Getting Your Foot In The Door With Direct Bookings

In this podcast episode, Liam Carolan discusses direct bookings for hosts, featuring Adrian, co-founder of Booking Mood, a vacation rental booking software in the Netherlands. Booking Mood offers a simple availability calendar and a comprehensive booking system for direct bookings and payments. Adrian shares the history of Booking Mood, emphasizing its recent growth.

Booking Mood ideally integrates with hosts' existing websites, supporting various platforms. Hosts can choose between direct client contact or a booking form with payment options. Adrian mentions the recent development of an advanced website builder within Booking Mood for a more professional web presence.

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[00:00:00] Liam: Okay. Welcome back, everybody. Perhaps you're a host who is dipping your toes into direct bookings for the very first time. You want to know what sort of steps you should be taking, things that you can be doing right now to, uh, to get involved in direct bookings, to put yourself out there. Today is the feature of the series, which is the spotlight where we shine the spotlight on interesting people, businesses, and services.

[00:00:24] Things that you need to know about, which is going to help you direct the book and journey. And ultimately it's just going to help you as a host. So I'm Liam Carolan, and today I'm excited to introduce myself. We've got Adrian de Jaha. He's the co-founder of Booking Mood. Really interesting piece of tech, and I'm excited to get stuck in.

[00:00:43] So welcome along Adrian.

[00:00:44] Adrian: Thank you very much, Liam. And thanks for having me tonight.

[00:00:48] Liam: No worries. No worries. So. So the listeners know, whereabouts are you currently what sort of time, whereabouts in the world are you coming from? I'm

[00:00:57] Adrian: now in the Netherlands where we are based with our team. Um, our head offices are based in, in Amsterdam, but, um, myself and a colleague of mine, we are based in the South part of Holland near the border with Belgium and, um, Yeah, we have an, uh, an office, our own office here.

[00:01:16] Um, it's, uh, it's in the city called Goes in the province called Zeeland. Um, and our main office is in Amsterdam where we've got some other colleagues working there. So, uh. Yes, based in the Netherlands.

What is Booking Mood?

[00:01:30] Liam: What, what is booking mood? Can you give us the elevator pitch?

[00:01:33] Adrian: Yes. Um, well, I think it's, it's quite, uh, easy booking mood is, um, is booking software, um, um, for, um, specially built for vacation rental owners.

[00:01:45] So, um, uh, with ours. Booking software, you can, um, on the other hand, on the one hand, you can create a very simple availability calendar. If you just want to show availability and you want to have the contact with your, uh, with, with the, with the clients, uh, uh, with a personal contact. And on the other hand, we have a, uh, booking, uh, calendar with, uh, with a system behind it that you can, um, Can create direct bookings and direct payments and everything in between, um, is, uh, is, is, yeah, within the whole booking system.

How did you get started?

[00:02:23] Liam: What is your history? How did, uh, how did you get started and what has caused this passion for direct bookings? Yes. Well,

[00:02:32] Adrian: The booking mood started about two and a half years ago. So, um, um, we're not that long in the market, but, um, we have a longer history within the, within the vacation rental market business, because I think about 11, 12 years ago, um, we had a, uh, agency, an internet agency.

[00:02:52] Um, We created websites and one of our clients asked, asked us to, um, create websites. Um, he had about three-holiday homes. He rented out, um, and he wanted, a pure and simple availability calendar for that. Um, I think it was then that we used Joomla. It's maybe, you know, it's early, but it's, uh, I think a CMS that that's not active anymore, but at that moment it was, uh, it was used a lot.

[00:03:23] Um, And there was not such a thing thing as a simple availability calendar. So we decided to create one. Uh, we, we brought a developer with us and he created it. Um, and it all worked very well. And we thought, well, maybe it's a good idea to put it online and, and, and maybe other people would like to, to buy it as well.

[00:03:45] Uh, and from the moment we put a website live with some, some text and, um, we did some, uh, Google, um, optimization. It all went. quite fast. So we grew, um, in, yeah, in, in 10 years from zero to I think about 3000 clients. Um, so it wasn't an, yeah, a nice way to start in this market. It was a lightweight product.

[00:04:12] Um, uh, we did support it, but because it was so simple, we did not really. Added new features because it was purely a simple availability calendar. But in the, in the last couple of years, we, uh, a lot of existing clients, but also new clients and, and, and people who were interested asked for more features.

[00:04:33] Um, so that got us thinking. Um, that we may be that maybe it was a good idea to, uh, to create a new or, uh, uh, more features or create a new product. And because the name of the product is, is, is what it does. Um, it was not. Not, uh, sufficient anymore. So we thought, well, let's start over again. Of course, the code we created for the calendar was also 12 years old.

[00:05:02] So, um, we thought let's start with a clean sheet, um, start with, uh, a new developer as well. So he became the co-owner, one of the co-owners, um, And that was the start of the booking mood. So, um, we started developing and, uh, two years ago, uh, two and a half years ago, and it took us about a half a year, to develop a whole new product.

[00:05:27] With extra features. So also the availability calendar, but also the, the booking, uh, the booking option, um, and early last year, we, um. We, um, yeah, we started with booking mood, we put it live and, uh, from there on where we grew again to about, um, I think about 1200 clients at the moment with it. So, um, yeah,

What do they need?

[00:05:51] Liam: what do they need in place to be able to work with Booker Mood?

[00:05:55] Do they need to have their website, for instance?

[00:05:59] Adrian: Yes, ideally, yes. Um, we have some clients who don't have a website who don't want a website, um, because they only use it, um, as a system for their background administration. Um, but, um, Yeah, I think 95 of our, uh, 95 per cent of our users have a website.

[00:06:22] Um, and it can be any website. So, um, if it's, it's, if it's WordPress or, um, uh, other, uh, CMS, or is it, uh, a no-code system like Framer or, or, um, um, a lot of the new, uh, um. Um, systems that come up, which are no code website systems, um, booking mood is, um, compatible in all those systems. Um, and it's, it's very easy.

[00:06:50] So you, um, when you create an account on Booking Mood, you can, um, yeah, create all your calendars, your widgets, um, all the pricing you want to put in. Um, and then you can very easily embed or create an embed code and you can put that embed code into your website. And that's it. Um, we, from the beginning on, we offered, um, um, also, uh, kind of a website.

[00:07:17] When we started, it was a very simple one page, um, one pager, uh, with only the, the, the necessary information. So some photos, some texts. Uh, the calendar and some contact information, but nothing more. Um, but for the last couple of months, we've been busy with creating a more advanced, um, uh, website builder within BookingMood.

[00:07:42] So now you can also create your. Yeah, kind of professional website where booking mood is integrated automatically. Um, but still, I think until now, maybe 90, 95 per cent of our clients use external systems, to have a website.

How do they pay?

[00:08:01] Liam: When it comes down to, you mentioned that you can control payment, you know, so they might have one price on Airbnb or hopefully not, but be using smart pricing by Airbnb or something like that.

[00:08:11] How did they, when somebody is. Seen the availability. So they've gone onto the client's website. How did, how do they pay? Is it a case of getting in touch via email or phoning the host? And then the host blocked those dates. Is it, do they need their payment merchants and stuff like that setup?

[00:08:33] Adrian: Yeah, it's, it's very flexible. So if you, um, just want to show the availability and, um, um, um, once a direct contact with the client, um, through, um, for example, email address, phone number, of course, that is possible. That is, what we started with, with availability calendar. com. Um, but, um. If, if, if, um, clients want a booking form where people can fill in their, their contacts, uh, details, um, and first they, um, um, choose the dates they want to book, um, then they, that's an option as well.

[00:09:12] So when they fill in the form, it will be sent to the. The owner's email address and the booking come in. And now it's also possible, to get a direct payment. So, um, what you see a lot is that people have to pay the 50 per cent or 40%, um, onwards, uh, before you. Enter, the rental on vacation. Um, it's, it's all very flexible, so people can choose what they want.

[00:09:40] Liam: Having a blast.

[00:09:41] Can I get it on the Boostly podcast? Bruce Lee is like Bruce Lee. Cause it's so hard on the T, it is loosely making up those rhymes. Don't write it. Just do it loosely.