Sunshine Coast Holiday Unit
Brisbane Family Finds 'Sweet Spot of Vacation Rentals' During COVID
Shellie Goyal, Vikram Goyal
Sunshine Coast Holiday Unit, North Shore Village, Australia
Coastal Apartment, 2 bed, 2 bath, sleeps 4-7 guests
A family of four in Brisbane, Australia, desperately needed something to do and somewhere to escape to during the dreary COVID months. They found a property on the beach and used Lodgify to build a stunning website and generate direct bookings, providing them with an additional income stream, and a home away from home whenever they need it.
Shellie Goyal and Vikram Goyal, a couple who live in Brisbane and work from home, needed a place to escape to and relax during COVID. With a teen and pre-teen in the family, they also needed downtime to connect.
They didn’t start out to create a rental business, but to find a place for themselves and their family to escape to – a home away from home.
It was a challenging time, in July 2020 when COVID was rampaging and they had been stuck at home and there seemed no end in sight to everything that was going on. While they were grateful they had a place, the walls started closing in and they started to feel listless. They needed an escape.
They weren’t looking for a holiday, but the stability of a second home. They started looking for something close by, within their borders, but a million miles away from the sameness and the lethargy that was starting to seep in.
After a few weeks, they found a place they loved. Before long they began offering their “home away from home” to friends and family, so they too could take some time out from everyday life. Then friends of friends and people they didn’t even know, started asking on Facebook and Instagram if they could rent their property for weekends.
This led the couple to explore the concept of renting out their apartment. They soon realized that they could share the joy of their “escape” with others with the littlest of efforts. It helped them maintain their home for the escapes when they wanted it, yet, helped them financially too.
We had hit the sweet spot of the vacation rental business.
They started their own site and spent some money on Google advertising but quickly found out that managing inventory, handling sales, doing promotions, and offering discounts were not enough. Unless you build those things yourself or have an IT department, it is best left to a professional outsourced company, they found.
We had no idea about the vacation rental channels and how those are managed. We struggled to get the word out. It helped that the first few rentals were to our friends and family, so we could manage payments on a ‘trust’ basis, but that soon got out of hand.
How did you get your first bookings?
Their first bookings were generated through word of mouth and social media channels. They also listed on several Airbnb forums on Facebook and spent time and money on Google advertising.
After evaluating a few software products similar to Lodgify, the couple eventually settled on Lodgify because they were drawn to its easy-to-navigate and easy-to-understand interface. And they liked the way it seamlessly integrates the payments from multiple channels.
It also allowed them to integrate their booking system using external channels such as Booking.com, making it easy to use Lodgify as the one-stop shop from which to manage their inventory.
How difficult was it to create your own website?
The website building process was super easy!
The website builder is a godsend! It took us all 30 minutes to understand the different ways the website builder hooked into our inventory and the booking engine but after that, it was smooth sailing. The website builder feature is a killer. We have no idea what or how we would have done without it.
Before Lodgify the couple had no bookings for guests who were not family or friends. After they started using Lodgify, they had 5 bookings in 2 weeks.
Which other channels do you use to get bookings and traffic?
They list on Booking.com but manage the inventory through Lodgify. They also post on Facebook groups and maintain their Facebook page.
Which other tools do you use to manage your business?
They don’t use anything other than Lodgify/Booking.com. But love AirTasker to find cleaners and repairmen.
Your top tips for running a vacation rental?
Don’t be afraid! Jump in, try it!
They advise hosts to always think about their property this way: Would I rent this place for a holiday myself? If you won’t then others won’t either. So everything that appeals to you as a renter would appeal to your actual renters as well.
Make the property an extension of you. Your beliefs, your ideas, your values. You will find your own tribe of loyal renters this way.