How to Increase Your Direct Bookings Without Relying on Booking Engines With Ben Porter-Smith

The Boost Hospitality Podcast is back for another season! And we are now in Season 6. And we are currently on the twelfth episode of season six! For this episode of Boost Hospitality Podcast, we will be talking about How to Increase Your Direct Bookings Without Relying on Booking Engines. And we have Ben Porter-Smith with us to share his opinion in this episode.

Ben Porter-Smith of BPS Digital, our guest for today will talk about not relying on booking engines

Ben has a digital marketing agency, as well as having a property portfolio.

He likes to practice what he preaches.

So he uses his properties, his rental properties around the button to practice little tactics and tips to increase his bookings.

And when they work, he then tells his clients about them. And it’s a phenomenal tactic.

So what we’re going to talk about in this episode is about email marketing, customer avatar and your picture.

We’re going to talk about what the main thing that he notice in a rental accommodation, people are doing wrong right now.

And we also talked about Google and whole other things.

I’ve been especially excited about this epic so well because Mark and I both operate in very similar fields.

We both know our stuff about marketing.

But primarily when it comes to learning property with marketing and how we can eliminate the massive costs that you incur from booking dot com, and Airbnb and all of those unwanted fees that disrupt your business, we want to put more money into your pocket.

A little bit about Ben

I’m Ben, and I run a digital marketing agency called BPS Digital.

What BPS Digital was brought in to do is resculpt the way a lot of people look at marketing.

So I focus my efforts primarily on startup businesses or people with low amounts of capital and those who don’t necessarily know how to get into the marketing world.

Because there are so many reasons that people don’t.

And there are so many reasons that people think that the marketing world is intimidating, or there’s too much advice going on, or it’s too expensive.

We’ve got a lot of marketing requirements, a lot of marketing needs, how can I start to spread the word with such little funds in my bank?

And how can I get better organically?

So I use things like Facebook, I use things like email marketing, flyers, business cards, and I use my website.

All of this very low overhead to start to grow a business sort of came from literally nothing with 150-pound budget, to something that I was very very proud of.

So overall, BPS Digital is here to change the perception that you have to give it tough in marketing, you have to spend thousands of pounds in paid advertising and booking engine.

Or a countless number of reasons why people are scared to get into marketing their business when in actual fact, there are so many things that you can practice today, that will change the way that you look at that and change the way your customers look at your business.

What was one of the core reasons for transitioning from the property into marketing?

So there are a few good components behind that question.

And I would say, talking from the experience side of working with Touchstone, you’re almost a must in a family-like atmosphere, where everybody there and everybody that works there.

And everybody that shares the knowledge that touched on gives is working on their own projects, working on their own property investments.

So there’s always so much knowledge circulate circulating around the office, whether it’s how do I get rent deal?

How do I market my products?

How do I pick up and grow all my HMO business, it doesn’t matter.

And the biggest takeaway from that was that the entrepreneurial world is a real thing.

Even having worked at a company and being an employee, you’re still very much encouraged to be an entrepreneur.

But what made my transition from the property into markets, and I guess is two things.

So obviously, Paul Smith being my father massively into a property.

And since we were very young, he’s taught us to think outside the box, look at other options in which we don’t have to follow the conventional system.

You don’t have to go to school, you don’t have to go to university.

And you don’t have to fight for a post-grad job with 1000 other applicants, because there are other options out there.

And it’s how can you use what’s in your head and what’s in your pocket to gain knowledge and gain investments in things like property?

What is the main mistake that you see rental owners make when it comes to marketing their properties?

I think it all stems from the misconception that you can take property, and you can put it on Airbnb, and you can put it on booking dot com or any other booking engine.VA making mistakes

And just wait for it to fill up. Now, that just isn’t the case, there’s so many reasons why it’s not as straightforward as that.

That’s the biggest thing that I teach. And the biggest thing that I share with all my clients is that SA is a product just like anything else.

So I like to use the analogy that if you took a pair of sneakers, and you want them up on your own website, you bought them up on Amazon or wherever booking engine they’re not just going to sell just because they’re there physically.

You have to think about what it is that you can do to market your product, just like added us advertise on your taxes, you have to make sure that your essay is getting the attention that it deserves.

So the ways in which we can do that is obviously there’s quite a lot of components.

But the big one, I would say is professional imagery, not more iPhone.

For us, we don’t like those because they’re not good, they don’t fit. It just makes the property look unprofessional.

So we need professional images. And we really have to get into the why your essay is above its competitors.

Because just like every other product based market, your essays got its competitors.

So what we have to do is analyze the service department and we figure out what makes it stand out from those that were sitting right next to it.

What are your favourite tools that you’re using for your clients when it comes to marketing? 

I’m always looking at new pieces of software and new technology aside from booking engines that I can use to make my life easier to be stand out in front of other competitors and stand out to my consumers.

So the one thing that I am crazy about is CRM systems.

Customer relationship management systems, they are they have grown my business more than I could fathom.

Because if you use them in the right way, you can really build a relationship with your audience without necessarily having to do an awful lot.

And that was one of the biggest things I picked up in my corporate career when I was working through various digital companies was that the fundamental of every in any business is a CRM system, whether it’s HubSpot, Infusionsoft, or Active Campaign.

And if you’re not necessarily familiar with what it is, I’d say the main thing behind the customer relationship management software system that allows you to do is automate your process.

So I use talkie as my channel manager, which is kind of like a CRM system allows me to merge my calendars for my essay apartments.

And it allows me to send out automated emails to guess.

So a good little thing that I like to do is I have a little sequence of automated emails and text messages when my guests are coming to my apartment.

The reason automation key is because we have quite literally hundreds and hundreds of different people coming into our clients throughout the year.

Listen to the full podcast with Ben Porter-Smith on iTunes and Anchor or visit Boost Hospitality Podcast for the full list of episodes!

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