How to build a direct booking business with less than 5 properties

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 478. In this podcast episode I'm going to be showing you how you can create a direct booking brand without a PMS. This is ideal for start-ups with 1-5 properties who aren't ready to take the leap to a PMS yet.

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Here's the audio for this episode:

Here's the video for this episode:


Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Introduction
01:35 – How to get started with creating a direct booking website
05:04 – Breaking down the key aspects of your website
08:06 – How to take booking enquiries
11:32 – Use an accreditation to gain trust
13:41 – A recap on having a direct booking brand without a PMS
15:07 – Use Listify to help create your listings

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

[00:00:00] Mark: All right. I've been asked a question. Um, and this question has come from the amazing Netty, Annette, and, uh, Sarah from thanks for giving podcasts as well as other amazing things. I'm so looking forward to meeting up with them very soon in Nashville at the short term rental wealth event. And the question was this…

[00:00:22] Mark: I totally understand about book direct. I totally understand. About direct bookings. I totally understand all these things, but there are people in our community in our world that wanna do it. Proper scrappy, do style. They wanna do it. No PMs, no property management software. They just want something that, where they can have a basic website.

[00:00:43] Mark: They want to have something that is there that can build the trust, build the brand show that you are a proper business, but not have to do all the tech. And they asked if I could put something together. And I, and I jumped at the chance because the first ever, every person that I helped when it comes to short term rental and all of our jazz was somebody close to me, which was my parents.

[00:01:08] Mark: They had. Nothing in place in terms of an online book insight, in terms of a website, a proper website, they didn't have any online travel agents. They didn't have anything. We had to start from the ground up proper scrappy style and the first ever client that I ever put a website for, they didn't have. A property management software, dynamic price, and it didn't have all of the things.

How to get started with creating a direct booking website

[00:01:35] Mark: So I wanted to record this video to show how to do it scrappy style, to show how to do it. And what I wanted to do is I wanted to show you what you can do and how to do it. Now I wanna give a little bit of context to this. This tactic is gonna be ideal for anybody with one to five properties. Now I don't care if you are doing.

[00:01:57] Mark: Buy to let short term let, or if you're doing the advertise model or management company, co-hosting whatever you want. Call it one to five. This is ideal for you. If you've got more than five as in six plus, please just for your sanity and my OC D that's the next level. This is a different video. So if you're at six plus properties and if you're still.

[00:02:20] Mark: You know, doing it all on Airbnb or doing it with pen and paper for me, for my sanity for, for my OCD and for your sanity, uh, makes sure that you take the next step up. You do need a property management software. You need to start building that proper business. Um, and that's a total other conversation.

[00:02:38] Mark: That's a total of a video. Uh, if you wanna just come to Boostly and chat to us directly, uh, go to boost Lee B O OST L Y book in a call. And we'll go from there and show you. But this is, this is the scrappy video, but I wanted to talk about one to five. So there's gonna be a lot of people watching this because 86% of the whole market is anybody from one to 10 86% of the whole market.

[00:03:02] Mark: So there's a lot of people who need to see this video. So thank you very much for Sarah1 for prompting me to do this. And like I said, this is a video. So let's have a little look at the core basics and I'm gonna share my screen. And as you can see here, I'm in the bottom, a right hand corner, and we've got the website in the background.

[00:03:22] Mark: Now, the first thing that, what you need to do, even if you don't want a property management software, even if you don't want all of the things, you still need to have a website that a future potential guest can go to. That is going to trust you. Now you could send them to a Facebook page, you could send them to your Instagram.

[00:03:43] Mark: You could send them to wherever you want 'em to go. But unless you've got a website that clearly shows that you are a proper business, then you are never gonna build that trust when it comes to handing money over, especially with something so important as a. you need to have that trust factor. This is not buying something on eBay.

[00:04:01] Mark: This is not buying, um, something on Amazon. This is a vacation where people make memories. Okay. So you've got to make sure that you build that trust and that loyalty. And like I said, I don't care if it's 1, 2, 3, or four or five properties, you need to be doing this as soon as possible. Now what you've got in front of you is a, is a boosty, uh, DIY website or a done with you website.

[00:04:24] Mark: As I like to. One of the biggest pain points for anybody in one to five is that they don't know what to do. So they hear, they need a website. They go and look at WordPress, but then they see how confusing it is. So they leave, they get overwhelmed and leave, and then they go to WEX, Ws or Squarespace, or even worse, like a, like a Google free website.

[00:04:45] Mark: And they are crap. They are shocking. They don't work. So what we did and what I did is we created something that is built 80% for. And all you need to do is personalize it, but this is the exact layout that you need for your website. So lemme just quickly base break it down and show you what you need to do.

Breaking down the key aspects of your website

[00:05:04] Mark: So the first thing at the top here, you need to state who you are. You need to state who you serve. You need to state how they can make a reservation or an inquiry. So, what we've got is a very raw example. It's obviously a nice picture in the background, little bit of text, text, and then how they can make a reservation or book or et cetera.

[00:05:27] Mark: Okay. So that's the first thing that they see. And if I minimize the screen, you'll see that it will pivot and, um, go slightly different for mobile. Okay. So you gotta make sure you always check it on mobile. And if you wanna do that, go onto a laptop, grab the bottom corner and, and drag. So make you gotta make sure that it looks good on mobile as well as on a desktop or a laptop.

[00:05:51] Mark: Okay. Next thing's next. What you then need to do is you need to introduce yourself. You then need to show off your properties. If you've got more than free, what I recommend you do is you just put your free best ones. So these are the ones that are like your favorite ones. , you know, and sometimes I know it's hard to pick a favorite.

[00:06:08] Mark: It's like asking which ones, your favorite child, but, you know, it's the ones that I've got the best reviews or, you know, the showcase sites. Then, what you need to do is you need to talk about your property highlights. So then why do people book with you? Is it luxury? Is it large properties, small properties, you know, what do you do?

[00:06:25] Mark: Do you have pets? You know, do you a lot of families, whatever it is, you're gonna do it here. And then anything that you offer, you could do air pop pickups, you could do, um, fishing trips. You could do days, hour excursions, Yogi, or whatever it is, whatever you offer, you pop it in there. You could do, you know, extended cleans.

[00:06:42] Mark: It could be whatever it is, whatever your sort of USP you pop it in there. Um, if you have an email is fantastic. If not, you don't need. and then have your reviews. Now the cool thing about what we do is if you are looking at that and you're going, wow, that's really confusing. Well, we've already created this for you.

[00:06:58] Mark: So again, this is 500 us dollars, 399 pounds. Um, if you want this message me directly market boost dot code at UK, I'll show you how you can get it. It's all being created for you. All you need to do is switch out the pictures and swap out the text. That's literally it and personalize your, your listings.

[00:07:16] Mark: Super simple. And we've got a support team and a Facebook group that will help you do it as well. Now, for some of you that have got, uh, management companies, we've also got a management page as part of this site as well. So if you are looking to establish trust, established a brand, something that you can put in front of a landlord or a real estate company, or whoever to sort of showcase who you are, then we've got a management page as well on here.

[00:07:42] Mark: That will, again, you just swap out the images, swap out the text, personalize it. Off you go, these are really effective. And that these are really key for when number one, save it. You chatting to somebody in a supermarket, you find out that they are, you know, staying contractors, business people. You can send them that website and be confident that it's going to showcase who you are and what you do in the trust and how to establish that, that trust so that somebody can then contact you.

How to take booking enquiries

[00:08:06] Mark: Now, the big point here is okay, well that's a bit well, and good. I've got here, but how do I actually take a booking? Now, obviously, if you are not going to have a property management software, what you need to do here is you need to be able to give them the, the easiest way for, to be able to inquire with you.

[00:08:21] Mark: So what you'll notice on the website, if I share my screen again, is that we've got the live chat in the, in the bottom corner here. So with live chat, what it basically means is that when a guest is on the site, I'm gonna highlight it just here. When a guest is on the site. They can then click on that button and it will send you a text message, a WhatsApp message, or they can even send you an email directly because what they're going to do is they're going to send that message.

[00:08:56] Mark: Okay. And they're going to in come to your inbox, text message or whatever that may be. Because you're not gonna have the PMs, the instant booking is off, but for a lot of people who don't want a PMs who don't want instant book, and this is a great way to be able to chat to the guests before they make the reservation.

[00:09:12] Mark: Now, as far as the calendar goes, the cool thing is, is that I assume all of you right now have got, um, an Airbnb listing. Well, what we'll be able to do is we'll be able to link in your website to the Airbnb. Account and you're listing via a little technology called I count. So the calendar will be linked up.

[00:09:33] Mark: So they'll be able to see what the availability is like, but they won't be able to make a book in direct. What they'll be able to do is they'll be able to message you directly. So if they won't be able to instant book, so they'll be able to message you directly. And then you are still in control. Now in case of taking payment, in case of the next steps, there's there's many options you could set up a Stripe account.

[00:09:57] Mark: You could set up a PayPal account, both of these, just take five minutes to do they a again, super simple. Um, it's our most recommended sort of payment platform is Stripe, or you could do PayPal, or if you wanted to, you could do it old school and send out an invoice. Now the one thing that, that I've always mentioned.

[00:10:15] Mark: And the one thing that, um, is something that has been sort of hammered home to me over the years is that money loves speed, but it hates friction. So what you need to do for your future potential guest is to be able to give them an option, which is super simple to pay for you. So say they send you an email to go, Hey, mark, I'd love to stay over you.

[00:10:32] Mark: So you've got decks available at, at X property. Yep. Fantastic. Here's how to make the payment. You can send them a link. Super simple invoices are all well and good, but invoices do slow down the process. So by sending out the link again, um, it's super easy for, to do, and everybody knows now about Stripe and PayPal, et cetera.

[00:10:51] Mark: Now, when it comes to you and it comes to sort of guest protect, so house protection, host protection, obviously everybody has heard of, um, air cover. Now super hog is the best off Airbnb platform for the, for the insurance. And for the guest protection. So you've got super hog and you've got gho. They're both part of the same company, but this just means that it protects your listings.

[00:11:15] Mark: It protects your homes. So once the, the, the sort of the reservation has been made, or the inquiry has come in, you can then ask the guest just to fill out this details and it protects your listings out of everything that is out there. This is the most simplest to use. And it's the one that'll give you the most protection.

Use an accreditation to gain trust

[00:11:32] Mark: So super definitely want to check out. Now, uh, a thing that I've also talked about a lot is, is giving you that accreditation, because one of the main reasons why guests book with Airbnb or or VRBO is because they feel safe because they know it's a recognized brand. So how are you Mr.

[00:11:53] Mark: Startup, Mrs. Startup one to three, one to five listings going to have that accreditation? Well, this is where IRAK comes in. IH, from You can go there and you can, um, Speak to them booking a demo, because what they're able to do is they're able to give you a certification certificate that you can put on your website.

[00:12:14] Mark: And it's unique to you. Um, this has been one of the, one of the game changers in the industry. We've got over 200,000 properties listings, uh, part of their system. And it definitely provides that trust factor to a host. Um, so alongside super hog Adho then you you're having that trust factor and it's giving you that, that confidence as well.

[00:12:35] Mark: So having a boostly website with super hog guard hog IRA is definitely a nice little, trife a nice little triangle. Um, one things that I also like to mention as well, is that if you want to. Turn a guest into a superfan. If you want them to have the best guest experience, one thing that I wish everybody was doing, and I assume that a lot of you are doing it already, but I know some of you who aren't go ahead and go and get yourself a, a digital guidebook.

[00:13:04] Mark: You've got host fully, and you've also got touch day. Those are the two market leaders, both as good as each other. Uh, I love 'em both the same. Um, and again, with Hostfully guidebook or touch day guidebooks, what it does is it gives your guests that personalized, customized itinerary before they even arrive and with it as well.

[00:13:23] Mark: You've got a chance to boost a guest experience. You've got the opportunity to like, say communicate. Your host. So your guest and at the back of it, you're gonna get those five star reviews, which means you're gonna be able to, to get more bookings, more direct bookings, more people come into your website, more referrals.

A recap on having a direct booking brand without a PMS

[00:13:41] Mark: And who knows if you're looking to grow and expand out of the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 sort of properties into six, this is the foundation. How to do it scrappy. so let's just recap very quickly to have a direct booking brand, a direct booking business, but where you don't have to have, you don't want to have that PMs technology.

[00:13:59] Mark: You don't wanna have that property management software technology. Here's a recap on what you need to do. Number one, have a WordPress website. If you don't wanna set it, all the things up for boost sleep for literally $500, 3 99 pounds. We've created it all for you. All you need to do is personalize a copy and change the images around.

[00:14:17] Mark: If you struggle with that, then we've got a support team that will help you behind the scenes. And if you even struggle with that even further, there's two people that we outsource to, but you can pay them directly. And it's a very low, hourly cost and they will put it together with you. Um, so again, we keep it simple.

[00:14:32] Mark: then what you need to do is you need to make sure that you have that trust factor, not only for the guest, but you can trust a guest that's coming for your door. Super ho gho IRA. And then finally, to turn. Your guests into super fans, RA Raven guests, super Raven, guests, whatever you wanna call it, super fans, ones are gonna become like tell everybody about you.

[00:14:52] Mark: Having a digital guidebook goes a long way down the line because you're able to create that custom itinerary for them. You're able to tell 'em everything that they need to do. You may eliminate all the potential questions that you're gonna get. And again, it just keeps you, you, uh, you present and able to communicate with your guests as well.

Use Listify to help create your listings

[00:15:07] Mark: Finally, one final final one. A piece of technology that is helping everybody create copy. So this helps you for your listings. This helps you for your marketing. This helps you for your website is, is L I S T I FY brand new service specializing for, um, the hospitality and short term rental industry.

[00:15:28] Mark: It is helping you create copy. Which is fantastic. It will help you on your listing insights. It'll help you on your website and it'll help you with social media as, as well. Um, go to You can book in a, a free trial. Uh, I've been using it for boost lead and, um, I'm using it with the boosty members and it is working really well.

[00:15:49] Mark: So if you get on this now, you're, you're ahead of the curve on this one. So I've given you plenty. All I want for you to do is if you are struggling between one and five properties, you're struggling to come away from Airbnb. You're struggling. You wanna go multi, you know, you wanna do all the things, but you wanna build a D booking business, but yet you're struggling to escape, but you don't wanna do the property management software just yet.

[00:16:10] Mark: I've just laid out the foundation for everybody on what you need to do. If you wanna find out more from me, just send me an email, mark booster dot code UK. Again, thank you so much to Sarah and Nety for, for the prompt to do this. And I really hope this helps if you've got any questions on anything that I've shown you in this 16, 17 minute video, please feel free to reach out.

[00:16:29] Mark: Mark M a R K dot. As always, my name is max Simpson. I give host all over the world, the tools, the tactics to training and the confidence to go and increase your D bookings. Doesn't matter whether you've got one unit or you've got over a hundred properties. If you wanna find out more about me, got a booster dot code at UK, you can always go and grab a copy of this, which is the book D playbook.

[00:16:53] Mark: I've got over a hundred more tips in here on how to increase your diary bookings as always stay proactive. Don't be reactive and let's go and get some more D bookings. Thank you. So. 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 UK slash trust IRA at a sponsors of all of the boosty content and the reason why I work with them.

[00:17:20] Mark: 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. Trust that I am a true and real business. Will IRA take care of all of that. 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 S TL Y dot code UK slash trust.

[00:17:48] Mark: You can find out all the information there. You can book in a demo book in a call, and then you will get your super special off of it is only available to Boley peoples. Thank you again for tuning. Do go check out IRAK. We'll be back again very shortly with another podcast episode, but until then, we'll see you all very soon.

[00:18:04] Mark: Take care.


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