Behind The Host with Charlotte Balderstone-Hughes

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 479. In this podcast episode I'm talking to Charlotte Balderstone-Hughes who is a host that specialises in a niche market which is hen party stays.

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Here's the audio for this episode:

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Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Introduction
01:38 – Who is Charlotte and what motivated her to get into this niche business
06:40 – How did Charlotte recognise this as her niche?
13:22 – How does Charlotte manage the additional services guests request?
19:58 – What tech does Charlotte use for her business?
27:33 – Has there been controversy for locals around this particular niche market?
32:50 – What is the Scarlet Spa?
36:56 – A little more about Charlotte

Whilst you’re here

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Visual – YouTube 

Audio – Boostly Podcast




Transcript from the Episode

[00:00:00] Liam: Okay, so welcome to the behind the host podcast. And we're back with another episode today. I'm really excited. This is the, uh, ho podcast where you can learn more about hosts across the industry and how we can really get into the nitty gritty of their business, uh, how we can learn and share information and really get an understanding of their business and what it makes that so successful.

[00:00:23] Liam: So before we get started on that, I just want to give a big shout out to, uh, Katrina Hardiman. She blitz through at Airbnb listing this week, she shared a win and. It's just really awesome to see people sharing their wins in the hospitality community. Uh, she's talking about how she managed to blitz through her Airbnb listing.

[00:00:41] Liam: And, uh, she's about to get her Boostly one page website live and on the back of that, she's, uh, got a booking, which is great to see. So, uh, if you haven't already come and joined the hospitality community on Facebook, share your wins every Wednesday and you might get a shout out on the podcast. So over to our guest today, uh, we are joined by Charlotte, uh, Boulder stone Hughes.

[00:01:03] Liam: She's the owner and founder of the Scarlet hen house nor sorry, the Scarlet hen Norfolk house easy for me today based in Yorkshire. Uh, Charlotte specializes in hen party stays and today. I'm really excited, cuz we're gonna be diving behind the business, looking into what makes her so successful in her niche.

[00:01:23] Liam: Uh, the opportunities that there are in the industry, in this area and how it's actually helped the Scarlet henhouse, uh, Norfolk house to be the holiday home of the year, 2021. So welcome along Charlotte. Hi,

[00:01:35] Charlotte: thanks for having me so excited to be here.

Who is Charlotte and what motivated her to get into this niche business

[00:01:38] Liam: Awesome. I'm uh, excited for this. So let's dive straight in.

[00:01:43] Liam: tell me a bit about yourself and how you got started and what motivated you to, to go into this sort of.

[00:01:48] Charlotte: Okay. Yeah. So I'm an artist and a designer and a teacher by trade. Um, but a few, uh, we we've, we've had an offer house for over 20 years and a couple of years ago, things changed for us financially. And we were in a bit of a predicament.

[00:02:02] Charlotte: We tried to sell the house, but we failed. So we thought, how can we kind of get through this tough time without selling the house? And a friend of mine just said, why don't you put it on Airbnb and see what happens? And I said, there's no way that I'm letting a load of people. I don't know, stay in the house.

[00:02:17] Charlotte: She said, just put it on, see what happens. And we did. And we instantly got a fabulous booking, um, from a family that took it over the whole of Christmas and it basically paid the bills. And that's how it started. We've not looked back since

[00:02:29] Liam: really. It's a great thing to be able to do. Isn't it just to suddenly turn things around.

[00:02:34] Liam: So the house itself, obviously I can see for those who aren't on the podcast, listening in and has got the visual either on their live or on YouTube, you can see it says Yorkshire in the back round. Tell me a bit more about the house itself. And, uh, did it start off then as your, your, your home? Yeah, so

[00:02:51] Charlotte: we've lived here.

[00:02:51] Charlotte: In fact it's very, it is a very unique situation. We actually still do live here. So we leave Lithia Monday to Friday, and then on a Friday afternoon, we hand it over to our guests and we pop off and go and stay in another Airbnb or a, um, short term rental as we should be saying. , uh, and that's how it works.

[00:03:08] Charlotte: And people are always amazed about how, how, how does that happen and what, you know, how do you pack all away, all your things and everything. But yeah, we're a Georgian mansion house over four floors. We're based in west Yorkshire between Manchester and leaves and we've got, we sleep 21 people. Um, in 11 beds in six bedrooms, and we quite quickly realized that we adapt.

[00:03:30] Charlotte: We, we were, we were attracting luxury girls, weekends, he parties and birthdays. And I think once we realized what the niche was, that's the, the way we went down, we, we knew that we couldn't kind of appeal to everybody. So once we found our niche market, that was a real winning point for us.

[00:03:47] Liam: Epic and just to dive back a step then.

[00:03:50] Liam: So as your house, how do you, how do you manage to, to switch it around every weekend? And, uh, what would you advise others, um, who see the potential in their own house? Um, you know, what would you advise them to be considering if they're looking at doing that?

[00:04:05] Charlotte: Yeah. So nobody wants to open a drawer and find a load of empty bits and pieces or, or personal bits.

[00:04:10] Charlotte: So what we do, we've got a certain amount of cupboards that lock and draws that are empty. And we've just got down to a real fine art. We've managed to acquire a few of the supermarket, you know, the crates that you have, and basically, cause I've got two, two teenage boys living at home that got PlayStations and all the stuff that kids have.

[00:04:27] Charlotte: So they've all gotta crate each and on a Thursday, they wake up before they go to school, they put all the stuff in there. And that goes at the back of the car and we take it with us and it's just kind of having a capsule wardrobe that you can just take with you. And it, it was extremely hard to start with.

[00:04:41] Charlotte: But now we've got it down to a real fine out. And me and my husband work really hard. Just kind of get up at 6:00 AM on the Friday, and we just know exactly what we are doing. We've OB obviously got a really good cleaning team behind us as well. So it just works .

[00:04:55] Liam: And by doing that, has that allowed you to stay in different places then when you're over the weekend or is it case of you're always in the same place that you

[00:05:02] Charlotte: originally, we used to have a flat over the road cuz we thought we need to be, you know, directly on hand.

[00:05:07] Charlotte: And then we realized as long as we're within a 20. Um, distance and we can get back to the house if we need to. Um, we've, you know, we've, we've now since, since the pandemic, we've got rid of our rental flat across the road and we've just started Airbnb. And so we're supporting other small local businesses and we choose a different place.

[00:05:26] Charlotte: We've got about six favorites now based around the home first area, which is quite near where we are. And so it's like a little vacation for all each weekend. And. It's become great. It's really has, um, using that, um, using that way of working rather than just going to a flat has really changed how we all feel about leaving our house.

[00:05:44] Charlotte: It's like a tree, cuz we arrive at a house with a welcome pack. Somebody's cleaned it. Somebody's welcomed us. Uh, whereas somebody used to go, so our flat, you spill out hook off, nobody's cleaned up. The fridge is full of old food. And so yeah, that was a big turning point and it's made, you know, you know, talking with the children.

[00:06:00] Charlotte: Well, they're not really kids anymore, but that has been something that they've much preferred now having an exciting new place to visit each week

[00:06:08] Liam: that, um, just being able to get away as a family is, is, is, you know, one of the great things about short term rentals is it allows you both the cash flow and you you've kind of been forced to, to go and spend time in a different place.

[00:06:20] Liam: But how cool is that, that you. Uh, make use of that time and go and find favorites. And of course you support another people in the same industry, which is cool. So the niche, um, first of all, wow, what a brave thing to, to do, you know, to, to let out your, your own home. And the second thing is to then go down the niche of hen parties.

How did Charlotte recognise this as her niche?

[00:06:40] Liam: So talk me through, how did, uh, how did you recognize that as your niche. Um, how did that start?

[00:06:47] Charlotte: Yeah, so originally, I mean, I, I got married 25 years ago. In fact it was my anniversary yesterday and he passe back anniversary. thank you. Things back then were different worthy people. I mean, I did actually go away for a luxury weekend with my girlfriends, but really it was more going down the pub and dressing up in tacky, you know, all the paraphernalia, um, But when we took our first he party, we soon realized that people who were getting married, um, the millennium shall we say, uh, were, were totally celebrating in a different way.

[00:07:18] Charlotte: Uh, it wasn't a mad, crazy drinking kind of thing. It was more people looking for craft events, like the life drawing chocolate making workshops, flower, crown, and the, she came our very best guest. I mean, they leave the house immaculate. They, um, they, they kind of really respond to. Um, when you're corresponding with them, you've got a really good rapport.

[00:07:41] Charlotte: And to be honest, we've tried families that didn't work for us. The house was always left in such a. You can never estimate how many kind of fingerprints there are from toddlers and things. Um, so yeah, I mean, it was bizarre. I, I, once, um, I mean, I know how, how the guests leave the house. It's absolutely impeccable, but my mum once came once we were on holiday, she said, uh, I'm sorry, but I'm, I'm really sorry to say, but there haven't been any guests this weekend.

[00:08:04] Charlotte: I said, what do you mean mum? Well, I've just got here to ti you up. She said, and it's just spotless. I went, that's how hem party girls leave the house. So, yeah, it's just understanding that that that is our clientele and we work well for them. We obviously, um, also do things like milestone birthday, so 40th and 50th and 60th, but we have leaned towards now being predominantly or female groups,

[00:08:28] Liam: having that.

[00:08:30] Liam: Having that ability to recognize the niche and especially being brave and going into a niche, which many people listening may go, you know, well, you know, we're trying to stay away from people hosting, Celebra, tree things, you know, often people have got that switched off, um, for their properties because they're trying to.

[00:08:46] Liam: Avoid parties and, uh, you know, the celebrate Bry groups and the perceived mess that comes along with it. So I think you'll be surprised in a lot of people listening in saying how good that they are. And, um, it's really refreshing to hear. It's also, um, important to. You know, sort of recognize what you're doing for attracting that niche as well, because I've been lucky enough to see your website, your Instagram, and it definitely speaks to the niche that you're after.

[00:09:13] Liam: So let's talk a bit about that. What do you do, which is specific to now, now you've got your niche. What do you do to attract more of the same? Yeah.

[00:09:21] Charlotte: So the main thing, when I first started, this was, you know, looking, uh, talking to local focus groups and girlfriends and things like that. Everybody said tonight, it won't work.

[00:09:29] Charlotte: Why would anyone want to come to hoods field? And that's a little bit one of my taglines now, and I knew that the house was perfect and beautiful. I'm an interior designer. So I knew that that was top of its game, but I did have to think why would actually anyone want to come here? Um, and originally people used to think, oh, well, we'll have a night out in Leeds or Manchester.

[00:09:49] Charlotte: But what I needed to do was make the house in itself a destination. So that once they're here, the biggest feedback is we wish we'd never left the. Because the house is so perfect. It's so large and you've got absolutely everything you need here. There is no need to leave at all. And to attract people, I had to go and do one better and I had to provide everything that somebody might need.

[00:10:10] Charlotte: So we enlisted a fantastic team of chefs that come, uh, we've got a cocktail masterclass. We do life drawing, um, makeup artist. We basically invite all those suppliers that have been careful bettered over the last. Six years to come in and make sure that the whole house is an experience. And, and that's what I needed to do because it had to be why do people want to come to hos field?

[00:10:33] Charlotte: Um, and luckily I have brought lots of people here. We've got loads of connections with local restaurants, venues, things like escape rooms. So I send a lots of business. um, into the local economy and obviously all my money then goes back into local economy. We do some support for, um, a local charity as well.

[00:10:51] Charlotte: So each time a guest stays, we donate a pound per person to our local domestic violence. Um, charity here.

[00:11:00] Liam: What a cool thing to, to do and to be part of, and the, the part that I really love, um, about that was that you recognize that perhaps there's not a reason for people to come to, to, or, you know, to HUDs field.

[00:11:12] Liam: Um, and to actually the, the area may not be the destination that people first think of to go, where do I wanna spend? My time are gonna go there. But so many hosts will feel that about their local area, but making. A destination in itself because it's a beautiful house. It's a Georgian house is, has got great interior design.

[00:11:32] Liam: And then the second part you've done there is really reached out and made it an experience through reaching out to local local places. And that's something that everybody listening can do. But it's something that you've really made your own there. And, uh, you know, again, looking at the, the website and the people often forget what you said and what you did, but they know how you made them feel.

[00:11:54] Liam: And it's obviously that feeling of having the, the amenities of the chefs there, the, uh, ability to. Um, have the life drawings, which we'll dive more into in a second, um, you know, and the experience is, is what it's about. And that's what the big thing for, you know, 2022 that we're seeing from places like Airbnb is, is about giving you guests an all round experience as well.

[00:12:15] Liam: So,

[00:12:16] Charlotte: and there is a real shortage on the market. When I started doing some research, there are some big companies that do a generic kind of turnout, but nothing that, you know, we do a bespoke. Kind of service where people don't have to book things so you can know you've got the ability. I know that other places insist that you have to have a package.

[00:12:33] Charlotte: We didn't want to do that. Cause I know personally myself, when I go away, I might want to dip my toe in and have the chef, but I might not want all the other things, cuz I think the important thing is to give people a bit of space. um, the tendency with the hem parties to over plan things. So we kind of give out loads of helpful tips.

[00:12:49] Charlotte: And our main thing is take away those pain points when people are booking. Um, just knowing I booked 50th birthday party for myself. And I just remember, you know, all the things. Every time I came across the hurdled, I thought, gosh, that's really bad. I'm gonna make sure that my guests don't have that journey.

[00:13:06] Liam: And, and having that experience going and testing out a few places to see what the experience is as a, as a guest and as a, as a user of the short term rental services, then, then that gives you great, great Intel. It sounds to me as though you really researched your niche and you understand your niche thoroughly.

How does Charlotte manage the additional services guests request?

[00:13:22] Liam: So some of these extra services, let's talk about how you, you manage that. So say I'm, I'm coming as part of a hen party. How would you be suggesting to myself what those extra services were? Um, And, and how would I go about taking those extra service?

[00:13:38] Charlotte: Yeah. So we have, um, we're we, we are with a, a company called super control.

[00:13:42] Charlotte: So all our bookings are done through there. And on there you can link, you've got a guest login area. And so through there they can then access extras. And what we do is we jump out of the middle and we let them, uh, liaise directly with the chef or whoever is because we've decided that, you know, we don't want to be the one in the middle it's their he party or their birthday celebration.

[00:14:03] Charlotte: So they then design it, how they want, uh, we've got simple options where you just press a button and say yes, one, a three cost meal standard, and then there's other options where you can totally customize it. But quite early on I'm super dyslexic. So I struggle with dates and remembering things and, um, If I got in the middle of a booking, I would always be in, in bed thinking, did I say that we've got a celiac guest coming?

[00:14:26] Charlotte: So I decided to step out, it's easy, you know, at the beginning I wanna take control of everything, but now I've got such a great team that I just say, here's our bartender. Please get in touch. And we've got a PDF for each activity. So if somebody wants to know that information, It's on there. Um, and it's also on the web.

[00:14:43] Charlotte: We've just done a new website and I've every single question I've ever been asked. I've put it on the website either in a frequently asked questions document or just under a different heading. Um, because I think people, you know, people don't seem to pick up the phone anymore. So I want to be able to answer all those questions without having to do it in person.

[00:15:00] Charlotte: If that's what they.

[00:15:02] Liam: Yeah. And again, that's key learning for people listening in is that if you're, if you're being asked something to save, you're being asked it over and over again and having to answer then by adding it into, uh, one of your assets, like the, the website, then people are able to see all the answers they need.

[00:15:17] Liam: They're more likely to book and it builds trust as well. Doesn't it? So, yeah. So let's talk more, you, you touched on both the team and some of your tech there. Let's dive into the team side of things. Who do you have around you and who do you need, um, to help your help your run? Uh, a business like.

[00:15:35] Charlotte: I nearly do it all on my own.

[00:15:36] Charlotte: I've got to be honest. so I did have an assistant, which was really great, but during the pandemic, kind of, she got another job working in the doctor's surgery. Um, my husband is hands on, so he does a lot of the, kind of, um, uh, just the handy jobs around the house. Cuz constant maintenance as you well know yourself, being a host and with a house like.

[00:15:57] Charlotte: Every single week, there's something to fix. So, um, he does that Monday to Friday and looks after the gardens. I do everything from social media to the bookings, but I must say since I've got an online system, it's become so much easier. Um, and then the kids help a little bit with social media. They help me out.

[00:16:14] Charlotte: That's cool. And then I've got a great accountant attaining. I I've just got one cleaner and when, when she needs extra help, she brings somebody else in mm-hmm . But finding her and getting her has been an absolute game changer. Um, she doesn't do the final check. I do that and it takes me, it takes about five hours on a Friday just to do the whole check, you know, make sure all the bulbs are working.

[00:16:36] Charlotte: Everything's plugged in. Um, just checking everything basically. Um,

[00:16:41] Liam: do you, do you use any kind of. Check sort of written down check or is it just a case of knowing the, the house and knowing, uh, knowing what you want done?

[00:16:49] Charlotte: Yeah. I used to do that and I've got a file with it in, but for me it's just, it has to be done by me and really in the future, if I do get another house or, you know, if I want to have a bit more of a break, I need to teach somebody else to do that.

[00:16:59] Charlotte: But I've tried to kind of, um, make that the kind of, uh, the housekeeper cleaner's job, but I've just noticed people just don't see it. For me every, um, toilet, you know, all the soaks has to be filled up and everything's just gotta be perfect. So yeah, I just prefer to do it

[00:17:16] Liam: myself. That's the attention to details as, as the owner, you know, that, that you like to give and that's obviously reflected in the reviews cuz you've got amazing reviews.

[00:17:25] Liam: I've seen the, uh, the reviews online. Yeah. Um, So you mentioned, uh, that you have like a bartender. So in terms of the team yourself is, is the main hub of the business. Yeah. But you've got people around you, lots of help from family, which is a great resource. And then you've got lots of contacts locally, you mentioned.

[00:17:45] Charlotte: Yeah. So, um, we, as soon as we opened the business, People, you know, we were sending a lot of people down to different restaurants and things. I mean, you can imagine that the increase in their capacity, in their revenue by sending 20 people a week down to them. Um, and at first we thought, do we do some kind of loyalty scheme or do we, you know, some kind of incentive.

[00:18:05] Charlotte: And we tried that and we just thought, you know what. We actually just want to help the local economy. And so we just, you know, rather than saying for each guest, will you give us such and such? We just send people where, you know, we, we just list things and we've got, um, a part on our website that just says, basically if you're local, independent business, you want to be listed on our web website, whether you do balloon arches or face painting or whatever it is, just contact me.

[00:18:30] Charlotte: And we'll happily put you on our website. It's just giving something back really. How cool

[00:18:34] Liam: is that, that you can help and give back to the local community and people can get in touch with you. And, you know, you may get a few more on the back of this as well, but it's just a really nice thing to do. And of course, you know, there's a, there's the old say in which your network is your net worth.

[00:18:49] Liam: So by. I imagine you got very popular. The second you started sending, you know, 20 people down to their establishments, uh, each weekend, I bet that was, uh, probably owed a

[00:18:58] Charlotte: few meals out cocktail. So yeah, we'll say that. That's what normally happens. We normally get kind of, you know, we go to restaurants and need to eat and they'll, they'll throw as a bit of a free, so yeah.

[00:19:09] Charlotte: But, uh, it's just nice to support local businesses and, uh, yeah, I mean, cuz when our guests arrive on a Friday afternoon, they're not, they'll nearly always head down to a place called the scullery mm-hmm and start their stay with, um, like an afternoon tea or, or a bottomless brunch there. Um, and then they'll come to us and it's just a really nice way to start.

[00:19:29] Charlotte: Um, Start the weekend and their, their, their house is very much like our house, same area, same history. So it's kind of almost like an extension of us. So we that's one of the first places we do recommend cuz it's five minute walk as well from the house. It's

[00:19:42] Liam: definitely something that I'm gonna take away from this chat that we can, you know, we can reach out to places and really build these relationships with local, uh, you know, other local hospitality based, uh, places, you know, food places, drink places, um, independent services and, and that's really cool.

What tech does Charlotte use for her business?

[00:19:58] Liam: Yeah. You mentioned your tech stack. So you use super control, um, as your PMs.

[00:20:03] Charlotte: Yeah. Yeah. I dunno if I use it properly, but I kind of use it. It's really been a, a life changer and I link that with zero mm-hmm and so everything's pretty simple really now, cuz I use, spend so much time going through things and double checking and now it's just automated really?

[00:20:18] Charlotte: Which is great.

[00:20:20] Liam: It does make things a whole lot easier. Doesn't it with messages. Do you automate all your messages and, and everything like that?

[00:20:26] Charlotte: Yeah, so emails I do. I've not quite got into the habit of using you can use text messages, can't you? I mean, my, the first point of call, usually somebody will send me an email.

[00:20:35] Charlotte: Um, we're on a few different sites. And then from that, I normally connect directly on WhatsApp because I find that if people are planning a large. Like a celebration weekend. You've usually got a few people that have gathered together that are trying to make a decision. So I think you need to respond instantly because if you're not there at the end of the phone, they'll go, oh, let's move on to another property where we can speak to the owner now.

[00:20:57] Charlotte: So I'm always available. Um, and I've got a really nice LinkedIn, um, I can forward my LinkedIn. Is it called no link tree, sorry. Link, tree link tree with everything on it. And then, you know, I used to try and send, oh, this is our, this is our Instagram, this is our Facebook. Now it's all on one thing. It just looks very neat, very professional.

[00:21:17] Charlotte: Um, but yeah, I think that is the key to when people planning these large events that you've got to be there to answer their questions

[00:21:24] Liam: straight away. Definitely. And you know, there's lots of hosts who I speak to ago. Do I need, uh, a PMs for just one property and, uh, just seeing yourself like using a PMs?

[00:21:34] Liam: Well, to do that, and you touched on the importance of how quick the replies are and people like at the moment, there's the, um, The stat where more people are using phones to book than any other platform. WhatsApp is increasingly popular, especially here in the UK. Yeah. And being able to jump on, you could even jump on a group chat with a few of the members of the group, you know, that's that, that kind of personalization is, is great.

[00:22:01] Liam: And something that you don't get from big hotel chains or from corporate companies. So it's

[00:22:06] Charlotte: really nice for me and for them, I see their face and they see me. So you can already get a feel for that person. I just think that's a nice touch. But yeah, I think WhatsApp, I think I saw a posted mark saying, get a WhatsApp, um, icon on your website.

[00:22:19] Charlotte: I've been trying to set that up this morning cause I just do perfect. Cause I've got a form, but you've got, add your email. You've got to say what, you know, put your dates in and that type of thing. I just thought somebody just wants to ask me, have you got something available or can we book for such and such a reason?

[00:22:33] Charlotte: There's

[00:22:33] Liam: there's. There's a great plugin. Um, I can't remember the name off it off the top of my head, but feel free to anyone, listen and message me. And, uh, we use a plugin that costs me about five, six pounds per month, but that allows people to WhatsApp director, to our, to me and my team. And, uh, that means we can get back to people really quickly.

[00:22:51] Liam: So, um, that's great

[00:22:53] Charlotte: that I've got a really good web designer as well, so she she'll help me put that

[00:22:56] Liam: on, I think. Awesome. Definitely get it on there. And, uh, you mentioned your link tree there as well, and it's one of. Where it's free to set up a link tree. And I've looked at your link tree, obviously before we, we went on this call and it does look amazing and being able to have all your links in one place yeah.

[00:23:14] Liam: Is just such a, such a good idea to be able to send that to anyone. And for everybody listening, I will, uh, read it out again at the end, but, uh, it's link and that's L I N. T R dot E E slash Scarlet underscore he, uh, go and check out, um, Charlotte's, uh, link tree there it's really worthwhile doing, um, which is epic.

[00:23:36] Liam: So how has, um, obviously you, you started by doing this because you wanted to generate some income and over that Christmas, you generated some income. How has things changed since you've had your business, um, that, you know, the, the, the Scarlet hen Norfolk house, how has that changed your.

[00:23:53] Charlotte: Yeah. I think a turning point for me was during the pandemic.

[00:23:58] Charlotte: We were really lucky that we, um, we signed up to master council. I dunno if you're aware. Master council, but that absolutely saved us without that. We wouldn't have been here now. So that was fantastic. We were so happy. That was part of super control that we signed up to that. Um, but during that time I got to listen to a lot of podcasts and do a lot of research research and I read or audio, listen to a book called get rich lucky bitch.

[00:24:21] Charlotte: I don't know if you've

[00:24:22] Liam: heard it. I've not heard of it. It's not one I've read .

[00:24:26] Charlotte: Yeah, I think the oldest, Denise. Dump food or something like that. Anyway, you can share a link on, but I cha it totally changed the way that I thought about how I, how I make money. Cause I'd always kept my prices to a certain extent.

[00:24:39] Charlotte: And it gave me the confidence to up my prices and by opening them and just having time to say, if I charge the next 20 pound per person, how much more cash would that generate. And it's just been a life changer. That's what's now made it. Let us be able to go on these, you know, rent out the Airbnbs rather than staying in a flat.

[00:24:58] Charlotte: Um, and it's, what's made me able to turn a profit. I mean, before it was always money in money out, but you know, just that small increase and just realizing the power of believing in your own value and, and what we offer here. Is, uh, you know, when I look at the competition, we definitely are worth more. And I keep putting the price that when people keep booking it, I don't know really what schooling is,

[00:25:20] Liam: which is great.

[00:25:20] Liam: Really. That's a good sign. How many weekends are left in 2022 to sell?

[00:25:25] Charlotte: Yeah, so I do always struggle to shift like November and December. So obviously as it gets close to Christmas, people kind of really busy. So I've only. I think I've got three weekends left now, which

[00:25:36] is

[00:25:36] Liam: amazing. I mean, people will be listening to this and there's a lot of people across the industry at the moment who are struggling to get even summer and late summer bookings.

[00:25:44] Liam: So, um, you know, being. People are, um, quite people kind of recognize and buy from other people. And if we believe in our own products, so will they, and that's something which I've picked up from. And you've mentioned about the prices. So many people are worried about always being in line with the prices.

[00:26:02] Liam: Whereas what you're doing is you're separate and out. From the competition through offering these experiences through nicheing down, um, through providing really top quality service and being available quick on messenger. And by doing that, people don't mind paying extra because they're, they're confident in, in your offering.

[00:26:21] Liam: And also you're offering something completely unique and different. So they can't, they can't just look at your place. Compare the price to somewhere down the road, because what you're offering is, is completely unique, which is really cool. And by offering, by increasing your prices, you know, a small percentage, um, although your price might only be increasing, say five, 10%, your profit could be increasing by a hundred percent because that profit margin on top is, is what's doubling.

[00:26:46] Liam: So exactly.

[00:26:47] Charlotte: Yeah. And we just did a year on year and then this year, I just, um, and after reading that book, I just thought. What's the worst. Get them that can happen. If people don't book it, then I can then offer incentives or money off. And, and then they feel like they're getting so. But nothing. So sometimes if a weekend is more difficult, I might offer the bride stays for free cuz uh, traditionally on a hen party, a lot of the, the guests will pay for the bride.

[00:27:09] Charlotte: So to do that for free means, everybody pays slightly less. And just something like that would just, you know, if the way is up between, are we gonna go to. Um, Norfolk house or we've got another property. Once we get that incentive, it's like, no, let's go there. We get the bride goes free. So that's, you know, you can always step back from that price, but that did give me the confidence to just say, just see what happens when you do it.

[00:27:31] Charlotte: And, and, and if it doesn't work, you can take

Has there been controversy for locals around this particular niche market?

[00:27:33] Liam: it back again. Well, that's a great thing. When you're in demand, you can edge that price up and then you've always got the choice. You can always come. Come back down or let you say, offer these incentives to, uh, to get people to book. Yeah. Um, so one question I've got ask, and I'm sure people would be wondering, this is how do your neighbors feel about your hosting head parties?

[00:27:51] Liam: Has there been any, any controversy or, or has it always been smooth sailing? It's been a

[00:27:56] Charlotte: bit of a working progress. We've got some really lovely new neighbors and we always reach out to them and say, we are at the end of the phone. If there's any problems whatsoever, you can call us day or night and we will sort it.

[00:28:07] Charlotte: We've, you know, when we on our website, we always say, we are not a party house. Mm-hmm this is not a wild, crazy party. We've got CCTV. We do ask for photo ID of the lead Booker and they do set. They do, um, Science in very hefty terms and conditions. And we do that cuz we don't want to attract the wrong people.

[00:28:29] Charlotte: Mm-hmm so, you know, we learn early on every time a problem happened. Right, right. That into the terms and conditions, we've got Arlo cameras on all of the outdoor areas. Um, and in the Arlo cameras they've got, they've actually got sirens on them and you can speak two ways. So I could actually just speak and say, listen, guys, it's time to go inside.

[00:28:48] Charlotte: Um, we have a strict curfew, 10, a 10:00 PM outside. Um, and although we are a very large house because we're a townhouse, we don't have much garden. So we've got a roof terrace, which is fabulous. Um, but really because the garden is quite shaded, um, only if it was like a third, well, a 25 degree day, would you even kind of sit at the back and we've also made it so, um, enticing inside and not as enticing outside, but people very rarely go outside.

[00:29:18] Charlotte: Um, and just to top that something new that we did cause we realized that the only time people were. Unless the weather was gorgeous were when people were smoking. So we've now said that we it's a bit difficult how safe, but we don't really welcome groups that have got more than a couple of smokers, because if we don't have the smokers, we don't have people outdoors, but it's just setting out your soul at the beginning.

[00:29:39] Charlotte: You know, the first words are, it's not a party house. If you've got more than five smokers in the group, please don't book. And I was worried again saying, God, that's gonna turn away people, but I'd rather be empty for the. Then have the wrong group, because imagine the stress to me, if we get people, um, that are booking under, you know, wanting to go crazy and have a wild party, uh, happened a couple of times, which would, and we've been able to nip it in the bud straight away because of the audio cameras, we can hear, you know, noise levels.

[00:30:08] Charlotte: Um, and we've also got, um, minutes inside the house.

[00:30:11] Liam: You know what they are, um, mini yeah, the, uh, the audio, uh, detect. So they're

[00:30:16] Charlotte: brilliant. So they're not cameras or anything, but they'll just tell me what the noise readings are. They'll tell me the temperature. Um, and they can also detect a party, you know, if they tell you how many mobile devices are in the house and things.

[00:30:28] Charlotte: So that's been quite, um, it's just, it's just an extra layer of security. It's like you can check the cameras, make sure everybody's okay. I think because I build up such a rapport with the guests because they book a year in advance and we have so many conversations in that time. That they've got a real respect for me and my property.

[00:30:45] Charlotte: And I always give people the chance if they think they've booked it and it's not gonna be suitable, then they can have a refund and they can take the money somewhere else. I think that is the key making sure people know right from the beginning, what you offer and what what's not. What we don't offer, basically.

[00:31:00] Charlotte: That

[00:31:00] Liam: sounds cool. And, uh, just to break that down, obviously for everybody who, who who's listening, so you're setting out your stool correctly from the start. You've got your, uh, CCTV cameras outside and enable to two way talk to people as well. So that that's a preventative measure. Um, You mentioned before that you're quick with communication and you get to kind of vet your guests through, you get a feel for these people beforehand via the messaging.

[00:31:24] Liam: Um, and by setting out your store, well, you are also, um, putting off the people you don't, you don't want straight away. And then to top it off, you've got min, which is a great, um, audio detection. Uh, they're kind of things that you can plug in inside your property. They'll detect the number of devices which are linked to the internet.

[00:31:43] Liam: They'll detect the noise levels, which you can set yourself. And of course you can set it where that either messages you or some of these. Um, the other one is noise aware. Um, and depending on which one you go for, some will text your guest directly, um, to, to let 'em know

[00:31:59] Charlotte: they're we thought that was a bit too much.

[00:32:01] Charlotte: You just, you know, the good thing about my house, if you're inside, because it's a Georgian house, the walls are about three foot fit. anything outside. So, you know, it's, you know, we just careful about door noise and we, like we say, right from the beginning, we don't have a. Amount of outdoor space. We have restrictions on noise and activity outside, but better than that, right across the road, I've got a 32 acre park.

[00:32:23] Charlotte: So I always say, grab one of our picnic baskets, grab a bottle of wine, and it's a sun shining, take it to the park. And you know, they've got so much more space over there. So that's kind of been, you know, we've got to think, okay. Um, the small garden, that's always shade. It is a little bit of a down point.

[00:32:38] Charlotte: So rather, you know, we do alert people that right at the beginning, um, I think it's under a section in my website called before you book or need to know type of thing. And it can just, just a quick little checklist, you know, and that's really helped. To be

What is the Scarlet Spa?

[00:32:50] Liam: honest, I think, um, just mention in your website, which, which people can find through link tree is, uh, is really cool because you've got it very much set up where it is talking to your, your preferred niche, you know, that is the, uh, the Scarlet spa you've got as well.

[00:33:06] Liam: Yeah.

[00:33:06] Charlotte: So we've got an indoor hot, so. Here and we've turned in, we've turned the old wine cellar into a treatment room. So we team of therapists that will come in. Um, and you can, you can put this together. You can have a wellness weekend here, which is what a lot of hens are doing. So we might have yoga in the morning.

[00:33:22] Charlotte: They might do like a creative class in the afternoon. Uh, we do something, uh, we do bath bomb making where we've got a specialist that comes in. Does that with the girls, then they'll have the treatments and finish the afternoon off in the hot tub. So, you know, that is quite a popular option now that people are going for.

[00:33:38] Charlotte: And so

[00:33:39] Liam: life drawings as well, if they want to

[00:33:41] Charlotte: as well. Yeah. So the life drawings, so basically I'm an art teacher and I knew that this was becoming a popular option. And I just thought, well, I can do this too. Um, more recently, I've actually got a fantastic model who takes and delivers the class himself now, which is taking the pressure off because.

[00:33:56] Charlotte: Obviously I work all week and then to do the life drawings here and at other venues was meaning that I was working all day Saturday. So I've got a great model and, uh, choose to call Greg. So he's, he's changed things around for me, but yeah, that, that's a fun element.

[00:34:10] Liam: I mean, it's, it sounds so much fun and so very much.

[00:34:15] Liam: On niche, your choice are huge. You've found as though you've built some really good relationships with, with local people who can come in and take some of that work out of, of needing to be there yourself, uh, all of the time. And, uh, that you've built a really great project, uh, product overall. So is there any, um, tips that you'd have over hosts if they're looking to get started in a similar.

[00:34:37] Liam: um,

[00:34:38] Charlotte: probably don't live in the same space that you mention. fair enough. I think the main thing that I knew was start before you ready. Really don't get everything perfect. You won't realize what works and what doesn't work until you try it. Like I said, we started with families and quite quickly realized that we didn't.

[00:34:58] Charlotte: Lots of little kids in the house, putting fingerprints on everything. Um, so yeah, start before you're ready. Just put it up on Airbnb and see what happens. Mm-hmm um, I mean, I didn't think it was gonna happen once you've got a booking. You then think, gosh, what we're gonna do with all our stuff. How's this gonna work?

[00:35:14] Charlotte: Um, but yeah, good cleaning team is obviously a definite. Um, and get on social media. I hate showing my face on social media, but it's something I think you've got to do, like you were saying before to build trust, um, to make sure, I mean, a lot of people and people still believe this, that they can book a large accommodation and it be a scam mm-hmm um, so by putting yourself out there that should hopefully stop that we had had that earlier on where somebody had cloned our website, um, and we're taking bookings for our house.

[00:35:44] Charlotte: Luckily, which would nothing nobody ever got to that point. Some people might text and say, Charlotte, we just about to book the house. We've spoken to Michael. Um, we're gonna deposit the money today. Is that okay? And I got, no, I don't even know anyone called Michael. So that was what was happening. So, uh, just be aware of that really.

[00:36:01] Liam: Um, but being available, being available as you are, and like you say, seen on social media, that is, is so very easy for people to get in touch with your direct. And I noticed on your social media, there is a picture of. On the social medias. So people can really get used to who their host is. Um, and as we say, people buy from people.

[00:36:21] Liam: So that's a really good, good, good move.

[00:36:24] Charlotte: Great thing is to get a bit of a shot when they see that kind of nice photo, that's been a little bit kind of filtered and then they arrive and I've just cleaned the house. And is that the same person? But yeah, no, definitely. We used to have a logo up there, but I think that's just faceless.

[00:36:37] Liam: Don't you think? I think, yeah. Logos are so, uh, you. Early nineties, uh, or nineties, 2000 corporate sort of logos, whereas actually having a, a friendly face and a smile and that, and that's, that's what we think of when, uh, like we say, people, you remember how people make you feel and I'm sure people will, will think of you when they think of the Scarlet hen Norfolk house.

A little more about Charlotte

[00:36:56] Liam: And, uh, and you know, the, the. Amazing memories they've created. So I really feel we've sort of dived into, into the business. And we like to finish these, these podcasts with some quick fire questions. So, uh, you mentioned you've stayed in a few Airbnbs. Uh, where's your favorite place that you've stayed and why in the UK or abroad?

[00:37:14] Charlotte: Yeah, so I've got a couple actually. Um, I guess I'm gonna do a shout out to the ones that are locally. So we'll say, uh, about five different places in home first hoods field. So one is apricot cottage. Which is beautiful. Um, stone built cottage, um, it's on a single track. It's so remote. It's beautiful. And then another favorite as is a place called teal cottage, which is again, is in home Furth.

[00:37:40] Charlotte: Then we love sing at Gina's place, which is cottage pie in home Furth. And then there's another fabulous place that we've just discovered, which is called the. Love cottage, which is just behind. I dunno if you know about home first, but it's the, the place of last of the summer

[00:37:54] Liam: wine. Oh, I, I can picture it because of last of summer wine.

[00:37:58] Liam: I've I've got the image in my head of the, the three old boys.

[00:38:01] Charlotte: yeah. It's so seening and so beautiful. And that last place love cottage is right behind SIDS cafe. So yeah. So those are the kind of best place that I've stayed.

[00:38:10] Liam: Amazing amazing. Definitely. Uh, share this with them and tag them in. Cause they'll be happy to get mentioned, uh, afterwards.

[00:38:16] Liam: Um,

[00:38:17] Charlotte: if I mention them too many, what happens is people then book them and we can't fit in, but oh, of course. Yeah. but I do, I always do do that. Of

[00:38:25] Liam: course. So I've gotta ask obviously based that is, uh, kind of, he, he parties, what's your own favorite alcoholic tip?

[00:38:33] Charlotte: Oh, gosh. Um, I like a margarita salty margarita.

[00:38:36] Liam: Nice, nice. Um, what would you say your superpower is? Um,

[00:38:44] Charlotte: Hmm. I just think being able to do absolutely everything cuz I'm creative. I didn't realize I could do the kind of, um, fine side of things and everything, but I think being dyslexic, I have, uh, the ability to see the bigger picture mm-hmm and. I always think about the guest experience.

[00:39:02] Charlotte: So I guess it's just been able to, uh, put on that creative hat, but also have the business side entwined, which has been a difficult one to learn. But I think I'm just about there

[00:39:12] really.

[00:39:12] Liam: That's cool. That's cool. And lastly, do you have, um, is there a motto that you live by, or is there a favorite quote that you're kind of, you know, always admire.

[00:39:22] Charlotte: Um, work hard, play hard is definitely mine. That's something my dad passed on to me. So yeah, all week we work hard here and the weekend, it's all about enjoying yourself and letting your hair down. And that's exactly what I want the guests to be able to do here.

[00:39:37] Liam: What a great way to end. And, uh, yeah, that sounds sounds perfect.

[00:39:40] Liam: So if people want to get in touch, what's the best way to, to do. Um, just

[00:39:45] Charlotte: Bob on the website or Instagram or Facebook, we collect messages and it's me. It's always me, uh, sometimes, uh, have a little bit of help, but really when you're speaking to somebody it's actually me. So I know all the answers, so yeah, just get in touch on WhatsApp even.

[00:39:59] Liam: Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. And, and for everybody lifting, definitely do go and check out. As I say, that is link tree, which L I N KTR dot E E slash Scarlet underscore he and you'll go and check out Charlotte's awesome website. Uh, you can also follow out on social media. Uh, it's a very active Instagram on there as well.

[00:40:20] Liam: And, uh, yeah, go and go and check out the awesome work that she's doing. So, Charlotte, thank you so much for coming on behind the host podcast. I hope everybody listening has got some good sort of tips from this, especially about nicheing down, especially about making your guests, uh, you know, have all these experiences, uh, at, at their fingertips.

[00:40:38] Liam: And, uh, yeah, there's, there's been a lot to unpack today, so thank you for coming on, uh, on the show. And, uh, did you have any closing comments at. No. I

[00:40:46] Charlotte: just wanna say thanks every so much. I absolutely love all the boosty stuff. I've just read, uh, Mark's book. I'll listen to Mark's book and yeah, the tips and the videos are absolutely brilliant.

[00:40:56] Charlotte: So thank you. And thanks for asking me to do this today. It's a real pleasure. So thank you.

[00:41:01] Liam: Pleasure to have you on and, uh, bye for now. Take care.

[00:41:04] Charlotte: Bye. Thank you so much for checking out today's podcast episode now, before you head and go anywhere else before you click to the next episode before you do that, do me one big favor and go check out boost Lee dot code at UK slash trust.

[00:41:19] Charlotte: IRA are the sponsors of all of the booster content and the reason why I work with them. And the reason why we spread the message of IRA is that when a host or a company is looking to get more into DRA bookings, the main question they have is around trust as in will a guest trust that I'm a true and real business will IRA take care of all of that.

[00:41:40] Charlotte: And they've got a special offer that is only available to boosty people, but to do that, you need to go to boost Lee, which is B O O. TL Y dot code UK slash trust. You can find out all the information there. You can book in a demo book in a call, and then you'll get your super special offer that is only available to Boley peoples, thank you again for tuning in do go check out IRAK.

[00:42:02] Charlotte: We'll be back again very shortly with another podcast episode, but until then, we'll see you all very soon. Take care.


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