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As a long-time resident of Ketchum, Idaho and a certified ski instructor in nearby Sun Valley, Michael Godfrey, owner of Michael's Vacation Rentals, is an authority on this breathtaking mountain haven known for world class skiing, hiking, biking and fishing. Take the Ketchum Starbucks. "It's unique," he says. "There's a table where locals come to plan their day. It's actually the same group, give or take, that goes all the way back to when Ernest Hemingway lived here, and it's migrated to different venues over the years." Michael wanted to share his knowledge of the area with his guests, but because he often travels to teach and do international volunteer work, he needed a platform that was "as automated as possible." Here's how RueBaRue helped Michael put together personalized online guides that update automatically and help renters embrace local life during their stay.
"Ketchum's a small town, but it's got big amenities."
As a frequent traveler, Michael has kept his seven-year-old business small with 14 condos located near downtown Ketchum. "I took over the business from a friend, and it grew organically, mainly by word of mouth," he says. But with plans to take on more properties, Michael recently upgraded his software and, with an eye to marketing, wanted to add a compatible guest experience platform providing the detailed area information he likes to give his renters. "I wanted something that I can send people to help them make plans before they get here," he says. He particularly wanted to choose the places featured on the guides and to provide insights and tips, like advising guests not to miss the vintage photos on the walls of historic Sun Valley Lodge.
At the suggestion of his software maker, Michael signed on with RueBaRue and began creating online guides packed with need-to-know information in the categories he wanted — getting to the area, restaurants, sports equipment rentals, things to do and essentials. In addition to posting the guides on his website, Michael sends them to guests when they book in an email and a text. "That way they have them on their phone. There's a map to everything so they can use them while they're here" he says.
"It was easy to install the RueBaRue code."
In addition to customizing the guides with suggestions for where to eat and what to see and do, he added helpful information, like driving times from the nearest airports. "It's really nice to be able to personalize the guide," he says. "People ask me all the time what my favorite restaurant is, and it's hard to say because we have lots of restaurants, and they're all good. With the guide they can see what's here, and what they might like." And Michael steers them with tips like, "They say you haven't been to Ketchum until you've been to the Pioneer Saloon."
Michael also likes the appearance of the guides, which include his company logo and colors. "Being able to present information this way gives us a professional look," he says.
After using RueBaRue's Guest Experience Platform for five months, Michael is pleased with the feedback he's received. "We've had guests say how nice it is to have the guides. And the homeowners like what we're doing because they feel like we're on the cutting edge of marketing their properties," he says.