talking a little bit more about host g p o. Is, is this important for people to really understand the service? Um, first of all, um, where does it cover and what problem does it solve?

[00:02:04] Um, and if we go to you first, Jen. Yeah.

[00:02:06] Jen: So. Basically, like Jeff said, um, we're a group purchasing organization for the vacation rental industry. So what we've done is we've kind of taken this collective buying power and we have targeted our very favorite vendors to set up our members for success. So, you know, like furniture, mattresses, linens, we've kind of taken all of that guessing work out of it and we've given you basically the vendors that we know and we love and we trust.

[00:02:33] Jeff: That's cool. And

[00:02:34] Liam: anything to add, Jeff? Or is um,

[00:02:37] Jeff: Jen nailed it, but, uh, I'll only add that we're in the US and Canada right now. Um, and, uh, that, yeah, that's, that's pretty much it. Um, our discounts tend to range from 30 ish to 70 ish percent off. Um, so they're really substantial. Uh, they're the industry's best discounts.

[00:02:53] And, uh, we partner not just with name brands. Um, so you know, your West Elms, Creighton Barrels, articles, Brook Linens, uh, public Goods, rugs, usa Right. Those kind of more household names, but also with. Uh, brands that would otherwise be only available to hospitality. So something like a standard textile linen where it's, uh, you know, the, the number one hospitality linen company that sells to giant hotels.

[00:03:18] We make those also available to, um, to, to, to our members. Uh, things like ACE Hardware. Um, which is a discount both online and in-store. So it's really the things that you need, um, both to get set up, but also on an ongoing basis from the brands that make the most sense. Um, for each of those categories, why should

[00:03:35] Liam: the host be even thinking about their interiors?

[00:03:38] I mean, I guess there might be hosts out there who have got long-term rentals who are thinking, do you know what, I might be able to do this as short term rental. What should I be considering? Why, why should they even consider interiors in general, and if we stick with you, Jeff, on that? Yeah,

[00:03:52] Jeff: absolutely. So, um, the way I always say is, is the first and foremost vacation rental hosts are, uh, are photographers, right?

[00:04:01] And, and you're listing. The picture that's on, you know, any listing platform or on your direct booking website, right? That is what people are gonna look at when they decide whether to click your listing or somebody else's. So you really need to make sure that right outta the gate you have something eye-catching.

[00:04:16] Um, something that is gonna drive traffic to your listing, something that's gonna make you stand out against your competitors. You know, I recently saw a statistic that said that. Only 5% of vacation rentals, I believe it was in the us. Um, but only 5% of vacation rentals are actually optimized, meaning that they have everything set up, um, you know, including pricing, uh, you know, using the right p m s software, having automated messaging, but also being designed, focused and designed forward and being like, set up for, for that kind of success.

[00:04:44] So, so really optimizing your listing, making sure you're driving traffic there. And the second component of it is, You want to make sure that the designs that you're choosing and the furniture that you're choosing and the linens that you're choosing are actually the right types that are gonna last, that you're not gonna have to replace.

[00:05:00] Um, and that are actually manufactured and graded for this kind of vacation rental use. Um, the pullout couch that you have in your house for when your buddies come over, or you know, you have some, uh, relative in town. That thing gets open once or twice a year, but really focusing on design means. You know, focusing both on how it looks, but also on getting the right kinds of products that can withstand, uh, the opening and closing of a three to four turnarounds week.

[00:05:24] Um, depending on how you're running your vacation rental, you know, that type of actual wear, uh, and use. Yes. Do you

Interior design becoming the new norm

[00:05:29] Liam: think, uh, Interior design is becoming, you know, expected, becoming the norm within the industry.

[00:05:35] Jeff: Um,

[00:05:35] Jen: I definitely think that you need to elevate your property. I mean, what is really going to make your property stand out?

[00:05:41] Why is somebody going to choose your listing over another listing? So, yeah, I definitely think that you need to have, um, really good interior design. It doesn't need to be complicated, though. I mean, it, it can still be very simple. It can be timeless, it can be clean, but it also needs to be inspiring and inviting to

[00:05:58] Jeff: your guests.

[00:05:58] Liam: Why do you like interior design as from a personal level? Yeah,

[00:06:03] Jen: so I love it because it inspires me. Like I love the feeling when I walk into a home. And I'm just like, you know what? This is calming. This is inspiring. Like, I wanna be here, I wanna stay here. I don't wanna go outside. I wanna be surrounded by the beautiful, beautiful things that are in this home.

[00:06:19] So for me, it's all about just that inspiration in general and just getting that overall

[00:06:24] feel.

Why focus on interiors?

[00:06:24] Liam: Why does host G P O focus on interiors? What was, how did you come about solving this, this problem? Or, or when did you discover this, this was a problem that needed solving in the industry?

[00:06:36] Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. Uh, I really started host G P O, uh, in part because my vacation rental company and a lot of the other folks I was talking to were having the same problems.

[00:06:46] Um, trying to figure out when you look through an Amazon or, uh, you're trying to go to a retail store, you know, if these sheets are gonna work and how long they're gonna last for, and are you, are these even the right ones? Or, um, you know, uh, am I gonna be able to buy this again in the future? Or for me it was setting up, uh, I set up 16 units at a time once, and I ended up going to IKEA and checking out with 48 shopping carts.

[00:07:11] And I had my whole team with me. And, you know, we ended up going, you know, it was a, it was probably one of the worst days of my life. And, uh, we ended up going to the house and getting there at night and realizing we had to build the furniture and, you know, set up these units and they looked terrible and they didn't perform well.

[00:07:27] And while I very much, uh, you know, feel. Calm when I walk into a listing like, uh, Jen says, and feel affected in that way. Um, I was very focused on the bottom line and that for me was the driver. I realized that the units that I was setting up with kind of inexpensive furniture that I was replacing that didn't have that wow factor, that didn't look great.

[00:07:47] Those were the ones that were underperforming. And when I started getting into more luxury units or even just setting up basic units nicer, those units were really outperforming everything else and. The, the roi, the money I was making back was immediate on the increase in spend, on getting something slightly better than kind of the most basic thing.

[00:08:04] So I've done a lot of the mistakes I've done, you know, the Facebook marketplace, which isn't scalable because you have to go out and try to find stuff all the time. I've done the Wayfair Roulette, I've done the ikea, um, you know, 48 hour builds with little Allen wrench. I mean, I've done all of these things and I think that really resonates with a lot of people who have also gone through these experiences.

[00:08:23] And when you realize. That you can get really quality furniture at, you know, discounted pricing through, through host G P O and get it installed and really make a room that looks for the zoo that are watching. You know, that looks like the room that Jen and I are in, right? These are kind of both examples of, you know, what a more quality put together room could look like.

[00:08:38] That just really changes the bottom line. And so, um, you know, I had a lot of those experiences which really led me to. To wanting to increase ROI and, and, and knowing how to do that through design. That's really


[00:08:48] Liam: cool. Thank you guys. And I'm really the aim of this. I really wanted hosts to start to think a bit more about their, their interior and how they can furnish their short-term rental for success.

[00:08:56] And I think we've achieved that today. So thank you both for sharing so much value for spending your time here. With us on Boost Lee. And also thank you too. If you're listening in on the Facebook Live, if you're listening in on the podcast, I know there's a lot of places you can put your attention and I really thank you for putting it with Boost Lee.

[00:09:11] So was there any closing comments before we uh, close things off guys? Yeah.

[00:09:15] Jeff: One, I have to say, there's one thing I have to say. Um, don't, don't use full beds. I just, people make the mistake of putting full beds in your units. Um, they technically can only sleep one person, so you're better off putting a twin and making a nicer room or two twins or just, you know, squeezing a queen.

[00:09:31] Um, if you can, that's just my last parting tip. If I don't tell people that, and I see full beds and listings, it just drives me nuts.

[00:09:38] Liam: I love it. I love it. The value keeps coming. Thank you. So thank you so much. So, uh, that's buy from me and that's, uh, bye from Jen and from Jeff having a blast. Can I get it On the Bruce Lee podcast, Bruce Lee

[00:09:51] Jeff: led Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard on the teas loose leaf, making up those rhymes.

[00:09:56] Don't write

[00:09:56] Liam: it just to, it loosely.

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