Reimagining The Vacation Rental Experience: Interview With ATLIST Travel
Who out there is looking for a seamless travel experience?
With an increase of people seeking out pandemic-friendly trips, many are looking to independently owned properties as the perfect socially distanced getaway. Whether it's a bride looking for micro wedding lodging options for guests, or a family hoping for a change of scenery, places like vacation rentals and bed & breakfasts are a great way to experience travel without the stress of sharing space in a large hotel.
There's only one downside. Once you get there, you are often on your own to source out activities and experiences, and to find out who exactly will cater to your home away from home experience. Right?
Not if ATLIST Travel is involved. This female led and majority owned company is making it their business to take the stress and work out of your vacation rental stays. We were introduced to this brilliant team through our collaboration with Girl About Town (our kits are on their portal - more on that in a minute), and believe us...we can spot master problem solvers when we see them! We chatted with Tiffany Lin and Julia Eskins from ATLIST to find out more about their company, future plans, and who can benefit from using their services. (Hint: it's probably you.)
Jess + Risa (J + R): Your company offers such a cool and unique service! What is ATLIST's origin story?
Tiffany + Julia (T + J): ATLIST was born from our collective passion for travel experiences and our desire to strengthen the interactions between hosts and travelers. When we reflected on the best travel experiences we’d ever had, they were always really local or personal experiences—times when we got a great recommendation or when we felt really taken care of. From our perspective, your host—whether that’s a hotel manager or an Airbnb host or a local concierge company—is the person best suited to help give you a really local or personal travel experience.
We wanted to create a platform that would facilitate more interactions between hosts and travelers, to enhance the overall travel experience. We didn’t see many digital tools out there to help hosts to offer their guests personalized services or activities. There’s a lot of friction in the process if your guests’ only options are to wait in line at the concierge desk, call at certain hours, or email back and forth ten times to schedule one activity or ask about an added service.
ATLIST empowers hosts to create a shoppable webpage and offer their guests everything outside the room—all the things that combine to create the guest experience and make a trip truly memorable.
J + R: Can you explain exactly how ATLIST works?
T + J: ATLIST builds shoppable guest experience pages for short-term rental hosts, property managers, and hotels. With an ATLIST guest experience page, properties can monetize premium add-on services & amenities, partner with their preferred local activity providers, and automate scheduling and coordination with guests.
Rather than asking guests to fill out a form to request things like concierge services or food & beverage items, properties can simply share a link to their guest experience page, making it easy for guests to browse, add to cart, and checkout on their own device before or during their stay. This puts guests in control of designing and upgrading their stay with ancillary services, special deals, and activities, while increasing revenue and providing customer data to their hosts.
J + R: What would you say is the most exciting or innovative part of what you offer?
T + J: One of our newer features is the ability for hosts to onboard activities and services from their favorite local vendors directly onto their ATLIST guest experience page. This means that hosts aren’t limited to only selling things that they themselves can provide! They can work with lots of external partners to create a comprehensive catalog of services and activities.
Of course, recommending local services and activities like the best florist or tour operator in town isn’t new, but it was primarily through word of mouth or via a static page of written recommendations. We do something different and special which is integrate directly with popular online booking platforms for activities and services like FareHarbor, MindBody, Booker, Rezdy, and many more.
Hosts can make a recommendation and allow guests to purchase right on their ATLIST page. This is really win-win-win. Guests get instant gratification—they don’t have to track down the vendor and book separately. Hosts earn a commission for their recommendations. And local vendors get more eyeballs and more business.
J + R: At this point, almost every business has a COVID-19 pivot story. How about you? Has the pandemic created any challenges or growth for your company?
T + J: The pandemic has completely changed how people vacation. Travelers are now more likely to explore destinations closer to home and seek out private experiences during their stay. COVID has limited in-person interactions, so companies like ours that are focused on adding more digital touch points are more important than ever to keep an open dialogue between hosts and guests.
With the pandemic making public spaces less attractive, travelers are looking to do more within the comfort and safety of their own home. So there is a real opportunity for properties to create private guest experiences—whether it be an outdoor movie night or a dinner cooked by a private chef.
Finally, COVID has taken a major toll on many small businesses, so we’ve also prioritized new features that allow properties to work with local vendors. We’ve seen that a lot of hosts are active members of their local community. As the primary link between their guests and the local area, hosts can play an important role in championing small businesses through the amenities, services, and activities they choose to recommend to guests. We hope to be the platform to help facilitate these recommendations.
J + R: For our readers who either own a vacation rental home, a concierge service, or offer a service that could be great on someone's portal, how do you recommend to best get involved with ATLIST?
T + J: You can DM us on Instagram, email us at email@example.com, or just sign up for an account directly on our website at www.atlist.io/sign-up.
We have two types of plans—Independent and Professional. Independent is best for hosts who are tech-savvy and comfortable creating content, usually just managing one or two houses. Under this plan, hosts create their ATLIST page themselves with our easy-to-use tools and it's just $9/month after a 30-day free trial. Professional is best for vacation rental management companies, boutique hotels, and retreats. Under this plan, you pay a one-time fee of $300 to have our team set everything up for you, and then after that it's $9/month for the platform.
J + R: What are your top five bucket list travel destinations?
T + J: This is the year of outdoor adventures, so we’re excited to visit more of the national parks in our own backyard!
When it is possible to travel internationally again, we hope to explore a few remote destinations filled with untouched wide-open spaces and wildlife. New Zealand, the Maldives, Slovenia, Jordan, and Antarctica are all high on our list.
J + R: What does the vacation rental world look like right now? Are you seeing owners level up their services to compete for clientele?
T + J: What we’ve seen and heard from our clients is that the vacation rental host experience has been split this year. Some hosts have struggled—the pandemic really hurt travel to crowded metropolitan areas and certain regions of the country like Hawaii that imposed travel restrictions this year. But other hosts saw their bookings recover very quickly in the early summer months or have even had their best year ever. We’ve seen many residents of big cities drive out of places like New York or San Francisco to work remotely and spend time outdoors, in nature, away from the crowds.
J + R: A lot of our readers are brides-to-be. How can they best utilize ATLIST's services?
T + J: The last thing any bride wants to do when they arrive at their bachelorette party location or destination wedding venue is to go to the store and pick up last-minute supplies. If the property where you’re staying has an ATLIST page, you can instantly shop a curated selection of convenient services and amenities from your mobile device or computer. Whether it be The Bride Kit, a bottle of champagne, or an in-room couple’s massage, the little extras can make your stay—and special day—that much more enjoyable.
J + R: Where do you see ATLIST in the next 5-10 years? Any plans for world domination?
T + J: We would love for every property, travel agent, and travel tastemaker to have an ATLIST page filled with their favorite local activities, experiences, and services. In a world where there’s information overload on the internet, we believe in the power of informed recommendations from a local host you know and trust.
J + R: What is the best way for our readers to find you? Socials, website?
T + J: You can visit our website at www.atlist.io, follow us on Instagram at @atlist.io, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and find us on TikTok at @atlist.io
Thank you Tiffany and Julia!
Bonus...if you are an independent property owner, ATLIST Travel is offering our readers the discount code RESCUEKIT to get 50% off the independent or professional plans on their site. You can reach out to them directly or drop us a line here, or comment below!
risa + jess