Season three of the Secret Sauce Podcast has arrived. This time Vanessa de Souza Lage CMO of Rentals United will be interviewing short-term rental property managers from across the world to discuss their built-up expertise, experiences and know-how. 

From them you will hear how they persevered through the global pandemic, how they managed to attract new traveller personas, what their strategies are now, their outlook for the future and many more insights.  

Each week we will be releasing a new interview with property managers of all sizes from across the globe. So make sure to subscribe to either our YouTube channel or find us on Anchor so you don’t miss out on their juicy secret sauce!  

For a taste of what’s to come, below are three inspiring stories about property managers from different parts of the world. Against all odds, each one of them has been able to get creative and find opportunities in these times of low demand.

secret sauce property managers

1. Stay Comó – Nashville, TN, USA

Travers Xanthos is the founder of Stay Comó in Nashville, Tennessee. He started his business just over three years ago and now manages 30 properties. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early spring, Travers saw his revenue drastically decrease from $120,000 to $8,000 within four days. Needing to cover expenses and recover some of his lost revenue, he decided to target new audiences.

Travers created medreliefhousing.com, providing housing for visiting doctors, nurses and medical staff. While this plan was forward-thinking, it was not enough to keep him from losing money. 

Hoping to find a new guest segment, Travers started promoting his properties on Facebook Marketplace and other rental platforms, where he finally found his niche opportunity…

Construction workers! As construction projects had continued to operate during the lockdowns, there were many workers still looking for short-term housing. Travers began handing out flyers at construction sites as well as offering referral bonuses to construction workers to get the word out there.

Travers was able to balance his bookings between medical staff, construction workers and other mid-term guests across his portfolio of properties. With his new found niche client segment, it bolstered his booking calendar and brought him back to breaking even. 

Due to the success of his new client base, Travers is planning to utilise his new found business plan during future low seasons, as well as expand into other locations that are not typically high profit short-term rental markets. 

If you are interested in learning more about Travers, you can listen to the full interview in the most recent Secret Sauce Podcast episode here

secret sauce property managers

2. Cinque Terre Riviera Property Management – Cinque Terre, Italy

Perched on Italy’s Ligurian coast, the five villages that make up Cinque Terre (Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso) remain miraculously unspoilt. With terraced vineyards, craggy cliffs and panoramic footpaths, it is a scenic destination popular with American and Australian tourists in particular. 

Miriana Rovaron is the co-founder of Cinque Terre Riviera property management. Although beautiful, she says typically Cinque Terre isn’t known for attracting domestic Italian tourists, and typically draws travellers from outside the EU. This meant once lockdown hit, Miriana’s approach changed to target international expats (in particular Americans) who lived in Italy, or expats that lived across Europe. 

This summer, she hosted guests from the military, navy, army as well as employees of the United Nations. She also hosted expats working at other international organisations who live in Italy and those who lived in other European countries close by.  

This new client segment that Miriana was able to capture was not only a great opportunity for her to expand her potential audience, but has also created future and repeat customers. 

Typically Americans and Australians book their travel way in advance, therefore limiting the availability for Europeans and Italians to book trips. A positive that has come from the border restrictions is that it has given domestic travelers the opportunity to discover a typically “touristic” area as well as further expanding Cinque Terre Riviera’s potential customer base in the future.

Miriana says: “Despite COVID and previsions of having lots of Italians, foreign countries still provided a huge slice of our market this summer. The number of Italians grew but mostly in mid-August. So, I dare say still for this season 60% of guests from foreign countries and 40% from Italy.

If you would like to know more about Cinque Terre Riviera you can read the full case study here

3. Valcambre – Seville, Spain

Valcambre is a property management company created by three brothers, Carlos, Isaias and Nacho Rodriguezin, in 2016. With 100 properties all located in Seville, and currently in the process of expanding out to Cadiz, their goal was to offer vacation rentals to travellers from across the globe. 

Once borders closed and the strict Spanish lockdown began, it not only hampered their business, but also stranded travellers and forced many tourists to postpone or cancel their trips to Spain. This left Valcambre with many vacant rentals over the three month lockdown.  

As the lockdown restrictions eased up and people were once again able to travel, the brothers decided they needed to figure out how best to fill their empty vacation rentals.  

While mid-term rentals had been working for them, they also discovered that Amazon was opening a new logistics center right outside of the city, and it would be providing more than one thousand permanent jobs. Therefore, employees would be needing housing. Valcambre proactively sought out the Amazon human resources department to offer their services.

Due to the super location, Valcambre has also found other niche markets in the form of film and music companies. With the likes of Casa de Papel and Maestranza, they have been housing actors, musicians and film crews over the course of their productions.

You can read more about the Valcambre you can read the full case study here

secret sauce property managers

More stories to come on the Secret Sauce Podcast

These are but a few stories of the hundreds out there. Surviving through a pandemic was a new experience that all property managers had to face; indeed, it’s a whole new world and way of living to which we’ve all had to adjust. 

If you want to know about how other property managers coped with the transition, subscribe to the Secret Sauce Podcast: Season Three. It’s packed with expert advice, insider tips and upcoming trends! It is the only resource you need if you want to emulate their secret recipe and optimise your properties. 

We hope their learnings help you think differently about your business and if you are interested in reaching new traveller segments check out these channels too.