Scaling a Content Marketing Agency focused on Vacation Rentals with SPP
This is a case study about Guest Hook, a business acquired by Conrad O’Connell in 2020. With 5+ years’ experience in the vacation rental business, Conrad turned his data-driven approach into a new skill: helping vacation rental owners maximize their profits. Read below how he came across SPP, and how he uses its features in his day-to-day business.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how Guest Hook came to be?
Guest Hook is a specialized copywriting and marketing agency focused on the short-term (vacation) rental industry. We serve both property hosts/owners and managers. Guest Hook was founded in 2015, but acquired by me in 2020. You can read more about that decision in our company update here.
What made you focus on the vacation rental business?
The growth of the vacation rental (VR) industry was a deciding factor. We also have a burning desire to promote awesome vacations. The though of being able to help hosts and managers made choosing VR an easy choice. On top of that, it’s a fast growing industry that has lots of potential for everyone involved.
To give you a better idea of what we do, here’s a short explanation: we work with both vacation rental managers and hosts. A host basically manages units for others as a service. Many owners simply don’t have the time to do it themselves, or they own many units, so it becomes a big task. All of them need help making their listing earn more attention on listing sites like Airbnb and Vrbo. With our experience, we’re able to optimize the listings to catch the attention of anyone looking to go on holiday.
How did you find out about SPP, and what made you switch to our solution?
We actually used SPP as a customer first with a totally different service and thought the experience was simple and easy to use. When it came time for us to pick a better way to manage our orders, we explored the SPP website and found it was a good fit.
Which tools were you previously using before you migrated to SPP?
Our most popular services were done through a few SaaS tools with Gravity Forms on the front-end. Everything worked “just OK” but keeping things in easy communication was hard. SPP solved those issues and problems for us.
Has COVID–19 had an impact on your business, and were you able to overcome it?
Yes, it has, many hosts and vacation rental managers had a very tough time to start 2020 – many losing thousands of dollars in bookings and lost reservations they couldn’t get back. The latter part of 2020 helped turn things around for many of our clients and the start of 2021 has shown excellent demand.
Which SPP features are you making use of on your website, and which ones couldn’t you live without?
We’re using the custom order forms, the checkout forms, and the support ticket system. If you take a look at our website, we’ve invested a good amount of time to come up with a good UX for existing and new clients.
For instance, we’ve embedded a simple form to capture leads on our contact page. Below it, we make it easy to place an order if you are an existing client, or create a support ticket. We also have multiple links to the client portal login page. Many business owners are so focused on lead conversion that their websites are cumbersome to use for existing clients.
We’ve really come to appreciate the easiness of implementing order forms. On our property descriptions page, leads can order the desired service with a click on the “Order Now” button, which leads them to the order form.
Another thing we are fond of is the opportunity to upsell right inside the order form. Someone interested in vacation rental descriptions might also need a fresh new bio for their profile, or a welcome email written.
Lastly, we use the helpdesk module to reach out to our clients, and keep certain aspects of our business separate from orders.
Are you using any integrations, and if so, can you share a few of your automations?
Yes we are, we’ve used Zapier to set up a custom text order alert for our team so we can hop on orders right away.
We’ve also set up an integration with MailChimp so new customers can get an onboarding and educational experience. SPP makes connecting to those platforms directly or through Zapier a breeze.
Are you the host or manager of a vacation rental property looking to optimize your listings? In that case, reach out to Guest Hook to help you optimize them. Their blog also holds helpful information on how to run your vacation rental as a business, and more. If you want to start your own agency, read our post on how to start a content creation company.