Nestled on Wolfe Island in Ontario, Canada is the beautiful and unique Pyke Farms. Owner of the 150 year old Dairy Farm, Samantha Pike, transformed the property for her family, but ventured further creating a location site for events and small branding shoots. More recently she founded Host to Host; a private community for talented hosts to swap their places for vacation. Using HostGPO’s member discount she provides guests an unforgettable experience. We are incredibly excited to share this member spotlight as well as provide more info on Host to Host.
How many years have you been in the short term rental industry and how did you get started?
I started in 2018 when I helped my mother set up three of her own. I was involved with every stage of the short term rental process: from renovation to bedroom set up. Once the properties were ready, I managed all three properties myself. It was chaotic and yet so rewarding. After managing the properties for a few months, I knew I wanted to start my own.
And so I did. I opened my first rental property a few weeks later called Adelaide in a small town located in the Thousand Islands in Ontario. My success grew quite quickly. My property was featured in several local magazines, blogs, and rented as a photo shoot house while I was renting out to guests.
It was not long after that I was approached by property investors to recreate the same scenario. At the height of my career I was managing multiple properties, designing new spaces, and teaching others how to host like me.
It’s safe to say that I might have burnt myself out, which was a little ironic in the vacation rental industry as we are providing escapes for others. I knew I was in need of an amazing getaway. After all, it was staying in epic vacation homes that inspired me to create my own.
In 2019, I decided to reach out to a fellow host on Instagram to ask if they would be interested in exchanging rentals. I was honestly shocked when they said YES! I thought this was absolutely brilliant. We would both treat each other’s spaces with the respect and love their deserve, we would be open to each other’s schedules, we would understand the nature of the biz and support each other, we could cross promote and offer feedback as professional hosts too! I felt like I was on to something, and so Host to Host was born – an exclusive community for talented hosts from around the world who exchange their bespoke properties for their own getaways.
Each member is carefully selected to join our group of likeminded hosts. We meet once a month to build relationships and offer each other support. We’ve also added new features to our community including Creating a Captivating Rental Course and my Signature Audit, where I personally visit the property to give hands on advice and suggestions to improve overall guest experience.
I now live on Wolfe Island Ontario where I host my historic family farmhouse @pykefarms as a photo shoot house. Adelaide has retired and I no longer manage properties. Instead, I focus on building our community on Host to Host, teach others how to create master pieces through their homes, and offer additional hosting support.
What do you find most rewarding about your career?
I LOVE providing an unforgettable experiences. I have been lucky enough to have my mind blown, and feel encouraged to do the same for others. I believe that the vacation rental world offers people who are in need of a break a much deserve escape from reality. Creating new worlds for people to explore definitely lights me up!
What’s the craziest story you have from hosting?
Every new host might have a similar story – that one time they lied about how many guests they would arrive with. I had that happen only once and after I learned to only accept guests with great reviews from previous hosts.
What is Host to Host?
Host to Host Exclusive is a paid private community for outstanding hosts with bespoke vacation rentals who exchange properties for their own magical getaways. Each member is carefully considered to be apart of this likeminded group. The membership offers a variety of extra features including a HostGPO membership.
There is also Creating a Captivating Rental Course, where I teach hosts how to create a profitable vacation home from scratch. There we dive into concept, creation, promotion and operation. As mentioned, students receive a HostGPO membership to support their rental creations. Additionally, you can receive my signature audit, where I personally visit established vacation rentals to offer my insight and suggestions to improve overall guest experience.
How will Host to Host benefit our members?
Host to Host is perfect for hosts who are looking to improve what they have to offer their guests. It’s perfect for those who want to leverage what they have created for their own luxury getaways. Here hosts are able to connect with likeminded hosts from around the world.
What are some tips/advice you have on setting up a space?
Create a world for your guests to escape by using authenticity. It’s best to start with what the home has to say. If you have an older home, play to the features that set it apart or are interesting. Choose a theme that you will use throughout the entire home. Every space will tell more of the story you are telling. Another tip is to hire a professional photographer. This is often over looked and is essential in getting guests interested in staying with you. This artful touch tells more of the story you have to share.
Furthermore, focus on the bedroom. This is what your guests are paying for. Your rate is per night, meaning they are really paying to sleep. To make your guests super happy, give them the best sleeping experience. Invest in quality mattresses, pillows, sheets, and a mattress topper.
What’s one “pro-tip” you’d be willing to pass on to the community?
Create a world for your guests to get lost in! This is an opportunity to dream up a world for your guests. To make your guests feel truly cared for and relaxed, you need to create an authentic world for them to explore. I would start with what your property has to say. New or old, your property has a unique story to tell. It’s about finding that thread that can be brought into each area of the house. If you lead with this artistic way to share your home, you will be booked out every night.
What’s the most recent item that you can remember that you’ve ordered from HostGPO?
Curtains! I was looking for closed pocket rod curtains and found them at West Elm through HostGPO.
What would you tell others about whether to join HostGPO?
It’s not just about saving big on everything you need. They have valuable knowledge about the products that are available. When you take their insight, you end up saving even more money and you have high quality products to share with your guests.
Craving more inspiration? Read other HostGPO Member Spotlights by clicking Here.