How to Partner with Brands and Improve Customer Service

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 519. In this podcast episode I will be talking with Marc Hostovsky who is the founder of Minoan, a company who helps hospitality owners connect with brands to provide a better customer service whilst benefiting both the brand and the host.


Here's the video for this episode:



Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Intro
01:39 – What is Minoan?
03:55 – Life for Marc before Minoan
10:09 – How did the concept of Minoan come around?
17:06 – How did Minoan get involved in the book?
21:21 – When is the best time to get involved with Minoan?
24:58 – What challenges did Marc face?
31:05 – Quickfire Questions

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Audio – Boostly Podcast




Transcript from the Episode

[00:00:00] Liam: So today on the Boostly podcast, we are gonna be shining the spotlight again on a one of the blueprint, um, authors. So the book direct blueprint. Um, and that is gonna be the CEO and founder of, uh, Minoan. Uh, Minoan has featured in the book Direct Blueprint and, uh, we've actually been lucky enough to have Ally on from Minoan, who's the head of growth, uh, growth there.

[00:00:28] Liam: And she shared a bit about what Minoan does, but today we've actually got the founder on and he's gonna be sharing more about the backstory, how the concept came around, uh, his story in general, and also some more, uh, tips and some more great stuff for us. So if you haven't already heard of Minoan, it's a great concept.

[00:00:47] Liam: It's an amazing service that really systemize. Furniture aspect of your business, and much, much more. If you're listening from the usa, then you can already take advantage of it. And if you're listening from the UK or elsewhere in the world, you're gonna want to tune in because this service is, uh, is growing all the time and, and maybe rolling out to a place near you at some stage.

[00:01:06] Liam: Um, so settle in as we find out more about Minoan, and particularly as I say, where the inspiration came from with the founder. Uh, mark Hostovsky. Welcome along Mark. And thank you for joining us on the Boostly Podcast. Yeah. Thanks

[00:01:19] Marc: Appreciate the intro.

[00:01:21] Liam: Thank you so much. So, um, I know we've given a, a little brief overview of, of Manoan, but before diving into you and your story, which I'm so excited to find out about, can you just, uh, give the listeners more of an idea of what Minoan is if they had not heard of it, you know, before this point?

[00:01:38] Liam: Yeah,

What is Minoan?

[00:01:39] Marc: I, I mean, what we really believe at Manoan is that brands and suppliers should view hosts as marketing partners to help them get their products in front of. More people in the form of guests and they shouldn't view hosts as customers for them to profit off of. So there's this deep belief basically as host as four walled influencers that are creating really special moments between people and products in their spaces.

[00:02:06] Marc: And Manon is basically a platform with a lot of technology and infrastructure. To allow hosts to sort of capitalize on that value and change their relationship with their suppliers. So upstream we give hosts access to discounts on over 200 brands. Uh, they can furnish their properties in one cart from one place, whether it's from 20 different brands.

[00:02:31] Marc: They can save, uh, a bunch of very steep discounts, save a bunch of money on furnishing. And what we also do is we build a shopable experience for each property. That we work with, so that if a guest is staying at the property and they really love the TV or the toaster oven, or the artwork, or the mattresses or the linens, they can go to this shop and buy the exact products they're using.

[00:02:56] Marc: We manage the fulfillment, the customer service and the order routing, and then the host can just sit back and collect a commission check. And so really this, it's this big idea of changing your relationship with your suppliers to be a little bit more of a partnership rather than customer, uh, you know, a customer relationship.

[00:03:15] Marc: Uh, and so that means saving money up front when you're bringing stuff into your property and earning money. On an ongoing basis, if you're creating a moment of inspiration and a guest really likes something that they used at the property and wants to buy,

[00:03:28] Liam: This is what I love about Manoan because before speaking to Allie and obviously yourself today and, and reading, I got sneak pre, uh, sneak peek of your chapter in the book as well.

[00:03:38] Liam: It's one of the things where I didn't fully understand all the benefits, but there's just so many, isn't there? The fact that you can save money, the fact that you can make an extra income stream, but. As you say, it's also improving that guest experience through having something a little bit different and, uh, a more tailored kind of stay for people, which is, is amazing.

Life for Marc before Minoan

[00:03:55] Liam: So there's definitely more on that side I want to get into. But before we do, mark, what I'd love to do is really, if you can take me back to a time before Mano and what was, what was life like, what career did you have, uh, you know, if you can really set the scene of, of what, what happened before you got into this.

[00:04:15] Liam: Yeah, I

[00:04:15] Marc: was working in, uh, retail in the us so I was working at an e-commerce, uh, startup called Um, yeah, which was an e-commerce marketplace. I was managing, uh, the sporting goods, um, business for a while there, and then, uh, the founders actually sold that business to Walmart for, uh, 3.3 billion. And so as part of that acquisition, I went over to the Walmart team.

[00:04:43] Marc: Um, and, uh, still manage, uh, a portion of the sporting goods business, but got a lot more familiar with the stores, the stores side of retail, the brick and mortar side. So, um, you know,, I learned a lot about e-commerce once we went over to Walmart, started to learn more about the store side of the business and, um, my biggest takeaway is just that the best product experiences don't actually happen on screens.

[00:05:12] Marc: The way they do in e-commerce. And they also don't really happen on shelves or in aisles the way they do in stores. They happen in real moments of use. And for me, that was really obvious because the buyers, you know, the people who are making these big inventory decisions at retailers, when they buy something, they get a.

[00:05:34] Marc: They say, oh, you want me to buy your product? Send it to me. Send me five of them, and I'm gonna put them through the ringer and I'm gonna test it out. I'm gonna see how it holds up. I'm gonna see if I like it. I'm gonna see if my friends like it. I'm gonna see if my coworkers like it. I'm gonna really see if this is a good product through use.

[00:05:50] Marc: I'm gonna use it. And if it holds up and we like it, then I'll buy it. Then we'll bring it into inventory. We'll put it on our shelves, we'll put it on our screens. So the buyers have this very rich interaction with the products. But then by the time the customer is interacting with that product, the rich interaction that the buyer has is then distilled down to, you know, a little bit of text on a screen on your iPhone, or we're taking these products and we're putting them in cardboard boxes and we're cramming them on shelves.

[00:06:21] Marc: We're putting a bunch of different products. So we're really diluting the richness there. And so that, that really bothered me when I was working in retail. Cause I was like, this isn't. There's better ways to do this. You know, like if, if I'm gonna, if I'm gonna buy a coffee maker, like I wanna brew a cup of coffee with it and see if it works, if it's easy, um, if I'm gonna buy this speaker, I wanna listen to the music that I like to listen to on the speaker in my own environment.

[00:06:52] Marc: I don't want to go to. You know, a store, like a Best Buy, I guess would be in the US and where they have a little speaker in the corner, they have one song queued up and it's like, you know, perfectly tuned for the acoustics. So I call that native. You know, this idea of like using products the way they're supposed to be used in an environment where you would use them.

[00:07:12] Marc: Anyways, we call that native retail, and it's sort of akin to like, Advertising. You know, you have advertising, which is like popup ads, and then you have native advertising, which is about taking an ad and. Enveloping it within the content of the piece. So it's not pop up, it's really just natively integrated.

[00:07:36] Marc: It feels much more natural. It's just within the flow of how you're consuming the information. Um, and it's highly effective. I mean, it's like the best form of advertising basically. And so we were looking at retail. We're like, well, instead of retail being on screens or being on shelves or representing these concepts, just put retail in the places where the products are

[00:07:57] Liam: being used.

[00:07:58] Liam: I love

[00:07:58] Marc: that. Sleeping on the mattress and they sleep really well after three or four nights. Just let, just make it easy for them to buy it and to bring those products into their life. And so that's, that's sort of how I started in, you know, retail. And you could, I guess, probably see how that then leads to hospital and short term rentals because we look at short term rentals and you know, we do a lot of evangelism here, but we're like, you are a four walled influencer.

[00:08:27] Marc: I mean, look at this setting. This is like a gold mine for a brand. They should love this. They should want to be here. And when we were talking to hosts, we're like, wait a minute. You're paying full retail for this. You're not getting any sorts of discounts or you know, how often are people asking about the mattress?

[00:08:45] Marc: Oh my gosh. Every month. Really? And you just send them the link? Yep. And you don't make any money on that? Nope. We're like, man, these hosts have so much value that they're not capturing or capitalizing on. And that's what we built Mano and. To really

[00:09:00] Liam: help unlock. I think you've, uh, I mean you've touched on so much there, but you've taken me back.

[00:09:06] Liam: Uh, I had goosebumps during, and your explanation there of, of how you really discovered this, uh, this, this concept in general because, um, I used to work in, in retail before, before I got to now short term, let's, and one of the things that we used to do is exactly that. We used to have cardboard boxes and, you know, I sold electronics and one of the things that we'd have is speaker.

[00:09:27] Liam: One of the best parts of the job was actually trying out all these awesome speakers, the amplifiers, setting 'em up for customers, and it was only when we created that connection. Did people start to spend money? You know, that was a real different, and that's why people came to us. And, uh, over the years, you know, it started to wind back to more just things in boxes, you know, like you say, small speakers in, in, uh, places like Best Buy and things like that.

[00:09:49] Liam: So it is so important, isn't it, for people to get hands on with products and as you say, the, the concept that we've actually got a kind of. Closed kind of market where people come and stay and experience usually something a little bit different to what they live in, but they get to try out these, these products and that's just a great idea.

How did the concept of Minoan come around?

[00:10:09] Liam: And that brings me nicely onto that, that next question, which is how did the concept come about? Well, I, I feel I've got an idea, but is there any more you want to add to that? Uh,

[00:10:21] Marc: the real sort of, I think aha moment was when my, uh, my, my now wife and I were staying at. Short term rental and upstate New York, um, while I was working at Walmart.

[00:10:34] Marc: And, um, we just had an incredible experience at this property. We woke up, you know, , we woke up and we were like, wow, what time is it? Eight o'clock. We, we never sleep in this lake. We slept through the whole night. What is this mattress? You know, rip the sheets off the mattress to figure out what the mattress was.

[00:10:52] Marc: We were checking the linens for tags. We're like, what are the, these are so comfortable, um, in the kitchen. Uh, you know, it was a, it was a petite, you know, it was a small rent. It was very well designed. It was small, and so the counter space in the kitchen was pretty compact. But the host did such an incredible job.

[00:11:14] Marc: Wall mounting the knife set and various appliances. So they used the space really well. And we were living in New York City at the time, which, you know, All the kitchens are come, you know, that was, that was our kitchen in our apartment was. Really, really small as well. And we were like, man, this is, they, this is so smart the way they did this.

[00:11:33] Marc: And, you know, like, and the knives were also really good knives. We went home and ended up buying new knives because we were like, we need new knives, or, or you know, this is what cutting a tomato should feel like. So, um, that was the moment where, and we emailed the host and we said, where'd you get all this stuff?

[00:11:50] Marc: We wanna buy it, you know, the, the, the knife said and all that. And she sent us a bunch of links. And I was like, wait a minute. You know, in my day job brands like this knife set, like this mattress, like this linen company are spending billions of dollars to try and create meaningful moments, you know? And they think all those meaningful moments are happening online.

[00:12:17] Marc: So there's pouring money into Facebook and into Google, and. And you can get, you know, that's a good investment. You can create moments there, but the real moments are happening in rentals like these, and rooms like these. And these hosts, like the host who's hosting us, they're, they're worth a lot more than they're getting credit for.

[00:12:40] Marc: And so that was the first moment where I kind of connected this idea for finding a better way to do retail to. You know, the actual people who are creating these moments, who, who deserve to get credit

[00:12:55] Liam: for them. That's awesome. So there's a host out there who doesn't know the, the influence that they've necessarily had.

[00:13:02] Liam: There's

[00:13:02] Marc: a, there's also a message just within that I think, like, people often don't realize the impact they have on other people's. And she was a lovely, that's a good call out. I should, uh, I should get back in touch with her. She was lovely. I mean, she also. It was my first, you know, talking about this industry and how great the community is.

[00:13:21] Marc: She was one of the first, uh, people I met who I really got to like, learn a little bit more about this.

[00:13:26] Liam: Well, we, we, we are always saying that Bruce Lee is, people buy from people, you know, it's just so important to build those human connections and those moments, um, you know, help, to help to shape those connections, don't they?

[00:13:37] Liam: Which is, is amazing. Yeah. So that was the concept we've talked about before. Where is Mano and now how, you know, sort of how many, um, different sort of types of furnishings or, uh, companies do you work with? How many people use the service and, and what does, what do things look like?

[00:13:55] Marc: Yeah, we work with over 200 brands, um, in the us.

[00:14:00] Marc: Uh, everything from furniture to mattresses, to linens, to pillows, to soaps, shampoos, uh, cookware, utensils, bowls, plates. I mean, pretty much every, you know, you gotta buy a lot of stuff. , you know, this, I mean, I've, I've looked at. Properties right before you opt on. Like, you know, when you furnish a property, you gotta buy a lot of stuff.

[00:14:23] Marc: And so we have pretty much, we have multiple partners who provide all of these items so you can furnish a whole unit 10 times over through Manoan. Um, and on the property side, I mean it's, it's, you know, we're doing significant volume every day in furnishing hosts and in order to. To guests. We have this, uh, slack channel internally.

[00:14:50] Marc: Every time a guest orders, whether it's linens or uh, a tea kettle or uh, pillows or whatever, you know, we have this internal system that's pinging us. And so, um, that is going off, you know, quite a few, uh, quite often I should say. And so, um, we've come a long way, I think in the last couple years, but we still.

[00:15:14] Marc: Um, there's still so many hosts we do not work with. There's still so many hosts who are buying stuff at full retail. There's still so many hosts, um, you know, who just view these furnishings as just a cost, like a line item, cost center, and they don't really see that. If you view these as an investment, how they can increase ADR and how they can actually generate incremental.

[00:15:36] Marc: Revenue. And so we, we still, you know, we're still young and so I don't think a lot of people know about us yet. The people who do know about us, uh, use us a lot. Um, and that's part of the reason why we wanted to write this chapter in the book is to talk about. Basically the chapter in the book is just about telling a host one to better appreciate the value that they're creating on the, for these suppliers, you know, whether they use us or not.

[00:16:03] Marc: I think understanding the value you have in the property and whether you use us or not, how, how they can go about thoughtfully furnishing. A space building, sort of this economic model that can create a flywheel where you can pay less for the things you bring in. You can earn money on top, you know, you can furnish with nicer things, you can, uh, refresh more often.

[00:16:26] Marc: Um, that, that's what we wanted to sort of give our playbook to folks in the, uh, in the blueprint. And obviously if you use us, we make, we , we make it really easy. I mean, we have all this technology. Uh, built that just allows us to be automated. But if, if you don't use us, you know, the goal is that someone could read that and still build their own system and benefit from it.

[00:16:49] Liam: It's definitely one of the things. And, uh, you know, just looking at the book in general, it was, I've been lucky enough to, to read your, your chapter and I know speaking to Allie is co-written, um, isn't it? As she was saying, that's, there's different aspects, which is really cool. I think it's a great, uh, great way of, of, of writing that chapter.

How did Minoan get involved in the book?

[00:17:06] Liam: Um, is there. Is you mentioned why you got involved in the, in the book. What I'd love to know is a couple of things. First of all, how did it happen and is there a sneak peek or snippet that you can share with, uh, with the listeners what they can expect from the chapter? Yeah, we,

[00:17:25] Marc: um, I think we had gotten in touch with Mark at one of the conferences and, um, I actually didn't see him speak, but, uh, he's quite compelling.

[00:17:36] Marc: I've seen videos, online and um, and, and Allie and Sage, I think had a really nice conversation with Mark in Nashville. I think in one of the Shortterm mental, uh, Uh, wealth conferences. And so we were sort of evangelizing what we believe in and um, and, uh, I think that's how we got involved in the book, you know, and we were talking about the message we wanted to push out to hosts and the best way to do that.

[00:18:03] Marc: And some, you know, knowledge that we felt like we could drop. And, uh, basically in the book, what we're giving people is, uh, a playbook and instruction manual for how to think. Furnishing, uh, or approaching furnishing your rental. Um, uh, how to break it out, how to stay organized, how to think about budgets, how to think about where to invest, um, and also how to think about recouping that investment over time, which is where the shopable side really comes in.

[00:18:40] Marc: Um, and we talk a, we actually give. You know, a little bit of our sales pitch to brands, so you could steal that, you know, if you want copy and paste and just talk about, here's how you could position yourself. You know, if you use Mano and we already get all the discounts for you and we've negotiated on your behalf, but if you're not using us, here's sort of how you can position yourself to get really strong pricing on, on, uh, on stuff and just, you know, improve the economics of your, of, of running your.

[00:19:10] Liam: I, I really enjoyed, uh, sort of listening to or, or, or, uh, reading the chapter in general. The wow moment for me within the, the chapter itself was how you, you talk about hotel rooms can all be the same square footage in size. Each hotel room can charge a completely different, uh, you know, sort of RevPAR revenue based on the, you know, what they're actually putting inside these rooms.

[00:19:36] Liam: And it was at that moment I was like, oh yeah, they can, you know, that's, we always consider, especially short term rental. I mean, we'll, we'll have people listening who've got Ben breakfasts and um, yeah, rental owners and motels, things like that. But when it comes down, Really, the furnishing makes so much difference, doesn't it?

[00:19:52] Liam: It's, it's amazing that that's

[00:19:54] Marc: the magic. The magic is not in the framing and the four walls, you know, there can be a lot of, you know, if you have a nice view, uh, there can be search, certain natural things that, that, but the magic is not. Just like the walls that go up or the size of the room, it's how that room is designed and what's in that room that makes things feel elevated or special.

[00:20:19] Marc: And, um, yeah, if you look at the square footage of a, I mean, Pick a brand. You know, if you, if you look at the square footage of a Comfort Inn hotel room, that's a big brand, you know, in the US and you compare that to the square footage of a Ritz Carleton hotel room, they're not gonna be that different. But you better believe the ADRs are very, very, very, um, different and furnishing and designs, not everything.

[00:20:44] Marc: They think about a lot of ancillary services to bring in there, but it's the anchor, it's the anchor point in that brand that justifies, you know, the higher. RevPAR and stuff like.

[00:20:57] Liam: Well, it's, it's like you say, it can, you know, it helps people experience a better way of, of, of going to, you know, to stay somewhere, doesn't it?

[00:21:04] Liam: Through, through good design. But then the fact that hosts can make extra income and also save some of the questions. Cuz I was one of them people, you know, reading the chapter, I was like, yeah, I've been asked about my be I've been asked about my mattress, you know, that and. Just, you know, it, it's one of those things where you just go, why didn't I think of this?

When is the best time to get involved with Minoan?

[00:21:21] Liam: There should be, you know, this, this seems like something which should have existed for a while, but it's, it's, so, it's an amazing concept in general. If, if there's hosts listening to this and who, uh, thinking, you know what, I, I might want to check you guys out. Um, when is the best time to do so? Is. You know, is it before they've got their first short term rental?

[00:21:43] Liam: Is it after a first few or is is there a perfect time or is it just as and.

[00:21:50] Marc: It's really, I think when you're in the stages of furnishing. Um, so that's when you have the most sort of influence over, like when you're thinking about what stuff goes into the property. And that doesn't matter if you've never done this before.

[00:22:04] Marc: We work with a lot of hosts who are like, I'm really interested in the industry. I just bought my first property. And we come in and we're like, all right, let us help you avoid like when it comes to bed frames, like don't get those. Metal ones with the wheels on 'em, cuz they always break and it's gonna cause an issue.

[00:22:22] Marc: You're gonna have to refund somebody, like just invest. Don't go, don't spend an arm and a leg, but invest in a sturdy, ideally, wood-based bed frame off the bat. And so we'll give them tools and tips to make sure that they avoid some of maybe the early mistakes that other folks would make. But we also work with people who are on their 21st, 22nd 30th, a hundredth.

[00:22:42] Marc: Property. And so it's really kind of designed to be a one size fits all. We are only in the US uh, right now, mainly because, mainly cuz we wanna really make sure we nail things in one market first. And there's like, um, you know, there there's like tax like that and there's a lot of stuff when it comes to like selling furniture or selling stuff that we need to, we need to understand better honestly before we expand.

[00:23:09] Marc: Um,

[00:23:11] Liam: But that's cool. How many hosts that you're already helping? You know, like most of half our listeners are, are based in the US and, uh, you know, places like Mexico and you know, the other half are Europe, Australia, uk, all, all over really. But when it comes down to, um, You know, the, the help. It is one of those things where even as a, a first time host, I was one of them first time hosts who had bags of receipts, whereas the concept of being able to log in somewhere and actually just buy all the stuff I need from one place, you know, like, it's just, uh, just amazing.

[00:23:42] Liam: So, uh, yeah, that, that aspect certainly appealed to me and I'm sure it'll appeal to people who are, are listening in as well. It's,

[00:23:49] Marc: it. You know, you need to systematize. If you wanna scale your operation, you need to invest and build the right systems. Systems for pricing, systems for managing guest communications systems, for, uh, acquiring properties, systems for all sorts of stuff.

[00:24:07] Marc: Cleanings, you know, it's all about building systems and letting those things work and then piling in properties. I think manoan. The best system when it comes to thinking about all the stuff that you need to buy to put into your property upfront when you're furnishing it. But even on an ongoing basis, the soaps of shampoos, the towels or something breaks, you know, um, that's, you know, we wanna systematize that side of it so we can let hosts, you know, get to what they do best.

[00:24:38] Marc: Um, just manage a.

[00:24:40] Liam: I can, I, I, I definitely identify with that, with actually looking at how we doing all of the, um, the soaps and the shampoos and that side of things. It's always something where we go, can we do this better, you know, to do it. So, um, definitely gonna, gonna have quite a few people looking at that side of, of Manoan.

What challenges did Marc face?

[00:24:58] Liam: Um, so obviously we've talked about where the business was, where it is now, the book. One of the things I'd love to know is, has there been any bumps along the way? Any challenges, um, that you've faced, and how have you overcome?

[00:25:11] Marc: Oh yeah. I mean, well, you know, right when I, uh, quit my job at Walmart to try and get this thing.

[00:25:21] Marc: Off the ground, which is obviously a scary step, you know, to quit a very secure job and jump into something that is insecure. The, you know, the, the pandemic, uh, that was like right in February of 2020. So, uh, right off the bat it was like, oh boy, not a good time to. To try and start a business at the intersection of retail and hospitality.

[00:25:45] Marc: Two industries that were getting absolutely decimated at the time. So that was some early adversity. And then, um, yeah, there, there's been a lot of, we're growing really quickly and so we have a very high level of service internally and externally. I mean, we really pride ourselves. We will do what we need to do to make hosts happy and make their lives easier.

[00:26:08] Marc: It's like we will wait on hold and get on the phone with supply chain and all this stuff so that you don't have to, and certainly as we've gotten bigger and bigger and bigger, we've had to recreate systems and establish new systems to get more efficient. You know, instead of dealing with brands on one off, we're doing so many orders that even if you have like 2% where there's.

[00:26:31] Marc: An issue or something, you know, it's like a lot of of issues. And so we've built new systems with our suppliers where we just batch, you know, we'll say, okay, here's all the open orders, here's the stuff we need to fix. You know, this person was, this person's order was missing a wheel, this person's order had arrived, broken.

[00:26:46] Marc: So, um, there's been, you know, there's been lots, I think, but that's what, you know, that's what you ultimately really sign up for when. Take the leap into anything new as, as an entrepreneur, whether that's a business like ours, whether that's a business like our hosts, where they're, you know, going out and, and, and so, um, I think the best thing you can do is just learn to appreciate, you know, you can react to adversity in two ways.

[00:27:16] Marc: You can look at it and freeze up and really get scared, and sometimes that's a natural reaction. Um, or you can look at. As a conquerable problem and start to get into solution mode and figure things out. And I think that, you know, we've done a good job of doing the latter and just like moving on to the next one.

[00:27:38] Marc: Cause they don't end, you know, people like think that you get less of those as you get bigger and more successful. But everyone you talk to is like, Nope. You just build better callous . You don't get, as you know, you don't get as bothered by them once you have experience.

[00:27:52] Liam: That's exactly it. Just more, uh, like you say, just more more able to deal with the next level problems as you move up.

[00:27:58] Liam: Yeah. Better at solving them. Um, so one of my questions was gonna be what tips would you have for, for hosts, but it sounds as though that would be the advice is, you know, get, get good at dealing with challenges and, and one of the things that Mark says is get comfortable being uncomfortable because, you know, as you have to push through that, um, which is cool.

[00:28:16] Marc: Yeah, I would say do your homework. I think. There's a lot of hype in the industry. There's a lot of, you know, you, you go on Instagram or whatever, there's gonna be lots of influencers who make it seem like, yeah, you just do X, Y, and Z and boom, you're just printing money and it's really easy. I'd be wary of that.

[00:28:38] Marc: Like it's always work, especially your first property, if you're managing it and you're cleaning it and you're doing guest communications. So, um, I'd say do your homework and really one, so picking the right property, picking the right market, being really intentional about how you're gonna furnish it. And two, yeah, get, you know, journey before destination.

[00:28:59] Marc: So start to enjoy instead of fixating on what it's gonna be like when it's done or how you want it to be. Enjoy that journey of making mistakes. Um, all the people that you admire, no matter what field they're in, if they're a host who have a awesome portfolio making a ton of money, I promise you, no matter who it is, um, they had a rough path rougher than a lot of times they lead on.

[00:29:23] Marc: And so just prepare for that. And if you can learn to enjoy that and appreciate that while in the moment, then you're gonna be, you know, it's pretty, that, that's a, that's a potent mix that it'll be, that'll take you.

[00:29:37] Liam: I love that. I absolutely love that. So one of the things which want to ask is, is what does the future look like for manoan?

[00:29:45] Liam: The future for Mann,

[00:29:47] Marc: um, is really about making our platform even easier to use, um, to unlock even more value for hosts. And so, um, Yeah, finding ways to add products to manoan in a really easy way. Even potentially thinking about enabling a way for you to onboard your own suppliers. You know, if you're in a market and you learn, like working with a local, uh, candle pourer or a local soap and shampoo company, or, you know, finding ways to make it really easy for a host to bring those into their experience, order them and bring them into the, the shopable side.

[00:30:27] Marc: Um, That

[00:30:28] Liam: sounds amazing cuz there's so many times that there's local brands and the trouble is with some of the local, uh, brands, is that they haven't got that kind of what, what you're speaking about early on, which is the system, you know, where, you know, they go out stock more often or, um, they, they can't always supply to the same, uh, demand can they.

[00:30:48] Liam: So, uh, you know, breaking that barrier is gonna be an awesome, uh, an awesome one. Yeah. It, it's

[00:30:53] Marc: sort of, for us, the future is taking some of the connections we've made. Thickening them and, and creating more tools that help hosts and more tools that help the suppliers deliver for hosts and stuff like.

[00:31:04] Liam: That sounds amazing.

Quickfire Questions

[00:31:05] Liam: And I mean, I could talk about manure and, and just hospitality for, for ages, but we like to, as we reach towards the end of these, do a couple of quick fire fun questions. Yeah, mark. So, uh, should we dive into the quick fire? These answers can be short or as long as you like. Um, but yeah, they're just a bit of fun basically.

[00:31:23] Liam: So, um, yeah. Uh, first question, uh, what was the first album you ever bought?

[00:31:30] Marc: First album I ever bought was, I think Stankonia by outcast. is 1998, um, which had Ms. Jackson bombs over Baghdad and a lot of really cool, uh, classics on there. I think that was the first album actually. My parents, my, my dad had to buy it for me cuz it was parental advisory, but that was the first album I remember like owning.

[00:31:58] Liam: You know, I can actually picture, there's, there's many that I wouldn't know, but I can actually picture the front of that. Never owned it myself, but, um, oh yeah, . Awesome. Um, question number two. What is the last gadget or piece of tech that you bought and how does it help you?

[00:32:15] Marc: Oh, man. I bought, I actually purchased something from one of our brand partners.

[00:32:19] Marc: It's called a Snooze and it's a white noise machine and it. I have a very active, you know, mind I'm not very good at. I'm not, you know, I wish I was better at meditating. I'm not. Um, and so this white noise machine is really good to just, it helps remove auditory stimulus basically at all, so that I can really focus on what I'm doing.

[00:32:43] Marc: Um, so yeah, I'll go with that one. It's a good white noise.

[00:32:47] Liam: That's a good answer. You know, I, I will check them out cuz that sort of stuff is, uh, to get a good night's sleep is so important, isn't it? Yeah. Um, so what is one lesson that your career has taught you that you think that everybody should learn at some point in, in their

[00:33:01] Marc: life?

[00:33:01] Marc: I have this large belief that people really underestimate themselves and underestimate what they're capable of, what they're capable of learning, what they're capable of getting good at. Um, I think in myself, I've, I've found things that I thought I could never be good at that just with, you know, reading some books and really being intentional about my time.

[00:33:25] Marc: I started to get pretty good at, and I've seen a lot, you know, I managed a lot of people at Jet and Walmart, um, who were earlier on in their careers and I just saw it all the time. It's like, um, Yeah, people underestimate themselves and it's a, it's a big, it's really a shame cuz we are capable of, um, a lot and sometimes we put ourselves in boxes and um, cuz we don't wanna get, we don't like failure.

[00:33:51] Marc: We don't wanna get hurt and so we like to play things safe. But yeah, I think that's the advice I would say is like, don't underestimate yourself. And that's the first step in, you know, if you can do, that's just the first step in unlocking, you know, a lot of different things that, that you could be capable.

[00:34:10] Liam: I love that. That is, that's an awesome soundbite as well, by the way. That is, um, and you mentioned in that answer being intentional with your time, and this is one of the things which, you know, you can, I can't remember who said it, there's a quote where you can look at somebody's calendar or their diary and really get an understanding of, of, you know, how successful they're based on how intentional they are with their, their time, which is, uh, which is.

[00:34:35] Liam: So we always finish on this question, which is, is there somebody who has inspired you or that you've got inspiration from? Yeah, I think that,

[00:34:43] Marc: um, the founding team at, uh, or the early senior [email protected], which is sort of where I cut my teeth in startups, I didn't, you know, I didn't really know what I was doing.

[00:34:56] Marc: Um, so people that I work closely with, like, I dunno, like Mark Laurie or Scott Hilton, or Eliza Landsman. Or Andrew Gasper or, um, I'm pretty motivated by them, um, because they were just building the plane as they were flying it. And in 10 months they took a company that didn't exist, was doing $0 in revenue and built it up to a company that was doing 80 million a month.

[00:35:26] Marc: So it was a billion dollar annualized run rate. Um, and so I often find. When things are challenging, I often find myself kind of going back to like, how did, okay, what about, how would they have handled this? Or when we had this problem, what did they do? And that's been really helpful. Someone that I, I think is really cool and people should learn more about is Estee Lauder, who obviously created a massive makeup empire, but she was so damn persistent.

[00:35:56] Marc: And when you read stories about her early on, it's just, Man, there was no, it's just a, it's just reading a story about a woman on a mission and it's like the shoe was gonna make this work no matter what. No matter what. There was no way this wasn't gonna work. And, um, it's pretty inspiring, I think, as. For people.

[00:36:17] Marc: I, I would recommend people read her autobiography and learn more about her, but sorry that I gave you a few answers there, but

[00:36:23] Liam: No, I love it. I, I, she's a recent one. I've written that one down as well. There's not often I'll actually make a note during it and, uh, I will go and check her out because, uh, determination is, is so important and it's great that you know, you're looking back at times in your life when you've been inspired by people who have probably faced.

[00:36:41] Liam: Challenges that you're now going through in your journey, you know, that's, that's,

[00:36:45] Marc: that's amazing. Yeah. And, and face challenges that I haven't, that I, you know, that I haven't even gone through yet that I, but I certainly will.

[00:36:53] Liam: Awesome. Awesome. So, um, before we go, obviously we need to know how the listeners can get in touch with you.

[00:37:00] Liam: Yeah. So

[00:37:01] Marc: you can find manoan online, manoan, and there's a little Join us button in the top right where you. Apply to be, you know, part of our, our group and our property partnership. Um, you can find us on Instagram at Manon experience. That's it actually, that's our handle. So at Manon experience, um, yeah, I'm Mark and my emails just [email protected].

[00:37:27] Marc: And you know, I love talking to people in the industry and host, so how you can get in.

[00:37:32] Liam: Thank you, mark, and obviously we've got to mention the book Direct, uh, blueprint. This is gonna be coming out September, 2022, so depending on when you're listening to this, um, where you can go and check it out [email protected] uk/blueprint.

[00:37:48] Liam: And you know, at the moment, you're about to preregister and get on the list ready for when it is released. Um, if it is, after that time when you're listening to this, then uh, you'll be able to make a purchase on that link as well. So, I think that's about it. Is there anything else, mark, that, uh, I've missed in terms of questions or any final thoughts?

[00:38:05] Marc: I don't think so. That was comprehensive. We, we covered a lot of ground. Sorry. I talk a lot. I know this probably went on longer than . I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed the

[00:38:14] Liam: conversation. I've really enjoyed it, and that's the cool thing about this. I I get to meet some amazing people and, and thank you so much for, for spending your time with us today.

[00:38:22] Liam: Uh, mark and uh, yeah, that's, uh, that's it from us. And, uh, thanks again.

[00:39:23] Marc: 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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