Private Dock in Lake Como Cottage

Co-Hosting and Vacation Rental Revenue

Como Lakeside Cottage is a property located in Oliveto Lario, we started cooperating with the owner in 2017.

Fabio, the host, was trying to increase performances and was no longer able to deal directly with distribution and manage reservations.

At the same time the owner wanted to keep control over the apartment and continue to manage cleaning and check-in.

Read this article to understand how a co-hosting relationship works and the power of revenue in vacation rental. 

Private Dock in Lake Como Cottage

Teamwork and task division

As with other owners, the task division was immediately fundamental:

  • Lake Como Rentals: online distribution, bookings management and contact with customers until check-in
  • Owner: reception management, cleanings and communication of privacy data to authorities

Teamwork is also very important on issues such as:

  • Pricing: dynamic pricing, based on historical and demand data. But always agreed with the owner
  • Feedback: improvements of the apartment where possible to increase the rate or occupancy
"I wanted to improve the results, without losing control over my apartment giving exclusivity to an agency. The possibility to leave at any time was essential!"
Jonathan review

Goals and Conditions

Goals of the collaboration were clear:

  • Boost online distribution (increase from 1 to at least 3 sales channels)
  • Improve indicators such as total revenue and booking quality
  • Strengthen direct bookings through new channels

But under what conditions?

  • No restrictions, duration or exclusivity
  • Possibility to close dates and sell directly
  • No fixed costs, just a commission only on online sales
  • Minimum agreed rate to sell online

No fixed costs, just a percentage calculated on the online bookings. No exclusivity or closing date limits.


case vacanza revenue management

The three lines show us the results from 2017 to 2021:

  • Blue: nights sold online
  • Orange: average net rate
  • Green: nights sold directly by the owner

Some considerations:

  • Occupancy increasing constantly from 2017 to 2019, generating a non-stop calendar
  • From 2020, after a discussion with the owner, we focused on quality: rate increase based on demand data and customers needs
  • Direct bookings: constantly increasing, the owner is working on returning customers

The pursuit of quality

consulenza revenue case vacanza

Now let’s compare:

  • Orange bar: number of online bookings
  • Blue line: average length of stay

The total number of online bookings has decreased (we should consider pandemic and direct bookings increase), while the length of stay has increased.

For the owner, this translates into a reduction of management costs such as check-in and cleanings, as well as greater control over the accommodation.

Also in this case, the history and the study of market data were fundamental to understand where and how to intervene by “betting” more on the minimum nights required, without penalizing the total revenue.

Rate history and focus on specific customer

In 5 years the average daily rate has gone from 70 to 106 euros, why? And above all, has the total revenue collapsed?

By working on customer feedback, on the calendar and being in close contact with the owner we were able to do a few things:

  • Understanding strengths: highlighting them and making them perceive as value. A private parking on the lake is not so common and can be monetized
  • Acting on weaknesses: anticipating the customer and losing value. Self-check-in from weakness to advantage
  • Buyer personas: identify a specific target, willing to pay more to come here. Pet-friendly customers are a specific target on Lake Como and have clear needs and high budget

Let's recap co-hosting model

We achieved excellent results by working with the owner and by listening to each other: he waas open to suggestions, we paid attention to his needs (closures, accommodation recovery times).

If in 2019 it was an apartment with an incredible occupancy, now the calendar is more based on quality, specific customer research and high sales rates.


  • Cleaning
  • Check-in (self)
  • Guest management from check-in
  • Police headquarters, tourism 5

Lake Como Rentals:

  • Analysis of customers, market demand and rates
  • Management of calendars and online distribution
  • Customer contact until check-in
  • Social Media management, Google MyBusiness and other channels for direct sales
self check in

Self check-in for vacation rental

Self check-in vs warm welcome

Something you should consider when planning a vacation rental activity is how to organize check-in. In the past we always considered “warm welcome” the best option, a mixed of tips and experiences that contributed to “live like a local” imagination. 

But things have changed. 

COVID 19 just accelerated a change of perspective, from “can’t wait to see you in person” to “I want to be free to come at anytime and possibly save 1 hour checking-in and not paying attention to host advices”.

So let’s try to understand if self check-in is good for you and for the guest.

Self check in for hosts: factors to consider

If you love the original attitude of “sharing economy” in tourism (knowing people from all over the world) I can understand how you feel: skeptical. You love to exchange your local knowledge with tourists, say hello, how was your day…but changing your perspective, do all tourists love to have contact in person with hosts?

Probably not, so again let’s consider the first factor: we want to maximize possibilities to have customers. 

First question: is your property suitable for self check-in? If it’s an independent property probably you can consider different solutions: safety box with code and keys inside, tech solution via App…

If you have an apartment sharing entrance with different owners, you should find the right solution and ask for approvals. The good news is that many service companies have now this self check-in option available and with good efficiency. If you are in a big city you can also consider the option to use a pick-up point for keys.

But why should you use self check-in?

To save time and money (you probably know how many hours you spent waiting for a guest) and to improve guests experience, giving them more flexibility. No more “delay anxiety” for them!

Cons: you should improve your communication path, especially requesting documents before check-in and giving them clear instructions for the house and the area. 

What about the “guest experience?”

As you can see in the examples we tested a safety box at the entrance of a Villa in Lake Como. Guests have to park in front, use a 4 digit code received via email to open it and use keys. They already received the PDF “house guide” via email, so should be prepared on how to move. Satisfaction is high (4.9 over 5), owner saved a lot of money and time, guests have the flexibility to enter anytime after check-in hour (14:00). 

To be honest during my last visit in Prague I was so happy not to see anyone during 3 days. Is sociopathy a new travel trend? I don’t know, but I book directly on the owner website and their software managed everything automatically and perfectly:

  • booking
  • payment
  • sending passport request
  • confirmation and self-check-in code + a few instructions and info

Great experience and probably one of the main reason for me to choose this vacation rental apartment. 

And if the guest is a terrorist?

Ok, this is a frequent question. I can understand the concern, the hidden parties and extra guests, but it’s all about trust and reputation (yes, you can choose a different procedure depending on the guest reputation, why not? check their reviews if they have, use your experience). To be honest, even during a face to face check-in is difficult to understand if you can trust your guests, but if you decided to enter into vacation rental business, probably you already decided.

Our recommendation is to be flexible, to offer if possible both options (in person can be also with an extra charge) and to monitor reviews and this quality score. 

Check your local regulations for procedure, contact us for more info!

self check in vacation rental Lake Como

Where should I list my vacation rental?

Why should I list my property on different platforms? It is risky?

The answer is easy, because is demonstrated that selling through different channels increase occupancy and average daily rates.

According to listings distributed on different Oline Travel Agencies have an average occupancy of 21 days per month (vs 16.5 Airbnb only).

Differentiation is key also because every channel can increase your possibilities to receive bookings from different markets (ex. VRBO is strong in US, Airbnb can help you with domestic travelers). 

What about overbooking and platforms management?

Managing different platforms takes time and accuracy, to avoid overbookings and increase net income during high demand period. Working “on request” is not recommended, you should be able to change rates and conditions often to improve your conversion and raking in different channels. 

Depending on your current situation you can choose Ical or a software (Channel Manager) to manage online distribution.

Contact us for more information!