More bookings with great interior design - What you need to know? the easy way to increase bookings

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There are so many things to consider when you’re setting up a hotel room or an str property and interior design has never been so important. Following last week’s episode, where we talked about photography, this week we talk about how the impact of stunning interior design is often not well understood and is one of those things that can stop people from scrolling and start booking.

We are in an Instagram, Facebook and TikTok era. Interior design has never been so important to get right. Your guests will be impressed as its fantastic interior design creates a positive first impression and improves their experience. 

Interior design is so much more than just dashing lines and luxury pieces of furniture and accessories. It is not enough to fill a room with nice decor and seating options. With careful curation of furniture, fixtures, and equipment, you can create a unique and authentic atmosphere that keeps guests coming back for more. 

So, we did this insightful episode of The Accommodation Show to give you expert tips about interior design. 

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Valerie Malone, founder of Quill Decor, who after designing eye-catching interiors for nearly 20 years, Valerie has secrets to share. We talk about how to combine eye-catching design, and lighting with high levels of functionality. Where to splurge and how to save. During our conversation, Valerie outlines several helpful frameworks for how to think about the design style of your room and shared advice on how to effectively and efficiently craft a memorable experience that compels a 5-star rating.

What we cover in this episode:

What are the most critical design elements of a room?

What styling choices will appeal to your target guest?

How to use your space to maximize comfort, ambiance, and flow.

Why you should invest in high-quality furniture.

How to pick and where to get inspiration to style/theme your property.

How you can use art to make a space more meaningful.

How to create magic using lighting.

Valerie has a bachelor’s degree in interior design plus 16 years of experience practicing both commercial and residential design in the U.S. and abroad. In 2018 Valerie focused her firm, Quill Decor, on the art of short-term rental design. Valerie now runs a design consulting business helping others all around the globe perfect the decor in their short-term rentals so that they may attract the best guests and earn higher nightly rates. She wrote and produced a unique online course, Design Your BNB, to give hosts a complete step-by-step guide to designing and decorating a rental themselves from start to finish.

So many useful tips in this podcast. It is a must-watch/listen!

📣   Listen to the episode here
👓   Watch the episode here


Bart: Hello and welcome back to The Accommodation Show. We help accommodation owners like you get the knowledge and skills you need to grow your business, improve your guest experience and increase your profitability.

Bart: Okay, everybody, welcome back to another episode of The Accommodation Show. I am joined today by Valerie Malone from Quill Decor. Welcome to the show.

Valerie: Thank you, Bart. Thanks for having me.

Bart: Thank you for getting up super early in the morning. I think that you’re in Cambridge in the UK. Is that right?

Valerie: That’s right. Yep. Bright and early. Yeah.

Bart: I always appreciate it when people can break their schedules a little bit to come and talk to us. So it’s much appreciated because we’re obviously here in Australia. Welcome to the show. Today we’re going to be talking about all things, mistakes that we make when we design properties because you are from a design background. That’s why I put you on the show. Funnily enough, I think you’ll be in roughly around about two and a half years. You’re the second person who’s actually going to talk specifically about designing short-term rental designing of properties. And the reason why I reached out to you, is because I know that you’re enthusiastic about what you do. I look at your social media and makes me smile and makes me happy. And I think that you’ll have a lot to share with our audience. Tell me a bit about your background about your business.

Valerie: Sure. So I live in Cambridge, England. Now I’m from America, obviously. And I started out focusing on short-term rental design when my husband and I had a rental ourselves. And we were staying in rentals all over the place all over America all over the world and Australia even and it just there was nobody several years. Ago paying attention to the design of these rentals and you see this industry growing and I just looked at it from the perspective of I have so much to say I have so much to say to help improve these rentals. These people are anybody can start a rental and not anybody can design a hospitality space hotel. So I thought there’s you know, there’s a missing link here there’s a gap that I think I can fill. 

And so I started focusing my design firm’s efforts on the short-term rental design several years ago and just consuming all of the podcasts and everything I could. Also while being a consumer and a short-term rental host myself. Yeah, not long after that. I designed a four-bedroom house or sorry, a three-bedroom house as a short-term rental. And then I filmed a case study essentially, which I turned into an E-course to teach people exactly how I did this step by step how did I create this space to make it hospitable and beautiful and highly functional, as a hospitality space as a space that caters to guests but it’s also beautiful and functional? That kind of checks all the boxes. So here I am. So now I’m in this world and in the short-term rental world, the hospitality world and it’s, it’s absolutely my favorite place to be in the design realm because you get a little bit of everything.

Bart: Yeah, and it’s evolved and it’s changed so much from what it used to be. I mean, even if we think about short-term rentals, I mean we all had kind of vacation homes, and then they’ll have that kind of timeshare II type thing where people would go and spend time with the holiday home. I remember in my family it would always be there’ll be a noticeboard atmy parents work and someone would have a property and then you’d go and stay in that place. And then it evolved into Airbnb and they did the big push where I was kind of a spare room and then holiday homes. And now I guess where you were ahead of the curve was realizing that there’s this huge opportunity in the professionalization of the hospitality experience, but also in the environment that people are actually visiting.

Valerie: Yeah, exactly. There just seemed to be such a missing link and you’re right that the game has changed so much over the years from even in the past. Five years to you being able to you know, leave for a summer holiday and just rent your space out even now. That’s like the Airbnb of old or the short-term rental of old, whereas now it needs to be this professional place. You need to have all of your personal items removed even if it’s just you’re renting it out. For a few weeks. I think there’s decision additional pressure to make it the professional quality of a short-term rental.

Bart: Yeah, that’s right. So folks, today and we’ve been talking a little bit before we started recording. We wanted to make sure this episode was one that would be relevant. If you’re new to the game if you’re new in the industry if you’ve already been in short-term rentals for a while. If you’ve got one property if you’ve got 10 properties all to apply if you’ve got 100 properties or more or five but also, to all the hotel folks that are listening to this make sure that you pay attention because there’s a lot that can be learned from the principles of providing great guest experience through fantastic design. And if you don’t believe me then make sure the jump on onto your social media Valerie. It’s incredible to see what you’re doing out there. So if you are tuned in and if you’re listening in then make sure that no matter which industry you’re in, there’ll be parts that were going to help you with now. When you approached me, you said hey there are these different mistakes that people are making within their within setting up their, their design, and you kind of narrowed them down to four kinds of major points that we’re going to go through today. Do you wanna kick us off?

Valerie: Yeah. Okay, so the number one main mistake that you see made in the short-term rental space or hospitality space is not investing in quality furniture upfront. As we all know, we can purchase anything for any price online now. So no matter what country you’re in, there are your wayfarers. There are your Amazon’s there are you have the quality from A to Z? So how do you know what is quality? For a rental on quality enough, right because this is a business we don’t just want to go throwing endless amounts of money at the furniture you want every dollar that you invest to be worthwhile to make a really solid return on your investment. You want furniture that is high quality that lasts that doesn’t cost a fortune. So depending on where you are the answer to where you find that furniture is different so we’ll go specifics I won’t go specifically into you know the different brands since we’ve got people listening from all over the world. But I think just really do your research and make sure that what you’re getting is hospitality grade and not the cheap, you know, metal bed from Wayfarer that costs 100 bucks. That’s not it. That is not going to work it is you’re going to be replacing it and you do not want to be replacing furniture for many reasons, right? Because that’s wasted money. It’s wasted time and it’s your reputation.

Bart: It will get you a bad review at the end of the day, right?

Valerie: Yeah, so just pay a lot of attention to that quality.

Bart: Yeah, so when we talk about quality and quite often it can be really difficult to understand what quality actually means because of we look at it and we say well, just because it’s expensive. It doesn’t mean that it’s great quality. Conversely, just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean that it’s bad quality, but when you’re talking about quality, you’re talking about durability, so making sure that things are going to last for a long time and I think what I liked that was that kind of hospitality grade and making sure that it’s going to get to last so finding the right suppliers that will provide furniture that is hospitality. Grading is one of the keys is that kind of what you’re saying?

Valerie: That’s absolutely right. And even I’ve noticed over the past two years, what you see on the main sites on Wayfair is you’ll see that something is hospitality grade. Or let’s say commercial use. So that means automatically that it’s going to be more durable, more long-lasting. And then look at your warranties too. Don’t forget to think about like what does the furniture what does the furniture manufacturer willing to own up to what’s really important, so just do your research.

Bart: Gotcha.

Bart: 8:40 Yeah, that makes complete sense and it is a good starting point. I think that I think that you were talking before about having visited a short-term rental, but it was there as part of one of the big brands out there. And some of these things I think, I think maybe we’ve been talking about furniture weren’t up to par.

Valerie:  Yeah, definitely. We were in Paris just a couple of weeks ago staying at now one of the large hotel brands that has taken over a lot of rentals as we know and this particular one we booked through a major hotel brand and it just didn’t not all of the quality furniture did not live up to what this big brand would typically say they want their reputation to uphold.

Bart: So I guess what we’re seeing right is your furniture is part of your brand as part of that experience, right? So make sure that you get it right and you do some research through there. The other thing I’d like to know, personally, I don’t, I wouldn’t know myself whether it’s you know, what’s good furniture, what’s bad furniture and that sort of thing. I know that from a design perspective quite often. It’s great to have someone come in and give you a bit of a hand with figuring out what’s gonna work and what isn’t because you might be only doing it every now and then if you’re in a hotel, you have a procurement team that will be buying this stuff. But if you don’t have that team, would you advise people to get a consultant when we talk about our research? How do we do that?

Valerie: Yeah, absolutely you can hire someone to help you. You can hire a consultant. You can, you know if nothing else, the easiest thing to do if you are a small brand and you’re just looking to fill one property or a couple of properties, go to some actual furniture stores, get off of the internet and actually go visit some furniture stores and see touch and feel kick the tires so to speak, I think down on the bed, jump up and down in the bed.

Bart: Yeah, and then Okay, so next one on our list. What was the second thing?

Valerie: The second thing is okay, so the second main mistake we see when people are putting together short-term rental properties is that they create a space that is lifeless and sterile and a little bit too cold. Right, so you’re trying to put together a space you don’t want it to be cluttered. You don’t really know what you’re doing and you’ve filled your cart and you’ve bought all this stuff and here you are now you put it all in. And it looks a little bit like a prison cell or a dorm room. Right like so how do we avoid that? Do you know? Do you know what I mean? Like I’m wondering if you’ve ever….

Bart: A 100% It almost feels like a hotel. Room or it’s kind of like a badly designed showroom. Right? Like, there’s a yeah, you want that you want those little, those little touches. And that’s actually a really good one because when we’re selling a property, right, we don’t want any of our own personality to be there. So we appeal to the widest market. But I think that what you’re saying is that you want some of that but you also want a little bit of your own personality or a personal touch is that what you’re saying?

Valerie: It doesn’t have to be your personality. I think the number one question that people ask me is, how do I decorate a space to appeal to everybody? And my answer to that is that is not your goal. Your goal is to appeal to your particular guest avatar Who are you trying to attract? So, of course, you want to attract as many people as possible and you want your place booked up, but there is by and large when you’re planning a property there is somebody in mind there is this avatar that you have that you’re trying to attract. So think about that person. When you’re designing your decorating, you’re selecting your art, all of those things. Outside of that, some really tangible tips are to go for really big art. 

I know that there’s some anxiety around selecting art. This is something that I’m talking about with my core students right now because art is highly personal and it’s really hard to select something to appeal to everyone that feels really overwhelming. So you don’t have to be offensive with your art selections but you can still be interesting and different and not just the same. You know the piece you see from Target or wafer you know tribe tries to be a little bit interesting and the best tip is just to go as big as you can afford. So large oversized if you’ve got a huge blank wall and you don’t know what to do with that wall. Go Bigger, bigger, even bigger than your thinking. So it doesn’t have

Bart: How about this piece that I have right here. It’s a similar one. Yeah.

Valerie: We talked about that scale. Yeah. We’re gonna have to do some shopping for large art. Yeah, one. Wallpaper is another one. So think about doing some wallpaper. You can just do one wall you can do. The headboard wall is often done in the bedroom which is really great. Works really well to just have that one wall. Or you could think about doing an entry hallway just to give that kind of, well interesting Instagrammable moment to your property and to help give it some life. The other thing that can make places still sterile, especially when they’re photographs is to get about the color temperature of your lightbulbs. So you don’t want to do like daylight bulbs everywhere that’s too cold it’ll feel hospital like but you also don’t want to go like yellowy warm so you want to go kind of in the middle with just the soft white light bulbs if you can. And then I love to say if you are if you have the time and you’re doing like a small view of small scale business, I love to incorporate interesting vintage finds like or pieces from Etsy or secondhand stores just to give it this vitality and character that’s hard to fill into a sterile home otherwise.

Bart: In terms of our research. And so one of the resources that I found really useful was looking at Pinterest and actually getting inspiration from Pinterest where you’ve got other people that are like-minded and you kind of find that niche in that demographic, and get some inspiration and get some ideas especially if you’re not that creative. All right, cool. Let’s kind of all make sense or these are ideas that fit within the box. But one of the things you said was very important is appealing to the big avatar or demographic and making sure that we paint toward them. But let’s say we are looking at like families that might be easier. If we’re looking at a younger generation, we might be able to start you know, pick up some magazines to target that particular demographic. So we’ve got some ideas as to what to put in there. Where else can we kind of pick we know our avatar, where can we get inspiration to then we’re all right, this is kind of what I think that particular group of people is going to want.

Valerie: That’s okay, so that’s a really great question. So I would start by going to my website and taking my style quiz. It’s totally free. It is catered to short-term rental and hotel design. So there are only about 10 or 12 outcomes. So it’s cool right-hand corner. It’s called a style quiz. And that is going to give you kind of an understanding of what is my design style that I need to be aiming for. You can then take so that’ll take you to an outcome page. It has some inspiration photos on it, but also you could take that design style let’s say you got a contemporary cottage style. You can then take that contemporary cottage and then go straight into Pinterest and plug in your style and say contemporary cottage living room and search that and it’s going to pull up the particular style, design style genre that you’re looking at and I’ll give you all kinds of inspiration images that should be catered exactly to the style you’re trying to create.

Bart: Fantastic. So the other reason why it’s a mistake to also leave things bland is how it appears externally because obviously you’re taking pictures of this and you need to differentiate yourself from your competitors. And this will particularly apply to hotels where it’s all same, same, same and you need to do something to stand out. If you start to stand out and at least you can start to pull more people, more people in Would you agree with that? But that’s kind of one of the main reasons why bland is bad apart from it being an experience.

Valerie: Yeah, I mean, think about I don’t know if you’re familiar with the hotel chain, the graduate, graduate hotels they specifically pull vintage into their lobbies to their hotel rooms, and every room is a little bit different. And they do that because they think they care about design but also they’re differentiating themselves in a market where everything is the same and sterile and so they’re trying to appeal to a different audience who really appreciates that niche appreciates you know, the creativity and the character that comes with these old vintage pieces and everything is unique. 

Bart: I mean hotels, we know this from a long time ago. There are different ways to build it. But you also have especially in the short-term rental space where you have a lot of people just kind of cookie cutting and doing the same thing over and over and over again, and where you get market saturation. But it’s great to have that differentiation point. I would recommend that you have a look at art house, Airbnb. The work that they’re doing over there is fantastic. Bring in unique art pieces of local artists and having them on the wall so therefore it’s no longer bland and there’s a designer going there.

Valerie: Are they selling them? Are they setting up a gallery space for them?

Bart: As well. Yes. Yeah, absolutely. So it matches the two, so the work is done by the artists to go and create the display of how they would like it to be in the property. And then you can purchase it on the way out as well and have that experience that you take home with you. So it leads into it to what you’re saying. Is there anything else to add on this particular point?

Valerie: I think that’s it. 

Bart: 1And number three, what’s the third most common mistake?

Valerie: So the third most common mistake I see is not thinking from the guest’s perspective. So not thinking about every decision you make and everything you do in creating this space should be done. So from creating an environment, creating it from the hospitality perspective for the guest, not for your business, but for the guests who do really saturate your yourself into the experience of the guest and create the space for them.

Bart: Yeah, that and that makes complete sense. So what we’re saying is that we add more of ourselves and we want to, we might not be able to put ourselves in the guests shoes as much as we’d like to. I think it goes back to the avatar as well and really understanding our guests and what that experience is going to be like overall is that kind of the angle that we’re going down?

Valerie: Yeah, I mean, I think how many places have you stayed in where it’s very obvious that the person who put the place together, doesn’t care about you? Doesn’t think about you doesn’t care about you is completely disconnected and then and then you’ve also saved in other places where you know, the person put everything together with you in mind because you feel what you feel cared for. You feel you feel catered to. So there’s a big difference and it’s pretty easy to close. that divide is quite easy to think about. Making your guests as comfortable as possible and think about everything from their perspective and part of it is just guests’ responsiveness or host responsiveness rather, during the guest’s stay making sure that the guest has everything that they need. So that part’s easy. But then there are also ways to add luxury touches that can take you take your place to the next level that doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive. 

So for example, in a hotel you typically have two hotels, two, sorry, two sleeping pillows, two sleeping pillows per guest, right? So that’s a minimum you need two sleeping pillows per guests with a pillowcase. Don’t make us go searching for it and you can leave. You can leave an extra one in the closet actually so that you don’t have as much linens to do but just give guests options. Make sure that they have that extra pillow. That’s a small, small luxury touch. Or, sorry, it’s a low-price luxury touch that can go a long way and another is having bathrobes upscale handsoap So just think about some things that make your place that don’t have to cost a fortune but they can take your guests experience up a notch or two.

Bart: Or three to the other level and that I mean that it will go even to coffee that you might have nice coffee appliances that you have in the place and all of that. One of the great pieces of information I’ve picked up in the past is when you’re setting up a new property is make sure that you stay there yourself. And that you know, maybe try a few different rooms or spend a few nights there and then you can get that real experience of what is actually like not what you think it’s going to be like what actually liked to be there. And then you go, “Oh, wouldn’t it be nice if there was this.” so you realise that there’s a great view and it’ll be great to have some champagne glasses that you don’t normally have in all your properties or to really enhance that experience. I was in a hotel last week, and they hadn’t thought of my experience very well. And the way the furniture was laid out was pretty poor because you can watch the television in any angle and it’s these kinds of little things of actually getting the guest’s experience I think there’s nothing better good actually staying there yourself and make sure that you try it out. Okay, this doesn’t work and therefore shows that lack of care, doesn’t it?

Valerie: Definitely blackout curtains. There’s very rarely a hotel in the whole world that doesn’t have blackout curtains. It’s something hotels always do. That short-term rentals really do often fall short on because it is another expense. It’s another layer people don’t know how to do it. It’s confusing. It’s not that confusing. It’s three simple layers on the window. Do some hard blinds, do sit do curtain rod, do some nice blackout curtains, make sure that your guests can sleep and even if you know we’ve stayed at a place where I could tell it was a family home as well in the mountains and I could and they didn’t have any curtains on the windows. And I see why because the view was beautiful and they clearly didn’t want them and they didn’t like them and they stayed there themselves but it wasn’t about them. It was about me. So if I want to sleep in my mountain home that I’m renting and paying money for that should be an option. For me. So yeah, just continually think about the guests perspective and how you can create a better experience for them. And the best way to do that is to ask, ask your guests, guests and stay there yourself for sure.

Bart: Especially if it’s a family home as well or if it’s a multi-generational unit that you want to have. You want to come with everybody so you can experience it and find out that you don’t have enough cups of plate. So whatever those little, those little issues are. But if we go back to that, sort of the overarching theme here we’re talking about is living the experience from the guests’ point of view and making sure to make them not make the mistake of not taking that into account. And then our fourth one, what was the fourth one?

Valerie: The fourth one is very simple and really easy to fix if you have this issue, so as I’ve said, we’ve kind of got into this business by staying in short-term rentals for the past 10 years since it was you know, a very new thing and the thing that I saw consistently even in nice places, there’s just never enough lamps or tables. I don’t know what it is when it comes to like, Yeah, that’s fine. We’re just going to leave all that there with you know, the sofa and the chairs and there’s no place to put your drink your coffee, your wine, whatever. 

So just add some more and tables if you have space, think about the space planning of the room and always add more lamps. I think you can never have too many lamps because having lamps allows your guests to control the environment. By controlling the lighting and that is so much about how a space feels welcoming and comfortable is your lighting. So if lighting overwhelms you and you think I don’t know how to do the lighting, right, just add more lamps. You want some with different types of shades. If you have a metal shade that throws a harsher light. Make sure you have some soft shaded lamps. To give that glowy light around the room. That really does a lot for changing the environment. 

Bart: I’ve been in places where you’ve only got one really bright overhead light and that’s the only one that you can use at a certain point and then you see you’re stuck with it. You can’t do anything to work your way around because there are just not enough lights. I’ve remembered grabbing lamps out of some rooms to move them into different spaces. So you can create a relaxed kind of environment so I can completely understand that. And I think the other side of it and you’ve mentioned that a few times actually is how critical lighting actually is when you’re setting up a property and how it makes you feel overall. So it’s not just the number of lambs. It’s like you said the different colors, the different tones, and that sort of thing. What’s the kind of what’s a good way to sort of approach this like you’re saying, yeah, just add more and more and more but what’s what do we what’s a good way to really think about it if somebody is going oh, do I have enough lights or not? Yeah.

Valerie: Yeah, so a good way to think about it. So if you have a living room space, for example, you can add make sure you have a floor lamp. You can add some lamps on your end tables, but just you want to what you’re trying to do is allow your guests to control the lighting level like you said. So the lighting level, the lighting that is at eye level, is going to be more relaxing than the light use that you have coming from overhead that harsh overhead lights when you’ve got that one bowl beaming down. That’s a real hospital-like feel there are designers on Instagram who say like, you know, overhead lighting is just 100% Awful. Like just turn them all off. Never even use them. We have them for like sculptural. You can see mine up there like quite like my life. It’s very pretty and sculptural. But generally at night when there’s actually no, there’s no sunlight coming in. You want the light to be at eye level. So that nice ambient glowy light. 

So yeah, I think I think the main thing if you don’t really know where to start or how to do the lamps, think about the spaces you can add the desk lamps to or that sorry, the table lamps too. So do you have a TV console do you have on tables think about the height of those I see a lot of trends right now with big lamps. So the bigger the better. Instead of doing like small dinky little lamps it’s which is probably the biggest pet peeve of mine in a space that has enough lamps is that there’s like the scale is off so it’s really tiny and small. So think about doing something bigger to scale with the actual table and then like I said, just mixing it up so that you’ve got different types of, of light coming through. So if you’ve got a harsh metal fixture that’s called an apothecary fixture, it’s gonna throw a very different type of light into the room than if you have a shaded fixture something that is white and if you have a black shade, that’s gonna throw a different type of light into the room than a white shade. So yeah, play around with it and you definitely want to play around with it in the space when it is dark outside. This is something I would say when you’re setting up a property you might forget to do in some cases, you’re buying all the things and you’re throwing it in and you’re setting it up during the day but what does it like at night? Because that’s when the lamps are really going to come into play. And if you live in England as I do, one thing they don’t tell you when you move to England is that it gets dark here like after lunch and the winter was just in the dark for half the year. Those lamps, all that warm light is crucial. It’s really important. Yeah.

Bart: It really makes me think as well as we’re kind of working through these different mistakes. We make and I want to go back to an earlier point that you were making around things being bland and then bringing in your own personality and the one thing that I’m really appreciating like even you should ask which lap you had above you and it’s so easy to also get it wrong because we add too much of our own personality, our own stuff into it and then we make some decisions that are bad and to be honest with you. A lot of people don’t also don’t have the time right to learn all of these different things and to know what’s the design thing I spent some time on Pinterest when they were trying to find cleaners moment. So how do we avoid making like of course, you know, you get a consultant and that sort of thing which is going to help you to get to where you need to be. But what kind of strategies can we use to really avoid making some of those fundamental mistakes of buying the lamp which is the ugliest lamp in the store?

Valerie: Planning, planning, planning in advance and I know that you’re doing a million things when you are buying a place you are. You’re thinking about the loan and you know all kinds of things. There are so many things you’re trying to make sure that you know the local jurisdiction is going to allow you to do the rental properly. You’re thinking about cleaners and managers and your system. Yes, you need a website for the guests. Yes, there’s a lot it’s a lot of things to think about. But I think it’s so easy to overlook design, but I don’t really understand why because it’s fundamental. What you are selling is the space what you are selling is the experience of the interiors of the space. So if you don’t pay attention to that you essentially don’t have a well run short term rental business. You don’t have something that is going to differentiate you you don’t have something that is going to sell itself. 

So you have to think about design on some level. And when it comes to the design, the decorating the staging, the furniture buying all of that I think it does tend to be crammed into the small amount of space when possible. You know, you get the place you know we’ve got the keys ready we need to have this thing up and running in two weeks because time is money let’s go, let’s make it return this investment. However, if you spend a bit more time putting the space together if you can spend a bit more time getting the proper furniture getting the things that are quality that is going to last, you’re going to make that money back when you pay attention to design, you’re going to be more successful your your your place is going to be more profitable. So just the planning yeah so so spend time on the planning and recognize that it’s just a part of the process. And the more upfront planning you do for all of the interiors, the more put together and design the place that’s going to feel and the more successful it’s going to be.

Bart: I think that always it also ties back so much to understanding your target market and your avatar and your audience as well and what their expectations are gonna be.

Valerie: Yeah. Yeah, who are you? Who are you trying to appeal to? Is it a person who cares about having robes in the closet or is it a person who is going to be on the beach with their kids? You know, they’re not looking for the luxury they’re looking for do you have beach toys in the garage for me to borrow? Do you have you know, so every guest that you’re trying to attract has very different needs and wants? Understanding those needs and wants is where you’re going to be really successful and a lot of times that does tie into that it always ties into the design in some way because you are selling the interior of your space whether you like it or not. So the more planning you do for that the more thought you put into that the more successful you’re going to be.

Bart: Yeah, look, folks. The reason why we’re doing this particular episode is not that this is proven this proves true when you get it right. And I know that you’ve probably worked with plenty of properties that didn’t have it right that went in you. We decorate it and then all of a sudden you can command almost double the price of the same property and then the investment was insignificant in terms of the return that you’re making, especially in a market right now where there’s so much demand for accommodation in general and it doesn’t matter if it’s a hotel or a short term rental, it’s just everywhere. It’s just booming at the moment. So make some really good margin if you get it absolutely right. But I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’ve seen properties that seem well designed and then had that upgrade that facelift. And then you just see the bookings just come flying through. Yeah, because yeah, I mean

Valerie: If you ask any property manager if they have a large portfolio of places, their owners who do invest in that design, they’re gonna see those places, you know, more booked at a higher rate every time so there’s plenty of proof that this is where you should be focusing a lot of time and energy and, and as we said at the beginning, this is not the short term rental world of 10 years ago. We’ve got we are now a more competitive field you are whether you like it or not, if you’re just one short-term rental, you’re competing with hotels, that is your competition. And so you need to rise to that level and make sure that you’re able to compete properly and create an experience that surpasses a hotel event because as a rental as a short-term rental space with the kitchen with extra living rooms with an extra amount of space. You have the ability to be better than a hotel in many ways. So don’t let the opportunity go to waste.

Bart: Fantastic. Look, I think I think we’ve worked through our four points. I think they’re amazing. And I look I think you’re amazing for sharing and jumping on and what I like is getting people thinking and really giving them some high-value tips and things that they could go and change and you can take any one of those four elements and start to implement them in your business straightaway or do all four of them and there’s probably plenty more. Now I know that you do lots of education and training. You’re helping people out what’s the best way for people to engage with you?

Valerie: Yeah, so my website is just Instagram is my favorite social media. So certainly DM me there if you’d like or you can email me at info@quill If you have specific questions, I can help you out and I run a short-term rental design course that you can find information about that on my website.

Bart: Yeah, fantastic. I will put all of your links in the show notes as well as all of our links as well. So if you want to reach out to us about putting our book direct websites about marketing about branding and that sort of stuff, folks, if you are changing on the podcast and make sure that you leave us some comments that you live and that you subscribe. The reviews really mean a lot to us as well. If you’re watching on YouTube or any of those platforms, then once again make sure that you like and that you subscribe, it does genuinely make a huge difference to us being able to create these awesome episodes for you all. Valerie, thank you so so so much for your time, your expertise, your knowledge, and for getting up at the crack of dawn.

Valerie: It was my pleasure I just realized how much we coordinated our outfits today. Look at us with our blue and our pink.

Bart: I did that I’ve had another episode if we look back with Sam travels we’ve got exactly the same blue shirt  Thank you so much. Once again, I appreciate you and we’ll catch you around. Okay, thanks.

Valerie: Take care. Bye bye.

Thank you so much for listening to the show. You can find us at where you can find all the show notes and links to resources. We have talked about the transcripts from the show. I really do appreciate you listening. And if you’d like to support the show, please subscribe. Leave a comment, and share it with others.

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