Originally from Sherbrooke, Philippe St-Pierre has always been interested in entrepreneurship and the vacation rental industry. Ambitious and filled with ideas, he knew that the vacation rental market has a big potential for investment, so he gave himself the chance to start his own business.
About a 30-minute drive from Sherbrooke is the town of Orford and its beautiful Mont-Orford – in the heart of the national park and ski resorts. There, lies the sumptuous Vivaldi Condo, close to nature and surrounded by trees, giving a nice view of the woodland and the soothing Cherry River. Philippe knew the beauty and calm that this beautiful house could provide and therefore decided to share it with his future guests.
At first, Philippe opted for a common starter strategy: being present on the most well-known listing platforms in order to have as much visibility as possible with the existing traveler database on these sites, but that was not enough.
“In the beginning, I was on popular platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway and TripAdvisor, but the nights I rented barely covered my payments.“
Indeed, the owner very quickly found out that depending only on listing sites put him in a difficult position. Renting through these platforms was not enough to cover his payments due to the commissions the listing sites were taking.
According to Philippe, listing sites are perfect for attracting the attention of potential guests through their own network of travelers. But there are also drawbacks, such as the commission paid in exchange for their service, and the fact that he couldn’t have full control over his booking process. Unfortunately, he even faced scams in which dishonest tenants and last-minute bookings had greatly deteriorated his vacation rental business.
“And then I had last-minute renters who vandalized my condo for several hundreds of dollars worth of damage.”
In realizing this lack of success, he decided to learn more about the solutions and possibilities that vacation rental software and management tools offered.
Finally, Philippe discovered how efficient and user-friendly Lodgify’s vacation rental software was. He easily created his own website without needing to be a coding expert.
Lodgify’s software and tools – such as the website builder – have been specifically designed for vacation rental businesses and, as a result, guide owners and managers when building their website. However, Lodgify offers much more than just a website builder and web design templates.
What he liked most about Lodgify
“What I liked the most about Lodgify was the ability to create my own website and have a Channel Manager available, all on one platform.”
Having access to Lodgify’s built-in Channel Manager is what really transformed how Philippe runs his business – for the better. As well as this, he was able to use all the other tools needed to manage his business, such as the centralized calendar, optimized reservation system and various payment gateways, all in one place.
This change has saved Philippe a lot of time and made him feel more productive and confident when running his business.
How he found the process of creating his own website with Lodgify
When creating the Condo Vivaldi website, Philippe found it surprisingly easier than he’d imagined it would be. Even without much expertise with computer skills, Philippe easily created and customized his website thanks to Lodgify’s vacation rental website builder, which also offers several templates of ready-to-use web design. Lodgify’s customer support was also on-hand to assist Philippe in building his vacation rental website.
Moreover, it turns out that the Lodgify website builder is not only useful for newbies in the market, but also for owners who are more comfortable with technology. As Lodgify is an all-in-one solution, it offers additional services and features to users that help them skyrocket their direct bookings and gain better control of their market positioning.
In addition, the software allowed Philippe to select from a wide range of web design templates to launch also a mobile-friendly website with good on-page SEO.
“The creative process went really well and the Lodgify support team was really wonderful. Plus, Lodgify’s tips and tricks also helped me in designing my website. “
Other channels that generate traffic and bookings
Airbnb and Vrbo are the two channels that generate the most traffic for Vivaldi Condo. As for the tools used, Philippe favors Google Ads to make his home more visible on Google search results.
“It’s great to have access to the Channel Manager because I do not have to worry about double bookings anymore – since everything automatically synchronizes with my calendar in real time.”
On Airbnb, Philippe is a Superhost and his condo is praised by everyone, thanks to its ideal location and the warm and welcoming atmosphere. Above all, guests are impressed with Condo Vivaldi’s impeccable customer service.
How Lodgify helped him grow his vacation rental business
Today, Philippe is very happy using Lodgify’s all-in-one software. He has full control of the entire booking process – from handing over the keys to guest departure. He is also able to freely manage any possible litigation that may occur with his future guests, such as negative reviews or damage deposit disputes, without having to pay any commission.
“With my own vacation rental website, I don’t need to pay any commissions.”
In addition, the owner ensures that his home is always clean and tidy to impress his guests and to be as accurate and true to his pictures as possible. That’s why he hired a housekeeper to clean and maintain everything from A to Z.
“I just hired a housekeeper and I charge it to the guests. It is by keeping my rental clean and maintained and by offering the best possible hospitality to each guest, that I have been able to get several 5-star reviews.”
Given the number of possible scams and fake complaints that vacation rental owners might face, Phillipe strongly recommends that all beginners and professionals in this industry always make sure they have the security deposit – before handing over the keys.
As a result of his experiences – both good and bad – Philippe strongly encourages every owner to check the condition of their rental before and after each guest to make sure that everything has been respected as stated in the contract. Otherwise, it is at this point when the deposit becomes crucial.
“Always ask for a deposit to avoid careless people or party animals who just want to party.”