Thanks to the dawn of Netflix, we’re all accustomed to binge-watching our favorite shows, then feeling dead inside when there are no more episodes left, and going in search of a new series to obsess over. My newest favorite is Netflix’s Stay Here, starring America’s Sweetheart (sorry, Paige), Genevieve Gorder, and former-DJ, current broker, Peter Lorimer.
They’ve tapped into the wildly underserved (by HGTV, TLC, and others) short term rental market and help owners transition to mini-hoteliers. We watched the entire series in one night, thinking it would be another lame home makeover show, finding ourselves surprised by the quality, and eager for a second season.
Meghan O’Keefe at Decider similarly asserted that she was skeptical going into the series, but said, “I was soon transfixed by the show.”
What stood out to O’Keefe is that their motives are ultra clear (to promote these properties) while traditionally, makeover shows promoting designers’ brands are more opaque with their intent.
What stood out to us is how universal Gorder and Lorimer’s business advice was, with four consistent themes woven into each episode:
1. Focus on what sets you apart.
Every professional is scared of losing any opportunity, so it is common to keep your marketing broad. For example, if you ask a Realtor what their ideal referral looks like, almost everyone says, “I help people buy and sell homes.”
Uh, which people? Which types of homes? Do you focus on buyers or do you focus on sellers? If you say you’re a Realtor, we already know that you help people buy and sell homes, but we’re not going to refer to you over the 8,000 other agents int he city.
The fear of missing out on opportunities overwhelms entire industries, but saying “I help first time home buyers in downtown Dallas” or “I love working with people that are downsizing” is far more memorable, and plants a seed of need in peoples’ head. In two years after meeting you at a networking event, if they hear of a first time buyer in Dallas, they’re going to recommend you in a heartbeat whereas they would have already forgotten you by now.
The same can be said in Stay Here. The duo grooms every homeowner to understand what makes them stand out, and focuses squarely on that with every ounce of their effort. And every business professional should do the same.
2. Refine your model.
Many of the owners in the show frequently treat their short term rental as a hobby. But Lorimer (whose focus is the business) coaches every homeowner into understanding that if you’re taking someone’s money for something, you must deliver.
But what are you delivering?
Many people enter an industry and don’t set up any sort of business model, it’s more like throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks. And this tip is one of the most subtle offered by the show.
Without spoiling too much, one episode of Stay Here had an owner that ran out of budget for furniture, so in the town that is a destination for antiquing, they went to a few shops the owner knew, and curated fine furniture and art in the rental that is for sale in the actual unit. I was blown away at the creativity and how they not only helped design an interior, they gave the homeowner a business model (short term rental owner acting as a boutique hotel owner with antique and art curation).
Brilliant. What are you doing in your industry that is different than your competitor? How are you partnering with ancillary services in creative ways that no one else is? Consider your model and how it can be refined (and trust me, after watching that episode, you’ll be inspired to do just that).
3. Create a social media moment.
Every episode has a “social media moment” in the form of a bold interior design choice that offers a space that is so photogenic people will insist on taking selfies there.
And for the first time ever, a show understands hashtag activation, giving each property a unique (albeit verbose) hashtag that is woven into each property visibly, on the website, and throughout social media efforts.
The point is that they empowered the renters to do the social media FOR the homeowner.
How does that convey to your business? Obviously, if you have a storefront, is there a spot that is selfie-worthy that includes a visible hashtag? Whether it’s a mural on the side of your building or a unique display, if you have a standard store with no “social media moment” offerings, you’re not giving people an excuse to photograph your shop and share it.
Maybe you’re a Realtor – is there something in every listing that is worth photographing, and a hashtag that goes along with the property? Hair stylists – is there a post-design space that is luxurious and all about taking selfies, even if it’s a simple backdrop in a well-lit corner of your salon?
The bottom line there is to give people a reason to do your social media marketing for you.
No matter what you do for a living, be sure to go stream Stay Here – it’s great brain candy with so many actionable pieces of advice that can be translated to so many other types of businesses!