Well Grounded: An Interview with Pure Luxury Living
Every great business has its start on the ground floor. It’s about the basics at first: the right processes, the right staff, the right environment to conduct business. When a business gets the basics right, it’s better positioned to expand into a healthy enterprise. Stephen Turner, Director of Pure Luxury Living, has followed that model, and it has paid off.
What started with one apartment in Essex, a county just northeast of London, England, has grown to 21 profitable units in a widening circle that now includes London itself. They all share the consistency of quality that comes from ensuring the basics are perfect before adding the luxury touches.
image via Pure Luxury Living
Staying tuned-in locally
“No matter how big your business is, every success is local,” explains Turner. “We need to be locally tuned in if we want to guarantee our customers a seamless, enjoyable experience.”
Pure Luxury Living ensures that the best local cleaning and maintenance team is there in every one of their locations. Next, they ensure 24/7 open communication between these teams and their staff.
Turner describes a recent major snowfall near his properties. The Pure Luxury Living team stayed in close touch with maintenance staff and customers to make sure there were no issues with heating. “Imagine you’re a guest staying in the middle of winter, and the heat suddenly becomes a problem,” said Turner. “You want an immediate response from the vacation rental management company. We have that.”
Perfecting every detail
image via Pure Luxury Living
Pure Luxury Living leaves each guest a welcome basket with instructions for getting in touch with staff in case of any problem, nestled in with some elegant teas and biscuits. Turner explains that in a review-based business, this is a must-have.
Turner’s on-the-ground team goes a step beyond maintenance and cleaning. There is always a full-time property manager and locational assistant available for prospects and guests. The assistant plays a critical role by helping prospective guests see apartments before they book. Many potential guests are corporate, and are looking for a host to do repeat business with, so it’s important for them to scout out the location ahead of time.
“This is where your staff on the ground makes such a big difference,” says Turner. “Let’s say you have a potential business client coming to check out the location. After the snowfall we just had, they’ll want to know that the heating works perfectly. It’s just one part of the experience, but it can make all the difference between a rave review and a bad one. Our location managers are experts in every detail.”
Keeping the lines of communication open
Turner’s staff must be doing a great job: their repeat business now comprises 21% of revenue. They get great feedback, too—8.43 out of 10 on Booking.com. And they welcome the reviews, good or not.
“We went into vacation rental management because we knew we could get instant feedback from guests,” explains Turner. “You don’t get that in general apartment management. Residents don’t stop by the office to let you know how great a time they’re having! We try to be more like a hotel—they know right away how guests are doing because they pop down to the desk to tell them. Getting feedback in the moment is best.”
To keep the communication flowing between guests and Pure Luxury Living staff, Turner employs automatic follow-up emails to connect with guests before, during and after their stay, always checks in to ensure everything is all right.
According to Turner, “Kigo has made it easier to keep communication fluid between our staff and our customers. Many things are easier now, and I am a big fan of processes and systems being resilient because that means a better-guaranteed stay for our guests. I like the Kigo dashboard, because we can see percent occupancy, so we know which areas are doing well, and which need more attention. It all adds up to a great experience for our guests.”
Building a brand
Getting the basics right also applies to the actual apartment, of course, and Pure Luxury Living doesn’t disappoint. Turner uses their Kigo vacation rental website to display the consistent quality in their apartments.
“Our website looks great,” he notes. “The photography helps us keep the same warm feeling from apartment to apartment, like a good hotel. So, our customers know they will get the same quality in every property in London, Chelmsford or Ipswich. They see the consistency of our brand and want to stay.”
You can see an example of that in the color scheme for Pure Luxury Living apartments. There’s always a touch of bright, vivid purple. It might be on a pillow, or a blanket, or in a framed print on the wall. It’s in the search button and star ratings on the website, too.
image via Pure Luxury Living
“Purple is our brand. People see the consistent color and associate it with our consistently well-kept apartments,” adds Turner. “It helps send the message that everything is here for a relaxing stay every time. It’s not a white room with a table and chair.”
White room? Table and chair? You wouldn’t think that any vacation rental management company offers such sparse arrangements.
“I’ve seen them,” notes Turner. “I stay in different short-term rental apartments when I travel. I take photos and use them to understand what’s good and what’s not. Then I apply what I’ve learned to make our apartments even better. If it gives a warm, inviting feeling, then it belongs in our brand. You know it’s a good place by being part of it.”
That sounds pretty well grounded.