The first thing you see when you visit the website of Barcelona-based travel startup Lodgify is that they allow you to create your own VR (vacation rental) website. They offer you beautiful website templates that are customizable, 100 percent mobile friendly, and you don’t need any coding or design skills.So far, so good. This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg, because the real value of Lodgify lies in what you get after you create the site. You can simply add a “Book Now” button and start accepting payments right away. Incoming reservations, availabilities and other property information are kept in sync with major vacation rental portals on the Internet, so that you don’t need to spend your whole day going around managing all of them.
The names behind this excellent startup
We’ll come back to these and other neat Lodgify tools and the integration with other VR sites, but let’s take it from the start. Lodgify was founded in June 2012 by co-founders Dennis Klett and Marco De Gregorio, and joined by Gabriele De Gregorio and Naveen Sharma a few months later. All four were flat-mates while studying in London, and were interested in starting a business afterwards.
They developed the idea about a vacation rental marketing software when trying to help their parents rent out their vacation homes. They saw an opening in the VR space for a professional site building tool that caters to the specific property information and booking needs of vacation rental owners, managers and their customers.
How Lodgify is different from generic site building services
Ordinary generic site building services may allow businesses to create a site, add a shopping cart and link it up to a payment processor. But most of the work that follows still has to be done by the property owner. They’ll have to communicate with customers about property availability, rates, booking dates and finalize the deal on their own. There’s nothing automated about this, other than the fact that you can accept credit cards online on your website.
Lodgify and other similar services allow you to create your own website according to the needs of VR owners. Travelers can browse through the property details, check availability status and book on the website itself. Unlike VR portals/marketplaces, Lodgify does not charge commissions on each transaction.
All starting at just $9 per month
The Lodgify SaaS platform is available to subscribers starting from a basic rate of $9 per month, with no website setup fees, commissions on bookings or any other hidden fees. Apart from the monthly subscription, it’s absolutely free for home owners. It’s also easily scalable, and you can quickly manage everything from rates and reservations to availability data, regardless of whether you have a single property listed or manage 500+ properties.
The most important and value-added feature, or innovation, that Lodgify is offering is the Channel Manager. This tool allows you to sync up the property details and availability status on Lodgify with VR portals such as 9flats, Roomorama, Homeaway or VRBO, etc. They have already integrated the channel manager with HomeAway/VRBo, 9flats, Roomorama and they plan to add 20 channels by the end of the year.
Homeowners often have to add and maintain property data separately on all these major portals in order to be competitive and put their listing in front of the widest possible number of travelers. However, the use of Lodgify simplifies the process into a single and centralized update that will automatically be picked up by these VR portals.
It’s no surprise that they call it Lodgify (a combination of lodging and simplify), and claim it is the “Shopify for vacation rentals.”