This new series interviews New Orleans area entrepreneurs who are launching startups and have participated in one or more of the local accelerator programs.
Those who are involved in the short-term rental market are well aware of the challenges that come with renting out a unit for days or weeks at a time. To provide guests with a first class experience, units all over the world need to be clean and welcoming.
In New Orleans, there’s a soon-to-be-launched platform that connects individuals remotely with real-time services professionals. The property and traveler assist company The Host will be available to book services such as staging, photography, dry cleaning, maintenance or other services related to vacations and short-term rental units.
Founder Brittney Greene was one of the five entrepreneur to recently complete the DIGITALMEDIAx accelerator program, run by The Idea Village, which provides mentorship and resources to New Orleans entrepreneurs.
Find out more about The Host below:
How and when did you come up with the idea for the business?
As a private concierge, I was able to provide travelers a unique experience connecting them to local tour operators and being their primary contact during their stay in New Orleans. Most of my customers stayed in private home accommodations and that meant repeat business. I later had an opportunity to invest in a gutted home where I learned a lot in the process. Once completed I furnished the home and was able to become my travelers’ own private guest concierge. Homeowners who operated vacation rentals heard about me by word of mouth and requested services or if I could refer one of vetted service pros, a housekeeper for example. I love hosting people from around the world and certainly wanted to help grow my service provider’s businesses so I researched systems that could potentially meet my business goals but I identified a gap in the landscape OR for me it was an opportunity in the making. I was contracted for a unique job opportunity in Las Vegas where I helped a client take his home from zero to 100 percent rental ready, undergoing the same operations that I’d become accustomed to performing in New Orleans. The idea came back again while traveling making me think bigger, broader and how I was uniquely different. I want to help other people and give them an opportunity, the same I received when I moved to New Orleans that made me feel alive again. Upon returning home, I connected with a close friend and relayed my crazy idea of automating and scaling operations by building a custom software. Surprisingly, they told me I should go for it! I’m really glad they pushed me because we’ve since launched our marketing site and close to our beta release. Crazy Idea, one year ago.
How did you get connected to The Idea Village?
I researched online and located a local non-profit organization who helps foster entrepreneurship. I signed up online for an idea session and was told the 12-week accelerator program deadline was coming up and that I could still apply, I submitted my application that evening.
What has been your biggest business challenge so far?
My biggest business challenge so far has been fundraising and finding a Chief Technology Office.
What is unique about your business?
We provide convenience and control for our customers, homeowners and travelers. We give the opportunity back to the locals with an inclusive marketplace of vetted and trusted hospitality service providers and businesses handling home operations, guest check-ins and catering to travelers who stay in private home accommodations. We are your house team, boots on the floor, resource guide and outlet to help make your vacation rental and travel experience a success!
What is one piece of advice you would give an entrepreneur just starting out?
Get involved. Find an organization like Idea Village, friend a fellow entrepreneur or mentor. There are people who want to help, they just need to know you exist.
What does success look like one year from now?
Success one year from now would be to have an expanded network of service providers and businesses, exceed 10,000 automated transactions, and continue to provide great customer service and retention.