As a real estate developer and short-term rental operator, I co-founded HostAI with an ex-Google engineer to solve a problem that I was experiencing in my business. I want to share why I decided to build HostAI and why I am excited about where we're heading.
After graduating college with an emphasis in real estate, I worked as a loan underwriter, specializing in developer focused bridge loans, before going into real estate private equity as an acquisitions analyst. There I managed broker relationships, underwrote deals, and assisted in large-scale acquisitions.
However, in 2021, I decided to leave the corporate world of real estate to go all in on a side hustle that was beginning to take off: my short-term rental business. To date, I've built 32 turn-key Airbnb properties that I have flipped and currently manage 9 properties in Joshua Tree and Big Bear under my company, Ekwede Group.
This experience in building my short-term rental (STR) business has been as demanding as it's been rewarding. But the more experience I gained, the more I began to see how unnecessarily inefficient the job was. And as someone who has a passion for optimizing time and money, I decided to harness the power of Artificial Intelligence to make my life as an STR operator easier.
The problem with guest messaging
As any property manager / host knows, your livelihood depends on the guest experience. Sluggish replies lead to disgruntled guests and the dread of negative reviews—not to mention the impact on my Airbnb SEO rankings.
The most frustrating part, however, is that I found myself responding to the same recurring questions from our guests: "What's the wifi password?" "Where should we dine?" "How do we check in?" And no matter how many automated responses I had in place, I couldn't avoid the never-ending cycle of identical questions which drained my time and energy. Virtual assistants (VAs) didn't solve the problem either because they required training and couldn't guarantee round-the-clock availability. It seemed like there was no real fix. Then AI changed everything.
What we are building
We are not making just another AI chatbot. We are building an AI-powered guest experience designed to boost your business's efficiency and your bottom line. What does an AI-powered guest experience look like, though?
1. Seamless Integration: It needs to seamlessly mesh with my property management software, effortlessly acquainting itself with the intricacies of each listing.
2. Turbocharged Efficiency: No more toggling between apps, no frustrating delays; Host.AI has to streamline communication by natively interfacing with Slack, WhatsApp, or SMS.
3. Knowing When Not to Reply: In a world where mishaps occur, Host.AI has to discern when to remain silent and let the host take the reins. It could flag certain messages as Urgent, entrusting the response to the host.
4. Continuous Learning: Beyond mere automation, Host.AI would be a dynamic learner, perpetually refining its responses and enhancing efficiency.Revenue Generation: Host.AI has to transcend mere automation and evolve into a revenue generator, adeptly upselling based on calendar availability.
5. Multilingual Proficiency: It would shatter language barriers, facilitating seamless communication with guests from diverse corners of the globe.
This is my vision for HostAI. Luckily, with the speed of technology we are there, offering STR operators a revolutionary solution that not only meets but exceeds the demands of the modern hospitality industry.
Why I'm excited for what's next
My journey from a financial analyst in the real estate industry to a short-term rental operator to the founder of HostAI has given me a chance to improve an industry that I have come to know well. In the dynamic world of hospitality, staying ahead of the curve is essential. So, I invite you to join the growing community of hosts who have already harnessed the power of HostAI and are reaping the rewards of automation, personalization, and convenience. Make your life easier, enhance your guests' experience, and maximize your revenue potential – all with HostAI.
It's not just AI; it's the future of hospitality.