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Guests who rent houses in Cannon Beach, a tiny town on the rugged Oregon coast, are drawn by the breathtaking surroundings, the relaxed pace and the chance to melt into the local community, if only for a week. "People who stay in houses want to feel like they're part of the neighborhood, which is a little different from those who stay in hotels," says Brian Olson, an owner of Beachcomber Vacation Homes and a long-time area resident. Eager to help guests experience local life at its fullest, Brian wanted detailed destination guides with recommendations and comments supplied by himself and his knowledgeable co-owners and staff. Here's how RueBaRue helped Brian build customized guides that usher his guests into the Cannon Beach community and enhance Beachcomber's brand.
In just four years, Beachcomber Vacation Homes grew from two houses to 43 homes that range from secluded cabins and sprawling oceanfront properties to multi-family houses that sleep 28. Besides its romantic beach and proximity to scenic Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach boasts appealing mom-and-pop businesses including more than a dozen art galleries, three micro-breweries and a distillery.
In addition to posting hand-picked things to see and do, Brian wanted to alert visitors to local finds that aren't immediately obvious to newcomers, like the hardware store that serves sandwiches, craft beer and the not-to-be-missed house specialty, Cajin tater tots. But putting together and updating comprehensive website guides ate up time and energy, both in short supply for Brian's fast-growing business.
"Our guests want to know where to get coffee, a pastry, dinner and a craft beer And they want to go where the locals go."
At the recommendation of a colleague, Brian gave RueBaRue's Guest Experience Platform a try. The template pulls together top-rated restaurants, activities and essentials for the area. But property managers can pick and choose which places to include and add as many as they want. Brian and his staff took care choosing the venues and activities they wanted to include. But the sweet spot was being able to include comments. "We can say things like 'The fish 'n chips here are out of this world, and they're made with tuna, not halibut.' I think that kind of information is really useful for our guests," he says.
"We've done a lot with the guides already, but not as much as we want to."
In addition to providing addresses, phone numbers, websites, maps and directions for each venue, the guides update automatically. "If somebody goes out of business, they pull it off, so we don't have to do the updating, which really saves time. They include ratings from Google and Yelp, and that also helps," he adds.
A favorite feature for Brian is the specialty guides RueBaRue helps him build. "Oregon is known for craft breweries, so we put together a beer trail guide. It took me 15 minutes to put up," he says. He also posted an art gallery guide and has plans for guides for hiking trails and independent book stores in the region. "We're helping our guests get more information, which is what we're all about. We also like to help out small businesses. The guides are great for that."
After using RueBaRue for a year, Olson gives the platform high marks. "People really like the guides. We've had great feedback." The guides are easy for guests to use, Brian observes. "Anyone can use them, not just tech-savvy people." The staff like the guides, too, and direct potential renters to them when they ask about the area. Olson's next plan is to send guests a welcome letter a few days before they arrive with a link to the guides. "That way they can see all that Cannon Beach has to offer before they get here."