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Going for 100%: An Interview with Waytostay

Gianpaolo Vairo is an influencer. He voices strong opinions about the vacation property rental industry. He writes his own blog. And, as Business Development Manager at Waytostay, he is helping move the company from a b2c to a powerful b2b model. His passion is the business itself.

“Straight to the point,” he likes to say. “Our focus is more revenue, more bookings. Ninety percent of our bookings are now b2b, and there is great potential for growth.”

Image via Waytostay

Providing the best vacation rental properties

Vairo looks at the recent acquisition of Waytostay by the Hotusa Group—the first independent hotel chain in the world—as an engine for building the business.

“We can now take advantage of the extended networks Hotusa offers. We work with 85,000 travel agencies tour operators worldwide to distribute more than 7,000 properties in 35 European destinations,” says Vairo.

He’s not talking about just any destination. Waytostay looks for the top properties with the top standards in the top locations with the greatest demand. It’s integral to the company philosophy.

“Everything has to be 100%,” he states. “It should be like going to your own place. You have to feel at home.”

Image via Waytostay

For different travelers, that means different things. Take amenities, for example.

“The right amenities depend on the type of vacationer” says Vairo. “Business travelers demand the best Wi-Fi. It’s a key factor, and super important today. It becomes a real issue if you don’t have it. The property has to be in budget, too. For families, the property has to have the right number of rooms, the right number of beds, and all the right furnishings. Everything they need for cooking and cleaning, the best washing machine.”

“We operate in so many markets with guests of many nationalities, with travelers from Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico” he continues. “They come from very different cultures and have very different expectations. It’s a fragmented market. We look for consistency in the places they stay.”

Securing top vacation rental management talent

Consistently excellent properties require equally excellent property managers to run them. One hundred percent professional, as Vairo would say.

Professionalism is the top requirement Waytostay looks for in property managers. The company works with managers in many different locations with different kinds of properties, from apartments to villas. But they must all put the guest first—offering the highest level of customer service.

Vairo knows that positive reviews are important, but sometimes, the properties still do not live up to expectations. He and his colleagues look closely at how property managers solve problems, like when the Wi-Fi system goes down.

“We look for 100% perfect customer service. Every issue a property manager encounters, from late arrivals to bad room experiences and customer cancellations, is an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one. We want property managers who think that way,” says Vairo.

Image via Waytostay

The company looks beyond the surface by getting to know property managers—even traveling to their properties when they have the opportunity.

How does Waytostay find “100%” property managers? Kigo Channel Manager is one major resource.

“Kigo is a solution where we can find new providers,” says Vairo. “Kigo introduces us to the right property managers, the ones with high standards in top destinations.”

Vairo knows how to use Kigo’s capabilities. He was part of the Kigo team at the very beginning, when Kigo was just a start-up. And Kigo figures into his plans for the future.

“One day, we might enter the U.S. market. It’s a huge country, and very different from Europe, with one primary language and one currency. Kigo will help us find the property managers we want there.”

Image via Waytostay

Waytostay: An industry leader

Great properties, excellent property managers and great software to move the business distinguish Waytostay as a mainstay in the industry. There is just one more link needed to make it all work, and that’s the quality of their employees.

“Our company culture is 100%,” says Vairo. “Our employees come from a range of countries and have different ways of thinking, but they are all unified and offer the best service to our customers. We guarantee that with our onboarding process, to ensure everything is perfect.”

Excellence in all things, in every aspect of the travel business. No wonder they call themselves the way to stay.

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