Are you ready for a surprising twist?

Imagine running a multi-million-dollar vacation rental business while homeschooling six kids.

Rose Tipka, the CEO of Your Family’s Place, not only achieves this but also shares her secrets in a 52-part Instagram series. But here’s the real surprise – her direct booking success strategy isn’t just about marketing; it’s about building relationships.

Want to know how she does it? Stay tuned to uncover how Rose’s unconventional approach has redefined direct booking success and how you can apply her strategies to your own vacation rental business.

Life is messy. But I got to tell you, life is messy for everybody. Life is messy for people with one kid. Life is messy for somebody with a bunch of kids that go to regular school. That is the reality for all of us. And for me, choosing to homeschool is because I want my kids to have the freedom of time and opportunity to follow their interests, their passions. – Rose Tipka

In this episode, you will be able to:

My special guest is Rose Tipka

Rose Tipka, CEO of Your Family’s Place, and the mind behind Hosting In The Motherhood, brings a wealth of experience to the vacation rental industry. As a homeschooling mom of six children, she manages $3 million worth of vacation rentals in Ohio, situated near Amish Country. With a focus on building direct booking relationships, Rose’s expertise extends to guest communication strategies, maximizing vacation rental visibility, and balancing the demands of entrepreneurship with motherhood. Her success in strengthening brand presence and increasing direct bookings makes her a trusted authority in vacation rental management, offering valuable insights for hosts seeking to enhance their direct booking strategy.

Watch Rose on TV: https://fox8.com/on-air/new-day-cleveland/travel-tips-from-a-vacation-rental-expert/

Connect with Rose:





The key moments in this episode are:

00:00:00 – Introduction and Background

00:02:33 – Building Book Direct Relationship

00:05:07 – Memorable Guest Interactions

00:09:57 – Personalized Approach

00:12:08 – Building Credibility

00:14:52 – Building Brand Visibility

00:16:52 – Triangulating Authority

00:18:14 – Homeschooling and Work-Life Harmony

00:24:56 – Direct Booking Success

00:26:05 – Building a Real Business

FREE GUIDE: 10 Ways to Drive Guests to your Website instead of Airbnb: https://directbookingsuccess.com/10-ways-to-drive-guests-to-your-website-instead-of-airbnb/

Show notes are available at: https://directbookingsuccess.com/podcast/

Follow Jenn on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/directbookingsuccess

Join Jenn’s free Facebook group – the Marketing Hub For Hospitality: https://www.facebook.com/groups/marketinghubforhospitality


00:00:00 - Jenn Boyles

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Direct Booking Success Podcast. I'm Jenn Boyles, your host, and today I have Rose Tipka with me. Now, Rose is the CEO of your family's place and the mum behind hosting in the motherhood. Welcome, Rose.

00:00:18 - Rose Tipka

Hey, thank you for having me on.

00:00:20 - Jenn Boyles

Oh, it's great to have you here. Today, we're going to be talking about building that book direct relationship with your guests, along with balancing motherhood and the rest of your life with a thriving business. So, Rose, let's start with your background. Can you tell me how Your Family’s Place was, know where that idea came from, and maybe a little bit about your own family's place?

00:00:52 - Rose Tipka

Yes. So my name is Rose Tipka, and I'm the founder and CEO of Your Family's Place. But the most important thing that everyone needs to know about me is I'm a homeschooling mom of six kids. Yes, I know how that happens, but I also own and manage $3 million worth of vacation rentals here in Ohio, right outside of Amish Country. So since we have a large family, and I know just a little bit about the challenges of trying to travel with kids, we have developed a portfolio of properties that are specifically for large families, multigenerational families, so there's enough room for everybody to stay together. I am also the mom behind Hosting In The Motherhood, where I share a lot of information about hosting, how I organize my business, my system and processes, because the reality is somewhere between 60% to 70% of hosts in this industry are women. We are mothers, and we are the silent majority. And we just don't have time for all of that fluff. We need to get down to business, and we're ready to be the bosses.

00:01:54 - Jenn Boyles

I love it. We don't have time for that fluff. And I've got one child, you've got six, and you homeschool them. Like, the only part of my day that I can get things done is when she's out the door to school. So I have no idea how you do all of this, but what is really exciting is that you're running this portfolio of properties, but you also have a very high level of direct bookings.

00:02:22 - Rose Tipka

Yes, I do.

00:02:24 - Jenn Boyles

So can you share a bit about how you've been able to build that strong book direct relationship with your guests?

00:02:32 - Rose Tipka

Absolutely. So when we first got started, this was our 7th year, so we started in 2017. And when we first started, we were all on the OTAs. I mean, that's sort of where a lot of people start out. They cut their teeth, they get the reps in and all of that kind of stuff. Initially, my husband was working in a different career, but he wanted to make a pivot out of that so that we could spend more time as a family unit. And so that was my role. I kind of stepped up and I started this vacation rental company. And one of the things that was very important to us, and it's important for all families, is to have that level of security. And I knew that by relying on a third party, in this case being the OTAs, as the sole source of all of our income, that we were incredibly vulnerable. And as a parent, I want to try to limit my exposure, and I want to have more control over the future and the direction of our company. And so learning how to implement a book, direct strategy, it's a whole ecosystem of things that you need to do, but that's a whole nother level of professionalism, of knowledge. There's a whole lot of scrappiness to it. There's not a lot of glamour in it. It's tons of little nudges. And then you sort of have to wait six months, twelve months, to see which ones are really taking off. But I will say with that ferocious desire to provide for my family and to provide a secure, real business, we have grown to be 80% direct off of our website. And actually, what I'm even more proud of is that we have about a 60% return rate. When folks stay with us, they stay in our homes. I take care of them like they are our own family. I call myself the mom on the ground. They have such a wonderful experience that they want to come back because they know we're going to take excellent care of them. And so it's that return rate that I'm actually most proud of.

00:04:47 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, well, that's the goal, isn't it, to get them to get back and come back. So do you have any examples of some of the memorable guest interactions that you've had that illustrate the benefits of what we're talking about, about that book, direct relationship, but also that high return rate?

00:05:06 - Rose Tipka

Yeah. So one of the things that I really did a lot of digging into was the psychology of the booking experience for the guest. Now, I see things from my perspective as the host, but they're the ones that are handing over their money to me, and I really wanted to understand the different phases that they go through. And we found some really critical touch points where we could insert ourselves in a positive, reassuring way to help people feel great about their choice of staying with us. So, for example, one of the most important touch points that we have is actually those few moments after people first book with us. Because after we all make a large purchase, the first thing that we feel is buyer's remorse. Especially if you're staying in a very expensive home. You've looked at all of these places, you made a choice and then you hit the books. Now you parted with your credit card number. Oh, my gosh, did I make the right choice? So understanding the psychology behind that was a process that I recently started, I started it about a year ago. So we're a year into this process. I took a very quick video. I grab my phone and I do a video. Just me, wherever I am. I don't bother with hair, I don't bother with makeup, because I'm a real person. And I tell them, thank you for choosing our homes. And I tell you, this is my magic phrase. You can relax and know that we're going to take excellent care of you. So I'm giving them that message, you made the right choice. I'm going to take care of you. Not a faceless corporation, not Airbnb, I'm going to take care of you. And I text it to the guests and they get that immediately after booking. And I can't tell you how many times I've gotten messages back from people saying, thank you. I feel so great about this decision. People want to know that they made the right choice, don't they? And I tell them, you made the right choice. We all want to hear we're right. So just right from that onset, I am building that relationship and I'm telling them, relax, you've made a great choice. I'm here to take care of you. So understanding that psychology of guest communication really helps us even things out and sets guests down that path of brand loyalship. Loyalty. There we go. Loyal ship. That's not it. I love loyalty.

00:07:36 - Jenn Boyles

I love that idea of sending that video because we get that notification that a booking has come through. We do a little happy dance every time. And just to be able to share that and say, hey, so and so, this is a personal message. Thank you for your booking. You're going to have a great time. And I love this. Yes, you're going to be taken care of because guests don't want surprises. They just want it to be smooth. They want things taken care of.

00:08:05 - Rose Tipka

Exactly. So there's another point in that guest communication flow that we found that there was a lot of anxiety for our guests. And we know that because we've heard from our guests, but also as travelers, we've experienced it, too. And it's the night before you check in, you're packing, maybe you're putting stuff in the car. That's the point where there's like the pre vacation meltdown. Did I make the right choice? I don't know what's going on. Where are we driving? Is this right. Just all of those things kind of come crumbling down. So the night before my guests check in, I call them on the phone and I ask them, do you have any questions before your check in tomorrow? And so I'm right there. They can ask me any questions they might have. So I want to get to them before that free arrival meltdown and head off any questions. But it's also that reassuring. I'm going to take care of you. I also then step them through the check in process the next day because I really think getting people in that door is huge. You got to get them in that door as smoothly as possible. And so I step them through exactly what's going to happen the next day. So again, it's just reassuring them that they've made the right choice. We care about their stay and we're going to really take care of them.

00:09:21 - Jenn Boyles

I love hearing this because in this age where the pandemic has a lot to answer for, of course, when all of a sudden everyone went to lockboxes and codes to get into properties and real hands off approach. And I think that we also saw a lot of these STR gurus coming out at that time, too, talking about all the money you can make, heads on beds, cramming them in there. And it's so wonderful to hear your message that you've been able to create your success by being personal.

00:09:57 - Rose Tipka

Yeah. When everybody's using AI, you call somebody on the phone, when everybody is automating everything, take a personalized video. And that is the way where smaller operators can always, always outcompete the big kids because we can deliver that personal touch that they can't because of their scale. And so instead of seeing our size as something that's holding us back, I see that as a tremendous advantage for relationship building. And they're never going to be able to outcompete me in that.

00:10:29 - Jenn Boyles

No. And that's why guests come back, because before they had the stay, before they've even made those memories and had that experience at your property, they already have such a goodwill feeling going into it. So I can see they are probably already in their heads, booked their next day before they've gotten in the door.

00:10:48 - Rose Tipka

Absolutely. Because we make it so easy for them to want to do that. We want that brand loyalty. And once people have found a place that works, they will go back. That's why our company is named “Your Family's Place” because we all have that idiom like, where are you going for vacation? My family's place on the beach, my family's place in the woods. We're playing on that nostalgic idiom. And once you know that we deliver what we say we're going to deliver, and people have an excellent experience, they absolutely want to come back.

00:11:19 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, no, I love it. Now, I also want to talk to you about building your credibility in this industry, in this sector, and reaching out to more guests out there and new ones that are coming. And I had been following you for quite a while on your Instagram hosting in the motherhood, and then I saw that you shared a clip of you on your local TV station, and I stopped me in my tracks, and I went, what is going on here? So that's what made me contact you to say, I want to hear this story. I want to get you on the podcast and talk about this, because this is not something that everybody does, and I wanted to hear the story behind it. And it really is about building your credibility, isn't it?

00:12:12 - Rose Tipka

Absolutely. So one of the things that we've always been very focused on is where our guests are, where are they located? And by knowing where our guests are located, we can target our advertising and try to get in front of their eyeballs. There's lots of different strategies for this. You could use social media marketing. You can run ads, all of that kind of stuff. But one of the things that I learned early on in our company is based on our geographic location and the types of houses that we have. We're pulling a lot of our guests from the Cleveland market. We do pull a lot from Columbus and Pittsburgh and stuff, but a lot of them are in the Cleveland market. Most of our people who are making our reservations are women between 35. And I then did some digging around using Facebook and their data tools that are available to us as business owners to see what their overlapping interests are. What other pages are my guests following? What media sources are they consuming? Because that's where their eyeballs are, and I need to get myself there. And so one of the places that came up from a lot of that sifting through the data was that a lot of them watch the local news, specifically morning shows. And so I have done a lot of training with visibility on purpose. And one of the things that they talk about is having a really great pitch that's very timely. And we know in the industry, a lot of times people plan their vacation at the beginning of the year. So right before Christmas, right before everybody went on vacation, I sent out a ton of pitches. And part of that pitch was saying to the folks at the TV station, the beginning of the year is when most of your audience is planning their vacation. I want to share my four tips for avoiding vacation regret. Those are my special phrases. It's a little clickbaity, but whatever. And within 8 hours, I got a response and I got booked on the morning news station, Fox eight News on New Day Cleveland. And so by doing that, by having that appearance, I'm getting myself in front of the eyeballs of my potential guests. I got myself in front of your eyeballs. And now we're talking here, actually, right. One of the things that I talked about on that news segment was teaching the audience, who are potential guests, how to find the best price. People are very, very price conscious now, probably more than they were during the pandemic or before that. And I said specifically as one of my talking points is that these online websites, Airbnb, Verbo, charge you to use their website. And if we stop calling it a service fee and we reframe it and we tell our guests that's what they're charging you to use their site, they think about it a little differently. And so my message, a really simple message in this TV interview was find a house that you like and put it into Google. And if that is a professional host, you'll find their website, you'll find their social media page. That's what we should be doing as hosts. We're doing everything we can to get in front of their eyeballs. So my advice to that audience was just Google us.

00:15:37 - Jenn Boyles


00:15:37 - Rose Tipka

And see what you can find. It sounds simple, but it is. If you would plug my name into Google, if you plug Rose Tipka into Google on the first two pages, and it's all things I've put out there intentionally. If you put any of the names of my property into Google, we'll be there. Number one, because we're bidding on our brand name. That's what we need to do as hosts. So that when somebody just sticks it into Google, they find you.

00:16:03 - Jenn Boyles

And it's something, you now, we talk about a lot with my clients and that is the sign posting on Airbnb and BNooking.com and Verbo. Other people call it billboard effect, where you can make sure that your company name is there, not in an absurd way or anything like that, but just so that people, the savvy guests out there will see, hey, they've got a name here that means something that sounds like a brand name, and then let's google them because they can't Google two bedroom with bath, hot tub, family friendly Cleveland going to find anybody. So it all comes back to building that brand, doesn't it?

00:16:48 - Rose Tipka

Absolutely. And I think we see a lot of other hosts paying attention to that. Now, that concept of brand over. And first of all, your brand has to have value. You need to have that social proof. And we often gather, we gather all of our reviews on Airbnb, and that's great. But that's only one piece of social proof. I like to think about it as triangulating your authority, and just one part of that are your OTA reviews. What other things can you do to build authority? Do you have a social media page? Do you have a book direct website that you're running a bid on?What other sources of authority can you intentionally put out there so that when guests are looking they can't help but fall over you?

00:17:37 - Jenn Boyles

I love it. That's it. It's about being visible. The first step is getting that website, but nobody's just going to find it on their own. The second is all the things that you do around it, all the marketing, everything you do to get it visible for guests to come and book direct. And not everyone's going to get on the news program. And that's not what we're saying here. But what we're saying is that getting that visibility out there and being intentional about it, these things didn't happen by accident, did they?

00:18:12 - Rose Tipka

Oh, no, they didn't. No, they did not. So, I mean, that was one yes, but what people didn't see on the other side of that picture was the dozens of no's. We have to be willing to work through the no. We need to find the right person to give us a yes. It wasn't that the other places didn't like my pitch. I just hadn't found the right person to say yes to a yes.

00:18:34 - Jenn Boyles

All right. And I would really love to touch on how you are able to do all of this, that you do all this amazing thing while homeschooling six children home. Do you have any tips that you can give us about how you maintain this life, work, harmony. I'm speaking to you right now. It's during the day. It's quiet there. I think I heard a bird. But other than that, it's very quiet. Like, where are the children? Any tips here on time management, getting that harmony?

00:19:10 - Rose Tipka

Yeah. So, first of all, I was a classroom teacher before I became a mother, so I do have a master's in education. But I will say there was no point in my teacher education where they took us into the room and they told us what the hokey pokey was all about. The secret to being a great teacher is to want to be a great teacher and work hard. And I think that's a universal truth. The secret to anything is to want it and work really hard. So one of the keys to success for us is having a predictable, regular schedule. Our children, especially our older ones, still have little ones. Our youngest are six and three, so they're still pretty little. We have a predictable schedule. They know what's happening during the different time blocks each day. And that's a big part of it, is that level of predictability. At the end of the day, this is my house. I get to make the decisions, and so I can make the good ones, or I can make the ones that make things harder. But also, my children, they view what they do with their schoolwork as comparable to what I do in my work. And so we often sit at the table and they have their schoolwork they're working on, and I have my work that I'm working on, and we are working together. We are not in different paths. We are all working towards that same thing. And there's no puppies and rainbows and unicorns. That's not life. And if anybody is telling you that that's what it is, they're lying or they're delusional. Life is messy. But I got to tell you, life is messy for everybody. Life is messy for people with one kid. Life is messy for somebody with a bunch of kids that go to regular school. That is the reality for all of us. And for me, choosing to homeschool is because I want my kids to have the freedom of time and opportunity to follow their interests, their passions. My twelve year old right now is fluent in Chinese, and he just started fencing. And good for him. He has that time to do it. Very interesting guy. And not that there are schools that obviously offer that kind of thing. We live in a small community where that kind of stuff would not be available to them. So it is a whole lifestyle. And sometimes when we've been socialized in that regular school manner. We have this picture of what school is supposed to look like, but school looks like lots of different things. And once you let go of that, kids just thrive when they have the opportunity to follow their interests and absolutely, they do math and they do all of that kind of stuff, grade it, but it's a whole lifestyle.

00:21:59 - Jenn Boyles

I love the idea that there's a routine and everybody's on board for it and they know what's happening at a certain time of day. And my daughter loves to sit down and do her work with me and she will regularly, in our home in England, we had a huge big kitchen table and she would come home from school and she'd want to be working on her homework because I've learned that Canadian kids don't really get homework, but British kids do. So she'd come do her homework and I'd be beside her working and she loved that. Now she comes in and she sets herself up on my desk and yeah, has a great time. I love that visual of sitting around and doing that work together, promoting that healthy work ethic and being able to go out to do what they're really interested in.

00:22:50 - Rose Tipka

And it's my job as their parent to scaffold them and support them. There's no like me standing at the board writing two plus two equals four and then they just magically memorize it. That's not how learning actually works. It's my job to help them, to assist them, to scaffold them, and to be their consultant in their learning journey.

00:23:15 - Jenn Boyles

It still to me sounds like a lot that you do and you look at people's lives and you think, do they have extra time? Do they have extra hours over there? And it's nice to know that it's not all rainbows and puppies, but it's real life. And that you've built your business in taking those lessons of visibility, but also personalization with your guests to build those relationships. It sounds like that is a real cornerstone of your business. Is the relationship?

00:23:48 - Rose Tipka

Absolutely. So when you get to know somebody, when you get to know your help, I hate to make it all about brand loyalty, but it is a choice. It's a choice to build a company that's sustainable because I want folks to know that they're staying at Your Family's Place, they're not staying at an and that it's intentional to build those relationships. Plus, sometimes the best referral that we get is a family recommending us to their friends, to the rest of their family, and those kinds of recommendations they're invaluable for building our whole company.

00:24:26 - Jenn Boyles

Wonderful. Well, thank you, Rose. I think we could speak all day about all these topics. It was a lot to try to cover, and we could definitely go into more depth in some of them as well. So you definitely have to come back and we can talk more about these topics. But I need to ask you, what does direct booking success mean to you?

00:24:49 - Rose Tipka

What I would say is that we are successful in direct booking, it means that we have a very wide funnel of leads. But the end of that funnel is the money in my pocket that gives me the freedom to live my life, our family's life, the way that we want. And so the more diverse my marketing, the more people that I can get in front of, and not just from one thing, like an OTA. It provides me with security. It provides me with the knowledge that I'm building a real sustainable company, not just for us now, but us as a family going forward.

00:25:30 - Jenn Boyles

Wonderful Thank you, Rose, so much. Now, I'm going to link to that TV interview in the show notes. So if that has piqued your interest, please go and check out the show notes on the website, and that will give you that link so you can see Rose in action and see the visibility and credibility that you were able to secure there. And there's something else that you're doing right now. It's on Instagram, isn't it?

00:25:54 - Rose Tipka

Yes. So right now, on my hosting of the motherhood page, I am doing a 52 part series. And that sounds crazy, but what is it really is?

00:26:02 - Jenn Boyles

It’s another thing to do, Rose, you need another thing.

00:26:05 - Rose Tipka

What it does. But what I've done is I have broken down the process of building what I call a real business, as opposed to one that relies on an OTA. And I've broken it down into weekly tasks or weekly areas of focus, so that when somebody is following along, each week we focus on something different that helps people build real, professional, sustainable vacation rental businesses. And we're really starting at the beginning talking about brands. What is your brand? Also, what isn't your brand? Last week, we talked about different types of photography and the strategy that I've used, because a lot of times when you see a coach or a guru, they're like, get beautiful photography. But what they don't do is say what that means. And so I'm here to say what that means because I know I've read all the books, I've listened to all the podcasts, and they put something out there, but then they just don't tell you what that means. I'm going to tell you what that means. So I talk specifically about these things. We're going to talk about how to figure out who your guests are. And we all know we need to do that. But I'm actually going to say how I do it so that you can do it, too.

00:27:18 - Jenn Boyles

Love it. Well, I'm going to check it out as well. So that is on. What's your Instagram handle?

00:27:23 - Rose Tipka

That is Hosting In The Motherhood. And if you want to check out our vacation rental company that's at Your Family's Place.

00:27:31 - Jenn Boyles

And I'll, of course, put all those links in the show notes. Thank you, Rose, so much for coming on today.

00:27:37 - Rose Tipka

Yes, thank you for having me.

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