The Power of Community in STRs, and other learnings at Host2Host in Portland

Hosts and owners need their communities. This cannot be overstated enough.

Activated and engaged communities are what enabled the short-term rental industry to take off in the first place — cities and towns quite literally opening up their homes to travelers.

Wheelhouse Team witnessed, firsthand, the power of leaning into community and tapping into the minds of other hosts and owners in your area.

This April we were thrilled to join HomeShare PDX in their first ever event: Host2Host Portland, an all-day workshop designed to help empower and educate those running STRs.

It was an amazing, all-day conference where passionate people shared their secrets to success and worked together to improve each other’s businesses and the overall health of the industry.

Sure, we were there to help everyone from first-time hosts to full-fledged Superhosts boost revenue through price optimization. And to teach people about dynamic pricing’s power to unlock the true potential of their listings and hosting efforts.

But we were really there to listen and learn. To hear how individuals in this space are working together to take the short-term rental industry to the next level. And to use that information to continue to advance our product and to pass along findings to our users.

So what were our big learnings from the day and how will they help us move Wheelhouse forward?

Quinn Hubertz and Michael Quinn of Wheelhouse at Host2Host

1. Hosts and owners need more freedom to run their rental business their way. The major booking platforms are increasingly putting a lot of parameters and restrictions on hosts, forcing them to change their businesses to meet the rules of the platform. For example, not all hosts want Instant Booking turned on, but there is clear preference in search results for hosts who use Instant Book.

This flies in the face of the DNA of the industry. This is a space built on creativity and freedom. A space made up of thousands of interesting microbrands in interesting parts of the globe. And when platforms prescribe a certain type of experience, they compromise the uniqueness of those businesses.

What will Wheelhouse do: We are going to work on integrations to help you list on as many channels as you’d like. What integrations would you like to see? Let us know!

2. Hosts and owners need more technology to streamline day-to-day operations and amplify their businesses. As the number of rental businesses grow and as guest expectations evolve from “I’m just renting a room in someone’s house” to “I’m ditching a hotel in favor of this,” the stress on hosts to deliver great experiences goes up.

There’s an increasing number of technologies and platforms and services being offered to hosts. We see this growing ecosystem as a net positive movement for the industry. The good ones enable and empower. And we met a lot of these great companies up in Portland, and we can’t see what comes next.

What will Wheelhouse do: We will continue to build out functionality and collaborations with other great players in this space. What would you like to see? What is your favorite host tool?

3. Hosts and owners are leaving money on the table. At the risk of broken-record status, hosts and owners work so hard and so tirelessly, but many are not capturing the true value of their efforts.

Most hosts and owners are either using 1 to 4 prices a year (which misses a lot of value), are leaning in to Airbnb’s Smart Pricing (which generally recommends lower prices across the board), or are undercutting nearby competition (which artificially drives your listing value down and your surrounding listings’ values down).

Pricing intelligence needs to help restore market value to these marketplaces. Everyone deserves to capture the true value of what they’re doing.

What will Wheelhouse do: We will continue to optimize our models and give you all the settings and tools and data you need to amplify your rental. We will also continue to build out performance dashboards that give you insights into the health of your rental. What would you like to see added to Wheelhouse? What do you need to boost your business?

4. Find MeetUp groups or Facebook groups or any manner of community group in your area. Start hosting your own social gatherings. The more we as a community and industry can share and collaborate, the better off we will be.

What will Wheelhouse do: Work hard to support local communities. Are you a part of a group? How can we help support your group?

Please reach out at hello@usewheelhouse.com with any ideas or thoughts.