In early December, TripsIn.com launched with the plan to buck the trend of booking sites that charge consumers booking fees and instead give homeowners and property managers the opportunity to promote listings and engage guests as they see fit.
Built to be a true lead generation site, TripsIn offers a new option for property managers and owners. Arrival caught up with Jay Gould and Michelle Parenti from TripsIn to discuss the need for this platform and how VRMA members can get involved
Arrival: Let’s talk about the need for a site like TripsIn right now in the market and why the time is right for launching this platform.
Gould: As we all know, leads are precious in the property management industry. As of late, some of the large booking sites in the market have decided that they no longer wish to be a lead or referral source and instead become a booking engine. With that, we saw the need to create a true advertising site for property management companies to connect consumers directly with the property managers or homeowners. We charge $250 per property/per year, with no additional commissions or fees like some of the large booking sites.
In a way, we are bucking the trend—I joke with people in the technology world that we are going backwards 15 years; back to the old days of a simple lead generation website and putting the customer in direct contact with the property manager or owner.
Parenti: We also saw a need on the consumer side, too. These booking sites are charging consumers additional fees, anywhere from 5-20%. Clients are complaining because they are getting hit with additional and unnecessary booking fees when they could just go direct to the homeowner or property manager.
Arrival: What makes TripsIn different?
Gould: With TripsIn, we have created a pure advertising site where consumers go to the site and are connected directly with the property manager or owner rather than having to go through a booking site and call center. What that means is that the consumer is speaking with a real person—the person who is the actual manager of that property. They are the one who knows about the property after all.
I can tell you that one of the reasons we went this route was from attending VRMA events and hearing from property managers who were saying that they wanted to go back to the old days—where they could talk directly with their customer and discuss the properties amenities in detail. Take, for example, a home in the mountains where the consumer wants a hot tub or ski-in and ski-out access—who better to speak with than the actual owner of that property? More times than not, with the large booking sites, the consumer is speaking with someone in a call center who is not familiar with the property.
Arrival: Talk about your launch plan.
Gould: We launched in Colorado in early December, and then the next two states that we are bringing on are South Carolina and California—both planned for early 2018. By mid-January we are bringing on Mexico, and we just signed a deal with a company that has over 10,000 properties, which should bring us national in a short period of time.
Our model is to open states individually with enough properties to make the consumer have a great experience and view TripsIn.com as their source for booking vacation rentals.
Parenti: The goal is to simplify the process and bring the consumer back to the owner or property manager, so that they know exactly what they are getting when they book a vacation rental.
Arrival: For property managers who wish to get involved, how can they get started?
Parenti: There is also a direct member login if you wish to go in and list your property directly on the website. We encourage those with multiple properties to contact us first, so we can work out a pricing structure and onboarding process that works best for you.
The content of this interview does not necessarily reflect the views of VRMA. This interview was conducted in response to a recent press release sent to Arrival. If you or your company would like to be considered for a future article in Arrival based on a recent press release, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org