I’m Louis Gonzalez and I’ve been living in Los Angeles for around the last 16 years. For the last seven of those, I’ve been involved in the holiday rental industry as a host – although I didn’t exactly plan to go down this route.
Welcoming guests from around the world
A while back, my roommate here in LA got a job offer and moved to New York and I needed to cover the rent. That’s when one of my neighbours suggested renting the room out to travellers.
I wasn’t sure at first, but I went for it. And it really worked out. In fact, pretty soon I realised that I could cover my rent as well – and even used the proceeds to go travelling. So, while it was born out of a bit of desperation, I loved it. I loved the freedom that it gave me, that I could create a great experience for guests, and that I could meet people from all over the world.
When the opportunity to take on more units presented itself, I jumped at the chance. I’ve now got six properties – all in LA and all listed on Booking.com.
Charming Lofts is one of those properties. It’s an industrial loft overlooking the Hollywood sign. It’s safe and secure and a very well-known building. Charlie Chaplin made a film here in the 1920s – it's a Hollywood landmark.
Booking.com’s global reach helped business take off
Travellers come to Charming Lofts from all over the world. Booking.com really helps with that. Unlike some other platforms, it's multinational and caters to a much larger audience. For me, that was a real game-changer.
So much so that I now use Booking.com for 100% of my business. If I’m being totally honest, I hadn’t heard of the platform until a friend recommended it. I’m forever grateful to that friend as Booking.com has been great for my business. Booking.com gave me all the tools to get started and it was really easy to create my listing. You put in some photos and a clear description of your property and you’re good to go.
I use the extranet to check my calendar, check my reviews and make sure everything is updated. Other than that, I use the Pulse app for everything – it’s a really user-friendly app that makes it possible to manage my business on-the-go. I find the whole process very, very easy.
First-class customer service
Having worked in hospitality for nine years I appreciate just how important customer service is. And Booking.com’s customer service is incredible. If you have any questions, just call them and someone’s always there to help you.
When it comes to hosting, it’s important to create a comfortable, welcoming environment for your guests and have as many amenities available to guests as you can: basic essentials like clean linen, towels and Wi-Fi. And communication is key when it comes to hosting. It’s important to respond quickly to new inquiries. Cover these things and you’ll make a great host.
I think this dedication to customer service is why I have the review score I do (Charming Lofts is considered ‘Superb’ on Booking.com). If my guests need anything, I’m here for them. I want them to feel at home. That personal touch can really help you stand out. If there’s a query, I’ll respond within an hour. Even if I don’t have the answer, I’ll tell them that I can’t answer right now but will get back to them – just to let guests know that I value their time.
Moving forward, I’d like to expand into other cities and countries, continuing to use Booking.com a hundred percent. I absolutely recommend Booking.com. You’ll earn extra money, have a great time and meet interesting people from all over the world. I’d encourage everyone to become a Booking.com host.
- Charming Lofts is one of Louis’ six properties throughout LA – all of his guests come through Booking.com
- Booking.com’s international reach was a real ‘game-changer’, says Louis
- Louis’ ‘Superb’ rating on Booking.com and personal touches help him stand out – leading to more business
- The Charming Lofts host is hoping to expand into other cities and countries where, he says, he’ll continue to use Booking.com 100 percent