Are you a vacation rental property manager who wants to take your guests’ experiences to the next level with personalised and exceptional services?

Meet Jacob Wedderburn-Day, a savvy entrepreneur who co-founded Stasher, a brilliant solution to a common travel problem – luggage storage. With a strong background in economics and a passion for business, Jacob has used his expertise to create a platform that connects travelers with local businesses, allowing them to securely store their bags while exploring a new city. As a guest on Direct Booking Success, Jacob shares his insights on the importance of offering additional services to guests for a complete experience, and how vacation rental property managers can benefit from these services.

In this episode, you will be able to:

‘As property managers, you probably put a lot of emphasis on that first interaction and then maybe under-appreciate how important the ending is.’ – Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Refer guests to Stasher and you’ll received a 20% commission or discount for every bag: https://stasher.com/partners

Connect with Jacob on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacob-wedderburn-day-499258111/

The key moments in this episode are:

00:00:08 – Introduction,

00:01:02 – The Idea Behind Stasher,

00:04:32 – Stasher as an Ancillary Service for Vacation Rental Owners,

00:08:33 – Parental Support and the Need for Stasher,

00:11:07 – The Importance of the Last Impression,

00:13:47 – Stasher – The Luggage Storage Solution,

00:15:02 – Balancing Guest Experience and Rules,

00:18:47 – Stasher’s Coverage and Insurance,

00:21:39 – The Stasher Process for Property Managers and Guests

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

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

Join the Marketing Hub Free Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/marketinghubforholidayrentals

Sign up to the Free Direct Booking Success Summit 2023: https://directbookingsuccesssummit.com/


00:00:32 - Jenn Boyles

Welcome to another episode of Direct Booking Success. Today I have a very special guest with me. His name is Jenn Boyles Day and his company is Stasher. And no, I'm not talking about Slasher, the heavy metal group from the 80s, which he is probably too young to know anyways, but Stasher. So welcome, Jacob. Nice to see you.

00:00:57 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Thank you, Jenn. Nice to be here.

00:00:58 - Jenn Boyles

Great. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

00:01:01 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Yeah, of course. So, as you said, I'm the co founder of Stasher, I'm one of two. My other co founder is Anthony. We started Stash now nearly eight years ago. We were students of university at the time, wanted to go into business together and in some respects, I think got quite lucky that our first idea that we were worked on has sort of given us employment for the last eight years.

00:01:21 - Jenn Boyles

Wow. I want to get into this idea because we were talking before, it's not an idea that you probably was, probably not when you're doing your brainstorming, probably not the first idea that came out of the block. So it'd be interesting to find out how you came up with this. So tell us about you and you studied economics at Oxford?

00:01:42 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

I did, yeah. I started there in 2012. In fairness, I always liked maths at school and then I started studying economics at school, I think exactly the same year that the Eight financial crisis kicked off. So it felt quite timely and felt quite interesting. So between that and just a general interest in business and probably watching too much of The Apprentice as a kid, I had this sense that I really wanted to start a company or go into business for yourself. I think it's an ambition probably a lot of people have, but you don't necessarily expect it will be a reality. But when I met and I met him at the first day of university, we were placed sort of rooms almost next to each other and I haven't been able to get rid of him since. We obviously became friends straight away and both had this same sort of passion for business, but in particular startups and technology and the concept of scalable business models. And Airbnb at the time, that was while we were at Uni, was when Airbnb was kind of going on its hypergrowth trajectory and becoming a household name. And we both loved that model. And actually his brother lived in London and was an Airbnb host and so when I'd stay around his, we'd have guests coming in, so we were quite close to that model from a young age. As you'll see, Stasher kind of evolved.

00:03:05 - Jenn Boyles

So tell if anybody doesn't know what Stasher is. You talk about these like, elevator pitches. What is Stasher?

00:03:13 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Okay. You're probably familiar with the problem. If you've ever been traveling and you've checked out, but your flight's not till later or you've arrived in a city early and your check in is not till later, and you find yourself sitting around with bags and you think, there's so much I could do in the city, but these bags are getting in the way. And you probably resign yourself to just sitting in a cafe. Or maybe if you've got more initiative, you'll try go to a hotel and say, hey, can I leave my bags here with you? A number of reasons. You might find yourself in a situation where you've got luggage and it's inconvenient. And if that's the case, Stasher is there to solve that problem. We have a platform that actually operates very similarly to an Airbnb or an Uber. It's an on demand marketplace. And you can go on there and you can find loads of locations to leave your luggage. The kind of locations that we sign up are in fact, hotels or shops or local businesses, and they have extra space that they can monetize by storing your bags. And we, as the platform, kind of facilitate that interaction. So we have apps, we have a website. It's really cheap to book. It's generally half the price of the lockers in stations, which there aren't that many of them anymore anyway, but when you see them cheaper. And the whole idea is just to provide a convenient service for whenever you're traveling or you're out and about or even if you're going to events and you have bags you can drop somewhere secure and should get you peace of mind and really make the most of your day and your time.

00:04:32 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, and it's something that as we own vacation rental holidays, it's hard that guests come. I've had people ring me and say, can I drop my bags off early? And if you've got cleaners in there and whatnot, it just isn't logistically helpful to have extra bags and whatnot going in where there's hotels, that's a regular thing, right? If you get there before check in, yeah, we can hold your bags, no problem. So I love that you're addressing this need and you're also leveraging hotels that already do it too.

00:05:12 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Yeah, you're absolutely right. And in fact, I've kind of pitched that at sort of the consumer use. But really why I'm here today talking to you is because as vacation rental owners, managers, property managers, it's a really convenient ancillary service for you to include in your offering. And like you say, the pain is real. If you've got guests checking out, you've got a window of time to turn it around and clean it. But your previous guests want to come back and collect their luggage, then you've got to facilitate keys and it just becomes much more logistical. With Stasher, you can simply refer your guests to us and know that they're going to get a good service and you don't have to say no to their final request as they leave. And I'll definitely come back talking about that later.

00:05:51 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah. And I love this idea that there are amenities because this is an amenity that the property manager owner can promote as having it themselves. And I love that there are these amenities out there that you don't have to do any work as a property manager. You can take advantage of somebody else's service, but promoting it for your brand, your property.

00:06:24 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Absolutely, yeah. I mean, there's loads of similar services too. And I'm sure there's more we could talk about. We've been friends with a number of people in the industry since we started, too, but you're absolutely right. There's lots of these extra services that you can very easily kind of plug and play with and layer into your offering and it does just make things more convenient for your guests.

00:06:46 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, I think it's a really smart strategy to use sort of leveraging other people's businesses for your own promotion. Now let's find out about the actual idea. Okay, how did this come about? I know it's your first business, which has been a roaring success, but walk me through you're sitting down with Anthony. How did the idea come out?

00:07:13 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Well, it's an interesting story and it's funny because we were talking about this just before the podcast. We were joking saying that it's not as if either of us grew up saying have a real passion for luggage storage. It's different to some of those ideas where people do have a mission. It's very mission driven. And I wouldn't say this isn't mission driven because I think you want people to get the best out of their travels and the convenience is really valuable. But actually, in this case, the idea came kind of back to front. And what I mean by that is, like I told you, his brother was an airbnb host. And so people would often stay there, and even when it wasn't guests saying that, his brother had friends who were at uni in London who would say, hey, can I leave my stuff with you over the holidays while I go home for a couple of weeks and then come back and collect it? And what evolved was whenever I was staying ants, his place became like a bit of a storage dump. I remember one day we were there and someone was leaving bags for like a couple of days and we were sort of joking saying we should charge people for this. And then, I mean, that joke was literally the light bulb moment because you're like, oh, my God. Airbnb marketplace storage in cities is a real problem. It kind of all came together and we were like, Wait a second, is there an idea here? Is there enough of a demand for storage of bags in cities to build a business out of this? And we got just incredibly excited about it. Like you said, we were very interested in going into business together anyway. We'd often spend time brainstorming ridiculous ideas and trying to come up with something, but this, I think, felt like a real opportunity. And so we took it, we ran with it. And I mean, I can tell you more about that as well, but that was where it came from.

00:08:55 - Jenn Boyles

Well, and when you're coming up with a business idea, whatever it is, there has to be a need. You have to be filling a need, don't you? Because there's just no point with coming up with something that nobody needs. The business is not absolutely so you've definitely hit a nerve there, haven't you, that this is a real issue and it's not something that many people speak about. Where do guests leave their bags? We can't control when flights come in. So you've got people coming in early morning, late night people, they're checking out, and they've got a flight 7 hours later. So I think it's a really great idea that you've hit on. Obviously, you have been featured on Europe's Forbes 30 under 30 list.

00:09:46 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Yes, thank you for mentioning that.

00:09:48 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, no, congratulations to you, because I think that's a real achievement, we would think, okay, this idea really I could probably see some of your family going, maybe your parents going, what what was their reaction when you sit, when you talk to them about this idea?

00:10:07 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

To be fair, I've actually been very lucky with my parents being they've been super supportive from day one. But I definitely had friends who at the time thought, really, is this, why are you spending so much time? I remember people used to call it the bag project, and it's so much bigger than that. That used to be frustrating, but no, luckily my parents always 100% behind it, which was nice. But yeah, as you say, it's certainly niche and it is a real problem, but it's something I think people have just put up with and tolerated. And I know whenever I was traveling before we founded this, it's a situation I'd found myself in many a time. And you kind of do just get on with it as best you can, but it's nice to be able to offer something that solves a real problem.

00:10:56 - Jenn Boyles

Like you say it does, and it affects the experience the guest has had on that holiday, doesn't it? If they're struggling with their bags, yes. It's not that property manager owner's problem, really. It's not part of their stay. But they're going to lump it in their mind as being a negative, aren't they?

00:11:18 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

100%. There's actually a psychological theory that links to this, which I promised to talk about, and it's called the peak end rule. And I don't know if you're familiar with it, I'll explain it anyway, but it's Daniel Carneman. So he's an economist, but also a psychologist, and I guess primarily a psychologist who won the Nobel Prize for economics. Anyway, that's details. But the peak end rule goes like this. He basically says when people judge an experience in their minds after it's happened, they tend to judge it as the average of how good it was at its best at the peak, and then how it ended. And what that tells us is that people always talk about first impressions and how important they are. And that's true. But actually, when it comes to evaluating how good something was, the end matters more than the start and more than people probably think, because you never really hear about, like, last impressions. You always talk about first impressions. People probably put as a guest sorry, as property managers, you probably do put a lot of emphasis on that first interaction and then maybe under appreciate how important the ending is. And if, as you say, the last experience you have with a guest is them saying, oh, can I check out late or leave my bag? And then you say no, and that's it, and then they have to drag their bags around all day, even though it's nothing to do you and you've probably provided a fantastic service, it can sour the ending. And that's, I think, a real risk that people maybe don't appreciate how important it is. But that's what stash, obviously, to help solve.

00:12:45 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, no, that's really interesting because first impressions, even if you have not the best first impression impression, you can turn it around, can't you?

00:12:54 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

I can turn it around, yeah, absolutely. But people never about that last impression and sort of how you end things in the same way. Well, according to that psychological theory anyway, it's an important element to get right. And I think in my own experience, I definitely relate to that. I think you can go on fantastic holidays and then your plane is horribly delayed and you waste hours at the airport. And then actually, I literally had this with my girlfriend in Christmas. We went to Seville and we were 36 hours delayed coming home and sort of just about made it in time for Christmas Day. And it's all fine, but it's one of those things, as you say, where when you look back at it now, that really colors what was otherwise a really nice holiday.

00:13:35 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, that experience. And I think it also talking about what did you call it? The peak peak to end.

00:13:43 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Yeah, peak end rule.

00:13:44 - Jenn Boyles

Peak end rule. Okay. Peak end rule. I'm going to remember that.

00:13:48 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

I'll send a link through for the show notes, if you like.

00:13:51 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, that'd be great, so we can find out more about it. I know psychology is something that you're quite interested in, but the guest experience there's been some kickback because there's been people coming in to short term rentals, vacation rentals, and putting all these rules in place. Like you need to strip the beds, you need to take out the bins, you need to do the recycling, you need to do the washing up. And that's all at the end of the stay, isn't it? That's another reason to sort of besides, come on, they're paying for a service. I know in my place they can take the bin out if they want, but that's part of my job or my cleaner's job. We're there to clean and to move, to take those things out and strip the beds and all that kind of stuff. So we would never tell our guests to do those things. But I think there's another reason.

00:14:52 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Yeah, that's a really good point, to.

00:14:54 - Jenn Boyles

Rethink those rules that we like to put in place sometimes.

00:14:59 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Yeah, it's a tricky balance, isn't it? But I think you're absolutely right. I think when you're putting too much of the burden of work on people, it takes away from that holiday feeling that they have. I mean, you always want people to respect the property, but I think you probably draw the line in the right place by saying, don't get them to do all the work as well. And it's not quite the same, but I remember hearing lots of stories when related to sort of energy usage and people putting really strict rules about, like, don't use the TV for too many hours and be careful about electricity usage. And again, there's a line of like, yeah, you obviously want people to respect the place and you certainly don't want people to ever trash the place, but you also want to make sure you're giving them a holiday experience. It's not like one of those sort of working trips they're not paying to do housework.

00:15:47 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, no, you have to cover in your cost the increase in electricity or whatever. And it's unfortunate, but it's it's true.

00:15:56 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

It is tricky, but makes it a much trickier dynamic this year, for sure.

00:15:59 - Jenn Boyles

Definitely. But I love that peak N rule that is really great. And I think marrying that with amenities that you can, as a property manager, promote as you have, but it's no work for you. That's a win win, isn't it?

00:16:20 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

That's exactly the way we would sort of pitch it as well. I should have said up front, which I don't think I did, but obviously Stasher is free to you as a property manager unless you so choose to cover it for your guests, which you can do, too. But we always say it's completely free for you. In fact, if anything, you can get paid a commission for referring guests. So even more of a win win, potentially guest problem.

00:16:43 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah. Sorry, Jacob. I love that idea. Like, if you are in a location where you have minimal flights and they come at such inconvenient times to be able to give this cover the cost for your guests. Could you imagine that kind of first and end experience that they would have, knowing that yes, it's not on the property but it's covered for them?

00:17:11 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

I think that's a real value add to be able to offer and like you say, there's plenty of amenities out there that hopefully now, as this industry really, really picks up, people will hear more and more about. I know we met at the Short stage show recently and there were lots of other providers there, which is great to see, but I feel quite positively about where things are going this year as well. It really does seem like the momentum is back in the short term rental industry. And, yeah, as you say, we're really here to help offer that. Hopefully not just the sort of functional value, but maybe a bit of delight as well for customers when it's something that's not necessarily expected, but they're like, oh, great, that was actually really helpful, and then they feel thought of and that's the best thing you can offer in hospitality, really, is that sort of extra level of care.

00:17:55 - Jenn Boyles

Yes, definitely. That's what hospitality is about, isn't it? It really is. Okay, so now where can people use your services? Is this a worldwide thing? Have you just stuck to the big countries? Where can people leave their luggage?

00:18:10 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

So it is worldwide. We are in 75 countries and actually over 600 towns and cities for now, talking May 2023. We're best in Europe, that's where our best coverage is. But we do have all the major cities in the USA and Canada and North America and even Latin America. A lot of major cities covered, Australia too, and we're currently focused on expanding into major cities in Asia. So we're about as worldwide as we sort of could be at this stage and obviously there's a lot of work to do to improve that coverage and we'll keep on doing that. We're also very happy to take requests so when we do start working with property managers, if there's gaps on the map, that would be convenient. That's one of the ways we prioritize where we expand. We could really do it a place around here and we can fairly quickly.

00:19:03 - Jenn Boyles

Nowadays I could say that because major cities yes, I think that's obviously a no brainer to be in, but I can see other places where the transport maybe is not as frequent or not as easy. Do you have any idea how many bags you guys actually you don't physically handle but how many bags go through the system? Do you have any stats like that? I know I didn't ask you beforehand, but I'm just curious as we're speaking.

00:19:33 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

It'S thousands a day at the moment, which is really cool. And that's really recovered from I mean, we were just sort of breaking that point before COVID we broke over a thousand bags a day and then got into the thousands and it was exciting. And then COVID hit and we fell completely to zero. Honestly, the system sort of closed down, so it's been a bit of a painful rebuild. But I mean, April was our best month ever as a company. This April just gone, so it's getting more and more popular and yeah, overall we've stored, I think just shy of a million bags. So that's hopefully many more to come. But it's amazing, it feels very busy and that's a lot of fun to be running.

00:20:16 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, no, it's really exciting and congratulations to you for doing it. So can you walk us through the process that a property manager take as well as a guest and show how easy it would be to use Stasher?

00:20:31 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Yeah, absolutely. So if you're a property manager, what we're essentially offering you is a tracking link that you can give your guests and refer them to book their bags in. It's really simple to sign up for it. I'll include the link in the show notes, basically sign up on our website. It's a 1 minute form and as I say, that will provide you with a unique tracking link. You can include that anywhere you think it's suitable in your guest communications. We would always recommend in the pre check in email or the pre check out email. And potentially if you've got any kind of customer support articles or chat or anything like that, include it in the macros there too. We know with some of the bigger property manager groups that we work with, the customer support macros is a really effective one because it's a fairly common question to say can I check out late or can I leave luggage and have a stash? A link embedded in there is a way to offer it out, but I.

00:21:24 - Jenn Boyles

Would even go one step further. And if you're going to be doing this, not necessarily the link, but be talking about it on your website and in your listings, use it as a reason for people to book with you.

00:21:39 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

That's a fantastic idea and yeah, 100% behind that too. If you include it in the sort of listings when you're actually retailing your property 100%, it's another bonus you can include there. Like I said, it's a useful service to offer. So that covers the property manager side. Now on the guest side, it is equivalently easy when you receive the link, wherever you receive it on the website, on customer support or in the emails, it's simply a case of clicking through that takes you to the Stasher website and you use Stasher much the same way you'd book an Uber. It uses your geolocation, although you can search specifically where you want as well. You'll be presented with a map, you click the listing that you think suits your needs so you can find the hotel that's sort of open at the convenient times or the one that you feel happiest leaving your bags with and then you book and it's honestly as simple as that. And once you've got your booking code, you can take your bags to the hotel with the code. There's a very straightforward check in process and that's it. You come back, collect your bags later, but you've bought yourself that window of time to actually enjoy the place you're visiting and not feel like you're sort of wasting time and energy and even actually the sort of psychological stress of having to look after your stuff baggage and mental overhead of thinking is my bag okay? Is my stuff safe?

00:22:56 - Jenn Boyles

So having it put somewhere safe and insurance, I'm sure it's all covered by insurance.

00:23:02 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

It is indeed. Yeah. We have a custom insurance deal which means every bag stored with us is covered up to 1000 pounds against loss theft, damage. We're actually looking at the moment into expanding that cover. So as things have got more expensive, it will cover more expensive bags. So probably up to two and a half grand of lost theft of damage cover. We've actually had very, very few claims over the years in the order of sort of three or four. So it's rare that stuff does go wrong because actually in practice when you're leaving bags in a locked room and following the process, there's only so much that can go wrong really. But the insurance is obviously it's an important peace of mind factor and that's included in the offering for free. We don't charge extra for that either.

00:23:45 - Jenn Boyles

I love it. I think it's a great idea and I'd love to see what you're going to do first. Obviously you're going to have world domination in storing bags, but I'd love to see what you and aunt come up with next because I'm sure there's other ideas in your head.

00:24:05 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Yeah, well, there's so much like you said, that we can do with this and plotting the expansion feels a little bit like playing risk sometimes. You got the board of like where are we going to expand to next? But on top of this, I think there's more services we could layer in to make it more convenient in the future. And I've always been quite attracted to the idea of some kind of luggage delivery service layered into it. The only thing that sort of makes me hesitate there is just that the logistics make it more risky and there's still so much to do on the storage model. But I'm sure there's a play in the future where you can drop your bag in one part of town and have it meet you at another or at the end.

00:24:46 - Jenn Boyles

Oh wow. That might be the round the time flying cars.

00:24:55 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

I'm not sure that would be a convenient time to yeah, or you could.

00:25:00 - Jenn Boyles

Have, you know, have you seen the, the robots? You know, the bots that are taking like take out food home delivery. Maybe that's the kind of thing a robot. We're going into the weeds here. This is why I'm not a tech startup kind of person. My ideas get more and more outlandish as we go anyway. Well, I've loved having you on today. I think that using these, using stasher, using other types of amenities that you don't necessarily have to do any work with or have any financial outlay with, I think it's a no brainer for property managers, for owners to be able to use. And I'm lumping yours in with the whole group, of course, but I just think for direct bookings, this is one way that you can really stand out. You can say, hey, we know that flight is going to get in early or get in late, let's help you. Before you go, I want to ask you, what does Direct Booking Success mean to you?

00:26:12 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

It's a good question. I knew you were going to ask me this. I suppose it could mean lots of things and when I first thought about it, I thought my bias is that it means being able to offer more things and offer a complete service around just the booking itself. So that would be things like Stasher and all the other amenities that you're mentioning and being able to offer that kind of complete experience to a guest. So, thinking about everything else, I suppose taking a step back even from that, I guess Direct Booking Success is about really owning the experience, isn't it? And having that kind of ownership over the whole process and guest experience and being able to eventually get those guests directly as well without sort of too many layers in between. But, yeah, I suppose it means different things to different people.

00:26:58 - Jenn Boyles

Yeah, it definitely does. And this is why the podcast was created and why I asked that question, because it's so interesting to hear everyone's answer to that question and where they're coming from. Because success doesn't mean the same thing to everyone.

00:27:14 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Yeah, definitely.

00:27:15 - Jenn Boyles

So where can people I know we'll put these links in the show notes, but where can people find out more?

00:27:21 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

So the website is Stasher.com and that's always live and up to date with all the best and latest places that we have that you can store your luggage. But if you wanted to contact me directly, or Anthony. We're both active on LinkedIn, so I'll include our BIOS there. You can email us as well. Jacob@stasher.com or Anthony@stasher.com. We're pretty good at replying to emails and then final sort of plug there is Anton. I also have a podcast. It's not necessarily what you'd expect, it's a philosophy podcast, sort of born out of all the random debates and discussions that we tend to have day to day. So that's everything ranging from should billionaires exist? We were talking about French strikes more recently, and AI. Hopefully there's something for everyone in the kind of questions that we cover, but. That's called the morality of everyday things. So you can check that out on Spotify or Apple or wherever you listen to podcasts.

00:28:14 - Jenn Boyles

Yes, I was going to mention it because we've bonded over our love for podcasts and morality of everyday things. I'm starting to listen to it and it is so great because the topics you guys are talking about are well, they're topical, there's things that are around, but it's great to hear different points of view.

00:28:34 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

And yeah, it was once described as like listening to your mates argue in the pub, except with a bit of research behind it.

00:28:43 - Jenn Boyles

Great. Well, thank you so much, Jacob, for coming on today. It has been wonderful. Thank you.

00:28:48 - Jacob Wedderburn-Day

Thank you, Jenn, for having me.

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