NEW BUSINESS – ELEVATE your vacation rental

Since the soft rollout of ELEVATE Host Services in September 2019 a lot has changed for husband and wife duo, Taylor and Thoshlae Williams. They now have several vacation rental properties they are managing across the island and the couple has recently won first place in the pitch pink category for the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation Rocket Pitch Competition. ELEVATE has also been selected for the 2020 Ignite Bermuda Accelerator Program.

After meeting in their last year of university, Thoshlae (born and raised in Bermuda) and Taylor (Canadian) were very enthusiastic about traveling to experience local cultures and scenery. “I love staying in an Airbnb’s because, for one it’s much cheaper and you get to have a home away from home. You also get to experience a different part of the world,” says Taylor.

To date the couple have stayed in vacation rentals in New York, Bermuda, and Toronto, to name a few. However, it wasn’t until October 2017 they really considered becoming Airbnb hosts/managers. Taylor and Thoshlae returned to Bermuda for their wedding in May 2018 but soon ran into accommodation issues for their wedding party, so they opted to book an affordable Airbnb. “It wasn’t the experience we wanted during the week of our wedding,” says Taylor. “We ran out of water and the tub was clogged.” It was that experience that got them thinking that Airbnb hosts need management assistance.

ELEVATE Host Services was created to be a full-service solution to vacation rental management. They wanted homeowners to have as much or as little assistance as required, so they decided on a tiered service level package system. They noticed there were companies handling vacation rentals from a booking perspective but only a handful were assisting with managing day-to-day tasks.

“We pride ourselves on being responsive and demonstrating thoughtfulness towards our guests” says Taylor. Our guest and concierge services are another element that set us apart from typical property managers. “Imagine staying in a vacation rental and being able to book a private chef, personal trainer, or even an at-home movie night,” says Thoshlae. That level of luxury and convenience is what will really set us apart.

Useful tips to help with staging your vacation rental

1. GET RID OF CLUTTER – Removing clutter from a room is a sure way to make a space look bigger especially in photos of your Airbnb. No guest wants to feel like they are in a junky motel. Extra items in a room that are not part of the decor or do not serve a purpose should be removed.

2. LIGHTS ON OR LIGHTS OFF – Nothing looks worse than looking at pictures of a house and some of the lights are on and then in a different picture the lights are off. It is important to be consistent if you want your unit to measure up to its potential.

3. ADD CHARACTER INTO YOUR DÉCOR – Having a story behind why you choose to bring certain things into a room makes it even more interesting and builds a connection with guests. If you do not have a theme have reasoning behind why items are included and part of your decor.

4. CLEAN THOROUGHLY – If you post pictures of a vacation rental and there is visible dirt or broken items, it goes without saying that you have failed at staging. Have your cleaner do a thorough cleaning on the day of your pictures or at least the day before. Chances are if your place looks extra clean in pictures guests will notice and be more inclined to book with you.

5. SHOW SPECIAL ITEMS – Many vacation rentals are setting themselves apart with welcome baskets, or special note cards. Showing these special touches in photos will entice guests to choose your rental unit over another accommodation. Think about what sets you apart and show that in listing images.

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