CASE STUDY: STAR CANYON RANCH
In the competitive world of luxury vacation rentals, where exceptional interior design meets impeccable service, having the right property management partner can make all the difference.
Published August 30, 2023
This case study sheds light on the success story of Duberly and Jennifer M., a discerning couple who entrusted their luxury short-term rental property in Dripping Springs, Texas to GuestSpaces’ expert property management team after failing to meet their goals with a competitor.
As industry leaders specializing in luxury short-term rentals, we have been able to sustain the quality and performance Duberly and Jennifer originally intended for their property since the first month of being listed with GuestSpaces.
Challenges That Motivated the Change
Duberly and Jennifer initially opted to have their property managed by a competing management company, however, they soon realized several challenges that hindered their rental’s true potential. Among these were:
- Virtually no Airbnb bookings
- Low review count
- Sub-par housekeeping
- Communication issues with neighbors
One of the primary concerns shared by the homeowners and our onboarding specialists was the lack of Airbnb bookings – as a significant portion of GuestSpaces’ booking volume can typically be attributed to this platform.
At first glance, the differences in our Airbnb listings vs those of our competitors may not be glaringly obvious. Both companies hold “Superhost” status and have high host ratings, however, our team noticed many areas of improvement on Duberly and Jennifer’s original listing that were not changed over the course of our property evaluation period.
Listing upkeep is a crucial part of rental management and a primary reason many Homeowners opt to work with a professional team. Platforms such as Airbnb and VRBO are constantly updating their listing settings in order to optimize their user experience and failing to keep up can have serious consequences on a listing’s booking potential by limiting the amount of searches it displays in or lowering its priority in search results.
Additionally, the couple voiced concerns that the original listings for their home had very few reviews – despite it being an exceptional property with highly-desirable amenities. Many factors can influence the number of reviews a property collects, including:
- Listing accuracy (“Expectations vs Reality”)
- Positive guest experiences
- Issues and emergencies
- Messaging strategy
On average, GuestSpaces listings have 34 Airbnb reviews per property.
Duberly and Jennifer also happen to live close enough to their property that, when they started to notice housekeeping issues, they were able to check in on the home themselves. While this helped to avoid any issues upon a guest check-in, it was work the homeowners didn’t intend to take on when they signed with their former management team.
Similarly, the couple became de-facto middlemen between their guests/property manager and neighbor who was consistently experiencing disruptive guests. While it’s an unfortunate reality that disrespectful guests can make neighbors wish you weren’t renting your home, there are many steps you can take to mitigate issues before they ever arise, including:
- Comprehensive introductions between neighbors and management
- Clearly displaying house rules and limitations (before and after booking)
- Intentional pricing strategies
- Strong guest vetting policies
- Decibel-level monitoring devices
Frustrated by these limitations and responsibilities, Duberly and Jennifer sought a property management partner that could deliver exceptional performance and a seamless experience for both guests and owners.
A New Era of Excellence
Upon partnering with GuestSpaces’ property management team, Duberly and Jennifer experienced a complete transformation in the management of their luxury short-term rental. Our commitment to excellence, a personalized approach, and data-driven strategies led to a series of remarkable improvements.
When asked about the most notable progress made since the transition, the homeowners both cited growth on the Airbnb platform.
Due to our onboarding team’s detailed initial set-up, the new listings (on Airbnb, VRBO, GuestSpaces.com, etc.) took in over $9,300 in nightly rental fees alone during their first month. In the first 3 months of being listed, during the “slow season” no less, the new listings took in over $22,900 in nightly rental fees – with 60% of those bookings attributed to the Airbnb platform.
The homeowners estimate that they have earned twice as much this July and August being listed with GuestSpaces than they did over the same two-month period last year with their former manager. Our data-driven pricing strategy played a pivotal role in achieving this impressive milestone.
Also, as a professional management company, we are assigned representatives from major booking platforms for additional support and market insights. We work closely with our representatives to ensure we’re aware of all new settings and features available to us in order for our listings to be best optimized for property searches. Since being listed, this property has gone through multiple rounds of updates to remain as competitive as possible.
Duberly specifically highlighted an improvement in the quality of housekeeping since making the switch. Recognizing the importance of impeccable cleanliness and presentation, we assign the same housekeeping team to care for a property after each stay to guarantee the next guests enjoy the same first impression. Our Property Inspectors also ensure that smaller details are perfected so homes appear just as they do in our photo galleries and all amenities are ready for use.
He also noted that, as a self-proclaimed “particularly difficult” homeowner, he appreciated our team’s noticeably better response turn around given their high expectations – a sentiment echoed by his wife.
Our Commitment to Communication
We constantly analyze and improve upon our communication to be of better service to both our guests and Homeowners. Via our Homeowner’s Portal, our partners can review real-time information regarding reservations, their booking calendar, and accounting information conveniently from their personal devices. Our software provides concise, automated emails regarding important updates to supplement regular, personalized communication from our Partner Success and guest-facing teams.
As our team is all-local to Austin, we’re proud to support guests and homeowners via email, text, phone call, or in person.
We also understand that every property owner is different. Whether you’re a homeowner who wants to stay involved or an investor looking to go hands-free, we’ll tailor our full-service management to your goals.
Finally, the couple shared that even their neighbor has mentioned the positive difference made since GuestSpaces took over management of the property. While some issues and small emergencies are to be expected in the rental industry, we are truly proud to hear that we are making a difference for not only our guests and homeowners, but also those directly affected by (but not involved in) short-term rentals.
We strive to uphold a standard of respectful renting that impresses the community around us and continue to develop improved ways of communicating our policies.
If you’re a homeowner seeking to elevate your luxury vacation rental property’s performance, we hope this story illustrating the transformative impact our management will motivate you to reach out for a complimentary consultation of your property.
Our track record of success through data-driven strategies and commitment to excellence will ensure that your property thrives in the competitive Texas rental markets. Partner with GuestSpaces and experience the difference that personalized, expert property management can make for your investment – embarking on a journey toward increased revenue, enhanced guest satisfaction, and a better homeowner experience.
Our Management Portfolio
In order to maintain the highest caliber of service for our homeowners, and homes for our guests, we accept only a small percentage of properties into our luxury portfolio. This selectivity also allows our team to operate at an industry-low 20% commission rate!
We prioritize high-end, 3+ BR homes and lake houses located near central Austin. Contact us today to see if your home is a good fit for GuestSpaces.