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Managing friends & family use of your property?

I realize this is a bit self-serving and I apologize in advance for that.

One of the big challenges by home owners that rent on the big platforms is coordinating with friends & family. You might not want to use Airbnb for them but you still want to manage those bookings in an easy-to-use interface that syncs with the other services so you can block out dates accordingly.

Over 50% of vacation homes aren’t rented on the big platforms. After surveying a 100 vacation home owners we found out that they just don’t want strangers in their homes. However, they do still rent and share with their friends & family. Vrbff (Vacation Rentals by Friends & Family) lets owners privately share their properties with their trusted friends, family & affinity networks with tools that work a lot like Airbnb and Vrbo. It’s a great way to take trusted guests private as well. 100% owner-centric, completely private and we let the owners decide what to charge and who to charge. You can share your property with Mom & Dad and cover the costs (cleaning fee, etc) or let’s say it’s your brother, wife and 3 kids you might ask them to cover the cleaning fee (for obvious reasons) :slightly_smiling_face: or maybe some friends from your Country Club you might charge full fare (nightly rate, cleaning fee, etc).

Just curious if this would be an interesting solution for folks on this forum. Thank you!

No I’m not giving a third party a cut for guests I’ve already secured myself.

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Makes total sense. What we’re doing is more of a CRM. You get to decide what you charge (cleaning fees, booking fees, etc) or you can just list the property for a small annual listing fee. They are your guests 100%.

I suppose this is useful if you have a property manager running your listing and you want them to treat your family/friends like any other guest.

But, if you have control over your listing, you can simply block off the specific dates on your calendar or if you want the reviews or a little compensation you can send your friends/family a special offer for a minimum of $10/night.

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I don’t see how your business idea would add value for me. I just talk to/communicate directly with my friends and family on dates and pricing. If they want to preview the property, I give them the Airbnb or HomeAway listing identifier.
I guess it might be beneficial if I had like 10 properties and so many F&F bookings that calendar syncing was a time suck.
Also in some areas you could be legally forced to get involved in TOT collection if you are an STR platform.

How do you do that back-and-forth? On your Airbnb or Homeaway listing? How do you manage the booking, check-in/check-out for the guests? Just curious … most people we’ve talked to use Google calendar and email templates which isn’t super scalable.

You must have a lot more friends and family than I do haha! They PM, text, email or (gasp!) call me and speak to me. I check the dates, block 'em like Brian says, and get back to them – or complete the transaction during the convo – with “Yeah, it’s available, the keycode is xxxx, and my good buddy rate is $xxx.” They can leave cash, use Venmo, or write an old-fashioned paper check.
If they have to contact me and then I have to refer them to some booking or management site, that’s two touches for them, why make them do that, they’re my friends and family, we have an actual ongoing relationship.
End of my free advice, good luck to you.

6 Likes

You’ve got two distinct usage models, and since this is a forum for Airbnb hosts, I’ll use Airbnb as an example of how it already can work.

  1. Owner has properties listed on Airbnb and wants to offer special rates to friends and family. Airbnb supports this by allowing a guest (your friend or family member) to submit an inquiry for specific dates and the host can respond with a “special offer” of any price (minimum is $10/night). Note that there are already tools for syncing Airbnb calendars with other short-term rental sites, so this works for hosts that use multiple rental sites, too.

  2. Owner does not have property listed on Airbnb and wants to rent it only to friends and family. The owner could create a listing that makes this possible. E.g. Set the nightly rate to US$5,000/night with a 30 night minimum and require reservation requests. Nobody would submit a reservation request, and if they did, the host could decline (or accept for a $150,000 payout!!!). On the other hand, the host’s friends and family could still submit inquiries and the host can make a special offer, just like #1.

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it is as SIMPLE as @Brian_R170 has described - unless someone wants an additional platform, being promoted, that makes it more complicated.

Just some one else who wants a nibble of the pie.

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Simple @vrbff i just block dates in Airbnb and personal calendars so I know they are coming.

Why would I need email templates and a separate system to do this?

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I dont understand what your business idea is. If say, you have a vacation home that friends and family will use, just block the dates in the calendar (ABB, VRBO or whatever, they should all be linked by the way, so you only have to block on one platform) and be done. So what are you offering other than taking my money for nothing?

Not even sure he does.

Exactly. Just someone else spamming to promote something that most folks don’t need, don’t want and it would appear that most don’t even get his business model.

JF

Perhaps you’re talking to the wrong customer group, but I just don’t see the need.

On one hand, you’re saying these VR owners don’t want to rent to the public and 50% aren’t on the big platforms, then in the next breath you say your service helps block off calendars and synch with other services to block dates.

That’s not a good value proposition if most of your VR owners don’t rent publicly.

You need to do more work to see how big this target market actually is:
What percentage of them plan to rent to friends and family this year? How many visits? How many nights? How many express the need for a communications and payment provider for these functions? How much are they willing to pay for this service?

I use Air to book the general public because I like the framework that provides assurance to both host and guest. We communicate and do payments through Airbnb, so they can intervene if there is an issue.

I don’t need a 3rd party to monitor communications or payments with F&F because we already trust each other. I’m not concerned my Mom is going to trash my house in an Ecstacy fueled rave, nor that my Sister will do a chargeback on her card and steal my rental money. There’s no reason for me (or them) to pay a middleman to protect our interests.

I simply block the calendar for the dates they need, copy my house manual into an e-mail, and take their cash/credit/PayPal payment.

These transactions are more informal and don’t require a 3rd party platform.

I think you need to do a lot more work on your business plan.

No it is not. Obviously you are not a host.

1 Like
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