Book Direct Day 2022

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 432. This is a recap of my Facebook live where I talked about Book Direct Day 2022. 

Here's the audio for this episode:

Here's the video for this episode:


00:00 Start
00:40 About Mark Simpson
04:00 About Mark's book
05:30 Book Direct Data
08:50 Mark's opinion
14:50 Buy Now Pay Later
18:30 About Hopper
21:10 How Book Direct Started
27:00 Data from the large property managers
33:50 Direct booking is expensive
40:10 The time element and the aspects of the costs
45:40 What you should do
52:00 Reach out to Mark
53:20 Mark's final message

Whilst you’re here

Follow Boostly on the following channels to get more tips, tactics and knowledge on how you can increase your direct bookings

Visual – YouTube 

Audio – Boostly Podcast




Transcript from the Episode

We're gonna introduce ourselves of course, starting doing this sharing data with you. We'll talk about what book direct is how it got started. And try to think why people are interested in this topic nowadays. Are they in direct bookings actually cheaper for hosts? Is it as well, in a way isn't a direct booking actually pushed by people who want to flag their, you know, direct bookings, software websites channe;l management, right? Is that is the whole conspiracy to get us to buy yet more services and software? Again, I'm the devil's advocate. No hate here. Alright. So as I said, So, Mark, maybe you want to introduce yourself for people who may not you know yet?

About Mark Simpson

My name is Mark Simpson, I founded a company called Boostly back in 2016. I've been in this industry of hospitality and short-term rental for many, many years now. A lot of people in the Zoom Room, I think they know who I am. But for those who don't, I was pretty much born into hospitality to two-acre farm stay Bed and Breakfast in Scarborough in the northeast of the UK. I grew up with my three brothers and sisters. And I had one goal and that was to escape. To escape the small town I wanted to go and travel, and I wanted to be a soccer player or football player. One problem with that I'm not very good at playing football, if anybody's ever seen you play football before you on the way. So I fell into coaching, soccer coaching and got my qualifications, got my UA FBI badges and then got the amazing opportunity to go to America spent many years in America coaching, coaching, soccer, coaching the football, and 2011 ended up back in the UK ended up in London of all places, and my parents who had the business for about 25 years at that point, asked me and my then-fiancee now wife, to come back into the business.

And that started me on this very crazy journey of helping that family business grow online visibility through websites and social media, to then in 2016, actually helping a couple of local hosts in Scarborough how to navigate email, social media, how to do a few tweaks on we'll talk about the OTAs. And from there, I can't really explain what's happened from there for the last five years, it's been a bit crazy.

Now we've got we're doing this releasing my book today. There's over 1000 hosts that we've helped build the direct booking website with, there are over 1000 hosts who are doing the training inside of Boostly all over the world. And the podcast is one of the top 2% of the podcast downloads in the world, which is crazy. And I say the book today announced speaking to yourself here to vote. So it's it's crazy. It's been it's been insane. And everything has been founded on one thing, which is direct bookings, which is why I'm today of all days being book direct day. Hashtag book direct. If you want to go check it out on social media, it's really important to have this conversation because there are still so many people who either don't know about direct bookings don't believe in direct bookings. And I feel that everybody in the Zoom Room with me is going to be a very one sided discussion.

About Mark's book

It is available on Amazon right now to go and purchase the audible version is coming later today. If you're watching this after the second of February it'll be available now the Kindle and the print version is is ready.

We've launched as well as I said rentals club lunch and networks of private network. Every Wednesday, you get our newsletter, we talk about the big trends, you know what you know, Airbnb is up to or how to do a homeowner acquisition campaign, if you're a property manager, we talked about the big trends on the market, no big direct versus OTAs, for example, new technology. And so we have a private network of skaters network, where basically we help people get results where we do masterminds, for example, we have private calls, but investments or any kind of topics.

Book Direct Data

These data come from exactly as Mark was saying, an intro, his data has been shared by Amy Hi note, who somewhat invented the book direct movements in the vacation rental industry. We'll get into more details later. But she's really somebody to know here comes to the topic. And she's, and she owns Dr. She runs VR, Intel VRM. Intel is a Sacramento scalar like an industry news website. And she's part of the geeky data dashboard to share data but the US market versus precisely property management companies in the US in traditional vacation rental markets. So based mostly known urban, I would say non urban us right. And what they see here in terms of trends is that basically, direct bookings generate a higher average stay value. Basically, the booking values, the reservations are during arm I a bigger to the money, the amount people are paying is just more than through, let's say Airbnb, which isn't big for bowling blue or In green.

One factor for that is a second slide is that they tend to stay longer apparently. And that's interesting, because that's even through the pandemic, right, basically, direct bookings, according to what Amy shared is a route you know, run six days on average length of stay, looking at comm, of course, being the shortest one. As you may know, caters to people who are looking for both hotels and vacation rentals. So they tend to have a behavior closer to hotel Bookers. And to shorter stays. I should know about that.

And yet, why do we have a debate because of what you shared today? She shared actually that the share of direct bookings. And I've seen that people in the comment have like been to 100%, which is amazing that share for property managers in the US is going down. That's especially 2021 that share was went down, right? Basically it was 35% of the bookings no against 47% into an 18.

What went up were basically especially last year, Airbnb and VRBO Airbnb jumped from 13 to 17%. VRBO went from 18 to 20% 21%. So we talked about why this may have happened in 2021, and why people are doing 2022. I've got a few ideas. But again, that's me that's a source of debate. Okay, it's bringing more money, great, but for how long? And you negate should you get the other channels, and it's just maybe just a source of cost. 

Mark's opinion

I've listened to a lot of podcasts, YouTube videos, interviews that you've done, and a few people have talked about when it comes to stats. And I think somebody that you said is very important is that with all the numbers that have been released, and of all the stats have been released, you've got to be able to sit back and look at the context around it. There's definitely reasons why these numbers that are happening but I feel that for everybody here who looking at those numbers, you got to really sort of bring it home to not only you, your business, your location, but also your niche as well because everywhere is totally different, that the people looking at this in the cities, for example, have got properties in a city but BB people who have got properties in a very touristy location, and maybe they're a guesthouse or there are people who've got a rental in a touristy like seaside location, and it's really important to always look at these numbers and and have it as something to go okay, this is good. So you've got a bit of a benchmark, but you've really got a look at the context around it.

For example, the reason why direct bookings in 2020, especially after that I'd say April to August in 2020 would have dramatically gone up and the OTA will have dramatically decreased is because if you remember, especially in the UK, Airbnb closed off all availability, so if you tried to book a property in the UK, and you wanted to book it through your favorite OTA, you couldn't do because it was not. So what people were having to do, but having to think a little go onto the Google and find people directly, which is what happened, and also as well hosts. And I'd love to say that a lot of the hosts are in here, who was switched on utilized Facebook groups, Facebook marketplaces, they sort of worked out how to go outside of the OTAs to sort of put their business visible.

And so the numbers are important. The numbers, you know, I think we're all fed up of looking at graphs since 2020. Because we seem to be getting them on a day by day basis of charts and numbers and all of that jazz, but I think it's important to look at, but it's always, for me, the one thing that I always do is look at the sort of the context from the numbers that we're looking at. And I feel that once once you do that, then it's it really does help sort of take a look behind the number so to speak. So we

I agree with you is that again, that's why I pointed out the data with whenever you look at data, exactly, as you said, like, what was the source? Which market are we looking into. And here again, it's professional property managers, professional property managers, probably with more than 20 properties on average, right? In the US, and probably in, in in traditional vacation rental markets, because that's where key data, which is a software company, that's where the clients are, that's where they pull data from.

So to Mark's point, if you will, in UK probably played out differently, something I want to say as well, which actually could argue for your should be on the OTAs that what happened in the US last year 2021 could be for example, that if you were there, like Airbnb, and VRBO have been investing a lot into advertising, commercials on TV, were big, I think actually VRBO, in in the first half of the year spend even more money than Airbnb on advertising. Like I mean, if you weren't on YouTube or on TV, you couldn't miss them. Even on the French market, which I know a bit I could see VRBO, they're everywhere. So they've been investing a lot. And what could have happened is that suddenly, people were more aware that this company existed, believe it or not, a lot of people actually have been introduced to vacation rentals, right? In during the pandemic.

And if you don't know where to go, and the first thing where it will turn to is we're used to booking hotels were to example, Expedia, or they would look what's on TV to know when or where to have a choice. So they will look at VRBO. So in a way, you could argue that maybe what happened is push of Airbnb and VRBO was due to advertising. But maybe what's happening is bringing the pie for everyone maybe who is aware and the first time to begin with them maybe next time with us. So it could be happening as well as that maybe maybe people thought that refunds will be easier for OTAs yes or no could argue differently, right.

And so that's all the reasons another reason why is that maybe also vacation rentals, websites like VRBO  for example, or last pretty much like Vacasa they can offer things that our websites cannot for example, you can do things like book now pay later, you know, yeah, these companies like Klarna or affirm that allow you to know buy now pay later, right? This is this has come to industry, right? So as a property owner or small property manager, how do you offer the same payments in installments or through credit? How do you do that? It's so so wide. Merce will be hard for us to get here more direct bookings is because people are expecting a bit more service not just around the flexible cancellation policy but even payment terms and that I know for some people they can't just book with you if they have to pay so much money upfront. So that's to me that's could be explained the market.

Buy Now Pay Later

Kleiner has been around For a long time, and I feel like it's maybe more popular in the UK, and maybe the US than anywhere else, but basically paying installments, it's just like having a credit card, but there's no interest. So you very common phrase that you'll hear now is pain free or paying for. And for purchases, whether it's, you know, you're buying some clothes on, on, we're insert your favorite close door, or whether it's a vacation, you've now got the ability to help with the budget, and then not have to pay a one grand to run free grand holiday upfront. And you can spread the cost out.

So it looks really, really good. On the book in front of the guests. Now VRBO, the Expedia group have jumped on this. And they have partnered with Kleiner, and they now offer that as part of how you book, I can't see it being that long until And Airbnb catch up. And they start to do this as well. Now the way it means for you as the as the host, you still get you get your money up front, but then it's just the they pay it in installments to via Klarna. It's just like PayPal clan and PayPal have brought in their own pain free or paid for. And everybody's sort of starting to bring it in now clown are the ones that started it. And it's very, very successful multibillion dollar company already.

And I think for me, I'm always looking at what these big guys are doing, how the big chains are doing, and how can us, as hospitality owners, property managers, how can we bring it into our business? Now this is where you're going to have to stop, potentially bring in the pressure into your property management software, your PMS, the likes of your Hostfully and Guesty, and they'll obviously then have to then work with the likes of stripe. But how can you start to mimic this into your own business?

Anybody who uses PayPal, for example, to take payments, you can already do this, your simple little setup. The other thing I wanted to chat with you to but I don't know if it was on your fingers to discuss, but I heard you talking about Hopper. And Hopper is really interesting to me. Now again, I've used Hopper for the last few years. It's an app on your phone, and it was primarily bought in for flights. And it was it was really good for me to try and find flights at a discount. But now I think since the back end of last year 2021 The last quarter. I've had somebody reach out to me from Hopper, who is who is in the in rentals world, which is their new sort of thing that they're doing. But TiVo, could you, I don't know much about it. I've had the person reach out to me on LinkedIn. And I've said, Listen, please, the first quarter, don't talk to me, I've got so much going on. But you know, after the first quarter of this year, we'll have a chat in a discussion and see what you want to talk about. I don't know if you've got any, anything that you want to discuss more about Hopper and I feel like for everybody who's tuning in, it could be good to be a first mover on it. 

It's really important I think the context we had already right you can see this process cons there's what's important is again, what experts say Right? And that's like always, where's the data from right as far as I'm so always big on data, what are we talking about? Because you know your market better than anyone else? Right? So use the data look at what they say and say okay, hmm, okay, looks different for me. Why is different right. So so my, as always my what I learned here. 

About Hopper

Hopper was the number one downloaded app, the most downloaded travel app in the US last year. Right her head of Airbnb, Expedia. They are really big, and they really big on capturing Gen Zed Gen Z, how he was wanting to say this, millennials, which obviously haven't completely a Gen Z person, as you can tell. So they're very big on that and what what they do, they are able, they've just launched Hopper holds which their holiday rentals offer right. And what's really striking with hopper that they are again able to bring a layer of flexibility as she was talking about. Basically hopper is like a new form of Ota or a new form of Expedia website you can book flights, hotels, and now cars and now as well as vacation rentals.

And it bring a new layer of flexibility where again, it's going to be hard first compete. For example, for flights they bring price freeze, right? If you I know prices of flights can vary. If you like to price now and if you pay Hopper it says you know $5 They can freeze that price and you can book it later if you want at that price you saw right or they can sell you a cancel anytime option. So even if the flight cannot be canceled, you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the flight. If you buy from Hopper, this kind of guarantee or insurance ish product, if you will imagine if had been this to us, right? Even if our canceled policies not flexible, non refundable, they can actually let us keep our policy, but allow the guest to cancel because the catch block bought from Hopper, a sort of policy or insurance, insurance, travel insurance age product that pays them back. It's just they so it's gonna be it could be changed, relaxing, again between why are we talking about this fire debate?

It's like, the competition from these big channels has moved on into the way the console offer more services. The ways to pay was to freeze prices. And maybe some of us are using dynamic pricing. But maybe some people want to freeze prices. How do we do that? It's a whole level of complexity. How on earth can you how on earth can you know, beyond that level, just teasingly with that.

How Book Direct Started

I think we all know that it was Amy I know. And what she's doing at VRM, Intel, who started the hashtag book direct day sort of bringing hosts together, which is a great thing. As far as where did hashtag book direct gets so popular. I feel like I may have a little bit to play and responsible for that to a certain extent, because it's something that we've been talking about. And the hospitality community, which is the free Facebook group that everybody's part of in here has played a large part of it every Thursday, we come together and we do a Thursday social, where we spread the word on social media, we we put posts up, we share each other's posts, we'd like to have posts engaged over post and spread the word of direct bookings. And this has been my whole goal really, since starting this in 2016. Because I saw the the lack of support locally, in my local area of Scarborough and Whitby in North Yorkshire. And I could see a massive lack of support on a on an on a sort of national international level.

So I created the hospitality community as a way of educating guests, so educating hosts on how to get direct bookings. But I knew so that with everything that I was teaching, if I could educate hosts on direct bookings, then in turn, we would educate guests. And that's the big thing here is that we're trying to educate the guests of book direct, and it's all about putting it in simple places that they can see and how they can be educated.

When I came into the family business, one of the main things that I wanted to do is to really build our direct bookings to really make sure that the offline word of mouth that we had came online, and everything that I did was around increasing our direct bookings, and educating the guest. Because I don't know about you, and everybody on the call here, we, every time I had a problem to deal with, and I had to go to, I would, I would much rather eat glass, because it was such a tedious, strenuous process. And we I always knew whenever I was going down the route of, or anywhere, Expedia, Airbnb, we're always trying to decide on the guest, which, you know, for me, and the business and the family business, I didn't want to build my house on someone else's land.

So it was really important to me to do that. And then in 2016, when I started it, this Boostly started with the podcast and started the Facebook group and the blog, it was to help hosts learn that there are really easy and effective ways we don't cost any money at all, to increase your direct bookings, because I know there's something that you do want to talk about the time, the money, the effort, but we'll definitely dig into it. Why is it grown so popular? You know, I think over the last couple of years, and particularly 2020. And I think this is this, this thing that I'm going to say now is even more prevalent in the USA, because the USA and Canada and maybe, you know you got the Americas, they're big Airbnb fans, because obviously Airbnb came from San Francisco, you know, but it's, it's one of their own.

And a lot of people just listed property on Airbnb, maybe got a couple of properties just listed on Airbnb, they're fine with it. But in March 2020, when Airbnb sent a message out to all of their guests and say, Listen, you can cancel doesn't matter what the policy is, you can cancel, get your money back. I think that really pissed off a lot of people. Because a lot of people were down revenue wise and there was no Airbnb have now admitted that they were wrong, they shouldn't have done it should have done what they did. And that there's no heads up. They're not saying hey, this is what we're going to do. We just sent out to everybody. And I feel it after that. And I can speak from a personal point of view as somebody that speaks to a lot of hosts that we have, you know about 20-30 conversations with hosts every single week with websites. I feel like on the back of that hosts who are very reliant on Airbnb, just that platform and now going right if I'm going to have this business next year or two years or five years, I've got to get a property management software, I've got to get a website, I've got to, you know, build my own business here, because I can't have that happen again, where, you know, I know, I know, people that had the five figures literally wiped out in the space of 24 hours and the business really struggled and could have struggled if, you know, if America had had the same sort of lockdown as that what a lot of people in Europe had, or you know, Bali, Australian New Zealand had, but you know, it could have got messy. So I think this is why it's really, really important that we talk about it, we talk about it today, we talk about it every day. And this is why we're doing this.

I think most people here listening here or who have vacation rental, either, you know, if it's known property or investment. We all are sort of entrepreneurs, right? And telling us hey, we'll give you a find a way to have more freedom to reclaim your freedom and have more control, more freedom and control is, I think one of the first reasons why we even set up a company or become entrepreneurs. So it is talking to us it is attractive, I would say.

But now if you do the math, right, we just saw, for example, that the average value of their booking was bigger. Okay. I would say one thing about it could be maybe it's lower on your channels, because what happens there, maybe it's on purpose, right? Maybe what I'm doing is that I'm putting if I'm a large again, that's data from large property managers, right? If you have a portfolio of properties, maybe when I'm doing on on an OTA, I'm putting out there, not my whole portfolio, maybe just the ones that are less, that would be the hardest to get direct bookings. And I'm even ready to discount them isn't workout.

So it could be just again, just way suppose Oh, say like, look at the data, was it mean, it's a portfolio of properties. So maybe these property managers are, it's not that they're more expensive on their website, that the best properties are on their website, they keep their calendar open on their website, and it closed the calendars on your OTAs at some point. And they use the calendar,in a great way to get bookings in the low season, for example, or for the worst of their properties. And when they even ready to discount if need be to even get to get some occupancy right.

So so when I see the data, oh, the value is bigger direct. I'm like, Well, can I under? No, I don't know. It's just just some aggregate data. I don't know what you're seeing here. What What's your view?

Data from the large property managers

I think when you, when you look at data from the large property managers, it's just like looking at the data from a big chain hotel by Marriott are the premier and you know, you can't really take it into context about what we're doing. And I think the majority of people in here are between one to you know, 100 properties, and that you know, one to 50 even right.

And I think that when you get to that sort of level, they easily can wipe off rates and accommodation and sort of price per night, because it's not applicable to them. If you look at you know, if you go stay at a Premier Inn. And the reason why Hotel Tonight got so popular in the States is because for them, it's more about getting bums on beds, or heads on beds, and it is the actual price per night. And they will just massively discount. And I think big property management companies are all well and good. The volume, the volumes, and the numbers look amazing. But when you get to that sort of level, there are so many schoolboy errors that I see on an individual and sort of mass basis when it comes to what we're talking about which is marketing. And I think for us, it's it's it's really important to make sure that number one, you know, if we're going to talk about the price for a direct booking to the price on the OTA site, there's so so many tools that are available right now to us small hosts from one to say 50 properties that will really skew it back in your favor.

And I'll give you a little example. Right now you can go on to your property management software, whether that's free to book, guesty, the Toki, whoever it may be, as I say the good ones, you know, and what you can do is the rate that you give to the OTAs, you can mark it up 20 30 40 50%. So the rate that's on your website, let's just say it's 100. And you can put it as the OTAs at 150. Okay, so massively skewed. And then with the market price, you can then tap into opportunities and to bowl nervous more than anybody else, the opportunities at any action that they throw at you so many discount, discount discount, you can literally then you can manipulate their system to then still make it to save it you mark up the price that you send to the OTA by 50%. But then you knock 35% of that price that you see on and it's still a better rate on your website.

Now when I was doing this, I never had that advantage. I didn't have the opportunity to do the big market that you now get. And so I feel a lot as hosts at a low, lower level between one and say, 50 properties, we've got all the tools that we've got right now is fantastic and phenomenal. I feel that the stats and the figures, that's what I said right at the very start, the ones that come from the big property managers and all of that jazz. But all of that you've got to give into context is that this, they've got so many things going on, they've got so many spider webs going on the race that they give, they have not got total control, or they haven't got a clue what they're doing when they get to that sort of level as much as what we can potentially do. And we can play with right now.

I am doing the same. I am this very thing. Right. My pride direct pride. I take my price on our website, the Commissioner on the commission, I'm paying I don't know, if you are proud to measure on property only on You bring like at least an average 15%. Commission. Right? I mark it by 15%. I mean, right. Some people are saying is that it's good to be on on these websites, because these websites are, you know, are a marketing channel advertising channel, right school billboard billboard effect, it's like a billboard, people will see your name and look out for you. But it only works. This billboard effect works for hotels, because hotels basically have a name have a brand location, right like hotel XYZ in Brighton I can just google the name of this hotel and find it. If your listing is like a partner to deceive you. How on earth can I find you? Right? So I'm okay with that. But if you don't even think that you're you can use the billboard effect. Yes. But if you don't think of putting your brand name out there to help people find you. How can you how can I do that? But let me go back to the math. So okay, so let's imagine I am doing indeed my market, everything that I'm doing this right. But yet, it's not the profits.

In the end, what matters to me is entrepreneurs make profits, right? I think it's, you know, in the end, will, you know, I put my listing there and take 15% out a lot of money, but I don't have to create, pay, update my website, I don't have to pay stripe or PayPal, I don't have to find ways to generate traffic. So social media, if it's free, it's your my time on social media, right? And my time has a cost, my time has a cost. I could be doing other things, earning more money with that very time. So and maybe also, I'm also using a channel manager, or I'm using maybe a dynamic pricing tool. So I have to pay for that. Right? So.

So how, how on earth do we make it so that the costs are actually even comparable with with things I'm going to take another example, in the US if you're a small property owner, you pay 3% to Airbnb 3%. So, and they bring OTAs and they will, especially in Europe, now, in Europe. It's very important, of course, to market in your travelers language, right? I think Airbnb, Airbnb and website are in 35 languages. Is your website in 35 languages. Right? Quick? Can you for that English is great. I, you know, I'm trying to speak English today. But that's not my native language as you can hear, you know, and I think a lot of travelers actually, when it comes to picking places look at details, they like, kind of having some information about this.

So that's what my argument is like, yeah, there's a cost. But even doing your direct booking marketing is expensive, and maybe not as efficient for the reach to get clients. 

Direct booking is expensive

First and foremost, first and foremost, the the the comeback the kick back to say, Why should I do my direct booking marketing and when I can just put it on Airbnb, and and they will market the property for me. Maybe in 2019, You could do that maybe in 2018 Maybe in 2017 or 2016. But as we move into 2022 We're gonna go into 2023 There are so many people who are coming into this industry. All you got to do is go and check out to bolts episode where he interviewed Graham from Sykes Graham Donahue, the CEO and founder of Sykes and look at the numbers that he shared of how many new conversations he is having with people who are coming into this industry.

I believe off the top of my head it was over 15,000 over the course of last year more conversations that we're having about People coming into this industry, but one of us sakes. And that's just sakes, right? So if you're just going to go in that, that sort of method and sort of mindset, then guess what, you're going to spend as much time making sure that your listing on, or Airbnb is going to be visible.

Airbnb will not do your marketing for you, someone will come on to your Airbnb in your location. And if you're on page two, guess what you're not going to get seen. And as a really good example that I can share with you, and it's one that I've lived today, and I've lived the last few weeks, I'm going to be living for the next couple of weeks of my life. And this is what this book is book right now is on Amazon, only on Amazon.

Just because I've listed on Amazon doesn't mean that I'm going to get a book sale, I still have to market this book myself, to then send people to Amazon. And Amazon is a really good example of this. Because if us, as hospitality owners share the mindset of what to bolt just mentioned there of just having it on Airbnb, then you've got to look at Amazon and look at Airbnb and if they keep going on the trajectory that they're going, what's to say that Amazon that Airbnb can turn around and do what Amazon do, because we all complain about 3% or 4% commission or 15% commission or 20% commission in the chat, guess how much commission I have to pay for a book sale that comes in from Amazon have a little guess have a little guesstimate right now give me a percentage. How much do you think it is? How much percentage do I have to think that I have to pay Amazon.

70% I only get 30% for every book sale that comes in which is crazy. Now, what is not saying that what is there not to say? That Airbnb the more that they get bigger and bigger and bigger and now getting the massive market share and they pretty much pushed out of the way and and playing catch up right now VRBO are playing catch up right what's to say that they got turned around and go you know what? Mr. Airbnb super host that we you now rely on heavily on us? Instead of this? I think this is a bit of an unfair relationship right now. Because you're only given me 15% or 3% for every booking, and I'm going to flip that now. We're going to put it to 30% I'm going to get 50% Oh, hang on a second. Is that even more unfair? 50% 70%?

Actually, if you are Airbnb is already taking 15% from people if they are for example, I have only right now three properties, right? But I'm using a channel manager to create with Airbnb. And because of that, I have to pay 15% Yeah, right.

So but why are they doing this? Because they have to align with and VRBO because we're 50% of the commission. Would you to think right only 50% Because then you can buy traffic or spend on ads on TV. And two. If they take all the properties, if it takes 3% from you it means they still have to take 10 to 12% from the guests and they want to remove the booking fee for the guests. They want to remove that because it's just not competitive people hate being fees make sense? Right so that they get the money from someone has to be you so it is a tricky game for Airbnb and right now yeah, maybe they will go to 50% where it's tricky because no problem my French but the P stuff a lot of people when the betrayed hosts when the forcible for them to massive refund. But are they going to be able to do that? I don't know.

But yet, even if 15% That's a pretty good cost. And I can see the comment will say yeah, but my commission, I'm reducing my Commission's I'm like yeah, but have you increased your marketing spend? And is you increasing marketing spend more than proportional to the revenues have been making?

Again, I being here devil's advocate, right. But someday I could say this, let's imagine right. Let's imagine in 2020 2020 2021, maybe in your markets, people wanted to book direct, right? Let's imagine. But maybe now things will, things will come better. And maybe they will book through OTAS again. I know that's what I'm hoping when travel reopens in Indonesia, people will go back to Airbnb and then all the websites and book there and I don't want other ones to spend money on to get these travelers because you know, they come from so many different markets. By the way. I much prefer Airbnb or going to spending money on that to catch this and, and maybe again, when travelers we open maybe you have a lot of domestic travelers at the moment, but those international travelers again, the OTAs will bring them to you and I politely disagree with one of the comments which was like you only need to market in the main languages. I'm like, I'm sorry. I mean, if I speak another language, you have to market in my language as well as well because a Malay language just as important as yours.

The time element and the aspects of the costs

Alright, first and foremost, if you get this book today, you will not have to worry about costs, because everything in here about to show you is how you can get direct bookings, and not have to spend money on Facebook ads, or Google ads, etc. So we're going to eliminate the cost going by the book, it's $15. And the return of investment is huge.

Secondly, my family business was a 200 acre farm-stay property in the middle of nowhere, the village that we were based in population, 100 people. And it's really important, why I'm telling you this, we would never have grown to the level of visibility that we had done, if it wasn't for Now we've got to repeat that we would never have grown our business to the visibility that it had done without

But but but but I did not put all of my chips in the in the bucket. I didn't just rely on that channel. Because yes, the visibility, the the Europeans, the people from overseas that saw us because of being on that was great. But I use Like, I use Facebook, like I use Instagram, like I use Twitter. Like I use LinkedIn, it was just another channel. And I had many conversations with people at over the years. And I've you know, unofficially they've said that listen, we totally understand that when a guest books a property, and they book with us. And as soon as they land in your property, it doesn't matter whether it's a bed and breakfast, or a rental, or a vacational or an apartment, or a year, as soon as they book in. If they were ever to come back, realistically, they should always be booking with you directly the host.

I can vouch for that this exactly what booking upcoming employees say, exactly, you know, we help you get your first booking now it's your job to do try to get them loyal, which is something as possible, right? Because we're not in Bali, for example, people come once in a lifetime in Bali, and they will come back. So it doesn't, that doesn't work in my market. 

But yeah, I totally get what you're saying. There's gonna be lots of people around here that don't have a repeat industry or repeat destination, right. And I totally get that. But you're missing a major part here, which is social media. With the world of social media growing as much as it has done, there are no six degrees of separation anymore. You all know what six degrees of separation is, if you don't google it, with social media that's down to one degree of separation. And if you do it right, and if you follow the tips in this book, and everything that I've been saying over the last five years, it doesn't matter if to bolt comes to my property and never comes back again. Because if you do your job, right, and if you tap into the mindset of how people use social media, think of it right now. When do you mostly use your social media, it's when you're on vacation, because you like to show off that you're not in your normal nine to five, you're on a beach in Bali, or you're doing X or whales that are you having to fight off the monkeys in the forest or blood, okay. And that's when you're going to use social media.

And if you do your job, right, and if you do your job well, too, Bob will be your marketing channel for you. So it doesn't matter if he never comes back to the island. But he will tell his friends, his families, his co-workers. And it's how you do that is how you get the guests to post on their social media or to tell their friends about you. And not saying oh, you know what I booked this amazing Airbnb, you've got them to say, I bought this amazing property from the business called X, you should give him a call. So it really doesn't matter if you've got repeat trade. Everybody that stays with you has got a friend or a family member or somebody that they can show off to online. And this is what exactly is in his in his book is exactly what I've been talking about. And again, it doesn't have to take you a lot of time. It doesn't have to take cost you a lot of money.

And you know, I'm very annoying when I come to this because any objection to book direct or how to get direct bookings, I combat back with not only my experience, but over 1000 Other hospitality experiences in the last five years. And it's there's so much proof behind it right now is insane. And I'm looking forward to the back of this book, and to seeing everybody else's experiences moving forward for the next five and 10 years because we can really dig into this.

And I will agree with you right as you know, I'm also big on Instagram as well. And thanks for St. Barts, we have one of the biggest accounts. I just have two properties there. But my account is bigger than a lot of the famous hotels. Why? Because we're there, we actively don't spend too much time. We also are using Instagram to convert people into newsletter subscribers. So then I can email them and you know, tell them about, you know, the island, what's new? What's happening? Is the island open to travelers? What are the curfew rules, all this fun stuff. But again, they learn to trust me and depend on me. And also that kind of, of course, show them my properties and give them some discounts. If they want to explain to them the book direct. I do it myself. But I'm still staying in the OTAs.

What you should do

You have to balance out you have to balance out. And just before I go into that point, just to bring it back to what you said about you became the go to, that's why it was so popular. And you've got a really good podcast episode and a video that you did where you talked about this, and you laid it out with what you did on Instagram and how you did it for saying that. So do go and check it out everybody, but you became the go to.

So when people were sort of looking for advice on travel and whatnot, they came to you. And I see Damien, Mr. Damien Sheridan in the audience, from the book direct show do go check that out. He has got a really good example of this with a blog that he created for his property in Spain, he created a blog about bus stops and about bus routes. And that blog was put together really well, because he's very good with his SEO. And it was able to direct so much traffic to his website and to his business from literally from people Googling, what is this bus route, this journey in wherever he is based in Spain.

And again, this is, this is just like one example of how to do it. But it's about becoming the go to, it's about becoming the place and the recommendation that people do. And it's so, so easy, easy, easy to do. It's just, you only know what you know, you don't know what you don't know. And this is why I put this book together. So I want everybody now, to sort of not have an objection, say I don't know what to do, because it's literally written in 222 pages right here, you don't have to go and troll all of my podcasts, the 400 Plus podcast or the YouTube, but you don't have to invest in the Boostly academy or anything, you can literally just pick up this book and get started.

And there's literally a tactic in there that will help you know, to go back to the percentage. I personally believe and another some people have a buyer, for example, amazing host based in Canada properties that are in America and Canada. She is a whole 100% direct bookings, which is which is great. She's got 20 years plus experience got all the marketing channels going on, I feel that for the majority of hosts, you've got to have a balance. Because there's an there's an argument if you go 100%, direct, and if you turn off all of the OTAs Well, what happens if your marketing stops, what happens if your referral stops, and you've got to start literally from from scratch again. So you've got to balance it out, you've got to have an active list in everywhere.

And again, this book shows you exactly how to do it, you've got to have an active listing everywhere, you've got to have visibility everywhere, like the billboard effect that what we're talking about, you've got to have direct and you've got to have third parties and you've got to have a referral network in there as well. So if you are 100% Direct fantastic if you can let make it last for 510 1520 years. Fantastic. But please don't go cold turkey, please don't turn off any of the other channels, please don't delete your accounts. Because that that would not be not be good just for those rainy days.

And I agree with you right and so on. I think it's taking off my you have had them take you off my hat here. It's really really important as well that, you know, your site may go down you may have a provider any kind of reason you may have happens to happen to me what I forgot to renew my domain name, how stupid can you be? I'm so busy. I forgot. Right? I managed to get my domain back.

But still, if that happens, and you have deleted your accounts, your listings on the other, it's just too bad bring up. You may have gotten good reviews on these OTAs keep them well I think what the advice here is like just you can be you can have a an active listing here, but you don't need to give them your full availability right you'll need to get your best dates to the OTAs. But do do it for shoulder season off season. Why not that case? If you think you might not be able to catch people usually right that's my advice.

I also want to give a shout out to Daniela who Hello Daniela who says also book direct of course is better for sustainability for supporting local community because the money is staying in, in local area.

Can you sell me the book directly without commission. And this is really important. It brings me back to what I was saying before. I have not got any avenue of potential way of selling you a book directly. This is how much Amazon and monopolized the book world. This is scary. You know, this is why it's scary to me. But if we keep letting air b&b grow the rate that they're growing at the moment the same 15% Because they have to play on par with and VRBO. But what happens if they keep getting bigger but this is with Amazon right now, I have not got any way to do this directly. I cannot get the book to you through Kindle directly I cannot get the book to you. I'm literally saying Kindle Kindles not a not a thing that that is the business. It's like I'm saying Coca Cola right now instead of saying fluffy beverages that will melt melt your skin.

I cannot sell this book to you directly because it has to go for Amazon I literally cannot do this directly. So this is why it's really important. So you know I'm having to take that cup because there's no other revenue you as hosts, as property managers, you have still got this ability. So make hay while the sun shines. You know, I'm a son of a farmer, make hay while the sun shines and take advantage of it. And you know, I'm preaching to the choir because everybody in this room is doing direct bookings in some way shape or form. After this, I'm going to be speaking on another podcast, which is very much Airbnb, and I'm gonna have a much bigger battle than I have in this one. But this is why we have to keep talking about so important.

And to conclude here again you mentioned Damien, Damien, who's the book direct show will happen again this year. It's not there's like multiple resources.

Reach out to Mark

The best thing to do right now, just go to get the book get started. And then once you've got the book, you'll be introduced to my world.

The Kindle is only 7.99 pounds so it's like 10 $10.08 euros and in your in the world once you're in there, then I'll you'll open the door to all the team Boostly and there's so many team Boostly members in there in this chat today, which is great. 

And whatever we'll add as well as that I know when we just said to this show you got you're either either live or watching replay by the way you had access to a dropbox folder, we have these resources you can should be posting today, because they actually about 2.2 helping guests understand that they should go direct or why they should. So make sure you are using the resources today because today is the day is the hashtag book direct day.

Mark's final message

Thank you very much for tuning in. And for anybody who is watching on the replay, please do please do get involved please, please do go get the book My goal is to get this to the number one on the bestseller above all the books are on Airbnb. There are so many books on Airbnb for our non about direct bookings. So let's get this above the Airbnb books. And the only way we're going to do so by leaving a review and going to get the Kindle audible print tonight and go and do it.

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