Hosting Your Home - Airbnb host stories podcast

HYH-49 Meet Tyann Marcink!

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Debi Hertert talks with her friend and colleague Tyann Marcink about how Tyann got started in the vacation rental hospitality business, and the many hats that Tyann wears.  The two spoke in October, 2018 when Tyann participated in the Host2Host Vendor Fair in Portland, Oregon.  So listeners will find a wealth of information about vacation rentals, coming from a person who has now spent 10 years in the business and who teaches it in  bootcamp workshops.  Tyann is also the Community Ambassador for  the TouchStay Digital Guidebook product for short-term rentals.  Right after this interview, Tyann Marcink spoke at the international Vacation Rental Management Association on the Guest Experience, because it's a passion for her and she knows what she's talking about!  

1:45 Welcome Tyann!  – She talks about being from a large midwest family and says she began writing a historical romance novel about the family moving from Germany in 1860. One of her brothers just moved into the 1872 rock house built in Missouri – he’s the 6th generation of their family to live in the house!

How she got started, and how she copes

4:30 Tyann's hosting story starts in Branson, Missouri. Her aunt and uncle bought a small, 4BR house there to rent out, and did pretty well. Her parents saw the opportunity! They bought several houses there over a few years, selling their commercial real estate property to solely invest in vacation rentals. Tyann signed a contract to have a house built. She had her listing up with floor plans and photos from a model home. And four months (plus one newborn) later, the day it closed they had their first guest! It’s definitely a family affair: she and her family own 16 vacation rental houses and are building more.

8:30 Debi and Tyann talk about how Tyann manages her houses with all the other things she has going on in her life. The housekeeping business that she hires is the key, critical element because she lives a couple of hours away. She talks about the company, what they do, and answers Debi’s question about what it costs. She makes a special point of recognizing and remembering them. One of her housekeepers even makes sure the TV modes are set correctly. She sends him brownies.

Vetting guests,  security deposits, putting things in perspective

12:30 Vetting guests, security deposits, guest pictures.  She may surprise you, but she has years of experience.

15:00 The rare guests who didn’t work out…Tyann’s electronic lock sends her notifications of when the door is opened, and that helped trigger some alarm bells in her head, so she gave a heads up to her housekeeping company.  Cigarette and marijuana smoke inside the house, among other things.

20:00 So what happened when Tyann reported the cleaning costs to Airbnb?  Debi knows that Airbnb is increasingly supporting the guest, versus the host, even in some egregious situations. But Tyann still says that in 10 years, she’s only had to bill guests cards for damage twice, and the marijuana people. Because of this experience, she stopped taking same-day bookings, which is often an alarm for vacation rentals.

Tools of the trade

22:30 Using a Reservation Management System. Tyann avoids using Instant Book on more than one site to avoid double bookings. The Reservation Management System does update every 30 minutes. And she wishes she had used a system even way back when she had only a couple of properties – the system has automated emails that are personalized. There are many good companies providing these systems, with different prices. Tyann uses “Owner Reservations”. She recommends looking closely them to choose the best fit. This varies from a Channel Management System, which pushes out the rates to the various channels such as VRBO, Airbnb etc. These software systems do cost money, but she is a busy mom and business person and values her time.

29:00 So how does Tyann hold it all together? She manages 5 houses, is a professional photographer, has three teenagers, co-teaches the “VR Mastered” bootcamps, and is the Community Ambassador for TouchStay Digital Guidebook, a UK-based company that is now including community information in it's guidebooks. Tyann told Debi that in the case of The Little Elephant company, her line of room décor, she created the painted designs and taught a person how to do the painting, and that person now runs the little business for her. She and Alanna Schroeder of The Distinguished Guest have held three VR Mastered bootcamps. The sessions are 5 days long, only 25 people allowed, and it’s an intense 5 days of hospitality, newsletters, Facebook ads, Social Media, photography. Their participants have varied in experience from none to 10 years. Everyone learns at these camps.

TouchStay Digital Guidebook

35:00 TouchStay – Tyann went through the history of the product and described the company as super ethical, and has a great Digital Welcome Book. It’s completely web-based, don’t have to download an app. And after it’s set up, the guests love it and the host can easily print it out and bind it to keep in the rental space. Troubleshooting tips for the TV, coffee maker, good restaurants etc all go into the guidebook.

40:45 Ask for help when you need it! Form a team, don’t expect perfection, value the team. People remember how you make them feel, even if they don’t remember what you said.  Tyann spoke at the International Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) in Las Vegas in October, 2018, a week after this interview with Debi, along with Heather Bayer (Cottage Blogger), and Andy McNulty (Touchstay). The topic was the Guest Experience. The presentation was based on Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages, and practical ways to include all five when interacting with your guests. See the links at the end of the show notes if you want to see what your love languages are.



Tyann's links:

Love language quiz:

Other links from the interview:

Andy McNulty, TouchStay Digital Guidebook:

VR Mastered bootcamp workshops:

Host2Host Portland Oregon:

Owner Reservations ("Owner Res") reservation management system:

Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA):

Heather Bayer, the Cottage

Alanna Schroeder, The Distinguished 



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