Rick and Karen Feld worked in sales and nursing before stepping foot in the vacation rental industry. When their kids moved out, they decided to branch out and do something entirely new for themselves.
While their first idea was to start a B&B in Ontario, their plans took a turn after vacationing in Cuba. Instead of setting up in the cold, they decided to develop a beach villa in the Caribbean. The Feld family is an excellent example of the success that can come from stepping out of your comfort zone.
The beginning of Rick and Karen’s vacation rental business wasn’t easy. Faced with an abundance of challenges, including getting rejected several times before receiving approval for their mortgage, the couple stayed positive and continued working towards establishing their business. They kept their focus on reimagining their website and worked towards marketing their villa.
“The first several years were a struggle. We started from ground zero with reservations, but we continued to work at promoting our business, and bettering our website.”
Challenges during COVID-19
Like many, Covid took a hit on the Feld’s vacation rental business. Most of their business came from international travelers, specifically by air, so when the pandemic started they lost almost all of their bookings.
To help recover, they had to change their business model and become as adaptable as possible.
“We have offered unprecedented discounts, increased flexibility, and more lenient cancellation policies. Our focus has been to help our guests feel comfortable choosing Villa Beachcliff, knowing that we will work with them if there are any issues with their travel plans due to Covid-19.”
The Feld’s were able to smoothly switch from their old page to their new Lodgify website. With Lodgify, they were able to keep the same domain or web address, so any of their existing traffic was just redirected to their new and improved website. None of the existing clientele from their old site was lost during the transition.
“The transition from our old website to our Lodgify website was seamless.”
They were able to market this stunning, new design to existing customers. The Feld’s encouraged their guests to check out their website upgrade and they quickly saw an uptick in bookings. Their customers have said nothing but good things about their new page.
“I typically ask our guests why they chose our villa for their island vacation. The most common answer is that they were captivated by the imagery on our Lodgify website, the simplicity, and the ease of navigation.”
What they liked most about Lodgify
Before joining Lodgify, the Feld family used a local company to manage their vacation rental website. They found that this company wasn’t responsive when it came to implementing changes, promotions, and updates.
With Lodgify, they now pay less than before, have access to professional templates, and enjoy a speedy and personalized customer service experience.
“The customer service & support was excellent. Responsive & clean with their solutions.”
How they found the process of creating their own website with Lodgify
Rick and Karen have found the website building process to be simple and efficient. They were impressed with how usable the templates were and how easy the software was to navigate.
“The selection of templates was terrific and populating the website was easy. The customer service was, and continues to be excellent.”
How they got their first bookings
The couple managed to get their first direct bookings by promoting their new look with all their contacts and previous guests. They also focused on sharing the changes on social media, which helped boost their bookings.
Other channels that generate traffic and bookings
The Felds maximize their booking opportunities by posting their property everywhere. They link major listing sites like Airbnb, Vrbo, TripAdvisor, and Booking.com to their Lodgify account. To attract local traffic they are also active on the Grenada Tourism Authority.
They know that successful property rentals need to be marketed everywhere. The Felds are also quite active on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Issuu, and Google. By covering a variety of online platforms, they keep their property in the know.
Beyond a beautiful website, they’ve also seen an influx of customers. With Lodgify, they are able to guide guests to their direct booking channel and ultimately increase their profits.
The Felds saw a dramatic increase after switching to Lodgify. Their bookings skyrocketed by 143% after implementing a Lodgify website.
“Prior to launching my website with Lodgify, my home website accounted for about 20% of my reservations. I just did a count of my current reservations, and saw that over 73% of my reservations are direct bookings.”
How Lodgify helped them grow their vacation rental business
Lodgify brings a consistent aesthetic to their website. The Felds are constantly praised for their page’s sleek design and usability. Their website is eye-catching and gives potential guests that extra push they need to book.
“Our guests have been very complimentary about our Lodgify website. Most say that the presentation, images, and reviews are what convinced them to book with us at Villa Beachcliff, Grenada. They also say that the website was easy to navigate.”
The Felds emphasize independence. They believe that the best thing you can do for your vacation rental business is to establish freedom from the big platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo. The Felds know that all good things take time so they also urge newcomers to persevere. Breaking into the industry is a lot of work, but the pay off is great.
“Our 8 years of building our vacation rental business have been hard, but clearly worth it!”