Introducing Host & Stay
Host & Stay is a vacation rental management company that manages over 700 holiday homes in the United Kingdom. They have had rapid organic expansion over the last 4 years, and plan to keep the growth pace strong.
Dale Smith – the Founder & Director – built Host & Stay as an end-to-end management business. He sees value and differentiation in their ability to manage every point across the guest experience.
That means pretty much every business function is managed internally: sales & marketing, revenue management, housekeeping, maintenance, owner acquisition, support, etc.
But this extra ownership and control means something: a top priority for the H&S team is meticulously controlling a great experience for customers.
And further, their property owners know they’re in good hands. They have one point of contact and can be confident that their property managers are incentivized to solve problems, not deflect blame.
So what does a business with this foresight on customer- and owner-relationships do to become more efficient?
Direct Bookings: The holy grail
Host & Stay is like most short-term property managers: they utilize the full gamut of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) to meet customers where they’re searching for homes.
However, their focus has always been to push for direct bookings. Since day one, Dale anticipated the importance of owning guest acquisition internally as much as possible.
OTAs provide significant benefits to their new customer acquisition strategy, but with increasing fees and lack of data transparency – a big power dynamic will always be at play.
So whenever the H&S team has an opportunity to grow their direct booking business, they jump on it.
Direct Bookings + Customer Experience = …
H&S had the dual goals of growing direct bookings while providing high-quality guest experiences. At the Scale Rentals conference in Barcelona, Dale was intrigued by Aidaptive team member Evan Dolgow’s presentation: Run Towards Your Data, It’s An Asset.
The discussion unfolded: how to use technology to address these dual objectives.
Dale’s background working in digital marketing and eCommerce grants him a pretty clear vision for how to incorporate e-com practices into his booking funnel. And after all, what are direct bookings but an online eCommerce transaction?
Dale shares his plan:
“The big goal of bringing Aidaptive on board was to push towards a higher direct booking contribution. So making sure we’re getting the right properties in front of the right guests; making sure we’re using personalization throughout that user journey; and really trying to make our marketing budget more efficient by getting the right message to the right people at the right time.”
The next step: use machine learning to personalize the website experience and email marketing for each guest.
It’s Personalization, Predictive Personalization
OTAs – like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo – are able to take advantage of their scale and resources to invest in personalization technology to keep users coming back.
Predictive personalization is a new technology that drives more online direct bookings by giving guests relevant online experiences.
So what is it?
Predictive Personalization is using machine learning technology to:
- A) predict the interests and preferences of every guest, and then
- B) deliver precisely tailored content, properties, and messages to each individual. Automatically.
In addition to OTAs… Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, and eCommerce brands of all sizes are using these tools to dynamically display what people want to see –– and it’s working.
Dale and the Host & Stay team sought to test the impact of predictive personalization for their direct booking site.
Predictive Hospitality = More Efficient Direct Bookings
Host & Stay quickly launched Predictive Personalization, powered by Aidaptive. We simultaneously ran an A/B test with a 50/50 test split to ensure accurate benchmarking.
The test results weren’t only conclusive, they were incredible.
As it turns out, potential guests engage much more with property recommendations personalized just for them.
- The click-through rate was 36% higher across the Host & Stay site.
- Personalized recommendations generated 235% more revenue than the control.
- The conversion rate was 2% higher during the test.
- Featured property booking performance was 525% higher.
Delivering high-quality, personalized guest experiences pays dividends.
Not only are your guests more likely to return again and again to your properties, but the personalized booking experience simply performs better.
What’s the broader business impact for Host & Stay?
The core impact was indeed driving more direct bookings & revenue – and thus autonomy apart from OTAs.
But Dale speaks to how it impacts their customers as well:
“It’s a better guest experience really. The guest can go through a journey where they’re seeing properties that are actually relevant for them. Rather than seeing stuff that we want to push.”
There’s a strong reason to start adopting technology into the vacation rental management direct booking flow: it’s easy to launch, and it works.
Dale’s final word: “I would definitely recommend Aidpative to other property management businesses. Especially those who are looking to start driving more of their own direct bookings and stop over reliance on the OTAs.”
To learn more about Aidaptive or Predictive Personalization, reach out to our team at [email protected] – or request a demo!