You’ve just stumbled upon the most important concept that is about to alter everything you know about travelers renting vacation homes. This is the secret to opening up elite property access to every traveler around the world for a fraction of the price, while helping property managers and owners grow their business unlike anything ever seen before using social media to connect travelers that have never met before who share common interests.
But first, this isn’t AirBnB or a Home Exchange, and it’s definitely not HomeAway.
Chances are you are either a traveler, vacation property manager, or vacation home owner. Or maybe you are all three. You are not here by accident, and what you are about to discover will change the way you look at vacation home rentals forever.
When I grew up in a bed and breakfast Inn, my family would host people from all over the world, from return guests to new ones traveling over 5,000 miles to stay with us. Most of them escaping from city life and their day jobs to visit one of the most cultural places in New England, yet all of them expect to have a great time relaxing, taking in the sights, and learning about the history that local attractions offer.
But after 25+ years of meeting travelers (and carrying hundreds of travel bags up the stairs) there is an uncommon expectation and knowledge among guests for every visit that travelers are sub-consciously aware of.
Travelers who stay at an Inn are comfortable in booking a reservation in a private home knowing there are other guests staying there whom they haven’t even met, yet they share the same interest of visiting a specific location.
This was the very first observation in what has become the initial idea behind VeryUs, Stay Social. We are going to explore further in more detail here and in the beta launch ahead. Request invite to the launch!
The second observation happened by accident. Twenty-five years later, after having moved away from home and starting a family, it doesn’t take much time with a full house including two dogs and a new baby to start previewing that luxury vacation destination retreat that every person needs to recharge their batteries (there’s only so much Tickle-Me-Elmo and Buzz Lightyear any parent can take).
So I started looking through all of the hotel listings online, from TripAdvisor to Hotels.com to Expedia to Kayak, every room started looking cookie-cutter and overpriced. Beyond the hotel lobby, the rooms are all the same. Pretty much also why reservation systems even today display rooms based on room type which is mostly ‘Standard’ or ‘Deluxe’. What happened to custom? Where was the quality? Most of that is held floors below in the restaurants, lounges and pool areas outside.
So instead of focusing on hotels, it was on to vacation homes with the thought that maybe we could take another trip with friends (which we did in 2008 and had a blast!) but suddenly realized that our friends had also got married, started families of their own, and had new jobs, etc. that prevented us from coordinating a trip together. Getting one couple to commit was hard enough let alone four couples to share the other rooms in a vacation home. Our schedules were just too far apart. I even checked Airbnb (which does an amazing job at turning single family homes into a B&B and connecting hosts with guests) but their full rental vacation home listings were just like the rest of the websites out there – static listings at hit or miss prices based on a single reservation.
At this point I was giving up hope on the $1,000 night oceanfront villa we had picked out in Turks & Caicos and my SPF 30 would have to remain at home along with my hope that staying in a vacation home on the beach wouldn’t be possible since we would be forced to give in to the traditional hotel reservation again…*sigh*.
This is where I started to realize that current offerings of today fall short on both sides of the table, for both travelers and vacation property owners, and where I finally came to realize that the vacation home rental market is in need of a major makeover for the following reasons:
Travelers are forced to pay a full vacation home rental price by rounding up their closest friends like cattle, then are required to play the role of banker by collecting the funds from everyone.
Travelers are limited to sharing a vacation home only with people they know and unable to make new traveler connections that would allow them to participate and experience a trip as a group.
Property owners are forced into hit or miss reservations without any guarantees on performance through paid listing services that don’t provide an opportunity to increase occupancy rates through a percentage of travelers who would cover the minimum reservation rate (we’ll cover more on this subject in Part II).
But something happened. As I went back to browsing through all of the vacation home listings trying to resurrect my idea as if it were the Pheonix rising from the vacation ashes, all of the listings were showing rates for the price of the full house.
And then it hit me…
Thinking back to the last 25 years running our family Inn, there were 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms in this amazing villa I wanted to stay in – yet did not have the group to travel with. I suddenly realized that each room in the vacation rental villa is really just $200 per night and that’s the price we would actually be paying, not the $1k per night being advertised. The price for my wife and I to stay the week was actually 80% less!
Because none of our friends would be able to go on a trip with us, the first question I asked myself was:
“Would I be willing to share this vacation home with friends of friends, or traveling guests whom I have never met in person, yet shared similar interests, that I could connect with beforehand?”
I answered a big fat YES.
Why? Because I knew after growing up with travelers all my life who were already making reservations to stay at our Inn, whom never met other guests until they arrived, were already willing to book a reservation based on that same single common interest:
Travelers were willing to experience a fantastic getaway because they were already comfortable knowing there would be other travelers sharing a home together prior to making their reservation.
But what about the rest of the world, would people be ready to connect with friends for an opportunity to share a vacation home by splitting the cost easily? Are there travelers out there who want to experience the same opportunity but don’t have the group to stay with? If so, how many people would be willing to experience a vacation like this?
I knew these questions had to be explored further, which I summarized into the following hypothesis as the initial test to see if travelers would adopt this new concept in social travel for renting vacation homes together:
Hypothesis A: Travelers who choose to stay in a vacation home want to pay for the single room rate vs. full home rate, but don’t have access to a system which provides the option for inviting their close network of friends to RSVP easily.
Hypothesis B: Travelers who want to experience a vacation home getaway for the cost of a single room that don’t have friends & social connections are open to staying with travelers who share common interests.
Hypothesis C: Property owners want the ability to increase occupancy by capturing a range of bookings that is guaranteed by performance of reservations instead of hit or miss reservations while paying flat listing fees (more on this in Part II).
This is the core for building VeryUs, Stay Social. Excited, passionate, and well…anxious about how the public will adopt this idea of sharing a vacation home through a social travel platform through common interests. An open mind and a goal to hear from as many people as possible about their past experiences and thoughts about this new idea in social travel, and approaching the initial beta development by giving the world something that’s in in need for the next phase of vacation home rentals.
But it can’t be done alone and need your input. What do you think? Subscribe to the Private Beta Launch and share your opinions and thoughts on this new concept to give the Vacation Home Market a Makeover, by building a way for friends and travelers to share a vacation home together.
…And for those who are really brave can still choose to go with family, Elmo included.