Local Bird – a virtual concierge service

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In this podcast, Liam introduces Ben Levy, who shares insights about LocalBird (Localbird.io), a virtual concierge for vacation rentals. LocalBird enhances guest experiences through personalized local recommendations and services.

Hosts can join for free, share unique links with guests, and earn 10% from each booked experience. The platform aligns with the direct booking strategy, promoting seamless user experiences and encouraging direct bookings.

With ambitions to expand globally, LocalBird aims to be a market leader in virtual concierge services.

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Timestamps (audio)



[00:00:00] Liam: Hello everybody. And thank you for joining us on the Boostly podcast. This is the podcast that gives you the tools, the tactics, and the training. So you can get more direct bookings. My name is Liam Carolan, and today we are shining the Boostly spotlight on one of the services that will help you and your guests live like a local.

[00:00:19] So let me introduce to you Ben Levy. He is the CEO and founder of LocalBird. Welcome along, Ben. Thanks for having me, Liam. No worries. So I'm not going to steal any thunder away from you, Ben. Uh, I know sometimes I like to give an introduction to your service, but, um, I'm going to let you introduce yourself and LocalBird.

[00:00:36] So let's get started by saying, uh, you know, introduce a little bit about yourself, whereabouts in the world that you're, you're broadcasting this from. And, um, yeah, anything else you'd like to say about yourself before we then dive into LocalBird?

Bens Intro

[00:00:49] Ben: Yes. So right now I'm broadcasting this from Miami. Um, I grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

[00:00:55] It's a small cellar outside of Philadelphia. Uh, and, uh, when I was 19, I moved to Israel. I served in the military. After that, I went to school, uh, started kind of a little startup that was a marketplace. Uh, so I was trying to, you know, understand how to communicate. You know, get into entrepreneurship through that.

[00:01:14] Um, and local bird is a virtual concierge for vacation rentals. Um, and we help, uh, vacation rental managers provide more value to their guests, uh, while being able to monetize off of the experiences and services that their guests are booking during their stay. And it kind of started when we, you know, at the peak of COVID, um, when, you know, everything was shut down, our original, uh, startup was kind of, um, you know, didn't work out because of kind of what's happening around tourism.

[00:01:50] And we stayed a vacation rental in Hawaii. And, you know, we were looking for things to do, uh, specifically want to run a surfboard and we asked the host, uh, you know, if he can help us with recommendations, uh, and he gave us, uh, you know, this, uh, guidebook or like this. You know, a binder with a bunch of like printed, uh, you know, information that was, uh, that was, you know, at that moment, we understood that there's a lot of, you know, opportunity in digitizing the guest experience, especially.

[00:02:24] Uh, when it has to do with finding local experience and services.

[00:02:28] Liam: How did you feel when you first realized that it was a good, you know, a good idea that there's, you know, something in this that you can develop? And what problem do you think it solves overall? What is the, uh, in, in one or two lines, what, what sort of problem does it solve?

[00:02:46] Ben: Yeah. So, you know, At first, we weren't sure that, you know, transactions were going to occur. You know, we figured we're going to give this as a service, uh, to hosts and, you know, we, you know, we aim to, to get transactions and do whatever we can to make it happen. But, you know, it wasn't a given, but once it started working, it was a little bit of a surprise to us, um, that, you know, people were going and booking things, uh, you know, through the service.

[00:03:11] Liam: Where did the name local bird come from?

[00:03:14] Ben: Um, honestly, I think at first it was something with a bird. I think it was like something else. Um, but it kind of evolved, I guess. You know, as soon as we launched, um, and we, you know, had to figure out a name cause we had the logo with the bird. We were just, you know, looking for something, a bird is a symbol of freedom, uh, in a lot of different cultures.

[00:03:35] And, yeah, just if it, if it together is like, has to do with, you know, travel and

How does a host get started?

[00:03:40] Liam: how does a host get started? So if there's going to be hosts listening into this thinking, well, you know, how do I get started, um, and, uh, how do they interact with, with the platform?

[00:03:52] Ben: Yes. So basically you can go into the website and, uh, you know, sign up as a host.

[00:03:56] And then from there, uh, you know, we'll, we'll get on a Zoom call and chat, but you can basically from there, uh, you can share your link, uh, in the post confirmation emails, uh, as well as send, uh, the link pre-arrival, um, and through a QR code. And, uh, you know, we're trying to get creative with how we share, uh, our, uh, our experiences with guests, uh, through, you know, various, uh, blog posts and discounts that we're offering.

[00:04:23] Um, so, yeah, it's really kind of a partnership kind of scenario where we're constantly trying to, uh, provide more content and, and more experiences. to then offer the guests.

[00:04:37] Liam: Why would those local service providers want to get

[00:04:40] Ben: involved? Yeah. So actually like whenever there's a place where there's a lot of tourism, a lot of times, you know, most of the travellers that are booking things with tourism providers are coming from hotels and vacation rentals.

[00:04:57] So the hosts are actually in a unique position to sell those experiences and to partner with Uh, the local vendors and, you know, we've had local vendors that we've reached out to, and they told us, yeah, we're actually looking for vacation rentals and property managers, uh, to partner up with, so it kind of, you know, fits perfectly, you know, when we kind of are trying to digitize and streamline that transaction, as opposed to having it happen, you know, with, you know, a bunch of phone calls and, you know, tracking, you know, how much commissions are being owed to who and, and, uh, and manually facilitating the transaction.

[00:05:30] Liam: How do you get paid as, as for your service? You know, is there a signup fee or is it a case of are you making money on the transactions? And, um, you know, how does the host get paid as well?

[00:05:43] Ben: Yeah, so it's free for hosts. Um, our business model is based on marketplace transactions. So whenever a guest books an experience, Through local Bird, uh, will have a take rate that we charge the vendor and will, uh, give a portion of that to the host.

[00:06:00] So the hosts are earning 10% off of each, uh, of each experience that's built through our platform.

Are there any aspects that help promote direct booking?

[00:06:06] Liam: Is there any aspects? One of the things we do on Boostly is talk about direct bookends. And are there any aspects where you can think this helps promote, um, direct bookings? And if so, how?

[00:06:19] Ben: Yeah, I think, uh, you know, what we're doing is directly aligned with the direct book like the book direct strategy because, um, you know, if you're not relying, you know, on a air on, you know, Airbnb or booking or O.

[00:06:32] T. A. Um, then you're kind of on your own in terms of providing, um, the seamless user experience. And you're competing things. With, you know, with people whose whole job is to create that seamless user experience, um, and one of those, uh, like one part of that, that experience is, you know, giving the local experience of the place that you're, that, that you're, you know, your destination is because people aren't coming and, you know, saying, Hey, I'm.

[00:07:00] So excited to stay in this vacation rental. They're coming and saying I'm so excited to stay in this destination. Um, and, and that's like once you kind of incorporate that in the user experience of, you know, while they're booking and after they're booking providing those experience and, you know, and being able to monetize off of that, um, is really what we're going for.

[00:07:22] Um, and that's, I think it's also a good way to, uh, you know, give, uh, you know, an alternative booking experience that's not as, uh, I mean, that is equally, uh, You know, smooth and seamless.

The Future of Local Bird

[00:07:36] Liam: What does the future look like for local Bird?

[00:07:40] Ben: Yeah. So right now we're, we're super focused on, uh, on expanding in the U.

[00:07:44] S. Um, and, you know, we're looking to, you know, to be a global brand. Um, and, you know, Really consolidate our position as the market leader, uh, of virtual concierge services, which is, uh, you know, a pretty loosely defined term nowadays. Uh, but we're looking to, you know, to set the standard for what it's supposed to look like.

[00:08:05] Liam: Thank you so much for your time and thank you. If you're listening to this or watching the live, I know there are a lot of places you can put your attention and I thank you for putting it with Boostly. Hopefully, you've got some good insights into local birds on this, and we look forward to seeing you on the next one.

[00:08:20] Thanks very much and uh, bye-bye for now. Having a blast. Gonna get it on the

[00:08:24] Ben: Bruce Lee podcast. Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee 'cause it's so hard on the tea's loose leaf, making up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.