Home in Rome: Mastering the Details of Vacation Rental Management
“This was a great stay. The apt was spacious and comfortable. Easy access to the metro made Rome an easy adventure. Gianluca could not have been more helpful. We will stay there again!”
– Randy on Milizie 108 Private Apartment
“The management was easy to work with and they were very helpful in arranging a private transport to and from the airport. We were given a comprehensive briefing upon arrival and good suggestions for nearby restaurants. Overall we loved this apartment and would definitely stay here again. Thanks!”
– Leah on Cappellari 13
The reviews on Home in Rome’s website leave little doubt that the company offers strong customer service and a great guest experience. Cory Moorhead, a real estate veteran, left Texas nine years ago and founded Home in Rome on the principal that the little things matter. That’s particularly important for guests who may be expecting traditional, hotel-like accommodations when they walk into their Italian flat. The top priority at Home in Rome is for guests to realize the benefit of an overnight experience with a home-like feel.
Overcoming obstacles to grow quickly
With 22 properties and counting, Home in Rome has grown from its humble beginnings of a lone apartment in the hip, trendy Trastevere neighborhood.
When Home in Rome started offering its first apartment seven years ago, Moorhead certainly wasn’t juggling more guests than the accommodations could handle. Getting the business started, complicated by local rules and regulations, was a bit of a disappointment for a successful real estate broker from Overland Park, Kansas.
“After the first month, it was not just nerve-racking operating a business in a foreign country, I wondered how I could make a living after only €300 in sales,” Moorhead said.
Moorhead pressed forward and realized that if he could bring in additional listings, he could generate more revenue. He contacted Kigo, became an early adopter and hasn’t looked back since.
Moorhead said Kigo’s vacation rental websites, reservations and booking software, channel management and revenue management features allow companies like his to grow quickly. These tools have helped him to compete on an international level and across multiple channels, without running the risk of over-booking.
Image via Home in Rome
Creating an outstanding website presence
“When we first started, we didn’t have a website,” said Moorhead. “Having a strong website is the foundation of any successful business, as it is the new brick and mortar. Whether guests book on the company website or through a reseller website, the Home in Rome website is important as a point of reference and provides credibility. Kigo allows small or even start-up companies the opportunity to quickly build a user-friendly website.”
The Kigo website platform has helped give Home in Rome a shot of credibility by offering greater visibility into the types of properties and features offered. Home in Rome’s website offers full property descriptions that touch on key desirable amenities – like air-conditioning, internet and washing machines – and basic accommodations geared toward U.S. travelers.
Understanding the elements of a great guest experience
The company goes to great lengths to ensure a great vacation rental guest experience. New arrivals are first greeted by a representative – sometimes by Cory himself – who shows them the ropes, right down to where they can find a bottle of dish soap.
“We will spend 30-35 minutes with each guest to make sure they feel at home,” Moorhead said on his ninth anniversary in Italy. “We start off with the email confirmation, saying they have rented a holiday apartment, which is much different than a hotel. We meet the guests at the apartment and walk them through the property, showing how things might be different than what they are used to. We’re very client oriented and want to make guests comfortable.”
Moorhead and his team pay careful attention to the details that make guests feel at home. He is also a stickler for following the local rules − like having proper insurance, fire extinguishers and first-aid kits – and he leverages that so guests understand that Home in Rome is above board.
“These are the small details that we hope help people understand we do more than other places,” Moorhead said. “We are 100 percent by the book.”
Image via Home in Rome
Listening to guest feedback
For Home in Rome, guest feedback is important, whether positive or negative. The only way to learn how to accommodate today’s evolving world travelers is to understand what makes them happy or frustrated, says Moorhead.
“If someone feels our check-in procedure is wrong, let’s see how we can understand how that can be improved,” Moorhead said. “It’s important that a guest feels open enough to describe the good and the bad.”
While much of the feedback on Home in Rome’s properties is positive, the company isn’t bashful about posting vacation rental reviews that may be critical.
“We’re also in contact with a guest during the entire stay. If a light bulb goes out, we want to know about it. We respond immediately, we go the extra mile.”
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