221. Taking Your Airbnb Business To the Next Level with Wendy Doris and Amy Corbett

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Sarah Karakaian: [00:00:05] You are listening to the Thanks for Visiting Podcast. We believe hosting with heart is at the core of every short-term rental. With Annette’s background in business operation–

Annette Grant: [00:00:14] And Sarah’s extensive hospitality management and interior design experience, we have welcomed thousands of guests from over 30 countries, earning us over $1,000,000 and garnering us thousands of five-star reviews.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:00:28] We love sharing creative ways for your listing to stand out, serve your guests and be profitable. Each episode, we will have knowledgeable guests who bring value to the short-term rental industry.

Annette Grant: [00:00:39] Or we will share our stories of our own experiences so you can implement actual improvements to your rentals. Whether you’re experienced, new or nervous to start your own short-term rental, we promise you’ll feel right at home. Before we dive into the content, let’s hear a word from our sponsor.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:01:01] Hey. Hey. Welcome back for another great episode. My name is Sarah Karakaian.

Annette Grant: [00:01:05] I am Annette Grant. And together we are–

Both Annette & Sarah: [00:01:07] Thanks for Visiting.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:01:08] We’re going to kick off this episode like we do every week, and that’s sharing one of you, our amazing listeners who’s using our hashtag #STRShareSunday. And if you use our hashtag on Instagram, we are prowling Instagram and we will find you, and then we will share you here in the podcast, in our email list, on Instagram, on all the places where we share our episodes. So, Annette, who are we sharing this week?

Annette Grant: [00:01:30] We are sharing @onwatersedge. Again, that’s @onwatersedge, and they’re in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and they are a cabin and they’re taking the cabin vibes all the way. You know what I mean by this.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:01:45] Even their highlights on Instagram are gingham, different gingham colors. That’s so smart.

Annette Grant: [00:01:51] I don’t think we talk about this enough, so I’m going to tag this. This is an interesting little tidbit on there. But On Waters Edge had guest paint them a beautiful picture while they were on their deck of the water and it looks like it’s like an oil painting and she gifted it to the host. And little did she know the host was actually having a 12-hour brain surgery the same day that this guest was painting this one-of-a-kind picture having an amazing stay. 

So I think this is one of the things that, let’s say you’re on TikTok or Instagram, there’s so much chatter all the time about maybe a guest being messy or not leaving the place as you wanted, but this guest leaving an original piece of art to this host on a day that she really needed it and had no idea what was going on in her world and gifted her that, and so I think Sarah and I talk about this a lot. It’s called elevated reciprocity. 

There are people enjoying your space all the time, making memories that you will never know about. Sometimes you will be in that memory-making with them, but host, I know we’re in a new year and there’s always new challenges. And I just encourage you, just like On Waters Edge did is really when someone does something delightful in your property, really lean into that, make notes of it, highlight it on your social media because that’s what hosting is all about. And so On Waters Edge, I love that you shared that, you shared this original art with the world and you share your space with the world.

So I just encourage you, if you have any amazing stories like that, share them, hosts, and send them to Sarah and I. We’d love to talk about them. Share them on your social media. Share them with your friends because I feel like in the hosting world, we need to get more of these stories out to let people know that it’s not just about the money in hosting, it really is about the guest’s day. 

So speaking of hosting has all these amazing added benefits. I say it all the time. I thought I was going to make friends with all of my guests. Wrong. It’s remote check-in. They really don’t want to see you. I ended up making amazing friends with other hosts and not only just other hosts locally, but now around the country and around the world. And we have two guests today that we want to share with you and their hosting stories and how we all have become really great friends. And we work together basically on a daily basis now. So, Sarah, please introduce our amazing guests today.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:04:28] Yeah. So let’s give you a little background on who each individual woman is. And if you really want to hear more about their origin story, we’ve already had them on the podcast. We had Wendy on, Wendy Dorris way back in the day on Episode 27. So who knows what our audio sounds like all the way back then.

Annette Grant: [00:04:48] I don’t know. You’ll have to knock the dust off of your podcast player, everyone, because Wendy supported us way back in the day when I don’t know what? 

Sarah Karakaian: [00:04:56] I just know my mom was listening. Who knows?

Annette Grant: [00:04:57] Who knows? I don’t.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:04:58] But anyway, Wendy tells her story there. And she’s got an incredible origin story from flipping houses to where she is today. And then Episode 96, I remember this was the thick of the pandemic. We had Amy on, Amy Corbett of All Belong Co, and she’ll tell her story there of why hosting really played a giant role in a big life transition for her and her family. 

So definitely go listen back to that episode because today we’d like to focus on where they’re at today and the decision they made to join Annette and my membership, it’s called Hosting Business Mastery Membership. We talk about it often on the show. We’ll say our members, blah, blah. And it’s yes, we want you to join, but we thought we can say that, but we want you to hear it from Wendy and Amy because these ladies were already killing it before they joined. We call it HBMM, and we’ll probably say that here on the show to HBMM. But they joined our membership early on.

Annette Grant: [00:05:57] But they had some hesitation.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:05:58] They did have, and that’s what we want to talk about, too. They had hesitation and then also where they’re at today. So, Wendy, Amy, welcome back to the show.

Wendy Dorris: [00:06:06] Thanks.

Annette Grant: [00:06:08] All right, ladies, let’s get into it because I will let you know, we have a workshop that goes through a lot of the mistakes that Sarah and I made. And at the end, we make an invitation to anyone that watched that to join us inside of our paid membership. And we do a survey. We send a survey of people who choose not to sign up. And a lot of times they say, “Eeh.” I get them directly. I read every single one of them. A lot of times it’s, “Oh, I already know what I’m doing. I’m killing it. I’ve been hosting for years.” Maybe they were like, “I crush my personal business at work. And I’ve been doing this for years. I don’t think that you could help me at all. And then the other one is time.”
So, Amy, Wendy. Wendy, let’s start with you. Let’s talk about you joining HBMM, where you were, where you are right now in your hosting journey. And just share with us before and after. But I don’t want to say after because you’re still in it. So let’s talk about it.

Wendy Dorris: [00:07:07] Yeah, I started, maybe I don’t know the timing after when I was on the podcast before, but I had been doing it already for a little bit, a couple of years, I think. And I thought, what more is there? So I was hesitant because like, what more is there for me to learn? Well, it turns out a lot.

Annette Grant: [00:07:30] Wendy, can you tell our listeners how long you’ve been hosting, how many properties you were hosting, and then give them those stats behind you because people might be floored when you say you have been doing it and you have been doing it.

Wendy Dorris: [00:07:43] Yeah, I think I’m on my fifth year now, going into the sixth in March. And I owned my own STR for a year before I started hosting it myself. So now we have 12. It was up to 17 at some point, so it fluctuates. But I think when I joined, maybe it was around five or at least on the podcast when I was on before I was at five. 

So a lot has changed, and just adding more properties definitely changes things, different types of properties, different locations. And I know that you guys have asked me before what my numbers were like back then. And one of the problems is, is that I didn’t know. So that has helped change. Joining the membership has helped just organize me in that way.

I think in November last year we got to the million-dollar nightly rate revenue point, so that was exciting. And it was also exciting to even just know that number. Whereas before I had no idea. I don’t know what the difference is aside from just feeling more organized and really like I know what I’m doing compared to before. So numbers-wise, I can’t give you that because I didn’t know it before. That’s how disorganized I was.

Annette Grant: [00:09:04] But did you feel like you were killing it? You knew what you were doing, but you might have not known your numbers, correct?

Wendy Dorris: [00:09:10] Yeah. Yeah.

Annette Grant: [00:09:11] Okay.

Wendy Dorris: [00:09:12] Definitely.

Annette Grant: [00:09:12] All right. We’re going to shoot it back to you here. But Amy, can you give us a little background on you and your amazing business?

Amy Corbett: [00:09:19] Yeah. So this is also, I think, my fifth year of hosting, but our fourth year of business in co-hosting with other homeowners. That was my story. I could have been one of those people you were talking about, Annette, because I was pretty confident in what I was doing, what I was bringing to our clients. And I’d say we had about, I would guess, around 12 or so properties at that time. 

We are now up to around the 30 to 32 property mark and we just hit the 1 million collective revenue for the year mark, which is so exciting and especially because we’re in a smaller market. We’re in Lynchburg. Most of our properties are based out of Lynchburg, Virginia, but not all of them. And that’s another thing since joining HBMM is we took our hosting to remote locations and properties in other states. 

So I definitely remember hearing about the invite to this group and this membership. I am not a big mastermind business person and I was not even a podcast listener really, but I listened to Thanks for Visiting and I trusted you, ladies. I felt like you had a heart for hospitality, similar to what I had. And I’m just not the type that’s going to pay a bunch of money for things. And I’m very frugal. And yet I don’t know what made me do it, but it had to be you. I just jumped in. 

And it was so incredible. My whole business, I feel like flipped upside down when week by week as I was going through everything. So I think our numbers from the year I joined to the following year increased by 187%.

Annette Grant: [00:11:41] I love that. You got those numbers down. It’s so, so good.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:11:45] And if I can listeners, it’s not because Annette and I know all the right answers and we know a lot of right answers, but when Amy was a part of the group where we were building this with our members on the call so she was an OG and we were creating the content as we were teaching the content so that we could cater it to actually what people who are already hosting, people who weren’t yet hosting, the questions they were asking so that we could if we didn’t have the answer, we would get it for the next call. And so that helped us formulate what the core content is. 

But now, if I can, I want to direct this conversation to, we have monthly calls. So it’s not just the core content where Annette and I tell you how to do certain things in your hosting business. But we also have these coaching calls and they’re live every single month. We have five of them now, but we had four. And there’s a hot seat call. So it’s like coaching. There’s an insider series call where we get our network of experts to come in and teach on their expertise. We have a numbers call where we have our HBMM STR bookkeeping expert on there to talk about your P&L, your balance sheet–

Annette Grant: [00:12:56] Not just talk about it. We go into it.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:12:57] We go into it. Yeah, it’s great.

Annette Grant: [00:12:59] We do a deep dive.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:13:00] Then we have our networking call and I think you know what I’m going to say here, Amy. We have these networking calls, which I didn’t know how these would go over because I’m like Amy, where I like to just work.

Annette Grant: [00:13:12] I don’t like networking.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:13:12] I don’t like networking. I don’t want to work with these people who are just talking about themselves, I don’t have time for this. But Annette needed to have these networking calls.

Annette Grant: [00:13:20] Because my nickname listeners is Anetworker. It is true. And Wendy, let’s start with you because you love these calls. And I will say, I did not think that you would enjoy these calls.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:13:34] Before we do that, so what they are is they’re Zoom call and everyone comes in and then we create big breakout rooms. There’s usually five or six, depending on how many people we have on. We make them small.

Annette Grant: [00:13:42] Yeah, they’re micro. We make them really nice and intimate. Yes.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:13:45] And we give them an icebreaker topic like maybe in our private Facebook group, there’s been a chat about, I don’t know, pet fees. And so we’ll make that the topic just to break the ice so that the group has something to talk about because I’m also an introverted extrovert. I don’t know how to start conversations, especially in small groups, so we break them out. Anyway, I just want to give you some–

Annette Grant: [00:14:04] After she takes me every [inaudible] now.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:14:05] But before we break out these groups, Amy kept doing this. She kept private messaging us and saying, “Can you put me in Wendy’s group?”

Annette Grant: [00:14:14] Now all the members are going to be DMing.

Amy Corbett: [00:14:16] Don’t spill my secrets.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:14:19] But I love it because what I want to ask you, Amy, is why did you want to be in a room with Wendy?

Amy Corbett: [00:14:28] Oh, man. Well, I had found her on Instagram. Actually, Annette was the networker there, and she had given me the heads-up about Wendy. I started following Wendy and I just thought, she is so freaking cool. I love this girl, but she wasn’t in our group, and then all of a sudden she was. And so I was like, how can I put myself in front of her?

Annette Grant: [00:14:58] And so you’ve asked. We love that.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:14:59] And we did. And I would do that. I would put you in the rooms with Wendy. And so then what happened? What transpired because you found your hosting bestie? Did you know that to be your hosting bestie? Talk to us about what’s happening outside of the membership and what that has done to your businesses and to your psyche and to all that good stuff. Both of you, feel free to chime in.

Wendy Dorris: [00:15:18] Well, now we have regular happy hour calls with each other. It started out when you guys put us in a room together. I didn’t know what this call was about. So I’m like, okay, I guess we’ll just start talking. I don’t know. It’s just a little bit awkward at first when you don’t know what’s going on. But she started talking about her caboose. She has a caboose STR, which what the heck–

Annette Grant: [00:15:46] I’m going to say. Yeah, she was not talking about her body. She was talking about an actual caboose.

Wendy Dorris: [00:15:51] Yeah. Who has a caboose honestly? So she was in the middle of getting that set up. And I thought, Oh, my gosh, this is so cool. I want to be her friend. And so we just started talking in that call and then maybe messaging in Facebook. I don’t know how, but then I was like, “Can I just have your phone number? This is getting annoying.” And so then we would have phone calls and then we’re like, “Do you want to have your happy hour call?” And we would just get on and talk about whatever stuff that’s going on.

Annette Grant: [00:16:24] First of all, listeners, we will make sure to put both Wendy and Amy’s Instagram handles in the show notes so you can follow along and check out Amy’s caboose and then check out how cool Wendy is. But Wendy, talk to us about the networking calls and when you’re in that room, because, listeners, it is hard to find hosts to chat with. 

So talk about those rooms. What are things that are going on? And I feel like these networking calls could probably go on for hours on end. But let’s just chat a little bit about what it is like to be on a call with other hosts from across the country.

Wendy Dorris: [00:17:01] It’s welcoming from the flipping world, it’s very lonely. It feels like against the contractor, the buyer, the title company, or whatever. So when I get into hosting, it is a little bit isolating because it’s your houses or your house that you’re dealing with and then all the people. But when you get into the networking calls, you get to talk to the other hosts and they may be in different parts of the country or world, but they know what you’re going through. 

They’ve dealt with certain guest situations or pet fees and any number of topics that we talk about, somebody has handled it or has a different way of doing it. And it’s just really nice to hear a different take on it and get that advice. And even just to be able to complain to someone else.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:17:54] But can’t you get this from, there’s tons of free Facebook groups and there’s Airbnb forums. What is it about fellow hosts who have invested in themselves into a professional membership? Is there a difference? I want you to be honest here for everyone listening.

Wendy Dorris: [00:18:09] Well, there definitely is a difference. I’ve been in those other Facebook groups and it’s a free for all. And just like anywhere on the Internet that’s open to anyone, it’s no holds bar about just telling you how horrible you are or you should have never done that, you idiot. And then in our group, it’s not like that at all. 

It’s like, Oh, I’ve been there before. Everyone that’s in the group is invested in the group. They’ve invested in being there and learning. And so it’s being supportive of the other hosts and they do that in return. So it feels like a more comfortable space, I think. What do you think Amy?

Amy Corbett: [00:18:09] Yeah, I think the culture of the group is just so encouraging, supportive, and also like problem-solving with you. It’s not just, Oh, I feel you, but there’s a collective brainstorming that happens in our Facebook group. It’s not a static group at all. And so you just have so many great hosts out there who are committed to the same things you are chiming in. And it’s just only going to elevate all of us.

Annette Grant: [00:19:20] I love that. I love that you said I’m committed. The collective is all committed to the guest experience and also just being better hosts. That’s what I love about that. 

Wendy, can you tell us one completely unexpected result of joining the group, obviously all of the financial accolades are great, but what’s the one thing that has been most surprising to you after joining the group?

Wendy Dorris: [00:19:48] I’d say the most surprising are the people that we met. I didn’t know who Amy was last year and then this year I shared a hotel room with her at your live event. And we had never met in person. So I felt that comfortable. But I don’t think anybody joins the group thinking I’m going to find my besties or this accountability group that I’m in now because of the people that are in the group or in the membership. So that is the most surprising. 

But also unexpected was all the information that I’m getting that I didn’t know. I didn’t know what I was missing if that makes sense. I was confident that I was doing a decent job when I joined. But I’m also realistic that I don’t know what I don’t know. From listening to your podcast, I knew that there was more to learn, but I didn’t realize how much more there was to learn. 

So it’s a lot of information to take in and to be able to add to your business. And once I got in the group, I was going crazy, soaking it all in. And I had to like, okay, let’s tackle one thing at a time here, or maybe three.

Annette Grant: [00:21:07] Pace yourself for sure. What about you, Amy?

Amy Corbett: [00:21:11] Yeah, I could echo everything that Wendy just said about the relationships within the group, but another unexpected thing that happened for me was the confidence that I gained going into meetings with potential clients for our co-hosting business. 

Just to feel like I wasn’t just coming up with things out of my head, but I was grounded with what’s happening in the industry of short-term rentals. It really gave me this feeling like I’m not faking this. I really actually know these things and see what other hosts do and am intentional in what I’m doing.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:21:56] Well, let’s just make this okay for everybody. I don’t know anyone who goes to school for co-hosting. It’s not yet a college curriculum for anybody. Maybe real estate or business management, but no one, even with property management, oftentimes you are maybe someone who works in someone’s property management office and you graduate into being a partner. There’s just not a lot of places to get solid education. And that is why I think surrounding yourself around other professionals, even if you’re managing for your own property, and then it’s inevitable.

I feel like it’s 95% inevitable. Someone’s going to ask you to manage for them. Now whether or not you take them up on that opportunity is up to you and what your goals are. You certainly don’t have to. But when you’re like, “Well, sure, I can manage for someone else, I’d do it for myself.” How many can of worms that opens because now you’re dealing with not just the guest and a house, but also an owner who you responsible for their success. 

So there’s just so much that, quite frankly, Airbnb isn’t there, forums don’t talk about that kind of stuff. They might talk about how you can offer a guest a refund to make them really happy, but they don’t usually talk about the other aspects of business management that we often talk about, and that’s all we really talk about inside HBMM.

Annette Grant: [00:23:16] For sure.

Wendy Dorris: [00:23:16] Yeah, actually, can I hit on that first?

Annette Grant: [00:23:18] Yeah, do it.

Wendy Dorris: [00:23:19] I think a lot of the information out there is about guests and your house setting it up. How do you deal with a guest that’s canceled and all that? But who do you talk to about writing contracts with your clients or who do you talk to about, I don’t know? We talk about everything in the group, including workers comp. There’s parts of the business that you’re going to have to deal with doing payroll, bookkeeping, all the stuff that comes with having a business that no one else talks about.

And so it’s nice to be able to bounce those ideas off of people who have already done it or even have scripts like a way to say something like, oh, like Amy was saying, when you’re talking to a new client, a client as in an owner who you may be managing for, how do you address this situation? There’s nowhere else out there to get help with that.

Annette Grant: [00:24:19] This is a good Segway because I want all the listeners to know, too. Wendy and Amy, obviously have amazing co-hosting businesses where they are, their revenue is over seven figures. But ladies, we want to share with everybody that you are actually now coaches inside of our program because Sarah and I don’t know at all we can’t do it all. We actually have three coaches shout out Mike, he’s not on this episode, but he’s also been on his own episode. 

But can you share with the listeners about some of the other members inside and that they don’t have to have a co-hosting business or be at this revenue level? Can you share with them, since you are both coaches and you’re coaching with a lot of different members in there each day, can you each kind of share your perspective on what you’re helping people with and what those different levels are, where you’re helping? Amy, do you want to go first?

Amy Corbett: [00:25:09] Yeah. So we have I feel so many levels within HBMM. And I feel like it’s a great onboarding ramp for new hosts, especially because you don’t have to come with the 10 or 12 properties. There are several people in there that are even starting before their purchase of an STR, and they’re just smart enough to start investing in this and learning and getting ready to kill it before launching. 

And then we have plenty of folks with the 1 to 3 properties of their own and they aren’t necessarily looking to scale with co-hosting. Maybe they want to just kill it with those three properties or they have other plans to build their own real estate portfolio. And then you also have those who have 10, 15 properties as well, who are going to now be our VIPs. And yeah, we’re going to dig in a little deeper for those who are further along in the hosting journey.

Annette Grant: [00:26:16] Awesome. And then, Wendy, let’s talk about something specific you’ve been doing inside the group. Amy mentioned VIPs. We are now offering an additional call each month for people that have been in past the initial time frame. And we have a lot of people that come in. They do the initial work and then they stay. 

But Wendy has been adding some of her expertise with an additional call here and there. Wendy, do you want to tell them about this amazing call that you’ve been leading that our members have been seeing amazing results?

Wendy Dorris: [00:26:46] Sure. I am calling it the listing design audit. I need a better name for it. But basically, your Airbnb listing, it’s your marketing to a lot of people. Even though we’re doing Direct Bookings, we’re doing VRBO, we’re doing other things. But we get a lot of our guests from Airbnb. So we need to design the listing to attract these guests, to know that they’re going to get something awesome. 

I’m an Airbnb ambassador, which means that I can help people set up their listing, what do we put in for cleaning fee? What do I say for house rules, all that sort of thing? But then also help them with the verbiage that they have in the description, which photos go first. 

So anyway, I’ve been doing that, and then we’ve added a call just because I can’t help myself but talk about how to optimize an Airbnb listing, what to put in the first six lines of your listing, what to put in the description of the space, which photos to use, which ones not to use. So that’s one that we’ve been doing, where we actually take someone’s listing from the call, I mean from the group, and then just go over it and edit it on the call live.

Annette Grant: [00:28:07] And this is one of those things I know one of you mentioned earlier like you just don’t know what you don’t know. And this is one of those amazing calls that you can learn so much from someone else’s listing. That’s the other thing, too. Sarah and I get emails or DMs every day of people that want this one-on-one consulting because they feel like their question or their property is a snowflake that only like they need one on one contact to fix it or they don’t need anything else. I’m like, Well, we only consult and teach inside of our group. 

And that’s the thing is like all the hot seat calls, the numbers hub calls, the audits, these places are you don’t even know what you don’t know. So when you attend them and you just hear what other hosts have questions about, you’re educating yourself either A before that problem arises or B, Hey, how can this impact my listing today? There is always a takeaway or if someone’s posting in the Facebook group, that question is not just for that person. What seems most personal is actually very general and we can all learn from that. 

And I think that’s what’s so great about the group learning there. You don’t know, what you don’t know. So I love that. And Wendy is crushing those calls because Wendy, too, at your haunt a little bit where you were showing up where on the listing and now what page are you on now?

Wendy Dorris: [00:29:27] You can find out how you’re ranking and some of them weren’t even ranking. Some of them are my properties. But you don’t know that until you dig in and try to figure that out. So I go through every listing and make edits and changes and test to try to boost that up to the top because it’s just like Google, if you’re falling below page two, you’re not really going to be seen.

Annette Grant: [00:29:55] Nobody’s going to see you. And by the way, listeners, Wendy is in a highly, highly competitive market. She’s in the Phenix Scottsdale area. So I’d say it’s one of the most competitive markets there are. So she has to be on top of her game there.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:30:10] So, ladies, now that you’re coaches and now that you are a year plus into–

Annette Grant: [00:30:16] I think two. Amy is two years plus.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:30:18] Two years.

Annette Grant: [00:30:18] Wendy’s probably getting in year two. Yeah.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:30:23] Now that you’re here, what are you–

Wendy Dorris: [00:30:25] I don’t feel old.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:30:27] No, not at all.

Annette Grant: [00:30:29] No, you didn’t get any older. You’ve just been in the group for that long. Actually, listeners, when you join the group, for some reason, you stop aging. Hey, if you don’t sign up now, I don’t know what to tell you. I was selling magic stuff in there.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:30:41] Oh, my gosh. We have to have a disclaimer somewhere. And I want to watch that Netflix show Pepsi Where’s My Jet or whatever?

Annette Grant: [00:30:47] Yes. Yes.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:30:48] So good. Annette was my magic, anti-aging, all the things. Okay, now that you’re here, you ladies are killing it. Annette and I continue to join masterminds and networking groups because there’s always a new level you can graduate to, I think is what I’m trying to say here in so many words. So, ladies, what level are you trying to get to in 2023? And how can having a network of other professional hosts around you, how can they help you get there? Wendy, do you want to go first?

Wendy Dorris: [00:31:21] I’ll go. Okay. In 2023, We’ve been working on efficiency, so just taking it– we’ve had properties before. We’d added them, but not very efficiently. So we’re buttoning that down so that when we do add more we can continue to feel like we are optimizing our operations. That seems like a lot of marketing with words, but we just want to be really good at what we have and then continue to add after that. So that’s what we’re working on. I don’t know what else to say.

Annette Grant: [00:31:58] Yeah.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:31:58] That’s enough for–

Annette Grant: [00:31:59] Yeah. That’s going to probably take you a while. So good luck. Just checking.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:32:02] Not because your operations are a mess either. I just know as a fellow co-host and property manager is there’s always ways to optimize. This industry is in its infancy and there’s always new products and technology or ideas of how to be more efficient. So you have to get yourself out of the day-to-day so that you can have some space to think about that and to look down upon your business and see how you can orchestrate it better. 

So that’s what I mean by that. So Wendy, she’s tireless in her pursuit of being as efficient as possible, because the more efficient you are, you can really see how big you can scale and grow. And that just means more revenue, not only for herself and her family but for all of your team. The more we can cut the fat, the better it is for everyone else.

Wendy Dorris: [00:32:50] Yeah. And when you have one or two STRs, you’re just starting, you’re learning a lot about the guests and the houses and the systems you’re using. When you start to grow to more, you’re hiring people, you have marketing, you need a marketing budget. You are adding systems like property management software or operation software like Breezeway. So when you’re adding all of those things, it can become a little bit overwhelming. And a lot of times it feels like you’re doing all of those things at once. 

So we did that, but we’re really cleaning it all up now, if that makes sense. So in the last year we’ve hired an attorney just to be safe, not for any reason other than just to get our ducks in a row. We have a new accountant. We have a bookkeeper. We have I think 15 contractors and employees. We have new contracts for our clients. It’s just doing all that. Just running a business in general, you just need to have everything buttoned up so that you can run efficiently and continue to grow efficiently.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:34:09] How about for you, Amy? What are you looking forward to this year and how can the group help you get there?

Amy Corbett: [00:34:15] So I feel like the longer I’m in the group, the more great ideas I come across. And there’s just all these things that I write down as goals of, oh, I want to do that for all of our properties and I want to incorporate this or integrate this into my processes. But you just don’t have time. It’s like when you have a business, the airplane is in the air and flying and you’re still trying to build on it. So it’s a little crazy. 

So I’m just excited because having this group, I’ve never been a real goal setter. And now look at me, I’ve got my Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4 goals for the year. Who am I? Because I’m so excited to like, I know what I want to work on, I know where I want to get, I know what things I want to bring in. And it’s like, oh, good, a whole new year to get towards them.

Annette Grant: [00:35:18] I love it. And listeners, what Amy and Wendy just said again, this is why Sarah and I created this, created HBMM is for a, upper level what it means to be a host, because every single person inside our group is impacting guest after guest after guest. So there is a true trickle down of the work that we’re doing, but also giving yourself grace that you are never going to know all of the things and to just keep adding on to this business because the people that we want to attract into hosting, we don’t want it to be fly by night. They want to host for one year, get rich quick. 

That’s not what we’re doing inside the group. These are properties, homes, neighborhoods, contractors that we love. And we want to foster those relationships and be good stewards of that. So that’s what’s cool, too, about being inside the group is it is not about, hey, I have six weeks, I want to get this done and let’s go. It’s like, no, this is going to be for the long term. And I think you probably heard that in both what Wendy and Amy said their goals were for this year is to just continue to sharpen their pencils and make their businesses improve in every single facet. And so we just think they’re a stellar example of the people that are inside of our group and then also what can be accomplished inside of it.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:36:32] We have some really exciting things we’re going to introduce this year with our coaches, with HBMM. We continue to have it ebb and flow and have our members tell us what they want and even what they don’t want to want, but they have to want because it’s good for them, if that makes sense. So numbers, profit percentages.

Annette Grant: [00:36:51] The legal part, the safety part.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:36:52] The legal part, the safety part. Even I’ll create a little mystery. We just had a member post about a really difficult weekend she had with some guests. And we’ve all heard about those Airbnb horror stories, but we often don’t find out what happened during the process, what happened after. And what I learned from what she went through, I went to my house rules and my contracts and all that and made changes for what she learned the hard way. 

So the other cool thing about just being in a professional setting where everyone is very supportive and positive and results oriented, is that they’ll share these stories, be very open and vulnerable about them, and then we can go in there and make those changes for our business. 

So as we wrap up this episode, Wendy, I’m going to have you go first. What do you want to leave our listeners with, whether their time now is for them to join HBMM or it’s on their goal list for 2023, what do you want to leave our listeners with as it relates to our membership?

Wendy Dorris: [00:37:44] Well, something that makes me really upset is watching these one property people come into the group and be able to put in the actions that I have to do now at 15 or 12 houses. I’m extremely envious of them. There’s these people that are starting with their property management software, they’re starting with their operations software, they’ve got contracts in place and it makes me so upset that I didn’t do this so long ago, like, oh, you’re so lucky these people. 

So start earlier. I thought I was starting early. If I were to do it again, I would get into this group earlier at one property or even before one property, because you can get all this stuff set up and going from the get go.

Annette Grant: [00:38:34] I love that. Amy.

Amy Corbett: [00:38:36] Yeah, I would say don’t be frugal in this. Invest in yourself and you will find that any penny that you pay for a group like this is only going to manifest on the other side. This is a no-brainer. So yeah, I would just encourage folks to join it and see for themselves.

Annette Grant: [00:39:03] I love it.

Wendy Dorris: [00:39:03] Something else that came from this group too that is just playing out now is that I have people reach out to me, whether they’re owners or potential guests, asking me, do I know anybody that hosts in Seattle? Do I know anybody that has a house in wherever, Columbus, Ohio, and I can pass those people on to the host that I know and trust to do a good job, because I know them from this group. So that’s an additional for us.

Annette Grant: [00:39:35] Yeah, I think, Amy, you have a team member that’s from the group also, correct?

Amy Corbett: [00:39:39] I do, yes. A couple of us have actually hired from this group because that’s also a no-brainer, too. They come with the same values in hospitality and it’s just been such a fluid transition for us.

Annette Grant: [00:39:54] Oh, we’re going to end right there because I think what you just said is we have been attracting hosts that value hospitality. And that is, I think, the differentiator with our group for sure. I think you just nailed that on, Amy.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:40:09] It really is. Ladies, thank you so much for coming on. Listeners, again, yes, we are, I guess selling you something, but it’s because what we’re do as hosts is professional and we are responsible for a lot of stuff. And I don’t want to make this, this like serious thing, but it truly is. And there’s also an opportunity to make a lot of money, but there’s also an opportunity to lose money if you don’t know ways to keep it, to get it.

Annette Grant: [00:40:34] Come, make less mistakes.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:40:35] Yes.

Annette Grant: [00:40:36] One of our Francisco, I will give you a shout-out, he said that the other day, he’s one of our members, “I just want to make less mistakes because here’s the deal, you will always make mistakes.” You’re a business owner, so don’t think there’s this one shot, you’re never going to make any mistakes. But heck, why not make a whole lot less mistakes? 

But we are going to put not only Amy and Wendy’s social media handles in the show notes, but also we’ll put a link to our sales page to join Hosting Business Mastery method. If you have any questions, reach out to us. You can reach out to Amy and Wendy. They can give you their take on it, but we’ll make sure to put that link there. 

And Amy, Wendy, thank you so much. We are so excited because we might be adding some office hour coaching calls also, which people are going to have some one-on-one time with Amy and Wendy–

Sarah Karakaian: [00:41:23] And Mike.

Annette Grant: [00:41:24] And Mike. Shout out Mike.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:41:25] All right. With that, I am Sarah Karakaian.

Annette Grant: [00:41:27] I am Annette Grant. And together we are–

Both Annette & Sarah: [00:41:29] Thanks for Visiting.

Sarah Karakaian: [00:41:30] We’ll talk to you next time. Thanks for listening to the Thanks for Visiting Podcast. Head on over to the show notes for additional information about today’s episode. And please, hit that subscribe button and leave us a review. Awesome reviews help us bring you awesome content. Thanks for tuning in and we look forward to hanging out with you next week.