Behind the Host – Paul Anderson Sandfield Guesthouse

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 449. We talk to Paul Anderson from Sandfield Guesthouse. Everything from using Instagram for your business to his morning routine.
 
Check out Hospitable Hosts onhttps://hospitablehosts.com/
 

Here’s the audio for this episode:

Here’s the video for this episode:

 

 

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Meet Liam from Team Boostly

04:50 – Who is Paul

08:18 – Standing out

11:48 – Your USP

15:13 – Define your avatar

20:39 – Your content pillars

26:00 – Make a schedule that fits you

30:09 – The Hospitable Host Book

32:12 – Building a Story Brand

35:11 – A morning routine

37:05 – Book recommendations

39:25 – Paul’s inspirations

40:14 – How Boostly Academy has changed my life

Whilst you’re here

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Transcript from the Episode – Behind the Host – Paul Anderson Sandfield Guesthouse

Meet Liam from Team Boostly

I’ve got something very special to announce over the last four years now of having the Boostly podcast. I’ve been doing every single episode, so nearly 500 episodes has just been me talking to hosts, me talking to guests all around in the industry, whether it’s peers or whoever. As this now progresses, are we closing in on episode 500 I want to be able to do more. And unfortunately, my time and what I need to do to grow Boostly means that I can’t do more. So what I’ve done is I’ve brought on a very, very special co host of the Boostly podcast. It’s somebody that has been part of Team Boostly for many years now, and this person is stepping in to be not only a cohost of the podcast, but he’s also becoming a head coach within Boostly itself. There’s a series that we started last year, I started last year called behind the Host. You can go back and look at episode one, which the guest, funny enough, is now the cohost of the podcast. So I’m talking about none other than the amazing Liam Caroline. Liam has got a business called Ginger and Gold, which is based in the UK.

It’s a management company, but does essay apartments, a management company for other landlords who want to be able to generate revenue from short term rentals. He provides that service, but also as well. Over the last couple of years, he’s provided so much help and support to other hosts and members of the Boostly community. We’ve been having discussions for the past couple of weeks, and I offered Liam an opportunity to come into the business. I’m so glad that he took it and now is his first ever episode. So Liam is going to be taking over the mantle of the behind the host scenes. He’s going to be interviewing other hosts from around the world and try and really pick in and delve into the tactics that they do to run their business, whether it’s marketing or whatever, but also find the tools that they can share with you as well. Today is the first episode that Liam is doing and he’s interviewing the amazing Paul Anderson of Sandfield Guest House, who’s also a social media hotel. He’s got the At Social media Hotel where he helps host with Instagram. Anybody who’s run the recent training, you will know how good that is.

And this is the first episode, so I hope you like it. I hope you enjoy it. Liam was so nervous doing this and you can tell from the first few minutes of the interview, but I wanted to play it in its entirety. I didn’t want to edit anything out because it is so good and it is really amazing to see. And I’m excited to see the progression of Liam over the course of the coming weeks, months and years. This is the first episode, so please do show him a lot of love in the comments below. Please do go and say Hi to Paul as well on Instagram. I’m sure he’ll give you all the links, but also as well. Make sure you look out for the special book project that we are all working on as well, which is Hospitablehost.com. Go and check out that book project. It’s coming out very soon. You can actually join the waiting list right now. So without further ado, let me pass over to the amazing Liam Caroline, part of Team Boostly, the owner of Ginger and Gold, and also as well, Paul Anderson, who is part of Sandfield Guest House in Oxford.

Enjoy everybody. One of the biggest problems when it comes to converting a looker into a Booker for a direct booking is the trust factor. Whether you like it or not, your guest is looking to make sure that you are who you say you are. So how can you do that? Well, the number one accreditation and recommendation certification service in the industry is Iprac, and I’m so happy to say that IPrac is sponsoring this podcast and is the lead sponsor for all Boostly content. The reason why we partnered up is because I have been working alongside Iprac for many years. I recommend them to every Boostly customer, client and Team Boostly member. The reason being is that unlike other accreditation services, they are not just country specific, it is global and it is worldwide. They’ve got over 10,000 members and they’ve got over 250,000 properties, which means that you can display your Iprac certificate on your website and on your socials and know that you are going to be providing that trust that your future potential guest is looking for. I reached out to Iprac and I asked them if they’ve got a special offer for Boostly members.

And so if you go to boostly.co.uk/trust you will go to a special Boostly landing page where you can book in a call and a demo. And if you sign up, you get a very special exclusive discount that only Boostly members can get. So thank you Iprac for being our sponsor. Thank you for listening to this very short message. I hope that you go and cheque out Iprac today. I hope that you go and join them just like hundreds of other Boostly members have done, because it will help massively with you increasing your direct bookings. Right.

Who is Paul Anderson?

Liam
Let’s get back to the show behind the Host podcast. We’ve got Paul on today. Paul Anderson, who is the social media hotelier, really excited to have Paul on. He’s been hospitality owner for many years and now he’s moved more into the Instagram training and he’s also about to be in an up and coming book with us together called Hospitable Hosts, which we’ll talk about as well. So, Paul, how are you doing? Thanks for joining me.

Paul
Good. Thank you very much for having me on. Yeah, it’s always nice to talk to other people in the industry, particularly someone who’s involved in exactly the same project. There’s a whole bunch of it at the minute. The Hospitable host book, which is exciting. It’s due out on May 16 17th along those lines. So we’re nearly there.

Liam
Nearly there 100% May the 16th. So first of all, Paul, just tell us a little bit about your business, yourself and how you got started.

Paul
So I’m sat right now in Sandfield Guest House and I moved here in 1986 when I was about eight years old. It was a family home. It needed bunches and bunches of work doing to it. Long story short, I came back from living in South America. I came back in 2008, took ownership of the building and then turned it into a guest house in 2009. Everything was taking along very nicely and then covid hit me or forced me to have the space to reflect on what I was doing. And it dawned on me that with the rise of online travel agents, TripAdvisor, Booking.com, so on and so forth, I’d stopped printing out trifold brochures. I wasn’t going around local cafes, attractions, the colleges, the universities, the hospitals. I wasn’t pounding streets, I just wasn’t advertising. And so I dialled into social media and Instagram was something that I really just gelled with, really. It’s a very dynamic space where you can be very creative and at the same time, there can be a very technical aspect to looking at insights, kits, how you put together videos. So there’s a technical aspect to cutting videos and that type of thing.


There’s also the creative side to give you an idea. My A levels were maths, physics and economics, and everyone raised an eyebrow when I did art and art where I was most successful at. So the four kind of hung. And the same is the case for Instagram. What I then found was that the majority of my followers for the guest house account on Instagram were other accommodation businesses. So guest houses, B and B’s, Glam sites, short term rentals, people who manage suites of flats and accommodation and cottages. And people were starting to ask me questions, how did you do this? Why did you do that? How would you suggest I might do this or the other? I was very lucky. I was invited to create some presentations and then present at a couple of summits. And I thought there might be something in this. If other people can make money out of my knowledge, perhaps I can as well. So at the back end of last year, I set myself up as the social media hotelier, and now I coach hosts who are marketing the accommodation on Instagram using organic Instagram marketing strategies, content design in order to maximise the brand awareness and use Instagram as a funnel to turn Lookers on Instagram into bookers on businesses websites.

Your USP

Liam
It’s really amazing to hear that. And I first saw some of your content on Instagram. I’ve got to be honest, everything we do as a host is about standing out. And when it comes down to standing out on social media, that can be quite hard. Whereas I’d seen several of your videos where you’re doing these reels, you’ve got actions going on, you’ve got a funny kind of content out there as well. And it instantly engaged me. I found I was watching it longer. So talk about that how you went from just dabbling in this to actually doing this more as a full time type project.

Paul
So for the guest house, I never really dabbled in it. It was very much my opinion how I’ve always run different businesses previously, has worked hard, advertise some more, and then go back and advertise again. And so for me, it was that moment I really need to get on this and I need to get on it fast. And Cobbt has given me an opportunity, so I very much applied myself to it. I did fumble my way around to begin with, predominantly because there’s a lot of advice out there that’s fairly generic in terms of how to maximise the opportunities that Instagram can give a business. And so what I had to very quickly do is go back to marketing fundamentals. So who is my ideal client, my buyer persona, guest avatar? What are they interested in? Define those post exactly. And nothing more than just those content pillars or topics, and then start thinking about strategies, how frequently I would do it, how often I would do it. And that was then when I started to explore different formats. So going from a single image to a carousel with a series of images, then there was a big fanfare when reels were launched in order to combat the onslaught of TikTok.

And what was difficult to communicate in print then became very easy to do in a digital format. And Southfield Guest House here is a very good example. So Southfield Guest House is one of four guest houses out of five buildings, and we’re all much of a much we will charge similar rates. We’ve all got similar ratings. We’re all vying for top spot on TripAdvisor. But what separates me from them and them from me is I do exactly the same to them. They do exactly the same as me, but they don’t do it in the same way. And it’s very difficult to communicate that with a business card or a postcard or a bit of paper. It’s very difficult. But if you’re putting yourself in front of your camera or you’re cutting together images and you’re setting them to music, whatever it is, your personality is naturally embedded in what you’re creating. And as a result, people meet me on Instagram before I open the door to them. They know what to expect. They know to expect that I like taking the mick out of people. And I’m quite happy having the mick taken out of me.

They have an idea about where my political inclinations might be. They know that I take service very, very seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. Whereas other establishments, my neighbours, are all very, no, it must be done like this. It must be done like that. And that suits some guests but not others. So I get the others and they get the sun, if that makes sense.

Define your avatar

Liam
It’s a thing which comes to mind, which is your vibe, attracts your tribe. And I can definitely resonate with what you’re saying there with something that Mark has said before, which is you can have all same businesses or similar businesses across one street, but the thing that will separate them is yourself and your personality. And 100% comes through in your videos that I didn’t know you before seeing the videos, but I know if I come and stay with you, you’re approachable, you’re friendly, you like to have a laugh, you take your business seriously. It comes across very clear on your videos. And that is the point of difference. When it comes down to marketing or businesses, a lot of people think one of the questions that I like to ask is, what is your USP? And I’m fairly sure what you’ll say for you, but, yeah, it absolutely is. You.

Paul
Within the pillars that I’ve used for the guest house, there are unique selling points. So the guest house is 100% carbon positive. So for every tonne of carbon we produce, we offset at least two tonnes. And there’s a programme to drive that carbon footprint down. So I do talk about that a lot. I grew up in this building, so I’ve been here since 1986, I’ve been away, but I’ve come back and so I very much consider myself within Oxford and guest house proprietors, the go to expert for where to go, who to talk to, how to get through the back door somewhere. Don’t go to that Museum, go to that one. It’s free, all that type of stuff. So I think when it comes to video and video content, particularly, you’re adding another layer and another dimension and you’re enriching your marketing, you’re enriching your advertising. I think that it’s most important. I think for guest house, for Privacy is in my position because it’s just me and it’s pretty much only ever been me. I do have a lady who helps with the earning. I have a lady who does my website for me and I have an old friend of mine who helps with the garden, but it’s just me.

And as a result, I am the experience. It’s me cooking your breakfast, I’m serving your breakfast, I’m making your bed, I’m fixing a shower, I’m giving you directions. I think if you are of an organisation where you send people a code and they get the key and they sort themselves out, but they know how they can get in touch, I think that is potentially less important, but it’s an equally important to communicate the character of what your guests can expect. Even though they’re not directly shaking your hand and seeing you, they’re not eyeballing you.

Liam
Yeah, absolutely. It’s the know, like and trust. And certainly having those videos out there, a bit of content, people being able to see what your establishment is like before they walk through the door. It helps to build that credibility and likability. And one of the things when I’m booking somewhere myself that I look at is I always go, well, from the pictures or from what they’re putting out. Can I kind of judge the feel of the place? Because a lot of the time they say people will forget what you said, what you did, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. And you can kind of get a sense of what it would feel like to stay from videos, from content. And that is the difference where people are much more likely to go from that stage of seeing these to be able to book quite confidently and know what they’re going to get at the end of it.

Paul
Absolutely. Things have moved on from looking at the AA book or your Lonely Planet taking a bit of a punt and phoning up, booking a room, and then you rock up and you have no idea really what to expect. Apart from one very short paragraph of a couple of hundred words, things have moved on. And that next level is using video to communicate your personality and the vibe that you have that attracts your particular tribe. And I was speaking with a lady this morning on one of my clarity calls, and she was saying, yeah, but I’m really scared that people won’t like it. And I said, well, if people don’t like you, do you want them in your home, in your B and B? Do you want them to come and stay in your property? And she said, no. I said, well, great, if they don’t like you, they’re going to move on and focus your energies on the people that you like. And there’ll be the people that like you.

Liam
And what I’m taking from that is really define your avatar of who you’re speaking to. Is that right?

Paul
It begins there. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re not going to sell to anybody. It’s a very old mantra, but I think the benefits of understanding who your ideal guest is are multiple. It means that when people come to your establishment, they are either identical or very similar to the types of people that you would like to welcome back, that you’d be excited to see again. And you might say, well, during your one week stay, you want to come and have dinner with me and the wife or something that type of person. I have two guests. I’m thinking in mind. I have two avatars, one for my high season and one for my low season. My high season avatar is based on a chap called Max, who was shortlisted to be a godfather to our son. And then our daughter didn’t quite make the cut. And then my low season. He’s 35 years older and I don’t mind telling you, I gave up drinking alcohol six years ago. He was instrumental in my sobriety and was almost like a fifth grandparent and to have them back. Now, my avatars aren’t those people, but they’re based heavily upon them.

And what that means is that when they come, I’m pleased to see them. But more importantly, I think on a longer term picture, the guest expectations have been managed before they’ve even arrived at your front door, which makes it so much easier to either satisfy them or go beyond their expectations because you can predict in some respects, what’s the word I’m thinking of? You can provide a service that the guest doesn’t even know they want.

Liam
Yet you can anticipate what they need.

Paul
That’s the word. You can anticipate it. I’m tired. I’m still covering every coffee. Sorry. Yeah, you can anticipate, you can preempt it. And what that then means is that the guests who do come through your front door are not only satisfied, they’re more than satisfied. And they then become the guests who are your superfans and start talking about you, whether that’s on review sites or TripAdvisor to the Friends or the Buddies. How was your trip in October? Never believe where I stayed. It didn’t look like much on the website. That host was amazing. A few years ago, I had two old Dutch ladies who came over to Oxford just because they were Morse fans. And I was talking them through a map of Oxford and I just happened to drop in. If you go down this Lane, you will almost certainly recognise it. So they go down the Lane, that’s fine. And they decided to go back to take some pictures. Anyway, when they came back that day, these 70 year olds were like, they’ve been extras in Lewis, so they were just off the street, so could you be in it? And then they were sending me copies of them in Lewis on Merton Lane in there.

Paul
And that was simply because I knew in advance that they were Morse fans and I had a little think, where would they like to go in Oxford? That would kick in for that. And they got on the show. I think if you project your personality and you target the people you’re speaking to, come back to the guest avatar pieces. Once you know who you’re selling to and it could be a band of two or three people, you can then quite readily identify topics or content pillars or experiences that are going to suit them that they’re going to be interested in. And what that means is that when you come to create your content, you’re not starting with that. You’re starting with a little box. I’m going to write about my eco credentials. I’m going to write about Oxford and you can confine your creativity knowing full well that it’s talking just to the avatar.

Liam
I love that, I love that.

Paul
And then you can just start planning. You just roll through your pillars. I’m going to post tomorrow and spam Cornish people post enough about National Peaks today in the United States and all that type of stuff that goes on. You can keep it relevant and pertinent.

Liam
What I understand as well is that it’s not just knowing your avatar and what they’re coming to the area for, but it’s actually know in your area and what that can offer that avatar. With that particular example. I think my dear old mum, she loves Inspector Morse. And instantly I’m now thinking, I’ll tell you what, I need to tell her to get in touch with Paul and go and stay. So talking about, obviously, we’ve talked about how you’ve got into being the social media hotel for all the hosts who are listening to this, thinking I need to be making more of social media and of Instagram. What would be your top piece of advice after defining their avatar? What would you advise them to do?

Your content pillars

Paul
And how do they really get started with social media in general rather than getting in touch with me and having half an hour of my time for free? Mark, feel free to cut that out. If I was starting out on social media and I define my guest avatar, the next thing I would do is I would think very long and hard about five or six topics that I knew that person was going to be interested in. And then under each of those topics, I’d write down maybe four things I could post about. So eco credentials 100% carbon positive. How did I get there? There’s an electric charging point just outside Oxford is the first city in Oxford to have a zero emission zone. I Bake a little box of things and I then kind of build about 15 or 20 beginnings of a post or ideas for posts that’s not to complicate anything, and that’s not to get involved in the social media before you even touch a phone or a computer. And then I would think very long and hard about how frequently I could create value for my guest avatar within that framework.

So when I first started on Instagram, I’ve been led to believe that it was really important. I posted everyday, if not multiple times per day. And I tried it and I burnt out and I crashed and I just stopped. I just had to stop. So I went back to my basic principles and I came up with six pillars and I thought, Right, I’m going to post about each of those pillars once a fortnight. So that’s three posts a week. Now, I have taken a bit of time off the guest house one, but I’m religiously posting, Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 845 in the morning. With that structure, I would then craft perhaps nine or ten posts and I put them into my Instagram account. So there was something for people to see. The reason why I say nine or ten is because when people open their Instagram or look at someone’s profile, it’s the first nine posts you can see. So it looks full. People might scroll down, there’s nothing there, but that’s fine. You’ve got something there. What this will then afford is very quickly, you have a spreadsheet Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, with all the dates, pillows, 136-1361 through six, which means you can then start to compartmentalise your workflow.

So what I will do is I will sit and I’ll go, right, this morning, I’m going to spend an hour and I’m going to write four posts about booking direct. I don’t look at pictures. I just write little snippets for each one. And if I’m still feeling in that groove, I might write a few more book direct ones where I might think, oh, I’ve had an idea. I’ll write about some others. So I will write on a particular theme. And then I’ll probably step off for a day and go make some beds or buy some eggs, that type of thing. And then I’ll come back and I’ll go, right, I’m going to find images that back up or reinforce what I’ve written. I’ll go and get images. So in 2 hours, I’ve got copy words for six posts. I’ve got images for six posts. Put some hashtags in and against my calendar. I can just schedule them out. And if you compartmentalise your creative process. So I’m now writing, I’m now looking at graphics, so I’m creating graphics. Your workflow is far improved. And if you’re approaching a single topic, you’re not starting there. You’re starting in a box in that corner.

So you confine. And without limiting your creative juices, you keep them in a box and focusing. So you’re not like, where do I start? It just narrows things down. And what very soon happens is you end up with a very heavily populated spreadsheet. And then you go, oh, I’ve got a gap there. I best do that one, because what was happening was at the beginning, I was trying to create the perfect post, and I was doing a post at a time, and it took me an hour. Now, by compartmentalising my work, I can do six posts.

Liam
And two, it’s amazing. There’s a lot to digest. There one of the things where as a new host, you’ve not only covered on how to get going, but also for anybody listening. Me and Paul took part in Marks, one of his free five day training, which Paul ran. And it was just amazing. One of the things that stuck out to me was you mentioned that you post 845 in the morning there, and you get so many things which says you need to be using this many hashtags. You need to be posting this many times a week. You need to post at this certain time, all these different things that you hear. But one thing and why people should get in touch with you if they’re listening is you’ve really broken some of those kind of expectations of what we should be doing. And really you’re breaking it down to how do you give value to the people that you want to give value to and how do you make that work within our lifestyle as hosts? We’ve got busy days and how do you fit that all in? And one of the things that stuck out to me was don’t worry about when you post, find a time that you can commit to regularly to spend some time making a post and just make sure you’re doing that.

Make a schedule that fits you

Liam
And then you’ve got them post ready to post at that time when you know you’ve got that time available in your day. And that was just a mega one for me because people worry too much about as if there’s some secret formula out there that everybody you use them to be successful. It just depends on your guests, it depends on your market, it depends on what you’re trying to achieve with it, isn’t it?

Paul
The people that say these things, they are absolutely right for them. So when it comes to posting time, if you have 200,000 followers, when they look at their insights, they will see a massive rise and fall in the times and days and it will have a dramatic influence when they decide to post. And if they’re content creators, they’re posting all the time anyway. It’s what they do, it’s their day job, they’re not making bets, they’re not DIY and they’re not doing books, they’re not doing housekeeping, they’re not doing any of that. That’s what they do. I haven’t if you’re fortunate and you have 1000 followers for your accommodation business on Instagram, any slight change in that is never going to skew your numbers in any significant way. And so I think when you add in the extra dimension of social media marketing to you basically just an enormous portfolio of tasks, it has to fit in those tasks, not all the tasks rearranging themselves. Because Facebook says your optimum time to post is at 135 in the morning.

Liam
Yeah, absolutely. And what’s come through is clear to go from that hotel sort of background and breakfast background to be able to utilise this free tool. And actually the knowledge you’ve got is really clear around it. And how many people out there who are listening to this could utilise that as well and still have it fit in around their routine and around their business. It’s just a no brainer, isn’t it?

Paul
I think it’s the same as any other function within a business. If you approach it as business or Instagram, posting pretty pictures and you start thinking return on investment. There’s only two ways you can increase your return on investment. Either you make more off the back of it or you work smarter and you’re investing less for the same return. And if you’ve got those structures in place and those strategies in place right from the beginning, you can start slow. You just do one post a week. And when you get your workflow going so you could write eight posts and you’ve got two months of content. And as your workflow gets going, you go, all right, I’m going to do two posts a week, three posts a week. And the thing that struck me this morning when I spoke to this lady chain was that it’s actually harder to go from one post a week to two posts a week because you’re doubling what you’re doing. But if you’re going from four to five, you’re only adding 25%. So it actually becomes easier. And before you know, you’re just flying.

Liam
And it’s one of those things where the number of people out there who say they haven’t got time within their business to do social media yet. How many times a day do you find yourself scrolling through social media? That is the perfect time to be producing content instead of consuming content or engaging with the people who have already commented or messaged you. That’s the time to be doing that instead of just scrolling. But I would love to carry on talking about Instagram, but I’d love to move on to The Hospitable Host book, which we are both part of the Hospitable Host. For those who don’t know, Jody Sterling has come up with a concept of getting stories from across the globe altogether in a book. It’s an awesome little book. You’ve got people from USA, you’ve got people from Japan, you’ve got people from Australia, you’ve got Europe. You’ve got Great Britain. And all these stories are going into one book where there’s about 40 authors. Both Paul and myself and Mark are in this book, and it basically is a chapter each where we’re all telling our stories. What I’d love to know, Paul, is what got you excited about joining that project.

And yeah, can you just tell us a little snippet or a little bit about your chapter as well?

The Hospitable Host Book

Paul
I have to be quite honest with you. I joined it for very selfish reasons. So Jodie had got in touch and she’d reached out and I was kind of oming and eyeing. And then I saw that Mark was involved. And I thought, okay, that’s good. And I saw that you were involved. I thought, okay. And I started to see a few familiar faces pop up. And this was about the time when I was starting to take the social media hotel here seriously. It wasn’t just an Avenue for me to put content out to help people. I was starting to thinking about how I was going to monetize it. And so getting public profile and exposure started to become very important to me. So I got in touch with Jodie and I said, Well, I can talk about running a guest house, but that’s not really where I’m headed. The guest house is okay at the minute, and all my workflows are down. I’ve got my processes, my morning routines all set out. I’m actually looking at doing this and there’s an enormous overlap. And she said, yeah, fine, great. And so I got very excited and enthusiastic because I recently started being asked to make presentations and then to come on to podcast.

And it just seemed a natural thing to write a book in a very small way just to dip my toe in it. And if it was rubbish, it would be swallowed up by 39 other amazing writers and it wouldn’t be a problem. But I get my name somewhere and jobs are good. So I kind of wrestled with that. Of course, there is a cost involved and that type of thing. And I decided I’m going to take the plunge. And then I actually think, what on Earth am I going to write about? As you well know, I could just sit. And one of the reasons why I love the clarity calls. I can just sit and just chat about Instagram. In fact, Ger is desperate to get here said, we’ll send the family into Oxford, we’ll get some beers. I don’t drink beer, but we’ll get some beers and we’ll just talk about Instagram for 3 hours. So I really struggled. And then I remembered a book that Mark had recommended to me called Building a Story Brand who’s it by?

Building a Story Brand

Liam
Donald Miller.

Paul
Donald Miller, yeah. And I thought, well, what I’m going to do, I’m just going to tell my story. And one of the reasons why I joined the Air Force was because there was a chance that I might have lost the building and I didn’t know what I was going to do next. And I thought, I haven’t had a boss since I was 26. I present at 42. I present quite a risk for an establishment to take on board because I’m setting my ways and I’ve never had to take direction and leadership and all that sort of thing. So I joined the Air Force to try and gain that. And the Air Force said, Amazing, you have such a varied CV because I’m a reformed lawyer. I’ve been a project manager. I’ve lived overseas. I’ve been a beach bunk for a while. I run a guest house. I’ve been attacked by Pirates. I’ve learned how to Tango in Argentina. All this stuff. I thought, you know what?

Liam
I hope all right. It’s in the chapter.

Paul
The RAF being as dry and as military as it is, saying, I loved reading your CV. I thought, Well, I’m going to do this. I’m going to write that about how I arrived in the building. My first memory of the building how it became a guest house. The piracy, the fun stuff. Johnny Depp priced the Caribbean but briefly touched on it just to spark interest. And then a local newspaper interviewed me. It’s called The Hennington Occasional and they produced a double page spread with a picture of me in the middle. So I just contacted the writer and I said, can I use this as a model for what I’m doing for this book? So I just took that and reworded it and put some extra bits and took them out, sent it off. And when the Editors came back with it, they had two things they edited. That was it and the whole thing. Off we go.

Liam
I’m so excited to read all the hosting that, especially the people I already know. I like to read their story because it’s part of the reason why I agreed to do this podcast with Mark and to jump into the boostly things, it gets to know other hosts. Everyone’s got their own story, everybody’s got their own varied background. And I mean, you’ve just mentioned there anything from piracy to Tango to military background, hotel background, all that sort of thing. We’re so varied and also hosts are quite personable people. We’re quite happy to share and talk because that’s what we do day in, day out most of the time. I mean, I do know hosts who don’t enjoy talking to guests, but in general.

Paul
Which is why she does something altogether different. But yeah, I think by far and away likely to be the most sociable way you could earn a crust. If you don’t like people, do something else.

A morning routine

Liam
I love that. And now, I mean, to start to wrap up, what I’d love to do is just ask you a couple of quick fire questions. So these questions, they can be as long or short as you want. But one of the things you mentioned earlier on was your morning routine. You’ve got your morning routine down. So what is your morning routine, Paul?

Paul
I wake up for everybody else, get coffee on. I go back to say before I go to bed, I always write a short list of what I need to achieve the following day and then I can switch off. I revisit that and then I get a bit creative. I find I’m more creative in the mornings than not. It’s usually when it comes to thinking of ideas or researching ideas, do a bit creative stuff, then take the kids to school, get back from the school, run about 08:30. It gives me ten minutes to engage on Instagram with my community and anyone I’m interested in. Then my post will go out at 845. So about half an hour on Instagram because I’ll engage afterwards as well, just to let people know that I’m doing stuff. More coffee and then housekeeping. And that can be anywhere between an hour and 3 hours. And then after that I’ve got a big whiteboard. It’s colour coded with jobs list. I just hit the red ones first and then move through the colours.

Liam
Really amazing. And what I hear from that especially, is get up before anyone else. Get up before the kids. Especially because you get time to think and to have clarity, don’t you?

Paul
When I wake up, I’m not naturally a morning person, so when I wake up, I’m like a bear with a sore head. If the kids come bouncing in and wake me up, I have to work really hard not to curse at them and roll over. So if I’m up and I’ve had half an hour head start, maybe 45 minutes, it means I can be nice to everybody.

Liam
Yeah.

Paul
Drag them to school and throw them and go, It’s not you for the day.

Book recommendations

Liam
A bit of me time, a bit of creativity and a bit of space to think. Isn’t it time to wake up? What would be your favourite book or top recommendation book? I know we mentioned Donald Miller with that.

Paul
Yeah, that would be a good workbook. A book that can produce something tangible. My favourite novel is Decline in Fall by Evelyn Waugh.

Liam
I don’t know it myself.

Paul
Read it. It’s one of the funniest books you’ll ever read. And so that was my phone. My favourite novel is The Carnival Byevil and War. It’s about a prep school teacher. It’s just hilarious. And it’s still very relevant. Today for my birthday, one of my things that I do to switch off and unwind is I bake bread. And my sister has given me this massive, lovely, beautiful, pallet book by a baker called Tartine in San Francisco. And it’s all about making from scratch, just with flour, water, not even yeast, making bread. And then, Interestingly, it comes back to the Instagram thing. It’s about how you can Bake bread that fits in with your routine at your leisure, actually influences what type of bread you produce. So he starts with a basic thing. He’s like, well, actually. And if you do this because you can’t do it at that time of day, because you’re at work, do this and you’ll find that your bread is bigger or smaller or saltier or whatever it is. So I’m reading about baking bread and artisan bread, basically designing my own loaf. Nice.

Liam
I like that.

Paul
It’s very good for the guns as well.

Liam
I can imagine, again, having that creativity. And what I’m getting is the vibe of, like, you mentioned art that you’ve done and having the creativity for Instagram, being able to Bake bread, you’re free in your mind, then you’re creating stuff which feels good.

Paul
If I get properly cheesed off, I knock seven shades out of that.

Liam
What is it? I can’t see piano.

Paul
I don’t do it with the guitars because they don’t hold up very well. But if I fight the piano, the piano always wins and I always feel better.

Liam
So if we come and stay and hear you frantically on the piano, then we know it’s been a bad day.

Paul
It’s probably because you throw and carry across the bed or something. Yeah.

Paul’s Inspiration

Liam
So last couple of questions then. So who inspires you and why?

Paul
Oh, wow. I take my inspiration from a wealth of people right now. If I really want, if I want to get pumped and I needed pumping this morning, I will look at Gary V on Instagram. He is kind of Jersey, New York way. Doesn’t take any prisoners on my flight.

Liam
He’s a machine, isn’t he?

Paul
In the RAF once said to us as a group, right everybody, you are lacklustre. You need to grab today around the neck. You need to punch it in the face a few times, own it and crack on. And GaryVee is very much that.

Liam
Fantastic books as well.

Paul
I haven’t read any of his books. I just watch a couple of 15 second videos.

How Boostly Academy has changed my life

Liam
Get you going. And lastly, and this is a bit of selfish one, but since you joined because you’re a member of the Boostly Academy and since you joined, how has life changed?

Paul
How has my life changed?

Liam
Yeah, absolutely.

Paul
Immeasurably. How has my life changed since joining Boosted? Or do you want to know how Boostly has changed my life?

Liam
Yeah, absolutely. Probably a better phrase.

Paul
How has Boostly changed my life? I’m just trying to think of a sound bite that’s going to work. There is a lot to say, but it needs sound biting for these little mini clips. Since I joined Boostly, it switched me on to an enormous world of opportunities to market my business in a way that has dramatically reduced any reliance I’ve had on online travel agents. I still use them for the profile and to have the coverage out there, but the techniques and the strategies. I’ve not only used for the guest house, but I’ve actually adopted many of them guest avatars and these types of things and bio personas into the social media hotel. So not only has been involved in the world, obviously, and getting to know Mark helped me drive direct bookings, which were healthy before, but they really are tip top now. It’s actually been more multifaceted than that. And you can pick any of these tactics up and apply them to lots of different disciplines 100%.

Liam
What a great way to end. I mean, lastly, Paul, just thank you for coming on today and for doing this. I feel I’ve got to know you’re creative. You’ve got your rough background, you’ve done so many different things. You’re quirky, you’ve got your social media side of things. And if people listening wanted to reach out to you to get some advice on Instagram or to touch base with you, what’s the best way to do so?

Paul
Best place to do it will be on Instagram. So look me up. I am the social media hotel. Straightforward is that you can go straight to my account. You can send me a direct message there if you’re not on Instagram yet and many people aren’t. But you are using Facebook exactly the same thing. Just look up at the social media hotelier failing which I have a website.

Liam
Would you believe the socialmediahotelier.com sounds good and what can we expect from you in the future for your business?

Paul
Right. So what you can expect from me in the future is consistently just giving value and hints and tips to hosts and people who want to leverage the power of Instagram to market their accommodation businesses. That will continue and actual value is likely to get stronger and more frequent. I am in the process of setting up a couple of mini training courses that will become widely available. Ultimately, what I’m hoping to do is create I don’t want to use the word Academy because I’m not keen on it but create a modular course that people can buy and work themselves either from zero to hero or from hero to superhero and work their way through it as a one shot. There’s 25 modules of get yourself from a to B that’s where I’m headed at the moments and all types of stuff. But yeah, just more coaching, gaining more clients, learning as I go and trying to teach people what I wish I knew a couple of years ago when I started because it would have saved me a whole bunch of time and stress and effort.

Liam
I’m so excited for you. I mean, the world is your oyster, isn’t it? Paul, it’s been a real pleasure. I feel I’ve got to know you and it’s just nice to do this so thank you so much for coming on and people know how to get in touch with you and I look forward to seeing where your business goes. I’ll follow you on Instagram I recommend everyone else does as well.

Paul
Thank you for having me on, Liam. It’s been an absolute pleasure of delight.

Liam
No worries at all.

 

Behind the host Paul Anderson Sandfield Guesthouse

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