909, 2019

ROE: The Future of Vacation Rental Marketing

By |September 9th, 2019|

As entrepreneurs in the small accommodations business, you're likely well-versed in ROI. That's Return on Investment, of course, and it's a mindset that can be applied to everything from the mortgage on your property to the towels you stock in your bathrooms. ROI đź‘Ś But what about ROE? Touch Stay would like to introduce you to a new take on the concept. One that isn't about tangible stuff, but something a little more abstract. And, we'd argue, even more powerful. That's ROE. "Return On Experience." You know the travel landscape is changing. That's in part because of the ever-buzzed-about millennials, [...]

2908, 2019

Airbnb Etiquette – How To Be A 5-Star Host To Every Guest

By |August 29th, 2019|

These days, it seems like everyone with a piece of real estate is finding a place in the vacation rental space. And Airbnb is most likely the platform that most new hosts and managers will turn to first. In doing so, they are creating increased competition, making it vital to stand out if you want to excel in the Airbnb marketplace.  You’re not going to achieve that by tossing a mattress in a bedroom and calling it a resort. Obviously you know that your guests expect more than this, but how do you tap into genuine satisfaction, leaving your guests [...]

2908, 2019

How to Write a Guest Welcome Letter that Makes Vacationers Smile

By |August 29th, 2019|

First impressions count. The way guests are received at your vacation rental from the moment they check in can set the tone for their entire stay. Whether or not you greet vacationers in person, a guest welcome letter is a simple way to provide a warm welcome and guide your guests into having a good time from the moment they walk in your front door. Done right, this letter will: Form a bond between you and your guest, and demonstrate that you’re genuinely invested in their vacation. Create a sense of excitement around the guest experience and make your property [...]

2308, 2019

Welcome Basket Ideas For Any Vacation Rental Or Airbnb Host

By |August 23rd, 2019|

You’ve got a beautiful home, and you’re ready to welcome guests. But what does the word "welcome" really mean? If you want to shine as a host, take a moment to really ponder that word - welcome. What does it take to be a welcoming host? Working appliances? Yup. Comfortable furnishings? Yup. Safe and secure? Yup. Think harder! These are the 101 elements; the baseline minimum standards, particularly for a modern guest that can find these standards at most chain hotels. To be welcoming, at least to us at Touch Stay, is what it takes to turn a product into [...]

1308, 2019

The Airbnb Guidebook | 4 Alternative Solutions

By |August 13th, 2019|

All great vacation rental guidebooks begin with this simple premise: guests want to have an exceptional stay, full of memorable local experiences that can’t be found anywhere else. Chip Conley, former Head of Hospitality at Airbnb, recognized that Airbnb hosts are perfectly positioned to untap these unique experiences. As he told BusinessWire in 2016: “When an Airbnb traveler heads to Hammerbrook in Hamburg or Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, with the help of hosts, they are able to see these places through eyes of a local, and embrace the culture in a completely new way.” The Airbnb Guidebook: What Is [...]

2307, 2019

How Using A Digital Welcome Book Can Cut Down On Airbnb Complaints

By |July 23rd, 2019|

Nobody likes Airbnb complaints. There are a whole myriad of ways to combat the risk of complaints arising, but we'll focus here on how to use a vacation rental welcome book to head them off. Any vacation rental welcome book should strive to be friendly, informative, and convenient. Nail that, and the welcome book will demonstrate a brilliant combination of your efficiency as a host, knowledge as a local, and insight as a mind-reader.  Wait, mind-reader? Well not quite, but you are in a great position to consider the needs and desires of your guests well before their arrival, and [...]

1707, 2019

6 Tactics to Get Guests to Read Your Welcome Book

By |July 17th, 2019|

Because we’re in the welcome book business here at Touch Stay, we spend a lot of time thinking about guests’ attention spans. How do we ensure hosts don't pour time, attention and heart into welcome books that guests don’t read? It's a fair question. Research shows that, in this digital age, our capacity to pay attention is shrinking. And in the accommodations industry, specifically, we hear about broken property rules and negative reviews that could have been avoided if the guests had simply read the materials provided to them. Hope is not lost, though! Plenty of guests do read your [...]

1405, 2019

Touch Stay Completes First Ever Funding Round

By |May 14th, 2019|

Andy here, co-founder of Touch Stay. To say that April was a pivotal moment for us here at Touch Stay would be no exaggeration. Not only did we complete our first ever external funding round, but we also hired two rockstars of the vacation rental world, and hit 4,000 active properties. For a small business like ours this is momentous stuff 🙏   And so I wanted to take a moment to tell you why we raised this round, our plans for the future, and what it means for customers present and future. But first, a brief reminder of why [...]

2102, 2019

Airbnb House Manual Template Anyone?

By |February 21st, 2019|

If you've thought about creating an Airbnb house manual for your guests, the chances are you've been looking around for a neat template. Something easy to use, no drama, no weird formatting, no losing your mind! Does one exist? 🚀 Of course it does! 🚀 We've created a free Airbnb House Manual Template with some simple styling, and all the headings your guests might want. Simply add your own photos and text in the relevant places! It's pretty simple in layout which has the advantage of making it easy to adapt for your place. If you don't like clicking links in posts, here's [...]

1902, 2019

Airbnb Safety: 10 Ways for Hosts to Keep Themselves, Their Homes and Their Guests Safe

By |February 19th, 2019|

Intro from Andy, Co-founder of Touch Stay It's rare that we accept guest blogs. Not because we're control freaks, but because we have a certain style of writing that's our own. Our friends over at Guest Hook call this our "brand voice". It's our personality in words. Yet, when I read the first draft of the below piece from Evian Gutman, Founder & CEO of Padlifter, I immediately warmed to the style of writing. Safety is also a subject that's so often overlooked in the battle for more bookings and better guest experiences. Yet, for me, it's a foundation level, a [...]

1401, 2019

Airbnb Hosting Hacks to Keep You Sane

By |January 14th, 2019|

Your Airbnb hosting journey started innocently enough…you decided to make a little extra income on the side by renting out your extra space. Maybe you have a finished basement apartment or maybe you couldn’t find a tenant for that little house you bought when you first got married. Either way, you dipped your toe into the apparent gold rush of short term renting. The exhilaration of hearing the Airbnb app chime became the favourite part of your day. Butterflies fluttered as you nervously waited for your first guest to arrive…and the second…and the third…okay, those butterflies may never go away! [...]

1911, 2018

5 Guest Happiness Goals to Deliver Better Guest Experiences

By |November 19th, 2018|

It’s a no-brainer in the accommodations industry: you want your guests to be happy. After all, happy guests mean glowing reviews, word-of-mouth referrals and repeat guests. Plus, you get the personal satisfaction that comes from mastering the ancient art of hospitality. With time, though, it’s common for your “guest happiness “goals to fall by the wayside in favour of the daily nuts-and-bolts of running a short-term rental or small hotel. Sometimes it’s easier to just cross your fingers and hope for easygoing guests. If you’ve forgotten your raison d’être—guest happiness, of course—now is the time to refocus and reposition your [...]

1505, 2018

Curious Times in Barcelona: Why I Picked a Hotel Over Airbnb

By |May 15th, 2018|

What a city and what a trip. Last month I was in BCN and had the pleasure of catching up with some of the best minds in our industry: Andrew McConnell of Rented, Matt Landau (and his most excellent Sense of Place crew!), Antonio Bortolotti of VRWS, James Burrows of Rentals United, and the content powerhouse that is Jess Ashworth and Carla Chicharro of Lodgify. I also broke one of my own rules and stayed in a hotel. The Guest Experience Series. I'll be staying at a number of places around the world this year, documenting my experience as a guest [...]

1209, 2017

How to Attract Business Travelers and Keep Them Happy

By |September 12th, 2017|

Last year alone, business travelers accounted for 38,000 trips every single day. On top of that, nearly three-quarters of travelers say they think of their business trips as “an adventure.” That is key! No longer are business travelers looking for a place to just lay their heads at the end of the day. They’re looking for a chance to get to know a new destination and enjoy their non-work time to the fullest. This attitude opens a door for vacation rentals—known for their uniqueness and authenticity, of course—to become a favorite among business travelers. That doesn’t even take into account corporate [...]

3008, 2017

5 Tips for Mastering the Art of Guest Satisfaction

By |August 30th, 2017|

Is any goal more important to vacation rental owners and managers than guest satisfaction? After all, it’s what establishes credibility, drives bookings, and ultimately makes the job worthwhile. With vacation rentals attracting more guests than ever before, with all their quirks and unique demands, figuring out a way to please everyone can be difficult. But some wants are the same for all guests. Simple things, like creature comforts, clear information, and proof that their host cares about their good time. Every host’s journey to guest satisfaction is different. But by following these five tips, you’re practically guaranteed to make your [...]

1107, 2017

Showing Guests You Care with Property-Specific Welcome Books

By |July 11th, 2017|

From city apartments to beachfront homes, no vacation rental is the same—so why should their guest welcome books be? Creating a cabin guest book is not the same as penning a beach house guest book. Approaching your guest welcome book with a one-size-fits-all attitude will leave your guests feeling misunderstood. What’s the difference? Isn’t it the simple goal of every welcome book to make guests smile? It’s true: the aim of every vacation rental welcome book should be to make your guests’ stay as simple and enjoyable as possible. But in order to achieve that goal, you need to understand [...]

2104, 2017

Selecting The Right Guest Welcome Book: Hostfully, TouchStay, Coral, and more!

By |April 21st, 2017|

Back in 2013 I asked my good friend Matt Landau what he thought about the idea of creating a guest welcome app. His reply? "I definitely think an online welcome pack/app would kick butt!" So Joe and I got to work in 2013 on developing what is now TouchStay. It was around this time that another industry guru, Heather Bayer, emailed me asking if I'd seen Glad to Have You. They'd already taken their product to market and, in early 2014, HomeAway quickly snapped them up for a cool US$16m. Fast forward 3 years, on the back of the VR [...]

2109, 2016

5 Ways to Get Business Travellers Into Your Vacation Rental

By |September 21st, 2016|

Vacation rentals offer so much more than hotel rooms. More space, a comfortable setting, convenient laundry and fluffy beds make rentals feel more like home than their one-room counterparts. However, business travellers have still historically chosen the reliability and safety of chain hotels for their conferences and work related trips. That is, until now. According to the Economist, people travelling for work make up 10% of Airbnb guests and that number is growing rapidly. Who wouldn’t prefer a cozy home setting to a cramped, dull hotel room? So how can you appeal to this growing population? The takeaway is that [...]

1507, 2016

Do 90% of Your Guests Read Your Welcome Book?

By |July 15th, 2016|

90% isn't a number we've plucked out of thin air! This is the % of guests who read the Touch Stay welcome book they've been sent. It's factual data based on our own analytics. Of the last 1,000 welcome books sent using the Touch Stay software, 896 of them were read by the guest. Not only are they reading them, but they are reading them multiple times, and for an average of 4 minutes each time. Hopefully the days of "my guests don’t read my welcome book" are gone! So Why Are They Being Read? Because Guests Want Them in Digital Form [...]

2906, 2016

The Secret to 5-Star Airbnb Reviews

By |June 29th, 2016|

Guests who use Airbnb rely on reviews. When 20 properties are similarly priced, with the same must-have amenities, the right number of bedrooms, and in the correct location, how do guests decide? Simple: they check the number and quality of reviews. As a peer-to-peer site, Airbnb relies on guests and hosts leaving reviews about their experiences in order to foster trust. A series of poor reviews will mean that a property is unlikely to be booked again, whereas a series of glowing, five-star reviews, will put a property in high demand. This encourages a system where hosts strive to maintain [...]

2806, 2016

7 Creative Ways to Wow Your Guests This Summer!

By |June 28th, 2016|

Summer is here and people from all over the globe will be packing their suitcases and heading away on vacation. Now is the time to ensure your vacation rental is guest ready! Your summer guests will already be planning their stay, buying new swimwear, fake tanning and booking a hair cut. So shouldn't you be primping and preening your property so it is ready for them? As the summer season is so important for gaining those five star reviews, you want to present your property at its very best when there will be heavy footfall. We've come up with 7 creative [...]

2104, 2016

Great Airbnb Hosts Build Trust: Meet Airbnb Superhost Stan Roach

By |April 21st, 2016|

Stan Roach is as close to my idea of the perfect Airbnb Superhost as you can come. Not just his hundreds of 5-star reviews on Airbnb. Not just his total guest focus. Not just his love of his local area. Not even just his appreciation of The Beatles! It's the all-round package that this represents. For us guests someone like Stan instantly fosters a feeling of trust. And it's trust that ultimately results in guests clicking on the booking button. I connected with Stan after some Twitter exchanges as he seemed just the type of person I wanted to hear more from. How did [...]

2004, 2016

The Airbnb House Manual: Exciting and Readable or Dull and Dreary?

By |April 20th, 2016|

My guests don't read! Yup, that's a pretty common statement. So how do you make your AirBnb House Manual exciting and readable instead of dull and dreary? First Step: Put on Your Guests' Shoes. You've stayed in an Airbnb I'm sure. So what would make you read your own manual? What would it take to hook you in? Take that mental leap and commit to thinking about your manual from your guest's perspective and not yours. Every new page of your manual should be written and designed from that stance. Why Should I Create an AirBnb House Manual? Tip: Skip [...]

1304, 2016

How to Create the Perfect Guest Welcome Book

By |April 13th, 2016|

The guest welcome book. It's a tedious job. Who wants to sit for hours writing down everything your guest may need to know? Yawn. Surely a better ROI on 3 hours can be achieved by optimizing your pricing, fine-tuning your property descriptions, updating your photos, sending out a newsletter to past guests, etc, etc? As a short-term financial ROI, yes, spend 3 hours on the front-end of your business. Fine tune how you present yourself to a potential guest. It may very well bring a new booking. But we all know this is a service industry. Short term financial ROI pales [...]

1603, 2016

4 Reasons Your Guests Want a Professional Welcome Book

By |March 16th, 2016|

If you’ve stayed in a vacation rental, you know “The Binder”. The one from which, when opened, rogue pages come flying like ghosts of vacations past. The one stuffed with sun-faded attraction brochures left by previous guests. The one that was made with good intentions, but over the years has become disorganized, hard to navigate, and etched with hard-to-read handwritten addendums. Your guest falls to their knees. “Please!” they exclaim, “I just need to know where the extra pool towels are!” If only there was a comprehensive guide that featured all the details about their vacation rental in one convenient [...]

2702, 2016

How Airbnb Helped me Travel the World: Jasper Ribbers

By |February 27th, 2016|

Jasper Ribbers is a former equity arbitrage trader who has been living a location independent lifestyle since 2010. He supports this lifestyle by monetizing his skills and assets on several online marketplaces such as Airbnb, Udemy, Fiverr, Upwork and Clarity. I connected with Jasper last year after following him on Twitter and being intrigued by his lifestyle. At that point he was in Bangkok. Fittingly, when we caught up last week for this interview, he'd moved on to Jakarta! So how is Airbnb enabling this nomadic lifestyle? What led to it? And can others do the same? Jasper tells us [...]

702, 2016

How Airbnb Changed My Life: Meet Jodie Willmer

By |February 7th, 2016|

In the short period of 2 years, Jodie Willmer's Airbnb experience has resulted in her leaving her salaried job, setting up an Airbnb consultancy called Guest Ready, meeting Brian Chesky, becoming a co-convenor of the “Melbourne’s Finest Hosts” group, running 2 sessions at the upcoming Airbnb Open in Paris, and gaining over 100 reviews! After an initial call with Jodie in 2015 I was instantly struck by two things: the passion she has for Airbnb, and the massive life change that this passion inspired. I was fascinated to learn more! Q: How on earth did Airbnb quite literally change your [...]

801, 2016

What The World Would Be Like If Your Welcome Book Didn’t Exist

By |January 8th, 2016|

Every vacation rental owner or Airbnb host will have "create a guest welcome book" or "update my guest welcome book" somewhere on their to-do list. But why? Rather than big up the pros of creating a stunning guest welcome book we thought we'd flip this around. Give it a tongue-in-cheek perspective! So what would the world be like if guest welcome books didn't exist?   1. Guests Wouldn't Have to Read Through 82 Pages We have had a few owners come to us asking for their 80+ page welcome books to be put into digital format. We very nearly did take [...]

508, 2015

Great Vacation Rental Websites Need Function, Facts, and Feeling!

By |August 5th, 2015|

So you’ve done it... you’ve taken your first step towards independence from the major vacation rental listing sites by deciding to create your very own website! The major sites have been a great way to get started in the vacation rental industry, but you’re looking to take your business to the next level. You want control of your own brand! The trouble is, building out your website can be time consuming and downright confusing! How do you organize and design the website? What do you write? How should you display your photos? How on earth do you take online bookings? And [...]

1507, 2015

A Vacation Rental App To Wow Your Guest

By |July 15th, 2015|

Love it or hate it, we all travel with our devices. It's an inescapable fact. Even your silver surfer guests (I know many) are now glued to their iPads whilst on holiday. In fact they have been for years! Your guests find you online, they complete their booking with you online*, they receive booking confirmations and instructions via email, and they research their restaurants and activities online. * I'm going to avoid a discussion of how they complete their booking - the dreaded (?) "book it now" is a subject for another time! The challenge is how to effectively communicate with [...]

307, 2015

What Should My Guest Welcome Book Include?

By |July 3rd, 2015|

In my 40+ years I've stayed in many vacation rentals. Some of the properties have been fantastic - from Key West to Portugal to Norfolk (UK). Yet I don't remember a single one of them having a welcome book that lives up to the quality of the vacation rental. Why is that? Is it because owners are just too busy? Is it because the welcome book is considered an afterthought without any real value? If you think this way you should read how to improve your guest experience with a digital guest welcome book. What Should My Guest Welcome Book [...]

906, 2015

The Guest Welcome Book as a Vacation Rental Booking Conversion Tool

By |June 9th, 2015|

Guest welcome books are for guests who've already converted right? Check-in times, how to find us, contact numbers, etc. But as a booking conversion tool as well? It goes like this... "Dear John Thank you for your email inquiry. I can confirm that the dates you requested are available, and the total price is $2,000. You might like to take a quick read through our guest welcome book - Casal dei Fichi - which we hope gives you a sense of what a stay with us would be like. Best wishes. Jeremy" The email text itself isn't real (and I'm [...]

206, 2015

Improve Your Guest Experience With a Digital Guest Welcome Book

By |June 2nd, 2015|

We've all experienced it. The tired and uninspiring guest welcome book. Usually found in a cupboard. Mostly out of date. Always broken or missing pages. And yet, when you ask them, the vacation rental or hotel owner has a wealth of supremely current and interesting knowledge. So, owners, in the age of digital hospitality, aren't you missing an opportunity to improve your guest experience by digitally arming them with your knowledge? Satisfied guests leave great reviews and tell others. Repeat and referral business looms for you! The Guest Welcome Book - a Problem to be Solved? Whilst I'm sure you'll agree with [...]

3003, 2015

5 Ways to Lose a Potential Guest

By |March 30th, 2015|

I work with vacation rental owners and managers every day. And, in that work, I always put myself in the guests' shoes. In fact one owner over at Matt Landau's Inner Circle recently dubbed me a "VR Guest Pro"! LIKE! The truth is less flattering - I simply see everything in the vacation rental industry through the lens of a guest. I considered the more positive title "5 ways to convert more vacation rental guests", flipping the ways to lose a booking on their head. But most owners and property managers out there are all over conversion tactics. I wanted to [...]

2001, 2015

74% of Vacation Rental Guests Want a Digital Welcome Book

By |January 20th, 2015|

We asked 430 people about their experience of using a vacation rental welcome book. Would they prefer to receive a digital welcome book, for access on their devices before and during their stay? The result? A whopping 74% of our respondents told us they would like the option of accessing the welcome book digitally. Not only that, but we ran some data in June 2016 to look at how guests were using our Touch Stay welcome books. We found that 90% of guests are reading their Touch Stay welcome book! If you weren't convinced about the idea of transforming your paper vacation rental welcome [...]