Capital JetSet hosts beach-front vacation rentals in elaborate and fabulous locations. Their properties boast amenities that appeal to guests of all afflictions. They feature high-speed internet, parking, fully-equipped kitchens, and pools to cool off after a day in the city. The property is minutes away from SJU airport, Old San Juan, El Yunque National Rainforest, and many other attractions on the island.
Type: Beach-front vacation rentals
Geo: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Area: Urban market
We had an insightful discussion with Juan Morales from Capital JetSet about their company’s journey and about the journey with Pricelabs.
Richie: Thank you for agreeing to do this. What we are trying to do, Juan, is get some of our stories from customers out so that we can share them with other customers. It helps us build a little bit of credibility, but hopefully, it also gives you some attention on social media. I have a few questions in my mind that I’m just gonna ask, right?
Juan Morales: Ask me anything. Happy to answer any questions.
Richie: Let’s start with a little bit about Capital Jet Set and Juan Morales.
Juan Morales: Yeah, sure. So my name is Juan Carlos Morales. I am from Puerto Rico. I started an Airbnb arbitrage business by mistake in 2012. And it wasn’t until 2017 that I actually got serious and doubled down on it. And you know, we start, I started with one property, one guest, and I was probably making like a hundred bucks a month. And then, you know, because I bootstrapped the business from the ground up, I had basically all the challenges that anybody that’s trying to scale has, which is essentially, you know, how do I automate a lot of the manual work, because I have to spend some time in taking care of customers. So essentially, as I decided to scale my business in 2017 and started getting more properties, I realized quickly that I needed systems. I started implementing a bunch of systems, and one of them, in particular, was pricing, which is the thing that I do the most now. And well, Capital Jets is essentially a vacation rental management company out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. As I said, we manage almost 30 properties. We are looking to scale into having more properties, but just under one roof. So we’re actually in the works of getting a 28-unit building in San Juan, Puerto Rico. If anybody’s looking to scale their business, they need systems, and they definitely need PriceLabs for sure.
Richie: Thank you for that word of confidence. So Capital Jet Set, are you still doing rental arbitrage? How does it work, or is it commission-based? What’s the business?
Juan Morales: Yeah, we own about three properties or buy a couple more properties, and we do some managed properties and most of the arbitrage at this point.
Richie: Got it. And did you have the properties arbitrage through the COVID period as well? And if so, how did you manage that period?
Juan Morales: Yeah, I mean the whole trick with when you have any issues with the downturn, which is essentially having monthly costs under control. So having low payments helps a lot, and then having good relationships with donors in case something happens and you need a little bit more time to pay the rent or something like that. And then obviously having a good fund.
Richie: Tell us a little bit about the new 28 houses or rooms. It’s a building, what is it?
Juan Morales: Yeah. So I mean a lot of people when they start doing Airbnb or short-term rental, whatever you want to call it, for me, it was all about at, at the moment I decided to get serious about it in 2017. My goal was to scale. Yeah. And to have many properties, and the more properties I got, the more I realized that if I could create really good systems and processes, I could get more properties in the future. And with not as many employees, if you will. And the idea was that when we get another property, let’s say an apartment or a house. That property and house have X amount of work you must do. And I realized that the properties far from each other tend to be a little more challenging than those under the same roof.
Juan Morales: So we actually have about 14 apartments in the same building. So obviously, once we’re already there, getting there is, is work enough. So once we’re already there, doing work in those places and getting things done in those places becomes easier every time. Yeah. So I just got the idea that it would be awesome to own the whole building, you know, and people started joking around that when I started getting more and more properties in the same building, and I didn’t tell them, but that was my goal. Since the day I was like, I want to have all the properties under one roof; I guess this is the reason why hotels, you know. Yeah. I can do very well. That’s why when you stay in a hotel, you only see a couple of people at the front desk working, and the rest is happening with, you know, a lot fewer people than you would normally need. So my background is in hotel and restaurant administration; for me, this was very clear that that was the path. And so I just decided to do my focus on going after buildings instead of single properties.
Richie: Before you came to PriceLabs, what were you doing to set your rates before PriceLabs?
Juan Morales: It was a pain in the ass. I realized that cause I actually worked in a hotel for about one year. And I knew the person doing the hotel’s revenue management. And I got curious about what that was. And then I realized that there are a lot of things that we use today. For example, if you are going to buy a flight, those prices change. So when I use that analogy, it makes so much sense. If you ever try to book a hotel and you wait a few days, maybe the prices changed, you know? As I was scaling my portfolio and getting more properties, I had many more nights to sell and wanted to maximize.
Juan Morales: So, it wasn’t about having so many properties for me. It was about making as much money as possible with my properties, you know? And I think this is important. Some people think about scaling as getting more and more properties. But I can tell you if it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you keep. So if you’re unable to maximize the revenue on that night, in particular, you’re missing out. And as I got even more curious about what other people were doing, I realized they were leaving a lot of money on the table by leaving their settings set and not dynamically changing them. So obviously, I’m a very curious person. I’m always looking to optimize everything and was actually doing it on my phone. So I would have my phone in my pocket, and every time I would get a booking on Airbnb as an example.
Juan Morales: I would go and click on the booking. I would click on the calendar and create adjustments after every single booking. I did that until I got into PriceLabs. So, because I understood that I would be leaving money on the table if I didn’t make adjustments, I thought I knew there had to be a better way. There had to be some smart people worldwide who could solve this problem. And I found you guys, and I’m so happy.
Richie: Very, very exciting. And so when you started using PriceLabs, were you trying to solve for making more money, or were you trying to solve for saving time or both or something else? Like, is there something that won you over?Juan Morales:I realized that, as I said, you will surely leave money on the table if you’re not adjusting your settings dynamically. Do you know? And then I started looking at other services, and I really like your pricing model, and the features and the guys taking care of me on the onboarding were just super nice and helpful too. And I came to PriceLabs because I wanted to buy some of my time back. I was actually a slave of the adjustments if you will. And anybody with many properties who understands that they don’t want to leave money on the table is a slave of the calendar, if you will, in the setting. So I just kind of wanted to get free from that. And then the gravy on top of that is that I realize that PriceLabs gives me suggestions of when I can make more money. And I know I have made a lot more money with PriceLabs, for sure.
Richie: Oftentimes, we tell people that it can happen on both sides. Like it’s not just about money. But it is also about how much time you are spending there. Right. Maybe you’re conscious about making adjustments and everything, but then you’re probably spending a lot of time, and you know, every time there’s a booking, you go into your app and change pricing or whatever. Right.
Juan Morales: Yeah. Yeah. That sucks, yeah, no long, no more of that.
Richie: How do you use PriceLabs today?
Juan Morales: Well, it really depends on the demand. I feel like I’ve noticed that if there’s a lot of demand for my properties, I’ve optimized it to the point where it doesn’t need me much. Because like I said, I did the work of understanding the settings that it required, and your team did a great job in explaining to me how to set it up. So I feel like I became really good at understanding how to create settings on PriceLabs. So that I wouldn’t have to spend more than five or 10 minutes at some point. So I actually go into PriceLabs sometimes once a week. Sometimes I go once a day in the morning. And you know, you’ve also made it a lot easier for the phone. Yeah. So I look at it, but I would say it becomes easier if there’s a lot of demand.
Juan Morales: Yeah. If there’s not as much demand, then I go back in and try to like, you know, play with it a little bit more to incentivize bookings. So I guess that’s probably what, where I’ve seen it. I think it would be cool if, instead of doing once-a-day adjustments, you know, automatically. If there was actually a way to do it, like twice a day, I feel like that’s kind of like the one thing that I find myself going in, which is kind of, you know, let’s say that the morning starts and I have X amount of availability and some bookings come in. So I would have to save and refresh the system and sync it to readjust.
Juan Morales: Yeah. So I think if there was any way for hosts to set up twice a day automatic push of settings, that would be kind of cool. And I’m sure some people would need like three times a day or something like that. I think that would be something that would be really awesome. Do you know if there was a button to save and refresh all listings and maybe sync all listings? Which would be like one button hitting all of them because I find myself pushing a bunch of times. Your system is amazing.
Richie: Very cool. Very cool. That’s really cool. Both of the things you raised of them can be solved with PriceLabs today, and I’ll show them to you in a bit. Once we wrap up this call. Any sense of like in terms of numbers, how your business has been impacted you, you mentioned saving time or incremental revenue, any sense of that, how that has been impacted with using PriceLabs versus not using PriceLabs.
Juan Morales: Oh, man. Like it’s life-changing. Like if you run Airbnbs and if you have multiple properties, you need it. It’s not even a question. Many people think about the cost and don’t understand that time is money. And they also like, you know, you, you are not, you’re not as smart as you think, you know? Yeah. And I feel like if you can use systems to help you for me, I would say that in terms of, of the biggest impact was saving a lot of my time. I shouldn’t be paid 10 or 20 bucks an hour if I get paid.
Juan Morales: Right. Yeah. But if I get paid, what like a hundred, 200, 500 bucks an hour. Yeah. Then if I was spending an hour a day, then it was costing me that much. Right. So for me, it was my time. Yeah. I think it’s very valuable. And also, you know, getting suggestions on how much I can price things. Yeah. It helps a ton because, you know, when we’re running our businesses, we don’t have people or experts next to us to let us know, yeah. What’s going on. So I will say I still use I still go into Airbnb and some of the other platforms just to get a sense of what prices are. Yeah. Just to double-check. Yeah. And I do that so that I can understand my immediate competitors. So I don’t think that you want to also go blind, but I have gone blind for a little while on it, and I’ve made really good money. So I would say that it’s like having an employee that, you know, is always working for you doing the best they can, and they do a hell of a job. And but you know, you can always come back in and make adjustments. So it’s super cool.
Richie: Very cool. Yeah. Very cool. I really, really appreciate it. Cool. That’s really, that’s really the questions that I wanted, Juan. Thank you for joining me today.