How Spotahome became 5x more efficient with Customer.io

Spotahome is an online platform where people can book short-term and long-term home rentals. Working in 28 countries across Europe, they meet renters in the digital age by enabling every step of the process to be done 100% online. They offer in-person verifications on properties to ensure that each listing is up to their standard and provide a secure checkout experience for their tenants.

Spotahome doesn’t just use Customer.io to send messages in their customer lifecycle journey. Their primary business goal, which they use Customer.io for, is to increase engagement on both the landlord and tenant side to increase revenue. With Customer.io, they have seen that about 50% of all their bookings (and therefore revenue) happen after a customer has opened an email from them. Through Customer.io, Spotahome is able to run tests on their processes to improve operational efficiency.

Engineering Team, We’re Breaking Up With You

One of the biggest goals Spotahome wanted to accomplish by moving to Customer.io was to decouple the engineering team from the marketing team, while also enabling other departments to generate value. Previously, every change had to go through the engineering team because everything was hardcoded. They wanted to give marketers the freedom to change things without the assistance of an engineer. By gaining autonomy with campaign creation in Customer.io, they knew other teams would also be able to self-service themselves when they needed to communicate with the end-user. 

And that’s exactly what happened when they moved all their communication to Customer.io. Now, they have 20% of their entire organization actively using Customer.io, spanning marketers, product managers, engineers, designers, and their operations team. With so many teams empowered with the ability to create complex campaigns with webhooks without having technical knowledge, they have seen business operations improve immensely. 

“One of the biggest successes I’ve seen with Customer.io is being able to have multiple teams use the platform to generate value. Because the UI is so intuitive, anyone can go in and start building complex campaigns.”

Jorge Alonso, Marketing Manager

So…How is Having More Cooks in the Kitchen Beneficial?

An operational challenge Spotahome used to have was not knowing whether a property was still available to rent or not. Because landlords could have rented out their properties on other platforms without notifying Spotahome, this posed a huge challenge when trying to keep accurate and up-to-date listings on their platform. 

Armed with a mixture of time-based and event-based triggers, Spotahome’s operations team was able to deploy campaigns to solve this problem. One of these campaigns entails sending landlords an email 45 days before their property is set to become available. In the campaign, they ask landlords to validate that their property will still be available with just a click of a button. For properties that are already listed on their site as ‘currently available’, they send a similar campaign to landlords who have not refreshed their listing in the past 7 days to make sure it’s still available. This effort has been an easy and low-effort way for landlords to stay engaged with Spotahome while keeping inventory hygiene clean.

To Automate or not to Automate?

Another innovative way Spotahome uses Customer.io is to determine the best strategies for automated communication via our A/B testing functionality.

Spotahome’s general approach has always been to lean on personalized and human touches to deliver the best customer experiences. Much of their communication during a tenant’s booking process was personally done by one of their Customer Experience Agents.

Spotahome started to wonder whether certain touchpoints along the checkout funnel could be more automated, or if they really needed a Customer Experience Agent to drive the highest conversions. They began testing this hypothesis in Customer.io by creating one path where a customer received automated messages and one where the Customer Experience Agent reached out personally. After spending some time funneling users down both paths at random, they found no significant difference in conversion between customers who received the automated messages versus customers who received a personalized touch. 

Because there was no significant difference, Spotahome keeps that touchpoint as an automated message to save time and resources of their valuable agents. 

The impact of this test has been a huge win for efficiency. By freeing up their agent’s time, each agent is now able to manage 5x more bookings than before without sacrificing conversion!

Verifying Properties

In addition to testing best messaging automation practices, they’ve also enabled automation byways of webhooks and event triggers to streamline the way they verify properties.

Recently, Spotahome had decided to let their tenants request which properties they want to be verified. Since Spotahome has tens of thousands of properties listed, it made sense for the tenants tell them which properties they wanted to be verified first instead of Spotahome making the guess.

At first, the process went something like this: users would request verification of a property, and a Spotahome associate would manually reach out to the landlord to start the verification process.

Now, thanks to Customer.io’s webhook actions, Spotahome can cut out the middle (hu)man. When a tenant requests to verify a property, Customer.io uses that event as a trigger to enter the landlord into a campaign to arrange for the verification of the property. This webhook and campaign logic allows renters and landlords to interact with one another in a controlled environment, increasing efficiency and moving things along faster.

Results

Through these learnings and changes, Spotahome has seen their customer retention rate increase from 5% to 7%- a 40% incremental increase! These retention and engagement practices have contributed to 15-20% of Spotahome’s revenue, which has all been made possible by Customer.io’s ability to enable testing and enforce operational efficiency with messaging practices.