EP112: Fill up gaps in your Airbnb calendar with Overnight

EP112: Fill up gaps in your Airbnb calendar with Overnight

When it comes to planning for last minute travel, most people think of booking a hotel before booking a short-term rental via Airbnb or another platform. The founders at Overnight are looking to change that!

This week Jasper talks with Overnight Co-Founders Asher Hunt and Diego Prats about their startup, which helps guests book last minute lodging and helps hosts fill gaps in their calendars. Although the company is currently promoting just four cities in the United States, they currently have hosts in over 110 countries! If you have an IOS device, download the app and check it out!

 

Some of the topics covered:

  • What Overnight is trying to accomplish
    • Last minute bookings for short-term rentals
  • How Airbnb hosts can use Overnight to fill gaps in their calendar
    • Can sync Overnight calendar with Airbnb calendar
    • Better listing positions for host that sync with Airbnb calendar
  • You don’t have to be a host on Airbnb to join
  • How Overnight works for travelers
  • IOS ONLY app (for now)
  • Where the service is currently offered
  • Some special features offered by overnight
    • Host can “boost” their listing, sending it to the top of the list
    • Host can list in private mode.
    • How hosts get paid for bookings though Overnight
  • Special offer:
    • BOTH host and guest can use the code ‘GPFYP’ for a extra referral bonus
    • Listen for details
  • Why you should list your pad even if you don’t live in a promoted area

Resources mentioned:

www.joinovernight.com

Overnight IOS app

Connect with Jasper

Email: jasper@getpaidforyourpad.com

Twitter: @GetPaidForUrPad

Instagram: @GetPaidForYourPad 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/getpaidforyourpad

This episode is sponsored by Hostfully.com where you can create a custom digital guidebook for your guests!

 

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Complete Transcript for Get Paid for Your Pad Episode 112:

Announcer:

Welcome to Get Paid for Your Pad, the definitive show on Airbnb hosting, featuring the best advice on how to maximize profits from your Airbnb listing as well as real life experiences from Airbnb hosts all over the world. Welcome. We are your hosts, Huzefa Kapadia, and Jasper Ribbers.

Jasper:

Remember Bruce Bennet, the super host in San Francisco that I interviewed? Bruce was selected from thousands of hosts to be featured as a Hostfully host and to all my free guidebook consultation. Make your own guidebook at Hostfully.com/pad.

Welcome everybody to another episode of Get Paid for Your Pad, and today I am joined by Diego and Asher and they are the co-founders of a new app that people can use to book last minute stays with hosts and it is called Overnight, so Diego and Asher, welcome to the show.

Asher:

Hello, hello. How is it going?

Jasper:

I am very well, thank you. I am in Denver, Colorado at the moment. It is very cold. Fortunately I am flying to Florida tomorrow, so I will be in warmer areas.

Asher:

Nice. That is awesome.

Jasper:

What about you guys? Where are you guys right now?

Asher:

We are in sunny California. We are in Los Angeles right now at our HQ which is the Overnight house, which if any of you listeners happen to be in LA, they should definitely come. Look it up, check us out, we host people we work out of here, it is an amazing vibe, and it is right off of the Sunset strip in the middle of Hollywood.

Jasper:

That is right. I have been there, a few months ago. I had the pleasure of having a cup of coffee with Diego near the Overnight HQ.

Asher:

Nice. That is awesome. I hate how I was out of town for that.

Jasper:

You guys have a nice little spot there.

Asher:

Yes, it is not bad. We work hard for it. We are basically working around the clock here. Co-founders and I live here and we are regularly up fairly late here working. It makes sense because we are building out of here, living out of here, hosting out of here, that it is a fairly central area because we just get a ton of value out of it. We are using it really all of the time. It is kind of what we are passionate about, to be able to extend the use of spaces as much as they can be used, right?

Jasper:

Absolutely. I heard, having a running start up is a lot of work, is it?

Asher:

Yes. It is. It is around the clock. Especially something like this. Overnight is very much a human company. We are working with humans around the clock, different time zones, all over the world. When you think about that, time is irrelevant if things are happening across the world. Time zones kind of shift and so forth. We have late nights where we are up building a product, and trying to move as quickly as possible.

Jasper:

Yes. I can tell you guys always seem to be busy. We hung out at the Airbnb open in Los Angeles as well, which was very cool.

Asher:

Yup.

Jasper:

Let’s talk about Overnight. Here is the way that I would describe it. People probably know an app called Hotel Tonight, which you can use to book last minute hotel bookings. My interpretation of Overnight is that it is the Hotel Tonight for the short term rental market. Is that a good description?

Asher:

Yes. I think that is a pretty fair description. Ultimately in, I think, when people think of spontaneous travel, people are less likely to think about Airbnb and think more about hotels. We wanted to come in and build a product that solves problems on both the host side and the guest side, for making last minute rentals and spontaneous rentals a lot easier to manage. It is less about discounting your listing for last minute and more about just making it very easy and making it home for last minute stays for short term listing, in other people’s homes as well. In effect it is like Hotel Tonight in the respect that it is made for spontaneous stays, but it is also like Airbnb except you are staying in someone’s home, instead of a hotel. We do get that comparison quite a bit, but there is a lot of little things in there that make us special and different as well.

Jasper:

Right. How would Airbnb users, Airbnb hosts, how would they use the app?

Asher:

We have something pretty special for Airbnb hosts. If a host from Airbnb signs up, A, they already have their photos and description and stuff like that, so it is pretty easy to bring that stuff on. Something really cool that we do is if they sync their calendars, then we hide their listing, if they are booked up that day on Airbnb, and if they have availability that day, we are going to promote their listing up in the feed. Which means if someone is looking for a place to stay that night, some of the first listings that they are going to see is an Airbnb host that happens to have availability for that night. It is kind of like this auto-magical, I think that word is made up, way of Airbnb hosts benefiting on our platform, by syncing their calendars.

Jasper:

From the users perspective, from the guests perspective, for the traveler, let’s say that I am going to go to Los Angeles, and I am supposed to stay with some friends, but my friend calls me at one pm, just when I arrive at the airport, he calls me and says, “Hey, my girlfriend is coming. You cannot stay here.” Now I need to find a place to stay for the night. I open up the Overnight app and Overnight will show me a number of listings, and these do not necessarily need to be Airbnb, anyone can sign up for Overnight, correct?

Asher:

Yes. Exactly. It is our own marketplace. If people are creating listings on here, and they are Airbnb hosts, they are basically recreating their listing on our platform. In turn, we have other hosts on there that are not hosts on Airbnb as well. What they will see is, they drop a pin, and usually they see around ten listings per listing type. They will see ten private listings, they will see ten entire places, and they will see ten shared places, in that five, six mile radius, right. They see that without any tax. And those places are available for tonight.

If you see a place, many hosts will boost their listing up to the top. If they open up their app that day, they can just tap “boost” and it basically puts their listing at the top of everyone else’s. If they see somebody that has a boosted listing, they can tap on it, they hit request, that host accepts it, that whole process is within a ten minute window. The whole idea is that we are servicing people that are ready to get booked, basically at any time that day, to the top. The idea is that you see listings around you and you are able to book them very quickly.

Jasper:

How do you get the hosts to respond that quickly to the inquiries?

Asher:

Yes. That is a good question. One hundred percent of our hosts are on mobile. One hundred percent of our hosts are using our mobile app which means it is always in their pocket. We have made a lot of design choices around surfacing the right information at the right time, to make it basically the response time at the speed of responding to a text. They open it up, they are right in chat, they can see that person’s profile, they can see if they verified their id, their credit card, their phone number, if they have mutual friends, all within a second of basically opening up the app. If they have any questions, they are already in chat, they can chat with them, or they can just accept it right there.

Jasper:

I see. Let’s say that I found the place that I want to stay, I have exchanged some messages, what is the rest of the process? What does it look like?

Asher:

Yes. There are two ways of going about it. People can message first or people can request. If people request, often times we will see a request go through and then maybe they will say a little something like when is it available or when can I arrive. And then that host will accept, and then they basically talk about key exchange. It is all fairly self regulating, self serving after that. Basically, they go, they show up at the hosts house, and then they stay. They rate, as soon as they check out. There is check out on our system. The effort for that is just basically to make sure we are getting as many reviews as quickly as possible for people.

You can also inquire with the place by messaging with them. They are actually able to pre approve you as well. It is not just for tonight, as well. If you have a place that you want to stay at next Friday, you can inquire with a host and see if their place is available. They can actually pre approve you in advance, as well. Right now, currently advanced booking only works with pre approval, so it is good to message hosts if you want to stay somewhere in advance. We are putting a lot of eggs in the basket of design around making last minute very easy for hosts.

Jasper:

Can you only book one night or can you book longer stays as well?

Asher:

Currently, if you are requesting a place, you can request up to five nights. But you can get pre approved for a week, two weeks, a month. That is rolled out. As long as you need. If you wanted to say hey, I want to show up next Friday for two weeks, that host can pre approve you if they have that availability.

Jasper:

Okay. Very cool.

 

I have tried to a couple of digital guide books, these past months. I have decided to use Hostfully. I have used Hostfully to create an online [inaudible 00:10:29] guidebook to show my guests my favorite places in town. My guest feedback has been great. They have used my recommendations and I am getting fewer questions from my guests as a result. I have included screen shots of my guidebook in the photo section of my Airbnb listing, as a way of differentiate my listing from others. Make your own guidebook at hostfully.com/pad.

Now let’s talk a little bit about the sign up process for hosts. Now, instead of being a traveler, I am going to pretend that I am a host. Well, I am a host. Let’s say that I want to use Overnight. The reason why I would use Overnight as an Airbnb host, is because I want to fill up last minute spaces in my calendar. Last minute gaps, right?

Asher:

Yes. I think that is exactly right. As a host, Airbnb algorithm, I think people look at it like it is a black box sometimes. They do not know why they get de-prioritized or maybe they just, still, even at their best, are having eighty percent or so occupancy. I would say for this, our sorting is pretty straight forward, right now. We do have benefits for hosts. If you sync your calendar and you are an Airbnb host, we are automatically going to prioritize you somewhat in the list. But you still have the option of coming in and setting your own calendar, if you do not want to sync it. And you can boost your listing up to the top. That is a really interesting thing that we have for hosts.

Again, it is this boost thing where if you open up the app today, you can tap on today in the calendar and automatically just boost it, and you will jump to the top of everybody else’s listings. That is a pretty interesting benefit that we have with us, because you are not going to be de-prioritized in that case. If you are opening up the app, and you show intent to want to host somebody that day, you will be rewarded with more demand in that case. I would say, opening up the app, you basically sign in with Facebook, you download the iPhone app, you add your listing which takes a few minutes, it is all very, obviously mobile friendly because we are designing for mobile first, and then you hit save.

From there, you might get an activation call from one of our guys on the team who is a host success manager. Our team is very hands on. That is one big benefit of what we have. We have support around the clock. And real people to talk to at any given time. Should you run into an issue or just have questions about how to make your listing better. We are accessible. We are human beings on the other side of the phone that will call, text, email, message with you, basically around the clock.

Jasper:

Right. Then how does the payment system work? Is it the same as in Airbnb where the guest pays Airbnb at the time of the reservation and then the host gets the money the day after they check in?

Asher:

Yes. With first day, after they attach their bank account, it usually takes about five to seven days, depending on the band, just for the first stage, just because the bank has to get verified. I think it is basically the same with a lot of these other guys, as well. After that, it is usually you get paid about a day after that guest checks in, for that stay.

Jasper:

Got it. Are you guys available all over the US?

Asher:

That is a good question. I think ultimately we have officially launched four cities, which is LA, San Francisco, Austin, and New York. Outside of those four cities, we have actually had hosts onboard, and put their listings up in about one hundred and ten countries. My thoughts on that are basically, if you want to be a part of this, which is something that is growing, and we are getting off the ground, but people are excited about it all over the world, I would encourage you to still put up your listing.

Just know that you might not get as much demand in a city that is an off city, but you might, and know that person on the other side, is probably going to be an early adopter like you, and you probably are going to have a lot in common. It is cool to have this smaller community, globally. I definitely encourage people to put their listings up but know that if they are in a city that is not as densely populated or not something that we have officially launched, you might not get as much demand, but the demand that you might get from it, it is going to be some really great people coming through.

Jasper:

There is no downside to signing up, I guess, right because it is free to use for hosts?

Asher:

Yes. There is no downside at all for signing up. It is free to use for hosts. I think that it is extra inbound opportunities for them.

Jasper:

Right. Let’s say that I sign up, upload my listing, and then the app will connect with my Airbnb listing, and it will only show my listing in the app, when I have availability, correct?

Asher:

Yes. All of that is basically the one thing that you would have to do is … You create your listing, you have to create your listing on our app, which means you have to upload the pictures and then just basically copy/paste your description. From there, there is an email that you will get, that basically says reply to this email with your calendar link. It gives you instructions on how to get the link for your calendar from Airbnb. People do this very regularly. We have made it a pretty easy process to do. As soon as they send us that, everything is synced up, and ready, and you will get notified whenever all of that is ready to go. Then, it is all additional for you. If you are not booked on Airbnb, you will be promoted on our app.

Jasper:

Right. If somebody books my place on Overnight, then I have to go into the Airbnb calendar and block it, right? Overnight cannot do that for me, can they?

Asher

Yes. That is right. And that is a good point. For right now, it is not working two ways just yet. But in the future it will. You will have to go in and block out those days, if you get a booking on Overnight. I definitely suggest keeping that in mind, though that is the way that it is now, it won’t necessarily be that way in the future. For now, you will kind of have to pay attention and keep your eye on both, to just mute out those days when you get a booking.

Jasper:

Right. The guests … Most people on Airbnb I think, they do not accept same day bookings. I think that most hosts set it to one or two, maybe even three days. I think in a lot of cases it will not actually be a problem. Let’s say, I do not accept same day bookings on Airbnb, so if I were to put my listing on Overnight, as long as people book on the same day, I won’t have a problem, and if people want to book in advance, I am going to have to pre-approve then, right? They cannot instant book or they can never instant book?

Asher:

No, not yet. We do not have any instant book features. Basically, I think with a lot of the bet that we are looking at is, we can empower more people to become hosts by allowing them to make the decision a lot faster, whether or not they want to host somebody, by creating a lighter way to experience. Effectively, it is kind of an instant book, but it is an instant book where you get to choose who stays there. You are still able to have an understanding and choice of who is going to stay there, but we make that all as easy as possible.

Jasper:

Right. Got it. Very cool. What else should people know about Overnight? For people who are listening, there are two ways that people can use it, right? First of all …

Asher:

Yes.

Jasper:

… if you are a host, you can use Overnight to fill up last minute gaps in your calendar. And secondly, if you travel, you can also use Overnight to stay with hosts, just like you would stay on Airbnb.

Asher:

Yes. That is exactly right. I think we have a pretty good code for you, by the way, the “get paid for your pad” code, which is GPFYP, which if they use this code, whether they are traveling or they are hosting … If they are hosting, if they use the code, they are automatically going to be turned into an ambassador, which means typically it is like you invite a friend, you get twenty five dollars, you give them twenty five dollars, or if you have an Airbnb guest, you are able to invite them. With this, now if they use your code, which is GPFYP, they will actually get thirty five dollars, cash.

If somebody has a guest who is there, or is leaving and they want to have them book in the future, or that day on Overnight, then they can actually gift that guest twenty five dollars, and they will get thirty five dollars cash, in return. There is no better way to get great reviews than to give your guest a twenty five dollar credit for something. I definitely recommend that they do that. If they are travelling, and they use your code, they are also going to get twenty five dollars off their next stay, if they travel.

Jasper:

Right. Very cool. For example, I got some guests over in Amsterdam in my listing, if I tell them next time you travel, here is this app called Overnight, if you use it, then I will get thirty five dollars in cash. Normal people who sign up without the code will get twenty five travel credit, but if you use the code you will actually get thirty five dollars in cash.

Asher:

Yes. That is right. Whether they plan on traveling in the future or they want to extend their stay, if for whatever reason they prefer to use Overnight, it is a great way for as a host, for you to get paid, and also give a gift to start out that stay with that host, or with that guest.

Diego:

I once met a Lyft driver who drove for Uber, but referred for Lyft. She said that she doubles her money in her car, she said, “I pick up Uber riders, and I say hey, have you heard of Lyft.” Half the time they had and half the time they have not. She would give her Lyft referral code. She said, “Uber [inaudible 00:20:58] traffic, but since when I refer somebody to Lyft, I am referring someone who is not just a friend, but somebody who already likes on demand cars.” When you have an Airbnb guest or any guest, you are referring somebody who already likes short term rentals, but you are not going to get any kind of referrals from Airbnb or any other site, but from us, you can.

Jasper:

Right. Okay, I get it. It is interesting because I know there are a lot of hosts who give their Uber referral code to guests. When the guest books they will say, hey, you know what, if you do not have Uber, here is my referral code, and you get twenty bucks, and you can take Uber from the airport.

Asher:

Yes.

Jasper:

It is kind of like, a similar thing where there is downside to giving somebody a code because if that person does not use it, then nothing happens. If that person does use it in the future, then suddenly you get thirty five dollars. Like you said, people who are your guests in your Airbnb, they are already interested in staying with hosts, but there is a reasonable chance that they will use Overnight in the future.

Asher:

Yes. Exactly. Again, if they feel like extending their stay, which happens often, then it is a great way for them to save, if they are extending. Also, as a host, you are able to make money as well.

Jasper:

Very cool. Awesome. I am excited to give it a try. Next time I need a place to stay, I will definitely look at Overnight. I am in Amsterdam, you said you only launched in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, and New York but there could still be demand. There is still reason for me to sign up.

Asher:

Yes. There is definitely still a reason for you to sign up as a host. I think there is no downside to it, right. There is no downside to referring, there is not downside to listing your place. It is all extra money. I think, my main thing, is wanting to be upfront with our community, as possible, and your community as well, in saying that even though there might not be as much demand, you are kind of unlocking a new community. Also, there is no downside because it is potential extra money for you.

For us, again, we have already had hosts onboard in one hundred and ten countries. We want to have a global footprint because we want to make travel easier all around the world. If we can make a booking as easy as ten minutes, to book a place half the price of a hotel, then I think ultimately we could change the way that people travel. We could take someone who maybe takes one or two trips a year to make three or four trips a year. But it needs the help of awesome hosts all over the world.

Jasper:

Right. Got it.

Diego:

[inaudible 00:23:42] worth noting that those are the four cities, but we have seen this phenomenon where there is like ten to twenty cities that, they do not really promote. I will give you an example, New Orleans. The New Orleans hosts, because there is not that many and we do not promote it, they get messages a lot, they get a lot of messages, because they are the only ones there. There is a handful of New Orleans hosts. Same thing with hosts in Chicago, they get a lot up there, Detroit, because nobody is expecting it. They kind of own that territory in a way.

Asher:

Yes.

Diego:

Actually they get a lot of messages, more than you would ever expect since we do not promote them.

Jasper:

Right. There just happens to be a lot of users who are already using the Overnight app to stay in different places, but there is not a lot of hosts yet in that area, so you are one of the first adopters, and there is not a lot of competition yet. It could even be useful for Airbnb hosts who are struggling to fill up their calendar, to use Overnight because they might be one of the first ones in that particular area.

Asher:

Yes. That is right. They could be at the top of that list.

Jasper:

Okay. I get it. That is really cool.

Asher:

We found that once people use Overnight, we have something like thirty percent of users, that will use Overnight again within that month. Which is crazy. The retention is quite good. Basically people like this experience of having this seamless way of booking that takes just a few minutes. I guess it is one of these things that you might as well list your place on there, just knowing that if somebody travels with it within the states, they go to Amsterdam, and they open Overnight, you have a chance of A, meeting someone who is a part of this early community, which is awesome, but B, being at the top of that list in Amsterdam. Which is my favorite city and I plan on booking on Overnight next time I come to Amsterdam. You should definitely list your place.

Jasper:

Okay. I am definitely going to. I have actually downloaded the app. It is very simple to get involved with Overnight. If you want to create a listing as a hosts, you simply download the app. You can find it in the app store for iPhone and also for Android.

Asher:

Not quite Android, but it is coming soon.

Jasper:

Oh, it is on the iPhone.

Asher:

Yes. Coming soon for Android.

Jasper:

If you have an iPhone then you can create your listing. Simply download the app, as I have done. The whole process is very simple. There is not a lot of downside. The second thing that you can do is just let people know, let your guest know that Overnight exists, and you might make some money.

Asher:

Yes. Definitely.

Jasper:

Very cool.

Asher:

I would say that there is one other feature that I think we found a lot of hosts like which is, we have seen an increasing demand for people wanting to control their privacy, so we have found a way of hosting privately, if somebody wanted to do that, as well. I figure I would tack that on in the end.

Jasper:

Absolutely.

Asher:

You can list your place, you can turn on private mode, and basically you blur yourself out from your listing and you are able to list just having the listing up there, without your face and name being on there as well.

Jasper:

Awesome. Very cool. Well, I am excited to use it. For the people who want to check it out, use the code “get paid for your pad”. GPFYP, and you will get your thirty five dollars in cash when you refer somebody. Well guys, thank you a lot for joining the show.

Asher:

Absolutely.

Jasper:

I wish you all the best. We have hung out a couple of times. You definitely are a very cool team. I expect nothing but great things from you guys.

Asher:

Of course. Stay cool in Denver.

Jasper:

I will. Although fortunately I am leaving tomorrow. Anyway, thank you guys. For all the listeners, thank you for tuning in. Of course, next week, there will be another episode, so we will see you then.

 

 

 

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