As the year draws to a close, we can't help but smile at the incredible journey we've shared with you. From adding new gems to our property collection, to weathering the storm – quite literally – together, 2023 has been a whirlwind of new experiences, excitement, challenges, and countless moments of joy shared with our valued guests and owners. As we bid farewell to 2023, we are thrilled to take you on a journey through the highlights that have shaped our company. From the addition of a new website and other technology, to the heartwarming reviews of satisfied guests, each chapter in our story has contributed to making this year what it was. Join us as we look back at 2023 – a year filled with growth, resilience, and, most importantly, the cherished memories we've created with you.
There’s no better place to start then by diving into the heart of our business – reservations.
This year, we were thrilled to host 2,636 guest reservations across our portfolio of unique and welcoming properties. Each reservation represents a memorable experience and a guest entrusting us with their vacation. If you had a check-in date of Jan 1, 2023, through Dec 31, 2023, your reservation is a part of this milestone. We would not be where we are today without our wonderful guests.
This year, our vacation family has seen some exciting growth. A substantial 65% of our guests embarked on their first journey with us, adding fresh energy and excitement to our community. And to our fantastic returning guests, who make up a solid 35%, your loyalty warms our hearts. Your choice to come back means the world to us. So whether it was your first time experiencing our hospitality or you came back for another round of unforgettable moments, we're grateful to have had you with us.
In the realm of staycations and getaways, our guests this year truly embraced the 'extended play' button, with an average stay of 8 nights. Now, in an industry where vacations often wrap up in a neat 3-5 day package, we can't help but feel like trendsetters. Turns out, when you're comfortable and having a blast, time tends to extend itself. Here's to rewriting the rules and turning brief vacations into unforgettable extended escapes!
This year, we're humbled and thrilled to have received over 400 5-star reviews. It speaks volumes about the exceptional experiences our guests have enjoyed during their stays. The positive feedback motivates us to keep raising the bar and ensuring every moment with us is nothing short of fantastic
In the world of making reservations, it's clear our guests prefer the direct route. A solid 68% chose to book directly through our website, highlighting the trust and preference our community places in us. Airbnb and VRBO made up 17% and 13% of the mix, respectively, with a modest 2% coming from other platforms. It's clear that the simplicity and ease of booking direct continues to resonate with our guests. We appreciate the trust you place in us, and here's to more straightforward bookings in the future!
Speaking of our OTA platforms, we added 3 new ons to our library in 2032In our commitment to reach a wider audience, we successfully added Bnb Finder, Furnished Finder, and Zillow to our distribution network, providing more opportunities for guests to discover and book with us. We now offer our properties on 12 different online travel agent websites besides our own.
This year marked a monumental leap for us as we proudly introduced 12 stunning new vacation rentals to our collection. What's more? We continued to extend our reach beyond North Coast Village with 2 of those properties being spacious homes in South Oceanside. This means more choices, more comfort, and more opportunities for unforgettable memories. We now offer a grand total of 90 different vacation rentals, each ready to elevate your escape. It's not just growth; it's a whole new chapter in the book of vacation bliss!
This year, we introduced a small rebrand and unveiled our new website, OnTheSandVacations.com. Crafted with our guests in mind, our updated look is a grand step toward a more user-friendly direct booking experience. As with any new technology, we are still doing some fine-tuning of the site, but exploring our properties and booking your dream vacation has become more straightforward than ever. Your ease and satisfaction are our top priorities, and we're excited to have been able to share this enhanced platform with you.
This year we also rolled out a new payment portal for our guests, making the reservation payment process a breeze for both our guests and our reservation team. This secure portal allows guests to settle the remaining balance for their stay with the click of a mouse – no need to pick up the phone or type an email. While we're still ironing out a few kinks, we're thrilled about the convenience this change brings to your booking experience. It's all about making your stay with us as smooth and stress-free as possible, even before you arrive.
A game-changer we introduced towards the end of this year was a new damage waiver for our reservations. When it came time to adjust rental rates, instead of a straightforward increase, both we and our owners opted to use this opportunity to add an extra layer of convenience and peace of mind for our guests. This move ensures worry-free stays in our properties, providing coverage of up to $1500 for any damages to the property or inventory. It was our way of making sure your stay wasn't just memorable but stress-free too.
Last but certainly not least, we faced the unexpected challenge of Hurricane Hilary. Our team demonstrated remarkable resilience and preparedness for our biggest emergency this year and we couldn’t be more proud.
The storm, initially a Category 3 off the West coast of Mexico, intensified to a Category 4 overnight, causing concerns for Southern California's coastline in August 2023. As the storm approached, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued its first-ever tropical storm warning for parts of Southern California, including our location in San Diego County. Our top priority was safety and comfort for our guests. We were able to keep everyone informed using our text line, email, and social media accounts, and we provided regular updates to both guests and owners. Simultaneously, our dedicated onsite team took proactive measures to prepare our units, from lowering umbrellas and securing patio furniture to boarding oceanfront windows and strategically placing sandbags.
Despite initial concerns, the storm's intensity lessened, and gratefully the most significant impact we experienced was heavy rain. However, this experience reaffirmed our commitment to our guests. In the face of uncertainty, our preparedness, communication, and swift action ensured a secure environment for everyone under our care.
As we close the chapter on 2023, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to each guest, employee, owner, and partner who has been a part of our journey. Your trust, support, enthusiasm, and your willingness to roll with the punches (and hurricanes) have fueled our passion for providing exceptional experiences in the world of vacation rentals. Looking ahead, we are excited for what the future holds. With a renewed commitment to innovation and guest satisfaction, we eagerly anticipate the opportunities and adventures that 2024 will bring. From all of us at On The Sand, thank you for being a part of our story. Here's to a new year filled with more laughter, discovery, and the creation of beautiful memories. Happy New Year!