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Branding for Short Term Rental Hosts (EP 312)

Standing out in crowded STR markets can be difficult. With new rental properties cropping up in desirable locations every day, developing a brand for your STR business is key to long-term success in a short-term market. Branding is one of the best ways to beat out competition.

Airbnb Superhost, model, and musician Sharon Middendorf founded GO-Cottage, an STR business in Lake Placid, New York. Long before Airbnb existed, Sharon bought, renovated, and restored two 1920s bungalows on the same piece of property. Over the course of 17 years she’s successfully marketed her short-term rentals as modern-style, California-esque lodging for adventure seekers. Sharon’s property has been featured in Country Living, Domino, and on HGTV’s Small Space, Big Living.

On this episode of Get Paid for Your Pad, Sharon describes the importance of branding and how it can give rental owners the control they crave in a market dominated by listing platforms. Sharon explains how diversifying her rentals and capitalizing on their uniqueness helped her stand out amongst more than 700 STR listings in a small village. Listen in for Sharon’s insight on how Airbnb Plus has affected her listing and whether she would recommend the program to other property owners.

Topics Covered

Sharon’s STR story

  • Loved vacationing in Lake Placid
  • Took 4-5 years to find the right property to purchase
  • Renovated two bungalows on property
  • Started booking short-term renters in 2003

Why Sharon focuses on branding

  • Differentiates her rental from all the rest
  • Branding lasts longer than an STR platform like Airbnb

How Sharon developed a brand

  • Built website and began tracking it using Google Analytics
  • Started creating on-brand content for social media like Facebook and Instagram

How Sharon marketed her listing before Airbnb

  • Used local listing sites and craigslist
  • Relied on word-of-mouth

Why Sharon releases a quarterly newsletter

  • Helps her stay in touch with former guests
  • Releasing a newsletter quarterly avoids overwhelming subscribers

What Sharon includes in her newsletter

  • Local upcoming events
  • Information on availability and cost

How Sharon got national exposure for her property

  • Networking and reaching out to media organizations
  • Knowing someone at Country Living helped her listing get featured

Sharon’s insight on creating a brand

  • Name the property to give it an identity
  • Hire outside help if needed

Sharon’s take on Airbnb Plus

  • Good experience working with professional photographer
  • Meeting Airbnb Plus requirements can take time and effort
  • Airbnb Plus doesn’t necessarily enable you to raise rates
  • Less control over Airbnb Plus listing

Connect with Sharon


Email: info@go-cottage.com

GO-Cottage Instagram

GO-Cottage Facebook

GO-Cottage YouTube

GO-Cottage on Airbnb


Airbnb IPO

Airbnb Plus


STR Profit Academy

STR Legends Mastermind

Get Paid for Your Pad: How to Maximize Profit from Your Airbnb Listing by Jasper Ribbers and Huzefa Kapadia

STR Legends Mastermind

Email jasper@getpaidforyourpad.com

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