GLOBAL SHORT RENTALS

Interview with Naveen Sharma, member of the founding team at Lodgify

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What does your startup do?

Our startup is dedicated to develop innovative and affordable technology for vacation rental (VR) owners and property managers around the world, helping them grow their accommodation business.

Lodgify is our brand new Software-as-a-Service solution that allows VR operators to create their own mobile-friendly website. In addition, it provides them with a Booking and Reservation System (integrated with PayPal and Stripe), and a Channel Manager which automatically synchronizes calendar and reservation data with listings that they may have on external vacation rental portals.

navlodgify

What problem does it solve?

It essentially simplifies the management of your vacation rental business. Firstly, Lodgify easily allows you to easily create a professional website with a “Book now” function, which means you can start accepting credit card payments online, without paying any commission. The entire booking process is automated, i.e., calculation of booking value, online credit card payment, email notifications to owner and renter, correspondence tracking, update of availability calendars to avoid double bookings, etc.

Secondly, with Lodgify’s Reservation System you can easily manage availability data, rates, reservations and reviews, no matter whether you have 1 or 100+ properties. Finally, what makes Lodgify a complete solution, is that the Channel Manager makes sure that your marketing channels are always up-to-date and in sync.

How did you come up with the idea?

A few years ago, our parents had asked us to help them rent out their vacation properties, as they were finding it hard and time consuming to manage the business. We searched for an easy-to-use solution that covered our parents’ needs. However, we just couldn’t find one which suited all our needs. So we simply decided to build the software ourselves. We figured that our parents weren’t the only ones facing these challenges, and realized that this software of ours would help others as well.

What challenges did you have to overcome when creating the product and what challenges do you see in the future of this industry?

I think the greatest challenge was developing a so-called “all-in-one marketing solution” – meaning that we needed to address all the important needs of vacation rental owners. It took a lot of brainpower, coffee and dedication to address all those specific needs, add them into one single solution, and evolve the product according to the changing customer requirements. Even after we have launched the product, we are spending a lot of time listening to our customers, adding and innovating functions and features that they require. And that is also the key for any future challenges that the industry may pose – staying on top of needs of future owners and travellers.

What does Lodgify offer that other pages don’t?

Firstly I believe that we deliver outstanding website design. By focusing on the design we are trying to bring a more fresh approach to the industry. Our solution and user interface is also very intuitive, making it easy and quick for our customers to use. And by implementing state-of-the art technology, we are offering the most affordable solution compared to other service providers.

More specifically, we differentiate to other services by offering features like: numerous mobile-friendly website templates to choose from, a custom page builder, 10+ languages for your website and a “book now” function. Finally, we are even making our backend system available in 5 languages this month (Spanish, Italian, French, German and English).

How do you expect it to grow?

We’ve had a very exciting time and some great press coverage since we launched, and are experiencing increasing customer growth. More importantly though, we have been receiving some very positive and motivating feedback. We feel that we are in a good position to grow with the evolving vacation rental industry.

Why should listing sites such as Only-apartments join Lodgify?

Most vacation rental or apartment owners will not exclusively list on solely one vacation rental portal. They will diversify their marketing efforts and promote their property through various channels. This, however, becomes very time-consuming as you need to manage all listings (i.e. keep availability info and rates up-to-date and in sync) and manage the incoming reservations from these multiple sources separately. Listing sites that integrate with Lodgify allow our customers to centrally manage, coordinate and update all their listings from one place. The huge benefit is: consistent and updated information across all channels, and no double bookings. And that is to the benefit of everyone – especially the owner and traveller.

Why should our owners join Lodgify?

The vacation rental marketplace has become increasingly competitive and that is why nowadays it is essential to have your own vacation rental website. It does not just expand your marketing capacity and increase your occupancy rates, but it also gives your property a brand and much more credibility.

Lodgify-logo

The benefit that property owners with listings on Only-apartments would have is that they can already quickly update their availability calendars via exporting their website calendar via a so called “iCal feed” to Only-apartments or vice versa. We have general instructions in our Knowledge Base, and the Only-apartments team can advise as well: http://support.lodgify.com/solution/articles/99683-export-your-calendar-to-external-listing-sites

And once Lodgify fully integrates with Only-apartments, property owners will be able to have their availability calendars synchronized automatically, potentially including other information too, such as Rates, Reviews, etc.

How can pages like Lodgify and listing sites coexist in the future?

Solutions like Lodgify and listing sites such as Only-apartments will continue to complement each other in the future. Many major listing sites have started opening their system to host software like us, as they have recognized the fact that owners need to promote their property via various marketing channels in order to diversify their efforts, and at the same time require a tool that simplifies the management of it all. It’s a win-win for all involved players and, ultimately the key in delivering an outstanding experience to the traveller/end-customer.

How do you picture the vacation rental business to be in the near future (2-5 years)?

The vacation rental market is the fastest growing sector in the tourism industry. And trends are currently indicating that an increasing number of travellers are preferring to stay at vacation rentals or apartments rather than hotels (as they want to enjoy more amenities at a lower cost). Further, giants like Airbnb are bringing new owners and renters into the market, shifting vacation rentals to a more mainstream market. So the industry is set for some major movement and changes over the next few years.

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