AutoPilot Profits: Harnessing Hands-Off Marketing for Customer Retention

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In this Boostly podcast episode, Sam, CEO of GoSTR Marketing, and host Liam discuss effective marketing strategies for short-term rental operators. Sam emphasizes the necessity of unique strategies to differentiate and elevate a brand, advocating for direct engagement with past guests through innovative, automated marketing solutions. He introduces GoSTR Marketing, which facilitates custom-branded email and text campaigns aimed at boosting direct bookings. 

Sam shares his journey from IT to rental management, underscoring the critical role of consistent and strategic communication in fostering guest relationships and enhancing business outcomes.

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[00:00:00] Sam: In this market over the past probably year, year and a half, you have to do things that other people aren't doing. And so many people aren't doing things as simple as this. I say as simple as this, but it's a little bit more, uh, work than it, you know, seems to be. But I would say you have to do things that other people aren't doing and are not doing at a high level.

[00:00:24] You have to build your brand and. You have to be consistent.

[00:00:28] Liam: Having a blast. Gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast. Bruce Lee led Bruce Lee. 'cause it's so hard on the tees. Loose leaf, making up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely. If you want my respect, you'd better put it directly. Here are the words in the podcast.

[00:00:43] That's what comes next.

Welcome back

[00:00:44] Hi, welcome back to the Boostly podcast. This is the podcast that gives hosts the tools, the tactics, the training, and most importantly, the confidence. So you can go out there and get yourself more direct bookings. We do a mini-series on this podcast, which interviews people, services, and businesses from all over the world.

[00:01:00] Which hosts need to know about these are things that you can do or implement within your business, which is going to help you, especially today is going to help you get more direct bookings and we've got a special guest to join us, we've got Sam Mistrata from a CEO and founder, and he's from go STR marketing, which is this amazing service.

[00:01:20] I'm not going to take anything away from what he does. Let's jump straight in and say hello to Sam. So welcome along, Sam.

[00:01:27] Sam: Hey, Liam. Great to be here, man. How are you doing today?

[00:01:29] Liam: I'm very good. Thank you for joining me. I'm excited to dive into this.

[00:01:33] Sam: Absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:01:35] Liam: So for people who haven't heard of GoSTR marketing or yourself, what can they expect on this episode?

[00:01:42] What will they leave this episode knowing which they may not already know?

[00:01:46] Sam: I'd say wherever you're at in your short-term hosting or co-hosting journey, you need to do three things. One, start collecting contacts now, phone numbers and emails of your past guests. Two, whether you do it yourself or find a partner that markets to those past guests, do it.

[00:02:07] And number three, take action, right? Make sure the partner's proven. Make sure if you know how to do it, you know how to do it well, and then go. Because every day you don't reach out and make contact with your past guests who love their experience at your place but either can't find it or they're booking with somebody else.

What is GO STR Marketing?

[00:02:23] Liam: Give me the elevator pitch. What is a Go STR marketing?

[00:02:27] Sam: Yeah. So go STR is the first, uh, 100%, maybe the only, at this point, I don't even, I think it may be still anyway, the first and only 100 per cent done for you professionally, custom branding. 12-month email and text marketing solution for STR operators from an STR operator, uh, that messages your past guests for you on a monthly cadence, directing them back to your direct booking website to explore and rebook any property in your portfolio.

[00:02:59] Liam: Love that. I love everything about that. So why is this important to you? Cause I know it's important to me, but why is this important to you? Why? This business.

[00:03:08] Sam: Yeah. Well, it's interesting because I kind of stumbled upon this. I never just set out to say, you know, I'm going to build a digital marketing business, right?

[00:03:17] I mean, um, I guess my background, I've got a 12-year background in enterprise it, and I started STR, um, you know, got into STRs from long-term rental management. And then, so I shifted to short-term rental management 12 months after I was doing, uh, Hosting and co-hosting, uh, 12 months after I started my first one, I was resigning from my W 2 and then leapt to do this full-time.

[00:03:43] And at that point I had 12, right? And so I had six more, uh, in the pipeline. So it was a crazy year and a half. We did, uh, 18 listings. 18. And so, you know, I took, uh, everybody, you know, all the help I could with from my wife. Uh, I got a great BA team we assembled here. And so we did that. And then, you know, at the end of 18 months, we were outta breath and I was still married, you know, my wife and you know, the kids still stuck around.

[00:04:11] It was a heck yeah, it was exciting. But, uh. Anyway, so after that, I said, man, what can I do with all this data? You know, I've got everything. I know this data is so valuable from, you know, my past life. So I said, man, what, what can I do with it? I know I need to start marketing. Everybody says you need to market.

[00:04:29] Well, there are so many different types of marketing. And so I wanted to dive into the one with. path of least resistance. So I knew I had, uh, contact names, emails, and phone numbers of my past guests, and I knew the ones that were great guests because I marked the bad guests bad and I'm not going to invite them back.

[00:04:47] And so I said, okay, I've got all this data now. What can I do with it? I'm just going to go out and find a marketing solution. Not a big deal. Everybody says you need to market. I'm sure there's one out there. Well, like weeks and turned into months and, you know, I'll look back and what did I have to show for it?

[00:05:02] Nothing. So I was like, okay, rolled up my sleeves and I got the band back together from it, uh, you know, friends and family. So I said, Hey, look, here's what we need to do. This is how we need to, uh, put it together. You do that. And I know the front end of the SDRs. And then after that, we implemented that in my business and, um, man, I was just floored by the, uh, the bottom line revenue it brought in and how easy it was to manage.

[00:05:25] So I was like, man, well, if I just, you know, add this service or, you know, uh, provide this feature or something like that, then I'd love to show this to my friends in the SDR business. And so I wasn't, I wasn't quite that confident yet. So then I got a beta group together. We tested it, they had similar results.

[00:05:41] And so then I had the confidence to. Introduce it and offer it to my friends. And I mean, they're getting, they're getting bookings days after we launch. I mean, easily covering the cost sometimes in weeks if not months at a time.

How important is hospitality experience as a host?

[00:05:55] Liam: So how important is it, uh, that you've got the hospitality, uh, experience first and foremost, that you are a host, what would you say?

[00:06:05] Sam: Yeah, no, that's a great question. I mean, what we do as hosts. Is, you know, we're in hospitality. So that messaging that the knowledge of the whole process from start to finish, I feel is critical because I mean, that's what hospitality is right. That's how I was born, you know, in the deep south here and, you know, Louisiana and in the US, we were just, we, you know, we're born with hospitality.

[00:06:31] That's how we know to treat people. And so, you know, I know whenever I was in my IT background, it's, you know, It's very easy to just kind of go down rabbit holes and, and just, you know, it's, it's all ones and zeros. Right. But then, you know, putting those two together, that's what makes the whole industry go around and what makes people come back and, uh, you know, create those experiences that they want to revisit.

[00:06:54] Liam: How does it work for the hosts who are listening to this? What are the kinds of steps? For go STR marketing and, and do they need to have their list? Or is it a case of, can they build a list once they're with you? What, what, what is the best time to come and, uh, find out more?

[00:07:12] Sam: Yeah. So, um, kind of in a nutshell, uh, go STR marketing is three steps.

[00:07:17] Uh, one. Uh, you select what we have. We have 3 different options. If you have 1 to 25 properties, then the 2nd option is 26 to 50. and then the 3rd option is 50 plus. We find most of our clients have between 5 and 25 probably, but we have a few with 1 property. Uh, that has been doing it for a long time.

[00:07:36] And we have, you know, multiple with over, you know, 30 and 40, even 50. Um, but the way it works is, um, you purchase, you're directed to an onboarding portal, you upload all your data. You're, uh, not, it's not even all your data. Uh, like your photos, your company information, um, your market information when your peak, shoulder and slow seasons are, um, like your five.

[00:07:59] Favorite restaurants in that property, excuse me, in that market. Five attractions and then five, uh, you know, events. All you have to do is put the URL. We take care of all the copies of the images and everything else. Um, we use your photos. And then a few weeks after that, we come back and say, Hey, look, it's time to prove your 12-month professionally designed email campaign.

[00:08:22] And so we go over that one-to-one, um, we show you how to make comments. A few weeks later, after those, uh, comments, uh, are, you know, fulfilled by our team, after you grant us PMS and Staphy, if you have it, access, um, by that point we have scraped, scrubbed, and imported your contacts to market for you, and then we You can do a live launch and that's when the fun starts because you can see all the contacts are about a handful. After all, we do there.

[00:08:52] It's very strategic for, um, we'll get into that later. But, you know, all of the different regulations for text and email, but, you know, you can see on a live launch whenever we, um, Actually market to your people. You can see the response. It's cool. It's there's a lot of action in there. So after that, we scrape, scrub and import every two weeks.

[00:09:13] We get new guests in there. We give you time to make sure they're marked bad. Um, so we don't. We filter those bad guests out so they don't trash your place again. And then, um, there it is. And then a year later, uh, once you see how well it works, uh, we, we keep it going. You can change, uh, you know, different styles, um, for your design and things like that.

[00:09:35] Um, and then throughout the process, you could, you know, scale up or scale down with properties, send us. Different, um, you know, properties that you add and we can feature those as well.

For those unsure of emailing past guests

[00:09:44] Liam: So what would you say to somebody who's listening to this and just going, yeah, I'm not sure about emailing my past guests.

[00:09:48] I, you know, I don't like emails myself, marketing emails. So I don't want to do it to them. What, what, what would you say to those people?

[00:09:56] Sam: Yeah. So, uh, especially in this market over the past, Probably year, year and a half. You have to do things that other people aren't doing. And so a lot of people aren't doing things as simple as this.

[00:10:10] I say as simple as this, but it's a little bit more, uh, work than it seems to be. But I would say you have to do things that other people aren't doing and that they're not doing at a high level. You have to build your brand. You just have to be consistent. Um, that's the that's the other thing that I find cripples people.

[00:10:30] And it may be great. You send out one beautiful email. Oh my gosh, it's amazing. And then, wow, you get, you send a second one, man, you're now on a roll. And then you add another property and then you've got to set it up. And then there it goes. Like there's all your momentum, right? The biggest thing in this and any marketing campaign is consistency.

[00:10:47] Liam: Um, so thank you so much, Sam. Was there anything we missed along the way? And, um, Anything that you wanted to sort of cover that we haven't dived into?

[00:10:57] Sam: I don't think so. Just, uh, you know, uh, make a decision and act on it. You know, that's the, what, what's the cost of indecision, right? I'm having that conversation a lot.

[00:11:06] Whether it's in the business with marketing or if it's outside of business, you know, just. Get a vision, and act on it. Nice.

[00:11:17] Liam: Nice. I like that. I like that. And is that your motto that you kind of take into, into things that, yeah.

[00:11:23] Sam: Um, so one of my favourite mottos is actually whatever you can, uh, conceive and believe you can achieve.

[00:11:29] And that's me, I think, I think my buddy Napoleon Hill said that. So it's just having faith in yourself because if you can't have faith in yourself, you can have faith in it. You know, leap. You're going to learn. If you fail, learn from it and you'll get stronger. Give it a shot. We're only here once.

[00:11:43] Liam: Love that. What a great sentiment to end on. And Napoleon Hill, I'm a super big fan. You can't see, but behind the camera, there are quotes around the room. And we've got Napoleon Hill up there. So thank you so much for your time this, uh, today on this podcast. Thank you too, for listening to this on the Boostly podcast.

[00:11:59] We know there are lots of places you can put your attention. Thank you for putting it with Boostly. If there's somebody who needs to hear what has been said in this episode, please do share it with them. Uh, you're doing them a favour. You're helping us as well. And we hope to see you on the next podcast.

[00:12:12] Thanks very much. Bye for now. Having a blast. Can I get it on the Bruce Lee podcast? Bruce Lee is like Bruce Lee. Cause it's so hard on the T is loosely making up those rhymes. Don't write it. Just do it loosely.