Case Study

Multi-site sync and custom development

How a large scale full-service vacation rental management company syncs multiple direct booking sites and customizes its Hostfully Property Management Platform

 

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Philippe Pieri is the co-founder of World Guests Abroad (WGA), an umbrella company that manages three vacation rental brands: Paris For Rent, Paris Luxury Rentals, and Haven In.  All three brands attract reservations through polished direct booking sites and repeat guests, as well as traditional vacation rental distribution channels like Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking.com

Ranging from boutique downtown Paris apartments to luxury flats at the base of the Eiffel Tower, and villas overlooking the Adriatic, WGA’s portfolio of short-term rentals is both large and diversified.  To get around this challenge, WGA uses automation through tech to manage the portfolio and scale it.  Given that all WGA’s co-founders have a background in San Francisco and technology, it’s no surprise that

Before Hostfully

Expansion limited by branding and technology

 

Paris For Rent was founded in 1998, and as the name suggests, manages short-term and vacation rentals in Paris, France.  Like most vacation rental management companies (VRMCs), Paris For Rent started small and paralleled the explosive growth of the industry. Realizing the potential of the luxury rental market, the same co-founders eventually created Paris Luxury Rentals.

Immediately, challenges surrounding the expansion became apparent.  For starters, most property management software (PMS) can only manage one set of portfolios.  On its own, this was an easy obstacle to solve: run each company on its own PMS even though should be centrally managed.  The biggest challenge faced by Philippe and his colleagues surrounded distribution.  Some listings from ParisForRent.com were luxury rentals which meant they should also be listed on ParisLuxuryRentals.com, and vice versa.  At the time, all the vacation rental management platforms’ used closed API which meant that clients couldn’t independently access their booking and management data.  But for Paris For Rent and Paris Luxury Rentals to be managed from one platform, an open API was required to unify both data sets.

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After Hostfully

Open API facilitates multi-site connectivity

 

Through connections in the tech world, Philippe became aware of Hostfully - a San Francisco startup that was offering a Property Management Platform (PMP) built on open API.  Philippe immediately saw the potential: with open API he’d be able to unify both companies as well as centrally manage all properties on one dashboard and management system.

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To secure bookings from ParisForRent.com and ParisLuxuryRentals.com but also sync them with reservations from vacation rental listing sites, WGA created their own direct booking site widget.  With the open API available to WGA, they were able to contract out that work and quickly implement a booking calendar.

parisforrent - booking site widget

As WGA continued to expand its portfolio of properties, so did its software requirements.  But since WGA was using the Hostfully PMP and API, creating custom solutions was relatively straightforward.  Philippe summarizes the joint effort as follows “when we’d come up with a feature request, we’d send Hostfully’s development team an email.  Based on how many other property managers requested the same feature, they’d give us an idea of when it would be released.  However, when it came to niche requirements only we needed, we’d subcontract Hostfully to build a custom integration.”

Here are a few examples of custom integrations unique to WGA built by the Hostfully development team that rely on open API: 

  • Alternative options: When WGA receives a lead for a property already booked, a custom integration recommends other similar properties to the prospective guest.
  • Minimum price: WGA created an integration that overrides ‘Minimum night’ with ‘Minimum price’.  This way guests can still book any reservation length, but still pay the price price of the minimum night stay.
  • Custom tax: The Hostfully PMP automatically adjusts the nightly rate to account for the unique short-term rental tax system in Paris.
  • TinyPNG: Part of WGA’s marketing is to show large high-quality photos on the direct booking site.  This custom integration compresses images to speed up loading speeds on the direct booking sites, but still communicates appropriate resolutions to vacation rental listing platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo
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Bonus

Open API facilitates further growth

 

With Hostfully managing WGA’s entire portfolio on one dashboard, Philippe and his co-founders started looking at expansion.  As Philippe puts it: “The brand names Paris For Rent and Paris Luxury Rentals limited our geographic expansion.  Since we already had two sites running off Hostfully's API, we knew adding a third broader brand wouldn’t be much effort.”  This led WGA acquiring Haven In.  Similar to Paris For Rent and Paris Luxury Rentals, Haven In converts visitors into guests with high-quality images and engaging listings - all managed from the same Hostfully PMP dashboard.  Because of the open API, it’s possible to list properties on one, two or all three sites.

Haven In
Paris For Rent
Paris Luxury Rentals

Going forward, WGA now has a track record of acquiring and bringing to market vacation rental booking sites, all backed by the Hostfully PMP and API.  As Philippe noted: “Now we know that buying a new website and integrating it into our business model quickly is possible.  The barrier has been lowered when it comes to future acquisitions.  With Hostfully and the API, nothing stops us from running two or three more brands”

The Hostfully Advantage

Hostfully's industry-leading and award-winning property management platform (PMP) is built on top of an open API designed by developers for developers.  Customers with Premium accounts can import and export their own vacation rental management data and create powerful custom software solutions unique to their businesses. Philippe and WGA showcase how the Hostfully API and its PMP facilitate multi-site sync. However, the open API can also communicate and exchange:

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Standard and custom amenities

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Custom fees, pricing data

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Guest profiles

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Cleaning jobs and work orders

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Booking leads

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Webhooks

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Local recommendations (includes geodata)

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Guest messaging

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Photos

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House rules

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Reviews

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