Part 1 of Review of Netflix Stay Here

This is Part One of a two-part review on Season One of the Netflix short term rental (Vacation Rental) makeover show, Stay Here.”

Don’t miss Part Two of my review where I cover specific thoughts on the themes and categories from the show and how they appear in each episode, plus a fun section of all those fun quotes I rushed to write down!

Review Netflix Stay Here

Overall Thoughts

A lovely, warm spirited, beautifully filmed program that is part travel show, and part property makeover show. The hosts, Real Estate Expert Peter Lorimer, and Designer Genevieve Gorder are engaging, non-patronizing, and fun to watch. There is no drama on the show which is a refreshing change from most makeover programs. This is a hard show to critique since it’s so professionally executed, and well-meaning. However, it is my task as Vacation Rental Property Owner, and Manager to fairly review. Let’s jump in!

Neflix Stay Here Review

Palm Springs Vintage

There are 8 episodes in Season 1. Each episode profiles one unique property in a different part of the USA. While there are recurrent themes across episodes, viewers need to watch the entire season since each episode has a distinct theme. Some important issues to vacation rental property owners are only discussed in one specific episode. Skip that episode, miss the lesson. An example of this is Episode 6 – the Palm Springs vintage home. The Owners have not rented before and are most concerned about potential damages to their property and theft of their museum quality original vintage furnishings. Miss this episode and you miss the only discussion on risk management of damages, and guest vetting.

Neflix Stay Here Review

Brooklyn Brownstone

The show had me wanting to rush to write down quotes containing nuggets of great advice in equal measure with wanting to scream at my TV, “No, no, no! Do not do that!” One positive example: Seachange Vacation Rentals advises our Owners on the importance of matching the capacity of the dining table to the sleep capacity of the property. We were vindicated with the show hosts same advice to the Owner of the Brooklyn Brownstone in Episode 4. One negative example: prevalent across many episodes, the show Designer adds live candles to the property. Seachange Vacation Rentals recommends that our Owners do not put live candles in a vacation rental property. I could not sleep at night worrying if the guests would burn the place down, or drip wax on a vintage table!

For all its charm and well-meaning intentions, what this show most definitely is not is a business show. It is not a How to Guide to running a vacation rental business. It is light on the operational, practical day to day issues. It does not cover permitting or legislative issues that may be specific to each area profiled.

The show does make many valid business-focused statements of advice to property owners. One example is stating the value of a coordinated property design aesthetic that is driven by guest needs, and not those of the Owner. Another example is in doing your research: understanding your target guest demographic and knowing your competition: their rates and their properties.

Sadly, a major disappointment for me, one that is common to many a home make over show, is the absence of any financial data on the cost and time duration of renovations. In the case of operating a profitable vacation rental business, while the hosts did show the process of evaluating and prioritizing which renovations to cover, there was no mention of the cost, no discussion of impact of lost revenue while a property is off market for renovation, and no demonstration of how the property Owner would plan and see a return on his/her investment. I’m sure there were valid production reasons for not including this, but for the property owner, a cost benefit analysis of renovations would be helpful.

Another disappointment for me is that the show glanced over the importance of reviews. Reviews help a property owner understand the comps (your competition). Seachange Vacation Rentals scours competitive property reviews (where we can find them). Real life guest reviews, when scanned for consistent patterns give clear feedback on guest needs: what they love, and what they hate; what’s present, and what’s missing. As Vacation Rental Expert, Heather Bayer of The Vacation Rental Formula says, scan for surprises in the reviews. If guests get a surprise during their stay, then your property photos and copy are not clear enough. Reviews are important during the design and operational phases of your vacation rental. Do the research, then have a way of adding, displaying, and tracking your own guest reviews in an online forum available for all to read. Respond to every review.

Not really a disappointment, but a request! Please include at least one pet-friendly property (dogs) in future seasons. It would be helpful for owners to see the challenges for guests and owners alike in providing this valuable amenity.

One of many areas that I thought the show covered very well was the importance of understanding your demographic. Again, the message is as important during the research/design stage as the operational part of your live vacation rental business. Spend time in analysis of your target demographic. Even in the era of online instant booking, speak directly with your guest using their preferred method of communication. Spend time understanding their needs. Yes, it most definitely is part of your job (or your property manager’s job) to help guests better plan their stay. The hospitality is as important as the real estate. Seachange Vacation Rentals firmly believes that we operate at the intersection of real estate and hospitality. It’s a nice address to live at! We firmly believe that Guest Experience is not just what happens outside the property in the community, it also covers how a guest will use the property. Booking the wrong guest in the wrong property benefits no one.

Neflix Stay Here Review

Malibu Beach Home

Except for the episode in the rural wine making region in Pasa Robles, CA, all the properties profiled were in urban areas. The Malibu Beach House episode obviously covers a beach house, came closest to a coastal resort area, but even that location is dominated by Los Angeles urbanization. The beach resort vacation rental market is a long time, traditional beach home rental market that is being rapidly transformed and modernized by the emerging ‘Vacation Rental’ market. It would be useful to see the challenges and effect on property owners in these remote locations who cater to guests from urban areas. The design, business, amenities, hosting, and marketing aspects of running a vacation rental business in a remote coastal resort area catering to guests with sophisticated tastes from large urban areas are many. I hope that there is a Season 2 of this great show. I hope that they include coastal beach resort areas and at least one pet friendly property. I welcome the show to the Delaware Beaches and to Seachange Vacation Rentals.

Still, there are many valuable lessons for property owners to learn from the 8 properties profiled in this season. Establishing and navigating that line between showing and taking advantage of each location and property’s uniqueness while curating a property to appeal to contemporary guest needs is very well covered. Good job!

Don’t miss Part Two of my review where I cover specific thoughts on the themes and categories from the show and how they appear in each episode, plus a fun section of all those fun quotes I rushed to write down!

Author: Andy Meddick, Owner Seachange Vacation Rentals, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, USA.