Ideal vacation rental guest

Ideal Vacation Rental Guest Profile

I mentioned the ideal vacation rental guest when I told you about how to build a vacation rental brand. I feel much more can be said to explain this further, so I decided to give the topic a separate article.

As you can probably assume the ideal guest doesn’t exist. I hoped for a long time they must be out there. Some vacation rental owners still do. To tell you the truth it doesn’t matter if they exist or not.

Then you might ask, why all the hassle? What can we possibly gain by creating the profile of a person that doesn’t exist?

Well, there are a few benefits to this exercise and it does bring some other insights you’ll discover along the way. What it does is:

  1. Help you harmonize your customer experience
  2. Boost marketing results
  3. Help you identify possible opportunities
  4. And as we’ve seen in the article I mentioned, help with building your brand.

All of these put together should impact or financial results. The first KPI that you could see an increase with is the length of stay. But overall, you should also see positive results with the number of bookings, the price per night, and the number of reviews.

Look at your demographics

Look at the list of past guests. It might be from last month or the last quarter. The longer back you can go the better. See where they’re coming from. Are they foreigners? Mostly couples? Or maybe friends traveling together? What age? Do they travel with kids?

THink if there is any way to find out info about their income. And last but not least talk to them. One on one. On check-in date meet them. Try to be helpful. Ask questions but don’t be rude.

A face to face experience can help you so much. It will let you understand who your guests are, what makes them unique, and also what makes them choose you.

Another interesting thing to find out is whether they travel by plane or train or personal car for example.

At this point, you might think I’m crazy and I’m just gathering information for the sake of info. Hear me out. Think about this example. You find out 60% of your guests travel by car and 35% by train. That is valuable info. I can send out an email the day before arrival and explain to them where to park or how to reach us from the train station. And because of my profile, I know my information has a 95% chance to be relevant to them.

Collect customer feedback

Again. Talking to your guests. I know. But try to really listen. Some of them will provide direct feedback. Fix this. Add that. Others will not be as forward with you.

Feedback coming from guests is the most important thing in my opinion. They are the ones benefiting from your service. They are the ones with hands-on experience leaving on your property. Their opinion is relevant.

When you talk to them try to find out why they chose you. What made them click that book now button. After the check-out let some time pass. maybe a few days, up to a week.

Give them a call or send them an email. Ask what they liked and what they didn’t like. Ask how likely they are to recommend you to a friend. This technique is used in software dev and it’s known as NPS. We care about it because it puts the other person in a certain mindset.

Ask if they would recommend you. This will make them think for a second about the entire experience. Immediately after, ask what would they change. With the thought fresh in their minds it will be much easier for them to provide real and objective feedback.

A small side point here. From time to time, go to your property and spend a night there. Look at everything you learned about your ideal vacation rental guest and try to apply it. Act as if you are staying for a night or two and only have some spare clothes and some toiletries with you.

How do you feel spending the night there? Do you have everything you need? Is there something that bothers you?

You will be amazed by how many vacation rental hosts I know that don’t do this. At all. As in never spent one night in their properties. And you will be shocked to know for how many of them an experience likes this becomes an eye-opener.

Build your ideal vacation rental guest profile

Take everything you learned and build a profile. Talk about the guest. About what they expect versus what they find at your property. Tell the story of their stay. What they like and don’t like.

Put this all on paper and please, don’t stress about form. Just right a story the same way we did in 3rd grade. The only exercise here is looking at it.

You’ll see it’s something different. The usual reactions I get at this point are “We already knew this”. And I agree. Bits of pieces of this you already knew.

Having it on paper, structured, on the other hand, puts you in a position of strength.

After you finish take a break. 2 or 3 days and then come back to it. Does it still make sense? IS there something you will like to add?

Then take this idea profile out into the real world. Show it to your friends or family and talk about it for a few days. This is a good exercise to help you further analyze it.

In the end, you should have the full story of your guest. From the moment he leaves his house. His journey. His stay with you and his departure.

Use this profile in practice

When yo write the next article on your blog keep this profile in mind.

The next time you make adjustments to your Airbnb listing page keep this profile in mind.

Next time you send out an email or make a phone call to a guest, have this profile in mind.

I guess by now you get the idea and instead of a conclusion, I’m curious to see what you would include in a vacation rental guest profile like this.

How to get your first review

I was reading this article on lodigfy’s blog about building trust when you have no reviews. It got me thinking about my own experience. How long did it take me to get my first review?

When I started out with my first property I remember it was the end of June. The “busy season” was just starting as schools were ending.

Back then I didn’t even have a website. I listed myself on bookin.gom and Airbnb, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best.

The first 3 bookings came in a matter of hours. By the next morning, the next two weeks were full. As you can imagine, the reviews came shortly after.

I remember doing those checking myself and also meeting the guests for checkouts. Asking them about their stay. Wishing them a nice journey ahead and asking for a review if they get a chance.

I understand Lodgify’s angle up to a point. But reviews are not hard to get. It’s not like vacation rental businesses out there have to struggle to get them.

Care for your guests and pay attention to what they say. That’s all you really need in the long term.

Prejudices About Vacation Rental

Top 5 Common Prejudices About Vacation Rentals

Even I had prejudices about vacation rentals when I started out. I guess we all do at some level. In my mind doing vacation rentals was more of a numbers game. So many people multiplied by so many nights multiplied this price per night, subtract de expenses, minus taxes … I guess you get the point.

Since then I talked with more than 1000 vacation rental owners just like you. Everyone has their misconceptions. I’m going to talk about the most common ones I’ve seen.

I’m going to make so much money.

Just like I was doing above. You run some numbers in your head and all of a sudden you’re rich. Please, stop counting.

Realistically you’re not going to make that money. For different reasons. Seasonality for one or higher costs than originally forecasted.

The good news is that you are going to make money. The prejudice is that you are going to make 5 times more vs doing long term renting in the same property. Probably not.

What you should realistically expect is to do around 2 times rent for that area/neighborhood. Which is still good.

Manage your property very well and you could be looking at even more.

But, vacation rentals will never be a get rich quick scheme.

Anyone can do vacation rentals

Yes, anyone can do vacation rentals, true. On the other hand, to do it well and to actually be profitable is not for everyone.

Your heart has to be in it. All the way. Even if you’re still learning you have to wake up each morning thinking about how you can make the life of your guests better.

You have to smile even on your worst days. You have to be around for any issues even when you would rather be somewhere else.

And at the end of the day, you have to go to bed thinking what a great job you did.

In conclusion, anyone can but it’s not for everyone.

You can automate vacation rentals and let it make money for you

automate vacation rentals

Yes and no. A lot of day to day stuff can be automated. Today more than ever there are apps and systems that let you track check-ins and checkouts, automate guest and staff communications, or do auto followups with guests.

The question is now, should you automate everything? If you’ve read other articles from me on the topic you would know I lean towards no.

I still believe in that personal touch. That first hello when you welcome guests after a long trip. That smile when they ask about something you can’t provide right now, but the smile that helps them see you’re trying.

Automation can take a lot off your plate but can also create a mechanical relationship with guests. And in my mind, that’s not what hospitality is about.

As long as the property is in a good location it doesn’t matter how it looks

This one troubles me the most. I just don’t understand how someone can plan to start a vacation rental business and think like this.

Look at it this way. Would you stay in your place for 2 or 3 nights? Would you like to wake every morning in that bed? Would you use that bathroom?

I’m not saying that everything depends on how the property looks, but as with any business, that’s your product. Make it stand out.

If you are in a market with high enough demand you will receive guests even if your property looks bad. but overall it still hurts you. You will see fewer repeat travelers or a smaller price per night.

The biggest issue I’ve seen with properties like these are cancelations. Either they cancel when they check-in and realize how it looks or even beforehand when something better opens up.

There are already too many vacation rentals in my town

too many vacation rentals

So? Your point is? That means there’s demand. Plus there is no such thing as too many if you have a good vacation rental business plan.

You have a good property, in a good location and you offer a great service. You are competitively priced. You’re good to go.

In the offseason maybe you can feel the pressure from the competition. But take it as a plus. Find ways to innovate and differentiate.

Prejudices About Vacation Rentals are still out there

Even if I talk about them, and write articles. Even if everyone starting-up realizes that they are not real issues. Even if they pass their story forward to beginners. These prejudices will still exist. And others will probably pop-up.

Like in any business, vacation rentals have their myths. And that’s ok. As long as stick to your game plan and put in the work, like in any business, nothing can stop you.

are vacation rentals a good investment

Are Vacation Rentals a Good Investment

If you came here just to find out if vacation rentals are a good investment the short answer is YES. The long answer gets a bit more complicated but still comes to the same conclusion.

As you probably know with investment assets they come in all sorts of forms and sizes. Some might be right for you some might be not. Some of you will prefer real estate, while others will look into the stock market. Maybe you are willing to take risks while I’m a bit more conservative.

The good thing about a vacation rental business is that there are multiple ways of doing it. All of them profitable.

Vacation rentals by owner

I fall in this category as well so this will be the easiest to relate to. You have one or 2 properties. Or 3 or 4. You manage them directly. You have someone helping with cleaning and maybe someone to help you with check-ins (you have to know by now I love face-to-face check-ins). You have a small website. You are listed on all major platforms. Life is good.

I hate to break it to you but this is the least profitable of all options. I know more money might be coming in but what most people forget to add to costs is their own time. And that one adds up. Quickly. between talking to people, managing day to day stuff, doing small maintenance, updating prices, you end up spending at least 1 or 2 hours per day if not more.

The best part about this option is the fact that it’s the most secure investment of all 3 options. As you own the properties you also earn equity from that. Equity that grows over time independent of how good your vacation rental business is doing.

Professionally managed

Very similar scenario. You own a couple of properties. The difference this time is you get someone to manage them for you. A vacation rental management agency will charge you anywhere between 10% and 35% depending on the services they offer.

Might be shocking to you at first and it might seem like a lot. But remember what we were talking about above? Add salaries, maintenance costs, fuel, cleaning products, and other day-to-day stuff, and don’t forget the time you had to put it. Now it seems a bit more realistic, doesn’t it?

This option is a bit more profitable and takes a lot of your plate. The downside with this is that you are not really building a vacation rental business. By using an agency you give up on the brand, the experience of your guests, and all the other good stuff ūüôā But you do get lots of free time. In the end, you become more of a real estate investment than a hospitality entrepreneur. And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it’s what you want.

Vacation rental agency

This one is the fun part. You build up from you’re 1 or 2 properties. You start managing other people’s properties. You maybe rent out a few long-term ones to bring tourists in. And you expand.

This is by far the most profitable version of the 3. It’s also the one where you put in the most amount of work. Doing this will make it your very own vacation rental business. And from there the sky is the limit. You grow at your own pace but you now have the option to scale really fast. You can grow a powerful brand by offering an amazing experience.

The only downside to this is that you own less and less of the properties. In case something happens to the business you don’t have those assets to fall back to. So this would also make it the riskiest option as well.

Are vacation rentals a good investment

Yes, for sure. But as I was trying to say in the beginning, the profit you will make depends on how risk-averse you are and how much time you are willing to put into it. But even for those ones that don’t what to touch tourism with a stick, because I know you guys are out there, vacation rentals are still something to look at. Diversify your real estate portfolio and have the properties professionally manages. Do the math. It’s a good option.

Buying your first vacation rental property

Things to Look for When Buying Your First Vacation Rental Property

Buying your first vacation rental property is not an easy choice to make. I remember buying my first property. It was a beat down studio right in the heart of the old city center. I was so afraid of deciding. I could just imagine the amount of work that’s going to go into it. In the end, it seems I made the right choice.

But if the property is not in the best are, on the best street, right in the heart of things? You have to start looking at other factors that can make or break the deal. Start with the ones that might affect your vacation rental business KPIs. Follow-on with things that could make your life easier. End with the stuff that increases resell value later on.

Best for your guests

When buying your first vacation rental property guests should come first. Think about what would make them happy. Try to think back to all the vacation you had. Think of the things you appreciated in a vacation rental apartment.

A very nice bathroom. And I mean very nice. It’s one of the first things I look at when I travel. I also see my guests doing it very often. In my opinion, the bathroom shows how well the owner takes care of his property. How well he cleans it. How “updated” it is. And also, I tend to spend more time there than in the kitchen for example when I’m out traveling.

A comfortable big bed. The best mattress you can find with the fluffiest pillows. By interviewing people in the last couple of years I discovered more than 80% of the time spend in your place is spent in bed. Other sleeping or relaxing. I think that’s one very good reason to get the best bed possible. One they’ll remember.

Good coffee. Nice espresso machine. Always stocked. Always clean. Nice big mugs. Sugar, milk, and everything else you need. Plus a selection of tee.

Big sunny windows. Though not necessarily a must, depending on climate and location they are nice and people do appreciate it. They’re harder to find but if you are lucky and they also come with a nice city view you’re set.

Or maybe there is something else specific to the area. Are you around a ski resort or the beach? Do your guests need a place to store their equipment? Is the vacation rental property located in an area where it rains a lot? Do you need anything in the entrance for them to rinse off?

It’s hard to anticipate everything. And guests do have the tendency to surprise you with requests. Keep an open mind and build from your experience.

Make life easier for yourself

If you decide to manage the vacation rental property yourself and not choose an agency then these might come in handy.

A good parking space in the area. This could come in handy for your guests as well but think bout yourself. Cleaning. Maintenance. Check-ins. Check-outs. I remember in the first months I was in and out of that property almost daily. And I wished I had a parking spot.

A place inside the property that can be locked. I know. It sounds funny. But guests have a tendency of snooping around. Also, some of the ones I’ve met have a tendency to use every towel they come across. Or to sleep with all the pillows. But this lockable place is not only about hiding towels and pillows. You could also store there the more toxic cleaning products or maybe some tools for easy around the house fixes.

The best entrance lock you can find. More than half of the midnight calls I received from guests were about “I can’t get in”, “The key won’t go in”, “We’re locked outside”. Get the best one you can find with the easiest to use mechanism. Period.

Resell value

This one is a tricky one. And remember this is your first property. If you have a good business plan in place you should know the area and the factors that could impact price. This stuff goes a bit beyond vacation rentals and into real estate so I’ll try to keep it brief.

Access to the city center by walking or by public transport. A number of bathrooms and bedrooms. Shared spaces if any. These are some of the things you should look for. Try to imagine how the city will expand in another couple of years and factor that in.

No one will be able to say for sure if the price for a property will go up and down. Here some of the easiest picks are the really beat down ones like my first ones. Sometimes just by renovating them, you double their value.

Buying Your First Vacation Rental Property

Not easy. Big decision. I know how you feel. I’ve been there. But if I can leave you with one word of encouragement. Believe in yourself. You are making the right choice. Vacation rentals are a good business that will bring you a lot of satisfaction. It’s hard work but it’s worth it.

Buying a property is never becomes easier. Unless you are buying it from someone and the place has a proven record. But it’s not that hard either. Keep your eyes open. Have patience and I’m sure you’ll make the right choice.

Jony Ive joins Aibnb

Jony Ive joins Airbnb for all the wrong reasons

Jony Ive joins Airbnb and I’ve seen it here first. I’m not particularly a fan of his or of his designs. I’m also not a fan of Airbnb but that’s another story. Let’s just say I respect both of them for what they’ve done. Enough so to be able to look at this objectively.

Airbnb plans to get listed and IPO rumors have started for a while now. Jony Ive is a brand by himself and maybe one of the world’s most famous designers. But did Airbnb really need a designer right now?

I think what they need is more travelers. Airbnb needs to generate more quality bookings for hosts like you and me. They have a great system in place, but it’s one that completely ignores the host. Airbnb needs better support and better fraud prevention. They need a lot of stuff, but better design is not a priority.

Then why this move? In my opinion because of the IPO. You can call it a PR stunt. You can say it’s a move to bring someone with more experience on board in the hope of building trust. And it might as well work. Jony Ive’s ideas might be the ones that turn the company around and his presence might just be enough to give Airbnb a boost.

In place of a conclusion

But even so, Jony Ive joining Airbnb will not start-up tourism again. This partnership will not get people back on planes traveling. And for all it’s worth there’s a slim chance it will influence us, hosts, at all.

__________

Jony Ive was Chief Design Officer of Apple Inc. and serves as Chancellor of the Royal College of Art. He joined Apple in September 1992, where he remained until his departure in November 2019.

Airbnb, Inc. is an American vacation rental online marketplace company based in San Francisco, California, United States. Airbnb offers arrangement for lodging, primarily homestays, or tourism experiences. 

what vacation rental industry is

What Vacation Rental Industry Really Is

No one can tell you what the vacation rental industry is. Everyone has their own opinion and in a sense no one is wrong.

Vacation rentals appeared out of nowhere a couple of years back and disrupted travel forever. They provide a more personal experience. Vacation rentals give travelers the opportunity to explore a city more intimately. They offer guests a glimpse into the life of a local.

A memory to share

If done right a vacation rental property offers a unique experience and a holiday someone will remember over the years. A memory to share with their friends or family.

You as a host are part of that story. Your job as a host is to make that story a reality. So much of what you do is hospitality and experience building. A hotel offers almost the same services but there is no pressure on them. As a result, people have come to expect a certain standard from hotels. They usually get the same thing in the same hotel chain anywhere in the world. With vacation rentals it’s different.

Different is good if it’s done right.

Different is good if it’s done right. Also, different can also mean a trip someone will try to forget. It’s up to you. What I can tell you is that it’s all worth it. If you manage to deliver you are on your way to build an incredible business that provides both long-term income and also day-to-day satisfactions.

As you know, I’ve talked to and offered advice to more than 800 vacation rental owners like you. The most successful ones are the ones that truly care for their guests and really strive to offer a pleasant experience. In my opinion that is the way to go if you want to build a durable and scalable vacation rental business. A story, a memory, a smile, and maybe that is what the vacation rental industry really is.

Doing vacation rentals right

There’s No Point Doing Vacation Rental If You’re Not Doing It Right.

This is one of the things I hate to get used to right from the get-go. Having a few vacation rental properties can be a part-time job, but you should never treat it as a part-time job. Each of the guests coming through your door has a story and a reason for being there. For every one of them, this holiday is important and a big part of their holiday is the place they stay. And that part depends on you.

Now I’m not saying you should let the pressure get the better of you. What I’m trying to make you understand is that you should be aware. Aware of what makes a good vacation for you and what could make one for them. Aware of what they say. Try to anticipate some of their needs. Vacation rentals are less a real estate business and way more a hospitality one. So you should act accordingly. Make them feel welcomed and they will always find ways to repay you.

There’s no point in doing vacation rentals if you’re not doing it right. You should do something that brings you joy, so in turn, you can bring happiness to others. If you don’t believe me, think of your last holiday. Did a smile make your day better? Did a friendly hello make the trip seem shorter? These small interactions add up and in the end decide who you are as a vacation rental manager. And I hope what you see is something you are proud of.

vacation rental business

Key Performance Indicators for a Vacation Rental Business

Vacation rental KPIs sounds like a corporate boardroom with PowerPoint presentations and pointy ties. You are a vacation rental manager with a few properties trying to get by. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t track your business. Leaving aside profit at the end of each month there are metrics you can track to see the health of your vacation rental business. Are you improving or losing traction? What can you adjust for better results? I’ll try to stay away from complicated financial terms. You just need to look at:

Occupancy rate

Take the number of booked nights and divide¬†them by the total number of bookable nights for a given time frame. That’s your¬†occupancy rate. This could be anything between 30% to 100%. For my properties, it’s sitting at 78% on an annual average.

The average length of stay

This one is easy as well. You look at the total number of occupied days throughout the period and divide by the number of guests. Interesting about the length of stay is comparing it to the city average. That will give you a first indication of how well you are doing against the competition.

Cost per night

This is the first type of cost we’re going to talk about. The cost per night takes into account all monthly subscriptions for your property. electricity, gas, internet, heating, garbage to list a few. You sum all of these up and divide by the number of occupied nights you had during that month.

This shouldn’t change much month over month. Even if you have seasonal changes it should average out through the year. In the winter heating costs are higher but in the summer air conditioning¬†increases the electricity bill.

In practice, you should try to keep this at a minimum. Installing LED lighting around the property can decrease your bill by over 40%. You can install faucets that are sensor activated to reduce water consumption. Another idea could be motion sensors for the exterior lights. The lower the cost per night is, the more flexibility you have with your price per night.

The cost per stay

This one gets a bit tricky. It includes costs for one booking and providing the service. You include here cleaning fees. These are the most common expenses per stay. In some cases, you might have damages you need to consider and add up.

How do you know a certain cost should be calculated per stay? It’s a fixed cost independent¬†of length. Even if your guests stay¬†2 or 6 nights the cost stays the same.

A big one here might be property management fees. If you choose to go down this path they can end up charging up to 35% of the cost of the booking. Some managers choose to do a fixed cost per booking. Depending on their pricing structure they either get calculated here or in the cost per night.

The price per night

Now that you know the two costs you can easily calculate the price per night. It should¬†be bigger than the cost per stay plus the cost per night multiplied by the number of nights. Sounds complicated? Let’s take an example.

The cost per night is $3. The cost per stay is $50. The commission for the listing website is 15%. The guests end up booking for 8 days. Our minimum price per night would be $3*8+$50 = $74. Taking into account the commission $74/85% = $87. So the price per night ends up being almost $11.

At this price point, we are just breaking even. But surely we can charge more than this. Of course! As long as our number of bookings stays constant. You see, there is a fine balance between price per night and occupancy rate. With time and a lot of trial and error, you will learn to juggle both.

I’ll leave some scenarios here, for now. Increasing prices per night over a certain value will decrease the occupancy rate. One way of increasing price and keeping occupancy rate up is decreasing the length of stay. On the other hand, this affects the break-even point. The only thing you can do is A/B test different scenarios and see which fits best.

The average number of guests

Depending on the size of your property you will host anything from 2 to 6 people or more. But not all reservations are the same. I calculate the average number of guests by just doing a normal average for all reservations. For me the average number of nights per stay is similar. If for you they differ a lot you can weigh those in the formula.

I like to look at this because it gives me a new perspective. For roughly the same price/night some people decided to split it by 2 others by 6. I’m interested in learning more about the one couple that travels alone. They are clearly willing to pay more and have a higher chance of upselling.

Value per customer

And that’s a perfect way to introduce the concept of value per customer. The value that affects profitability the most. This is the metric you should always try to increase. You can do this by increasing the price, but this can only take you so far. Another way, as I was mentioning above, are upsells.

You can upsell anything, but of course, some stuff works better than others. The easy approach would be merchandise, branded cups, and t-shirts, either with your brand or with your city or a famous landmark nearby. Upselling can be taken to the extreme. I know a guy in London who sells mattresses. If you liked how you slept on his bed you can buy the same exact mattress. Books fall into the upsell category. Or extra services are another way to go. Renting out bikes, or hiking equipment.

Another way to increase the total value per customer is with cross-sales. Did your guests buy insurance for this trip? You can help with that and earn a commission on the side.

The health of your vacation rental KPIs

Not all numbers and KPIs will look good all the time. Your small business will have ups and downs. The health of your vacation rental business will be determined by how well you manage it. Understanding some of the major KPIs and learning how to influence them is the first step towards success.

Be patient and take your time. You’re not going to get everything right from the very beginning. But with time and a lot of practice you’ll get the hang of it. A vacation rental business is not the hardest thing to manage. If you love hosting, meeting new people, and putting a smile on someone’s face … Hey, that’s another good KPI… number of smiles per person. You should try that one.

Vacation rentals by owner

Vacation rentals by owner – do they really work?

Vacation rentals by owner are still a very popular way of doing business even today. The vacation rental trend actually started as a “by owner” business model. Over time they evolved into a more structured approach and most of them are professionally managed by companies that handle large inventory. From one family having one or two units is not uncommon for a popular destination to have agencies dealing with hundreds if not thousands of units.

Each model has its own advantages but also presents some very specific challenges. Before deciding what approach is best for you to take the time to analyze a few factors. How many units do you hold for example? Or how much time would you have to put in this sort of activity? Are there agencies in your area offering this type of service? If there are, what type of reviews do they have, both from guests and from owners?

Vacation rentals by owner is a serious endeavor. For one single uint maintenance, cleaning, hassles with check-ins and checkout can end up taking more than a few hours per day. And that is if you decide to do all of this by yourself. Things do get better if you start having employees that do this stuff for you. But on the other hand, you need 5 or more units for employees to be a manageable cost.

A vacation rental agency takes all of the headaches away but also takes 35% or more in commission fees. You lose control of the “business”. You are not the one deciding on a pricing strategy or even the one deciding who gets to stay in your place or not.

Read more about starting up in our article about a vacation rental business plan. It would also be interesting to join any online or offline groups in your area and get a feeling for the market before you make a decision. Whatever path you choose to switch along the way is always an option so don’t let this scare you off. Jump in and in the end, pick what’s best for you.