• Good Morning Hospitality

Safety & Trust In Hospitality: Featuring Special Guest, Leo Walton




Wil Slickers: All right. And we are alive. So, Welcome gentlemen. How are we doing today?

Michael Ros: Good. First snow, yesterday. It was amazing. It was so early. I'm still excited because it was waking up with snow again. So, beside this, also, work everything is great. Personally, it's great so all good from my side.

Michael Goldin: Yeah, I don't like Christmas, Michael.

Michael Ros: I saw you one week ago or two weeks ago, you showed a picture. You showed yourself on the beach. What is it? Now, I'm seeing snowing here so [laughter].

Wil Slickers: How's Thanksgiving for you, Goldin? Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

Michael Goldin: Thanksgiving, is different? I'm used to being around tons of family, and the grandmas, and all that but didn't do that this year. But still, it was a nice break of work and ready to close out the year.

Wil Slickers: Agree. It can be weird to have a normal five‑day work week this week so trying to adjust back to--.

Michael Ros: Do you--

Wil Slickers: Yeah, it's going to be good.

Well, I'll play our intro, really quick, and then we'll hop right into the show.

Michael Ros: Cool.

[music]

Wil Slickers: Perfect. So, this week, we have a special, you know, flow. We've brought in a guest once. Now, we have a second guest on the show. So, we're going to jump right into our new segments, which we launched last week, which I'm really excited about because you guys have some cool stuff to talk about all the time and I like listening to the Bidruption Report and What's With All The Noise!?.

So, I'm actually going to kick it off with Michael from Bidroom. We’ll have you go ahead and take the lead on this one and get ready to rock and roll.

Michael Ros: Sounds good.

[music]

Michael Ros: Hi, guys.

Yeah, this week, I've got a startup again to mention, another typical startup. It's something special. I met Paras Loomba, who is the founder and CEO of Global Himalayan Expedition, which also initiated Mountain Homestays two years-- three years ago. And, actually, I was impressed by his story. So, actually, what is Mountain Homestay is doing, Actually, they have homestays in the Himalayas, in the mountains as it says. Also, it's actually part of the Global Himalayan Expedition.

And actually, what they're doing and I'm so proud, actually, of what they're doing. So, actually, they’re organizing expeditions in villages, actually, which are not electrified so far. So, actually, they’re going there with travelers, actually. So, they’re offering as an expedition. They take all the materials, actually, in to electrify-- solar electrify the city. So, I think, in total, they impacted, actually, more than 60,000 people so far. So, actually, they-- those people, now, they have the opportunity to have light, to have energy in their village.

So, it's impressive what they did. They won a lot of awards. They got grants. One or two months ago, they won the UN, United Nations the Global Climate Action Award. So, it is great to know Paras. I speak with him often. I'm so impressed with what they're achieving and what they're doing for people.

So, another typical startup but actually how they’re acting, what they're doing, I think, is super impressive to be mentioned. So, for me, I just want to mention them. So, Mountain Homestays is, for me, something special and I want to, actually, compliment them what they are achieving so far.

Also, what I always want to address is something different is the events which are coming up. Last week, I mentioned a few events I was attending. Last Friday, we had the I Meet Hotel Conference, organized by students of the SHMS (Swiss Hotel Management School). It was really well done. Compliments for them.

And this week, I will be attending two conferences. So, if you want to listen to me more, tomorrow morning, I do a panel session, Uzakrota. Uzakrota is the largest conference by far in Turkey. Last year, we attended as well. Also, last year, we won, as Bidroom, the prize for the Best Foreign Startup. And it was a really, really nice conference. Unfortunately, this year, it's virtually because last year it was a really, really great. But, again, I'm really curious how it’s going to be this year. Fortunately, but I know the organizations always do really, really impressing. And we might win again this year so let's see, but last year we won the award for Best Foreign Startup. Let's see, as soon as the elections will start-- or the voting will start in January.

Second thing is also where I'll speak at HICON. It will be on Thursday, on Wednesday, the third-- no, Thursday, the third. I’ll be speaking in there. Nice lineup. Really, about innovation. Again, I think there's also one of the keywords of 2020. So, I’ll talk about more about innovation in tourism and hospitality. And I will talk more about increasing bookings and customer value in a subscription economy. So, really, my topic. Looking forward to it. And that's my part for this week. And I'm looking forward to the Bidruption Report already for next week.

Wil Slickers: Awesome. Thank you, Michael. That's awesome.

[music]

Michael Goldin: Hello, hello. I missed grandma at Thanksgiving. But good to see you here on the screen, again, this week.

I'm probably throwing, Wil, a curve ball on what article I'm covering today. I switched it up this morning. But Skift came out with an article called The Future of Short‑Term Rentals and wanted to highlight a few points that they brought up. They’ve been talking about what my views are of it. Basically, the article is saying it's going to be a long, dark winter and, in some ways, I agree, in some ways I disagree.

It's yet to be seen what's going to happen in ski markets. I think the window of booking is so tight now you can't really predict what's going to happen. We do know that a lot of ski mountains or lifts are limiting tickets they're selling but it doesn't mean people aren't. So, we're going to go down to the beach and have an ocean view for Christmas or get away in January. I think a lot of people are optimistic about the vaccine that's coming out and they should be. But it's going to be probably Q2 before it's distributed, so we definitely have to get through this winter.

Another piece that the article highlights is the crushing regulations are starting to come. And this is multifaceted and has been coming for a long time, but we expect the pendulum to continue to swing back and forth until cities really understand and know how to regulate rentals. When that happens, you limit licenses in cities. And when you're limiting licenses in cities, then the people that don't get licensed will probably sell their properties. A lot of investors are already selling their properties because property prices are at an all‑time high. People are fleeing cities and moving to these destination markets, whether it's temporary or permanent. So, there's home prices, the values have stuck despite the lack of rentals in some of the locations.

And then, the last key point that the article came up with was that hotels are going to rebound. And I think hotels will rebound in 2021, but I don't think it's going to be the big threat to short‑term rentals in 2021. A lot of new people have been discovering the short‑term rental segment. And those folks are going to continue to make their decisions based on why they're traveling. If it's a couple of nights in a city, it's still likely going to be a hotel. But if they're going to a destination market for one week, two weeks, or longer, it’s most likely going to be in a rental.

So, I think the future is still maybe a bit early to call, given all that's going on. I don't know if regulations are going to shake out in our favor with this swing of the pendulum, in some markets. In others, I think we have a really good shot at overturning some bad regulations and maybe affecting regulations to not limit licenses so much. But the future of short‑term rentals, 2020 was the worst year ever, then I think we're in good shape for 2021.

Wil Slickers: Awesome.

Yeah, no, I agree.

Well, are you guys ready for this awesome special guest speaking of short‑term rentals? You know, we're talking about regulation, and safety, and security, and all that good stuff? Are you guys ready for this?

Michael Goldin: Absolutely.

Wil Slickers: All right, let's do it.


Wil Slickers: Welcome, Leo. How are we doing today?

Leo Walton: Hey, guys. Yeah, I'm very well, thanks. Thanks for having me on. How are you all?

Michael Goldin: Good. Good. I'd first like to say congrats to Leo. He just got engaged a week or two back.

Wil Slickers: Wooo! Congrats!

Leo Walton: Thank you, Mike.

Michael Goldin: Taken the plunge.

Leo Walton: Well, I mean, look, someone said to me, you know, you picked possibly the best time to do it because, you know, your partner had just been through six months of lockdown - one of the worst years of all time and, pretty much, just me to hang out with for six months. So, you know, I think, you know, you’ve got to pick your moment, right? You’ve got to pick your moment.

Michael Ros: The best, as ever. Yeah.

Leo Walton: Yeah. No, it's true. But thanks.

We're very excited about it. We're thinking to-- we're going to do something small COVID‑compliant in the spring. And then, probably, have a big party in 18 months’ time, where I fully expect to see Michael Goldin dancing on tables till two to three o'clock in the morning.

I don't know about you guys, but I just think there's going to be a collective rush to just party so hard. And I don't know if it's going to come next year, or if it's going to come the year after, but I just think whoever gets married or who has a christening, or a Bar Mitzvah, who even knows, right? I think they're just going to be some wild and way long overdue social gatherings.

Michael Ros: For sure.

Wil Slickers: Couldn't agree more. Could not agree more, I think it’s going to be--

Michael Ros: [crosstalk] smiling, when you said wild party, I saw the biggest smile so far, for today. So, I think we're all looking at some events, and just having a drink, and enjoy, right, and not have this constant fear. I think we are looking for this a lot.

Leo Walton: Yeah,I think that's it. I mean, you know, we're seeing it in our sector, right? You know, there's a lot of pent up energy around coming and having trips. You know, all our businesses are the same as hotels and short‑term rentals.

You know, I don't know about you guys but every conversation I have with someone else on Zoom, which is just so boring now, speaking to your relatives in the evening. Sorry, if any of my relatives are listening but it is. It was, “Oh, my god, I can't wait to go. I can't wait to come to-- you know, I can't wait to come to Europe, or I can't wait to go to Italy.” And, you know, we just know there's going to be this complete explosion. And its kind of leads me on to say that, you know-- and Michael knows this, but, Wil, I've actually never been to the United States of America, unbelievably.

Wil Slickers: Wow. Okay, we’ve got to change that. We’ve got to change that. Once everything opens up, you're welcome. I'll bring you over to Seattle.

Leo Walton: Well, this is my way--

Michael Ros: [crosstalk]far away. It will be fun.

Leo Walton: Yeah.

Leo Walton: Yeah. Well, this is my way of saying, Wil, Michael, can you guys put me up for free? You know, I'll sleep on your couch. You might want to. You know, yeah.

Michael Goldin: Yeah, I've got a couch right here [laughter].

Wil Slickers: Yeah. No, that's awesome.

Well, I wanted to like just to bring you--so, we're talking about like parties and the pent up like, building of, you know, travel and stuff. And so like, obviously NoiseAware with, you know, noise detection and sound monitoring.

Well, let's just jump into what GuardHog really is and what you guys do because I think there's a good correlation there between, you know, NoiseAware, and GuardHog, and SuperHog and all the stuff that you guys are doing in the vacation rental space and how that kind of plays into the partying and all that good stuff.

Leo Walton: Yeah, it does. It does, for sure. Thanks.

And again, I have the I have the great fortune of getting to spend a lot of time with Michael Goldin because our businesses definitely overlap. We see risk in the short‑term rental industry as being our business, right. And we got technologies in the risk mitigation business. How can we make home sharing transaction safer for our property management partners, for our hosts, and for our guests? So, you know, the COVID house party phenomenon has shown that actually the risk that everyone talks about, the headline risk, is parties. And also, you know, beyond that, there's a risk of personal injury in homes. And these properties aren't set up for personal injury claims, just on normal home insurance. So that's, I think, where the two come in is that there's an extreme party risk which is definitely where some of the tech that we've built is trying to get ahead of that. And then, obviously, where Michael's business is, where NoiseAware is. And then, there is, actually, the liability which is the big one. And, you know, both of those things, I think, have been increased during COVID times especially because people are drinking more. The club is now the Airbnb. It's now the booking.com, Expedia, you know. You know, people are people not able to go out and let their hair down so they're kind of doing it behind closed doors.

And Guardhog Tech started like about four years ago. My sort of romance with the short‑term rental industry goes back a bit further to 2012. I was part of the team that helped build and grow and sell onefinestay. So, I kind of knew instantly, joining Guardhog, where we needed to be in terms of making sure we were dealing with risk. But we see our principal focus as being a protection, so that means paying out claims for damage and liability.

But then, also, just removing risk factors in the first place. So, partnering with people like NoiseAware and also creating our own tools, which is Superhog, to make sure we can reduce the risk by basically getting all guests to go through an ID verification and database check before they book to make sure that they're not problem guests that’s had a party, or caused deliberate damage, or trashed a vacation rental place before they come. And that's what our Superhog product does.

So, Guardhog Tech is the company that sits above it. That's the insurance, the risk management. Superhog is the product. The idea being that we can help property managers and direct hosts get ahead of things by saying, “Don't take this guest because they had a party in Atlanta and they're coming to do the same thing in New York, so reject the booking.”

Wil Slickers: So, is that guest-- is that Michael Goldin, the one in Atlanta to New York? Was that him?

Leo Walton: I can't possibly say, Wil. I wouldn't want to-- you know, I think I've been told to sign something, so I don't tell stories, but yeah, yeah [laughs].

Wil Slickers: Okay. Well, I was going to say you were talking about him dancing on tables until 2:00 a.m. so I figured that would be party--

Michael Goldin: I’ve never been to New York or Atlanta, so you don't know [laughter].

Wil Slickers: That’s true.

Michael Goldin: Maybe the technology does.

Yeah, basically, Leo and I see it is how our products fit in together with one another, they can do the guest screening on the front side of the booking before the guests arrives. It's not 100% certain you're going to catch the person trying to throw a party or even it just gets too drunk and makes decisions that they wouldn't normally make. And that's where NoiseAware comes in, is we're actually able to monitor the booking, while the booking’s in your property. And if that guests doesn't comply with rules, or the property manager reaching out to the guests, even when they know something's happening, where they don't get out to the property fast enough, if this party went from zero to 100 because they’ve brought the club back with them. Then, that's where their insurance piece comes in and they're able to cover any damage that might happen. So, it really covers the booking from start to finish.

Wil Slickers: Yeah. That’s good.

Leo Walton: And I've kind of talked about already, you know, we're seeing that COVID’s changed how people travel. So, you know, people are making their bookings very last minute which, you know, makes everybody nervous. You know, slightly different, I think, for you, Michael Ros, Bidroom, but, you know, it certainly makes vacation rental people nervous when they see a last minute booking because there isn't that sort of check‑in presence, so there isn't someone to like, you know, check your bags, take a picture of your passport on site.

And, you know, as a business, as a vacation rental management business or a direct host, we're in uncharted territory, I think, because the time I've been in the industry, I don't think the guest has ever been the commodity. I think, actually, vacation rental managers and hosts have been desperate for properties. And now you have to look after that guest because suddenly, with this really acute situation over the last six months, you don't want to lose that guest. So, you want to take that last‑minute booking.

And you may even be coming from a more localized source. So, that's also another potential risk factor is that if you might be staying in New York but actually living on living in Long Island-- I completely made that up, but there you go, you know. And then, a vacation rental manager traditionally might have looked at that and gone, “Hold on a minute. They're only coming 80 miles into town, that seems a bit scary. Why are they traveling in such a short amount of time? Is it for a party?” So, you know, with all those things happening, you have to have technology and devices like Michael’s and an insurance to make sure that you know which are the right bookings to take and you can mitigate risks but still take bookings to make sure you make money.

Michael Ros: But do you use a lot of pricing strategies? So, I don't know if you have this? So, you're creating kind of probes of people and say, “Okay, I know this is a good guest for a while, where he booked, whatever, X many times already and there was always [inaudible 00:18:53] case. So, can you do revenue management based on the profile or more on the potential risk?

Michael Goldin: I'll take this one.

So, yes and no. I mean, you're not changing the price of the booking because they've already booked it, but you might insert a or something.

Michael Ros: Yeah. Well, you would say yeah. And the booking I get. But you would say, for example, when you're creating loyalty, you could think about loyalty opposite, right? And this is still reviewing hotels or properties. We get to come in with the other-- I'm still curious why properties don't review the guests. So, when you have like a specific profile or whatever, it could be on our platform or whatever, even on Airbnb’s. Okay, this guest always was taking care of the property, etc. So, you create kind of a batch or level. Okay, if you're reaching this kind of level, you’re getting a discount or you’re saving because you prefer that those people in your property. It could be also a batch, for example-- like, for example, when you don't waste all the towels or whatever. So, you’re getting kind of a green badge because it then gives you something extra, a few extra points of loyalty. I'm just thinking, how can you use this data, for example, so just to drive a specific group of people based on pricing or whatever to your property, if we're looking at vacation rental?

Of course, the privacy thing, but on the other hand, you would say, “I will do everything to leave this property like bit clean or keep it-- take care of it because, you know, next time I could get another property maybe for a better price.”

Leo Walton: Michael, I think it's great. I think we always try and encourage our partners to put offers on Superhog as well, you know, to incentivize those guests that are Superhog members because like you should definitely be rewarded.

But I think the more general point around loyalty is we, as an industry, people within the industry, need to do more also to feel safer with direct bookings. And knowing your guest has been verified, or is known to us, or you've contacted them and you've made an effort to turn them into a repeat guest means you then can start to discount them as well because you're moving them off platform. So, for property managers, that's also another way of doing it. But yes, you're quite right. When it comes to sort of being able to give people the benefit of our learning then we always encourage people to sort of make offers available to people because quite right like, you know, if you've stayed five times, and you've been the model guest, and you haven't stolen the towels then you deserve that towel money back.

Michael Ros: Yeah.

Wil Slickers: Yeah. Well, I was going to say, like the previous--

Michael Ros: --people think it may be some more serious, you know, that some people, when they go to a property or in the hotel, they're making a mess, right? They think, “It will be cleaned anyway and there is no difference.” And maybe when they see a difference later in their pockets, when they’re getting a discount, because they are creating more loyalty points. It could be anything, right? It could be also that, in the hotel, we're looking at this industry. That's okay, I incentivize, for example, the guest took care of it. Didn’t use all the towels, I give them some extra loyalty points. But how can you incentivize behavior of people during their stay?

Michael Goldin: Yeah, it's interesting. I think it's a lot easier to do in hotels than it is in rentals. You know, if I stay at the Marriott, nine times out of 10, I stay in the Marriott I'm traveling for work, and I'm there for a night or two. I'm not making a mess. I'm not staying for a long period. I don't have four people packed into the room.

But 50/50, when I'm in a rental, I'm either traveling for work, or I'm traveling with friends or family. And, you know, I'm usually the one that books it because everyone, you know, assumes that I need to be the one that books it because I'm in the industry. I like to take the opposite stance. I try not to be the one that books it. But depending on the group and what you're traveling for, and how long you're there, like one side of my family is terribly messy and I don't want to be dinged for the rest of my, you know, 10 people that are staying in the house that aren't as clean as I am. And that's where it gets a lot more challenging in the rental side than on the hotel side.

Wil Slickers: I was going to say, I was like a previous hotel manager, we're so used to those like last minute bookings but like I know, when I walk into the day, we have, you know, 20 arrivals, that can change anytime. That will go up to like 50, you know? And so, with vacation rental management like that, that mindset or that like understanding, for me, like shifting into vacation rentals wasn't like being like, “Oh, we're getting a booking tomorrow.” Like, all these questions and concerns and like red flags that people, vacation rental managers, that haven't been hotel side weren't red flags to me because, at the end of the day, like I'm used to all that. So, it’s interesting to see how like vacation rental managers are actually looking at all this stuff as in-- if it's within 48 hours, it's kind of concerning. When, in reality, I think like as, you know, COVID, like we said, has sped a lot of things up and we talked about flexibility and all this other stuff. I think we're going to see that to be, you know, a very common thing, like people are just going to say, “You know what? This is going to become a very good like hybrid model, like hotel‑style transactions and booking like patterns.” To me, that just is how I see it, from being on the hotel side and vacation rental side, but I'm kind of a--

Michael Goldin: Yeah, maybe a question for you, Wil and Ros. The booking window has compressed by many, many weeks in short‑term rentals. When people are in rentals, they're printing out three or four weeks in advance, historically. Now, you know, eight out of 10 bookings are coming within a seven‑day period. Has the booking pattern changed much in hotels? Do you guys know?

Michael Ros: Yeah, a lot. We saw, before, it was like people were booking in average like months, I think it was two months up front. We saw a lot of people booking. And now, a lot like just talk about one year ago, right? Do you even see what’s happening now? Everything is so last minute. It's all flexible. You just cancel. People are just booking multiple properties, multiple places. It's changing a bit. So, your booking behavior will change, I mentioned already in previous episode, like you see the length of stays changing. So, if people traveling actually made a move somewhere else, you can see they just also want to extend their stay as soon. They’ll just say, “This place is good. I'm staying here for a few days, actually, and enjoy it.” You can see they want to stay longer. And this is fine for us. We just don't think of it much in any way. You can deal directly with the hotel or with the with the property owner. That's fine.

But we can see this as well. So, people first, they’re making maybe first small stay to see, “Is everything good in there?” And then, they extend it for a longer period and they say, “Okay. I want to stay here for the coming weeks because I'm settled here. It's fine. Kids are doing homeschooling, remotely, using Zoom or Teams all day with their with their class. It's fine, we can.” And it's also been nice in that different environment, right? People want to be somewhere else. So, you still see that people travel but it's just-- of course, is the booking window, yeah, it's last minute, for sure.

Wil Slickers: I'm even doing the same thing with vacation rentals. I mean, you know, the girlfriend and her family wanted to go to Leavenworth for the weekend. So, like we're, you know, randomly just picking up last minute, days and times to go do these things.

So, yeah, like hotels is constant. Like it's never been for me. I've always been like there's always those spur the minute trips, as a traveler, you're going to see. But going to the vacation rental side, too, I think like, you know, I always counted on Airbnb and we're like, “Alright, we're going to go for this day.” And I'm seeing a lot more properties even now except like one‑night stays. There was a lot of like, “Oh, we only do two‑night minimum or whatever.” But now it's like, “Hey, we'll take anything, come in for the night.” They're starting to let their guard down a little bit. But it's been interesting to watch. It’s like both being in the industry and a consumer.

But, actually, they had a question regarding for Leo and Goldin. For this like pent up, like party, you know, anticipation, right, that we're expecting, I think like, what-- are you guys expecting or like predicting anything for like when, like vaccine is open, or like the government is like, “All right. We're opening up. We're going back to normal in the sense of, you know, not having to stay at home and be locked down.” Are you guys expecting like a big, I guess, anticipation or even, I guess, a big amount of activity going on in the industry? Like, are we even prepared for that? That's why I'm like wondering, as like in the industry, are we prepared for these millions of people that are locked down and like--? I know people that haven't left for like nine months, like they've been at home and like maybe they've gone to like the grocery store. So, I'm like, I'm curious to see.

Michael Goldin: So, are we prepared? I would say customers of Leo's and ours are much better prepared than others.

Wil Slickers: Yeah.

Michael Goldin: We saw, after the first lift of the lockdowns over the summer, like a 300X of noise events - problematic noise events happening. And year over year, the amount of parties was like almost 50% increase which is a decent chunk, but that's not even a full lift of lockdowns. And that's not even with everybody feeling comfortable.

So, we have started to see a little bit of a dip in the noise events. It really started September‑October which is historically very slow season in almost every market. But I'm super curious to see what New Year's looks like this year. I think, by New Year's, people are pretty much either had it or just ready to let loose and have a good reason, a good excuse, to do so. And then, once the vaccine comes out, yeah, I mean, you'll see people who haven't traveled in nine months, who typically take two or three trips a year, who have now a lot more money in their pocket because they've been saving it just doing things that they wouldn't-- may not have normally been doing because they just feel the need to let loose so bad.

Wil Slickers: Yeah. Leo, are you guys seeing a lot on your end?

Leo Walton: Yeah, similar. You will be surprised to hear, you know, when we got a summer off, so to speak, you know, the glorious days of July when we could, you know, sit inside places. Well, we definitely saw a huge jump in bookings. And then, a huge jump in attempted claims and issues that we had to get involved in - people getting carried away because, again, there's this thing of Yes, there's-- the flashpoint has been party-- lockdown parties for Airbnb but the volume hasn't been there for anyone. So, like-- they’re like-- and I think I said it earlier, those people are saying, “Look, I can't wait to be-- I don't know. I'm going to get a group of my friends together. We haven't gotten a group holiday in three years and we're going to rent a villa in Ibiza. And we're going to let loose because we haven't party together for a couple of years.” And that is going to come with a lot of accidental damage. It's going to come with a lot of liability claims, when people trip over, slip and, you know, generally using properties in a way that they weren't designed to be used.

And I think, yeah, collectively, I mean beyond vacation rentals, I think we are going to see, collectively, a big reaction and people are just going to love having their freedom back. We're so not used to being in chains as people that, you know, we've all just adapted.

But, you know, sure, but what's the positive side of it? Well, like always, I hear from everyone, the positive side is that I've got my savings in order. The positive side is, I'm always on top of my washing. Well, I’ll tell you what, isn't going to cut it. As soon as we're allowed to go out and have some fun, that's not going to cut it. People are going to be like, “I want to spend this money. And I want to catch up with my friends I haven't seen properly.” And, you know, we all don't know what it's like now to have freedom taken away from us. So, you know, we know it might happen again. We know it might happen in two, three, four, five years so we're going to make hay while the sun shines.

So, yes, it's going to come undoubtedly, and it's going to be welcome because that means bookings. So that's the thing about this. It’s like I'm certainly not the fun police, you know. Like, I want the bookings to happen. I just want to make sure that there is this sense of community, which is what home sharing is all about is, is the fact that people respect the fact they're in other people's homes. And there's ways that you can do that by making them do ID verification, and certification, and, you know, join your club. There's ways to keep them in line through a NoiseAware box, just reminding them that maybe that the noise has gone a bit high. Like, there's things we can do to make the whole thing safer and make sure that everyone's having fun in logical ways. But, again, it's making sure that people realize that the heart of vacation rental is staying in another person's space, whether that be managed by a manager or through a direct host, to the point where they shouldn't be trashing it.

And it goes for hotels, too, right? Michael, it’s the same thing, isn’t it?

Michael Goldin: Yeah.

Leo Walton: You know, you just want people to be respectful. So, we want it to happen because we want the volume, but we just want it to happen in a safe way.

Michael Ros: Well, I'm curious, because, of course, one of the most things people decide now is the safety. But there's also, of course, is like the people who stayed before you, they were not like having a [inaudible 00:32:03] party there or they were in [inaudible 00:32:05], or they had Corona before, so maybe they touched everything and etc. So, this is still-- of course, you also have some initiative of temperature checks and everything before you arrive into the vacation rental property, etc. You think-- there will be, of course, noise and everything can be measured. I'm just thinking, how are you going to adapt, for example, or just check, for example, the good temperature? Are you going check the people staying there, are there-- where they stayed, they didn't have Corona, the people that stayed before you, because that's, I think, holding other people, right? When I'm talking to my wife, she would go somewhere, even renting something, she want to clean everything because maybe the people before, in this case, they might be had COVID. So, is there something else in place? Like, okay, how you can reduce this risk?

Michael Goldin: Yeah, I think there's two ways of doing it. One, a lot of managers are already building in an extra day for their turns because extra cleaning. And then, another simple thing that I've heard some people doing is leaving a box of Lysol out and letting, if the guests you know, have high touch surfaces and you don't know if-- and you want to make sure 100% that it's been cleaned, “Here you go. Like, it's been cleaned but, to put your mind at ease, feel free to use this.”

Wil Slickers: Yeah. And it just comes like-- I think, Leo, when we were talking, prior to this episode going live was, you know, we talked about trust and safety. And I think we talked about, you know, barrier to entry being a little bit higher with just, you know, verifying ID. Then, of course, as a-- like, I think of my clients like the homeowner themselves, the people that own the asset, right, that we get to use and make a lot of money on. You know, there's a big trust side of things when it comes to, you know, saying we do, you know, verify, and vet our guests properly and use resources like Superhog and NoiseAware in the property and this. Like, we have all these certain barriers in there.

And then, of course, now, like we saw in the very beginning, you know, March, April and end of May, vacation rentals, not like only hotels, like Hilton did their super clean, you know, like verification, like seal on the door, like where it's like, you know, you’ve just now opened it and it's-- you know, you're the first one to enter since housekeeping left. And we're seeing vacation rentals really do that. Like Michael was just saying, you know, doing extra stuff, adding a day between bookings and then, of course, for your own safety and comfort as a guest to say, you know, “Here's Lysol just in case you really just want to have that peace of mind for yourself.” Which then, again, goes back to the same topic that we bring up all the time is flexibility, and comfort, and safety. I think they all kind of tie together. If you had a thread and you put all those words in line, you could really connect them with just understanding that trust, safety and then, of course, peace of mind they all kind of play together with flexibility for the guests and for the client who actually owns the asset, whether it's the vacation rental company or the actual homeowner.

Leo Walton: I think that's completely right, Wil. It's making sure that you're doing enough, as a business, to make your host feel comfortable, to making sure you're doing enough to make your guest feel comfortable and that you are taking your responsibility seriously. In 2019, that wasn't COVID, that was, you know, just parties and things like that. Now, COVID is an extra element of that.

Yes, it needs to be something I know, there's some good businesses in the space helping people write cleaning checklists, and protocols, and things of that nature. I think all of that is really, really necessary because yes, it's all about, if you are a property manager, especially you're the point in between guests and hosts, so you're trying to make both of them feel really comfortable. Because a comfortable host unlocks new supply and new supply opportunities in growth areas, supply acquisition. Traditionally, always the biggest hurdle for any growing property management company. And then, yeah, as you say, making sure that guests feels comfortable. That sort of seal of, “Okay, this is this is approved. And I know this listing is real. I know that the host isn't-- I'm not going to turn up and the host isn't going to say, “Actually, it's a container ship outside the back.” You're in the freight.

You know, It's all part of the same game and it builds authenticity. And that's what all of this stuff’s about - building authenticity and building professionalism on both sides.

Michael Ros: I agree.

Wil Slickers: I agree.

Awesome. Well, we're getting to that that time in the episode where we wrap things up. We throw out any, you know, shameless shout out plugs of, you know, upcoming events or, you know, stuff like that.

So, Leo, I'll let you take the lead on this one. And I want to show this for the audience. You know, this awesome Christmas version of Guardhog logo just because I think it's great.

But, Leo, we’ll let you take lead. What's going on with Guardhog? Like coming out in, you know, we're getting close to like the New Year, and Christmas, and all that good stuff. So, I'll let you go ahead and take the microphone from there.

Leo Walton: Thanks. Thanks, Wil.

Yeah. So, I'd say we know it's been a rubbish year to say the least. So, we're offering £10,000 which is, in today's money, about $13,000. Although, who knows, when we finally leave the European Union, that catastrophic error, it might be $20,000, who knows. But assuming we're all well there, we've got £10,000 pounds in our promotion called Boost 2020 to offer to property management companies, to give them a hand, getting back on their feet after COVID. So, you know, basically we're just looking for people to email us and tell us why they think their business is worthy of getting the boost. I think there's also some smaller packages as well that you can get. So, the big prize is 10 k, but there's some smaller ones, too.

And look, we just want to hear from you. We know it's been a bad year. And we've got this budget to give away as a prize. So, we're really happy to do that.

And then, another thing we're doing as well, just to make things a little bit easier, right up until the 31st of March, we're going to offer anyone who joined Superhog, the first 60 days of membership is free. That's for direct host or for a property manager. So, they're my shameless plugs.

Wil Slickers: That’s awesome. Awesome.

I'll let you take it away, Michael, from NoiseAware.

Michael Goldin: Yeah. So, we're coming off of a record Black Friday for NoiseAware and rolling into Cyber Monday. And it's already off to the races which is really good to see. And now's the perfect time to get it right before New Year's, especially--

Wil Slickers: Yeah, yeah.

Michael Goldin: --alluded to earlier. So, it's historically one of our best weekend's and it's certainly proven that again, this year.

Wil Slickers: Woo! Awesome.

And, Ros?

Michael Ros: Perfect. Well, I think I always say that, Bidroom, we are the good guys in the industry, helping everybody but Leo seems to be a good guy as well and very funny.

So, I think it's nice. We’ll just see.

I just shared last time already a promo code. I think it's still [inaudible 00:39:27]. So, people who don't have a Bidroom membership and they want to travel again. And yes, we also have vacation rentals and hotels. We have it all. MRFP20. So, you can still use this promo code till-- I think, till today, so be quick. I will just I will just extend it for a week, so people just listening a few days late, no worries. MRFP20. So, free membership for Bidroom.

But, yeah, I think it was a nice episode. Great.

Leo, thanks for joining. And, yeah, let's stay in contact.

I will apply for the 10K or I can't apply for it? [laughter]

Leo Walton: If you write a good enough case, I'll consider it. So, let’s hear it.

Michael Ros: Thank you, guys.

Wil Slickers: Awesome.

Well, thank you guys for, you know, obviously, taking the time on this awesome Monday.

Thank you, Leo for being on the show and just talking about all the things Guardhog. You guys are great. Love working with you guys.

And, yeah, we'll see you guys next week.

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