Analysing Your Listing Data To Increase Bookings

In this podcast, Jeff Brown, founder of IntelliHost, and Liam of the Boostly podcast, discuss strategies for increasing direct bookings in the hospitality industry. Jeff highlights that 90% of Airbnb bookings begin with direct searches, underscoring the importance of a strong online presence. He shares his journey from corporate America to creating IntelliHost, a tool that helps Airbnb hosts optimize their booking funnel. This includes attracting views, appearing on the first page, getting clicked on, and converting these into bookings. 

Jeff explains how IntelliHost provides hosts with data to compare their performance with competitors, identifying areas for improvement, such as the listing's appearance or pricing strategy. Liam, advocating for direct bookings, suggests using OTAs like Airbnb for greater visibility, which can lead to direct future bookings.

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[00:00:00] Jeff: And 90% of all bookings come from a direct search they go to, they go to their URL and they type in That means that 90% of bookings don't start with Google searches.

[00:00:09] Liam: Having a blast. Gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast, Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee 'cause it's so hard on the tee's loose leaf.

[00:00:16] Looking up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely. If you want my respect, you are better. Put direct. Here are the words in the podcast. That's what comes next.

[00:00:26] Welcome back to the Boosty podcast. This is the podcast that gives you the listener, the tools, the tactics, the training, and most importantly, the confidence.

[00:00:33] So you can go out there and get yourselves direct bookends. We do a mini-series on this boost podcast called the spotlight series. This is where we want to bring your attention as a host or hospitality owner out there. Where you can find out about businesses, services, and things that can help assure hospitality business forward.

[00:00:52] And today I'm going to shine the boost spotlight on somebody that I'm excited to have on the show. We've got Jeff Brown, who's the founder of Intelli Host. Uh, this is a fantastic tool and software that you can use within your business. And this is going to help you. I'm not going to give you any more.

[00:01:09] Uh, Lead in than that. I'm going to let Jeff take over at this stage and, uh, tell us a bit about his business. So Jeff, welcome along.

[00:01:15] Jeff: Thanks so much. I'm excited to be here and I'm excited to speak on the boosted podcast. It's kind of a star-struck moment for me. If I list you guys for a while, I'm excited to be here.

[00:01:25] So, um, I, I started my vacation rental business back in like 2016, 2017. Uh, we raised capital to buy vacation rentals and, uh, we, we bought, you know, several in, in Florida and Pennsylvania, uh, and we built Intellihost, it wasn't called Intellihost at the time, but it was, um, it was just an internal tool, a technology that we, that we built to help us collect data from Airbnb and be able to analyze it a little better.

[00:01:53] And, um. Anyways, that, that, uh, fast forward, like a year from now, you know, or you're, you're back, uh, and, uh, it turned into IntelliHost. It's something, a product now that we, that we sell and, uh, provide to other people. It's, it's been a game changer for our own business, uh, and, and excited to be here. It's kind of funny because, you know, obviously this podcast is all about getting direct bookings, um, and we're a hundred per cent behind that agenda.

A bit about Jeff

[00:02:17] Liam: Can you just give me a little bit more about your, your background and just about your history and, uh, and that side of things? Bye. Bye.

[00:02:23] Jeff: Yeah, yeah. Um, I started in corporate America. I started my first job at the corporate headquarters of Target in Minneapolis. And so I got, I started to dig into analytics, got I got a strong background in data and analysis.

[00:02:39] And, uh, eventually worked into smaller and smaller companies. And so I found a startup that did e-commerce analytics for companies on Amazon. And, uh, I was employee like three of that company and worked up to kind of manage, uh, a large part of that company and, uh, eventually exited. And, um. Since then, you know, I, I, I started my own vacation rental business, uh, was always passionate about real estate, always wanted to get into real estate.

[00:03:07] And so we decided to, my partners and I created a, uh, vacation rental business that focused on like design and, uh, unique themes. We created some theme park homes in Orlando with fog machines murals and crazy stuff. And that was fun and exciting. And, um. Being the data nerd that I am created some tools to help us optimize those listings.

[00:03:28] And, uh, that's, that's where Intel host ended up being, being born. But that's my background. It came from data analysis, data science, um, and eventually, uh, was applied to real estate and short-term rentals. So that's how it comes out.

[00:03:42] Liam: How the, you know, the experience there applies to, to the new business now, which is amazing.

[00:03:47] So where in the world are you at the moment? Because I know there's going to be people, we've got listeners in the UK, we've got listeners in the US, but whereabouts in the world are you?

[00:03:55] Jeff: We're located in Utah. Um, which is people always scratch their heads when they're like, you bought properties in Florida?

[00:04:01] How does that work?

[00:04:02] Liam: That's a distance.

[00:04:04] Jeff: Yeah. Yeah. Well, it's, it comes back to the numbers, right? Like if you want to, if you're going to make this a business, it's all about getting the most profit you can out of your investment. And when we ran the numbers. Florida at the time was the best place to invest.

[00:04:16] And so, um, we found our specific markets niche, niche down and what we were focusing on. And, um, that's why we, we bought properties thousands of miles away.

The services provided to hosts

[00:04:27] Liam: Nice. Nice. And talking about the numbers, talk to me more about the services that you guys provide, for hosts. So in the. You know, in, in the most, uh, I'm a, I'm a, I'm a bit of a dummy.

[00:04:39] So it just explains exactly how you guys can help me, as a host and for the people listening.

[00:04:44] Jeff: Yeah. So to put it shortly, we help you get more revenue on Airbnb and other OTAs. And the way we do that is we help you understand your booking funnel. Uh, for those of you that aren't and I don't know if you're familiar with a funnel or a sales funnel, um, a funnel is the process of attracting eyeballs to whatever you're selling and then converting as many of those eyeballs as you can into actual sales.

[00:05:09] And, it comes down to optimizing steps. And, what I mean by that is, um, every guest takes four steps to book your property on Airbnb. Um, and they start with a search, right? They and 90 per cent of all bookings come from a direct search. They go to, they go to their URL and they type in Airbnb.

[00:05:30] com. That means that 90 per cent of bookings aren't starting with Google searches. Um, and so that's a huge, huge search engine right within Airbnb that you have to appear. So then they, they, they search their guest count, their dates and their location, right? And everyone that comes in that search result just got what's called an impression.

[00:05:51] So that's the top of the funnel. It's getting in search, getting those eyeballs. We teach people how to get more impressions and then go to the next step, which is getting on the first page. Now, Airbnb tracks all of these different metrics individually, but they're very difficult to extract, especially in the format that they're, um, that they're in, in Airbnb.

[00:06:10] It's very difficult to get to the actual numbers. And so, um, we go in and collect all this data for our customers every day and surface it in a dashboard so that they can see their funnel, their booking funnel in an easy-to-visualize way. So once you've gotten in search, we measure how many times you're getting on the first page, then we measure how many times you're going from first page to click, and then from click to booking.

[00:06:36] And those are the four steps. So once you know. How well you're performing on each of those four steps? It's about comparing that to your competition. And we do that for you as well. And we show you where your competition lands on each of those four steps. And then you can understand where you're falling behind, where you're losing more customers than your competition.

[00:06:55] And if you're, for example, if you're not going from impression to first-page impression, Well, it's because Airbnb's algorithm is, is kind of suppressing you or you're not being rewarded in their algorithm as much. Or if you're not getting as many clicks, but you're getting tons of eyeballs on the first page, that's important because it means that, um, there's, there's your cover photo isn't good enough to get clicked on or your reviews aren't good enough to get clicked on or your pricing's not good enough to get clicked on.

[00:07:21] So it's really, it kind of boils it down to the specific metrics you need to, uh, focus on to get more revenue on your property.

Easy to understand

[00:07:30] Liam: I love how easy that is to, to understand, you know, like literally it just makes sense. And especially about the sales funnel and the steps that we're looking to take. And a lot of people would say, well, hang on, what, why is Boostly talking about this when it comes down to Airbnb?

[00:07:45] And, I'll just tell a quick story of somebody I was talking to earlier today who Has never put their listing on Airbnb or an OTA, and they are getting bookings, which, first of all, is amazing to see, but my advice to them, quite controversially, for Boostly was, put yourself on Airbnb, and they said, well, why?

[00:08:04] You know, we're talking direct bookings. I said, yeah. But for exactly that reason you said that it's a search funnel, it's getting your business in front of as many people as possible and that ultimately you can then use these OTAs to work for you instead of you working for them. And that's exactly what you're doing there with the data getting your listing to be seen in front of as many people as possible.

[00:08:26] And then, of course, from a marketing point of view from Boostly. If there are hints about what your brand is called, if there's stuff which is, uh, suggesting for them that they can come and find you, or that you're a brand that exists outside of that particular OTA, well that's cool, because they might be able to come and find you.

[00:08:45] Ultimately, if you've got more people seeing that, you've got more opportunity for them to do that. So yeah, well, that's cool

[00:08:52] Jeff: having a blast gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast Bruce Lee like Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard and the tea is loose leaf making up those rhymes. Don't write it just do it loosely