Every documentary has it. An interviewer and an interviewee sitting across from each other in an intimate space, getting to the heart of the matter. It’s a clean shot, the lighting is pristine, the sound is crisp, and the subjects are framed perfectly.
What you don’t see, however, is the immense amount of work that goes into staging such a shot. From choosing the subtle colors and patterns of the surrounding walls to knowing where the shadows will fall later in the day, every detail is accounted for, and every contingency planned for.
That’s why producers have always put so much energy into finding the ideal shooting location — a task that was once filled with uncertainty but has become markedly easier with the growth of the vacation rentals industry. Such was the case recently when HBO chose InvitedHome's Holden Lodge as a filming location for one of its documentaries and finished the project with only stellar things to say about our home, our booking process, and our day-of services.
InvitedHome recently sat down with HBO Producer Jordan Kronick to learn more about how the vacation rental industry has changed the way production experts like himself go about scouting locations.
“From Frontline to Discovery Channel to NatGeo, these nonfiction shows are all over the place, and they’re all based on interviews,” Kronick said. “If you’re like me, you’re from New York, but you’re traveling from city to city to do interviews with people. More often than not we want the interviews to be a home setting, or a loft setting, or an industrial setting.”
Before companies like InvitedHome, Kronick and producers like him had to tap into networks of high-end homeowners and property owners to look for a space. If the homeowner of a prospective property said no to the project, it typically meant renting a hotel suite. However, those suites were never exactly what they were looking for, and always too generic.
Enter Airbnb and similar vacation rental listing sites. Kronick now has an easily-accessible portfolio of homes to choose from for his filming projects, and he can filter them depending on the desired aesthetics of the interview. But no matter what that aesthetic is, there's always one common requirement: it has to be big.
“You need a really big space,” he said. “20’ x 20’ minimum, 30’ x 30’ ideal, 40’ x 40’, great. And you want these homes to have character, interesting furniture, interesting walls, a big, big space to work with, rugs, carpets, textures, et cetera.”
Given this criteria, it’s not surprising Kronick found a perfect shooting location in Holden Lodge, one of InvitedHome’s luxury rentals in Beaver Creek, Colorado. He typically starts his search on Airbnb by filtering to see homes with four bedrooms or more, and from that point on, it’s all about the pictures — a point he heavily stressed. Considering it’s a massive undertaking to fly equipment and crews across the country without ever scouting the place in person, Kronick says he needs to have complete trust in a listing so there are no issues on the day of the shoot.
“To market to these kinds of businesses, you need great photos, and lots of them. I wanna see the place from all angles, to really ensure that we know what we’re walking into,” he said. “Because when we do commit to a place, we show up with multiple cars, there's five, six, seven people, we’re paying for cameras and camera crews, and we've got to go with what we've got.”
It was at this point in his search for a film location that InvitedHome stood out as an obvious choice to host the shoot. Although he found Holden Lodge on Airbnb, he then navigated to the InvitedHome site, viewed all 36 high-quality photos, and reached out.
So why did he book through our site, rather than through Airbnb where he found it?
“I don't like choosing off Airbnb cause you can’t talk to anyone, and you need to get email correspondence going,” he said. “This was great because InvitedHome takes care of this, and we could get on the phone and talk about what I was trying to do.”
Kronick noted that he was in talks with two other vacation rental management companies, but neither of them was willing to adjust their prices for the project’s unique requirements. Kronick only needed a home from 7am to 7pm, yet one rental company insisted it had to be a $4,000 booking for two nights.
“It was ridiculous. $4,000 for two nights when I only need it for 12 hours?” Kronick quipped. “I definitely appreciated getting someone on the phone, and realizing the flexibility of the situation.”
On the day of the shoot, two InvitedHome employees were on hand all day for any questions Kronick or the crew had, which ranged from how to control the lighting and heating systems of the home to the best places for sandwiches in Beaver Creek (InvitedHome picked up an order from Avon Bakery and Deli, which proved to be a hit with everyone).
“Obviously having help with the house was a great experience,” Kronick said in closing. “Overall, 10 out of 10, and I’ll definitely keep InvitedHome in mind in the future.”
So what was it exactly that made InvitedHome such a good experience for HBO’s film shoot?
It started with the regular maintenance and inspection of the high-end home long before it was ever booked. The call came in on a Friday afternoon at 5pm, and by 7am the following Wednesday, camera crews were rolling in. It was a true testament to the tight ship our Beaver Creek operations team runs.
Then it was the marketing of Holden Lodge. The placement on Airbnb, the high-quality photos, and InvitedHome’s website all came together to create a trustworthy experience for Kronick, who then connected with us through a phone call.
Kronick’s decision to use InvitedHome over the others can ultimately be attributed to our Reservations team, who strongly adhered to our most important company value: Treat people like humans. It was our communication and flexibility that convinced Kronick that InvitedHome was the right choice for the shoot.
The day of the interview, InvitedHome’s knowledgeable and accommodating on-the-ground staff provided the high level of hospitality we show all our guests, and indeed the level they’ve come to expect.
It was all of these factors that led Kronick to give the experience a rating of “10 out of 10,” although that wasn’t surprising to anyone here at InvitedHome. Hospitality is what we do, and we’re committed to providing unrivaled experiences for our guests in every home, in every destination, on every vacation. That’s the InvitedHome difference.