Direct Booking

Optimizing Your Direct Bookings Strategy with Danny of Optimize Your Bnb

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 562.

In this episode of the Boostly podcast, Danny interviews our very own Mark Simpson as an expert in direct bookings for the hospitality industry.

They met in Bali before the pandemic and have since been working together to help resorts and other hospitality businesses with direct bookings.

Danny takes the viewer through his journey of direct bookings, starting with Airbnb, and asks Mark for advice and tips along the way.

Danny and Mark discuss the benefits of direct bookings, such as saving money on commissions and having more control over the booking process.

They also talk about the importance of having a website and using social media to promote the business.

Mark gives tips on how to create a website that converts visitors into customers and how to optimize the booking process for guests.

Overall, the interview provides valuable insights and advice for anyone in the hospitality industry who wants to increase direct bookings.

Here's the video for this episode:

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Video Introduction
01:23 – Mark's Introduction
06:05 – Boostly has a bunch of free material
10:49 – In an ideal world
15:40 – This industry is unique
21:02 – The Technology that's available to us now
25:05 – Our website is connected to all the property management software tools
31:16 – You don't have to reinvent the wheel
36:06 – Chargeback questions
42:04 – Outro

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] Danny: I'm here with Mark of Boostly Boostly specializes in direct bookings, which means outside of the platforms, outside of booking, outside of Airbnb. I met Mark at this point, it was pre pandemic, so at least three years ago we, we met in Bali and we were helping a resort kind of do direct. He was helping them do direct bookings.

[00:00:23] I was helping them on Airbnb. We had a week stay for free or something. And so I want to introduce Mark here and let him speak a little bit. And then what we're gonna do is I'm gonna take you the viewer on a journey through the direct booking process as I've experienced it started with Airbnb. Direct booking interests me.

[00:00:43] I started doing direct booking. I've made a bunch of mistakes. I have a bunch of questions. And Mark, is it too much to call you the best in the world at direct bookings at this point?

[00:00:53] Mark: I'd say one of, I'd say one of I I would I would never like to take the crown of the best because there's, there's some amazing people in this industry.

[00:00:59] But let's [00:01:00] just say one of them. Let's say I'm the go-to, I'm the go-to person when it comes to Direct bookings.

[00:01:04] Danny: He's bashful. I've done some research and. , I have, I have, I've done some research and I've determined that Mark is, uh, my guy for direct bookings. So Mark, give us a little bit introduction to yourself and then I'll, I'll.

[00:01:22] Take it back over.

[00:01:23] Mark: Yeah, a hundred percent. Okay. So, um, I'm one of the very few people in this industry, if it was born into hospitality, uh, I class, um, short term rentals, Airbnb, whatever your class this industry is, I class it as hospitality and I was born into it. Um, I'm from the uk as you can tell. by accent.

[00:01:41] I grew up in, um, a 200 acre. In the middle of the North Yorkshire Moores in, in the uk. Um, basically where, where we grew up, it was just Fields Field and a couple other houses. But, um, in between we were, we were nicely settled and located between two of the most popular tourist locations [00:02:00] in England. Now, um, London is obviously the most visited tourist destination in, in the uk, but after that it's, uh, it's the North Yorkshire.

[00:02:09] Coast, which is Scarborough and Whitby. And so the thing about that, the reason why I say that is that it's a very touristy destination. One in four houses is pretty much a hospitality related business, whether it's short term rental hotel or guest house. So I, I just grew up in a very touristy area. Um, I was so, Used to just having strangers in my house the whole time.

[00:02:30] When I first went to go play other friend's houses, I was confused why there wasn't, you know, other people there in the kitchen. So I was, I've, I've grown and it grown up and it lived and it worked. It breathed it for so many years. Um, 2002. So a year after nine 11, I got the opportunity to go out to America, which scared the life outta my mother.

[00:02:48] I was a soccer coach for seven years. I, uh, traveled all over the states, had an amazing time coaching soccer. But in 2009 I came back because, uh, I realized I was never gonna get my green card and I wasn't good enough to get any [00:03:00] visas. Came back to the uk, ended up working in London of all places in sales and marketing for, um, Yelp, which it was Quip at the time, sort of big review site, Yelp.

[00:03:09] And, uh, in 2012, Just after we've had our first child, Alfie, he's the eldest of four, when he was one, we moved back to the family business to help them get everything online because at that point in 2012, my mom and dad were still doing everything, um, on pen and paper in a book with Tip X and pens and, and all that craziness.

[00:03:30] And, uh, they had 14 guest rooms in, in their bed and breakfast. And then we just had planning permission to build free holiday cottages on their plot of. On, on our, just on, on our. And so it was our job to get everything online. And then from 2012 to 2016, um, you know, we, we, we grew everything and we grew everything through bookings.

[00:03:51] We've, drew grew everything through our own business and our own plan. We were 80% year on year bookings, and then 20% always came from [00:04:00] others, and others is on online travel agents. It was at the time that was really popular in the uk, the Expedia group, which now owns vrbo. Um, and Airbnb was like the up and comer.

[00:04:11] And so in 2016 I read a book by Tim Ferris called The Four Hour Work Week. And at that point I was very proud to wear that busy badge on my, on my chest. Uh, I was doing everything and everything. Uh, and then after reading four hour work week, I was introduced to outsourcing and virtual assistance, and that's when I was able to help me take a step back in the family business as much.

[00:04:34] And it was at that point when I started to go to. Uh, tourism meetings in our town and at those tourism meetings, there was other hosts, Airbnb hosts, short-term rental hosts, hotel hosts, and they were all there and they were the opposite of us. They were 80% reliant on third parties bringing in their bookings and 20% direct.

[00:04:54] And I was just asking 'em questions. I was curious like, what are they doing to actually drive bookings? And they just looked at me [00:05:00] blankly and it was, at that point I had that little light bulb moment where I was like, I can, I can do, I can make a difference here. I can do. And so Boley was founded in 2016.

[00:05:10] I created a Facebook group called The Hospitality Community that's still around to this day. And, um, I set a goal to, to help hosts, and this is what I've been doing for the last six years now. Um, we've, we've, we started by doing training, so like virtual training, and then we pivoted and we started doing websites and uh, and then more recently I've started doing books and Boostly now has got over 2,400.

[00:05:36] We are like classed as one us the go-to, uh, direct booking experts in the industry. And the team, Bruce Lee is now 40 members of staff. So it's not just me. We've built a company, build a team, and my goal now is to help 1 million hosts, uh, cut down on their over alliance on Airbnb. So that's the story and uh, thanks for having me.

[00:05:54] Danny: Okay. There was a lot there, a lot that I didn't. , but there's something that I want that I the [00:06:00] whole, the, the viewers must pick up on if you are similar to me. Okay. Mark at Boostly Boostly has a bunch of free material. They have a whole training department on their business, education, free education, and I think that's so important that when you're going out and you're seeking, um, whatever it is you're seeking, not just this specifically, does that company have an educational department?

[00:06:26] Because then they're staying current. They're staying relevant. Mark lives what he does, you should check out, I'll link all the relevant things in the description. The Facebook group you have. I know, and I've checked out on Google. What's the name of your cottage farm stay?

[00:06:40] Mark: So the, the business is called the Grainary.

[00:06:43] Um, it's spelled G R A I N A R Y, which is my number one big tip to everybody. When you are deciding on your business name, make sure it's easily spellable and Googleable. The Grainary is not an easy one. . That's our biggest mistake that we ever made when naming our business.

[00:06:59] Danny: Yeah, I [00:07:00] actually, uh, I remember when I was first searching it after reading your book, which if you have it, I have the Kindle version.

[00:07:05] It's not as beautiful. That blue cover, do you have the actual. . Yep. Yeah, show it up. I, I remember searching a few times and there it is. I read it. I did a video review as well. I'll put that in the top, top right corner for after this video. You could click it open and so that, that's what I wanted to say.

[00:07:22] He, he, an educational arm is very important if you're, if you're learning from an expert, but that expert doesn't provide free education. Well, it, are they still an expert five, six years after the business has gone or now are they an expert in selling what they did six years ago? Okay. Additionally to that mark at, at this point, mark Bustley has the only, you don't only need a vacation rental website.

[00:07:46] If you want to go direct, you don't only need a vacation to rental a website, you need bookings. So a lot of these PMs platforms, they provide direct booking websites because they're a client demanded it, [00:08:00] and that's great, but. , like 10% of the puzzle. Okay. And there's a lot of companies out there that provide websites, beautiful websites.

[00:08:10] But the more important thing I've found as I go through this process and we're about to get into my process, uh, how I, what website I weigh and what mistakes I made, I realize that the community and learning how to get direct bookings is the actual value, not so much the website, because the website is kind of tried and true.

[00:08:27] You know, we know what website works. So with. . About a year ago, 14 months ago, I made a purchase here in Columbia. I'm currently in Meine, Columbia, and I went Airbnb, oh, let, let's back up. So I myself wrote a book as well, and in that book, one of the most controversial chapters was about how you should only use Airbnb.

[00:08:49] Okay. So I want to, back then, my stance was you should just use Airbnb. You should build up reviews. Um, because going direct is work. It's another [00:09:00] job, and if you just have one listing, it probably doesn't make. I've changed my tune a little bit here, actually a lot, uh, and, and a lot of it due to reading Mark's book.

[00:09:09] So what I want to get into is, is when it makes sense and when it doesn't make sense. That's something I want to talk with you about. I know that your stance is basically, it makes sense for everybody. Um, I'm gonna challenge you a little bit on that. We're gonna get to the bottom of this, uh, about, so Mark has websites and I decided not to go with it because I wanted like, um, the, uh, Picasso of websites and it took.

[00:09:32] About six months thinking about this website, thinking about it, and never actually pulling the trigger. Um, and in Mark's book he says, I think you even used Picasso. You're like, it doesn't have to be the Picasso or something, you know, just make it functional website. Uh, I totally agree with that Now, a hundred percent agree with that.

[00:09:48] I should have went with Mark. From the beginning. Um, but what I did instead is I created a Instagram. I created a YouTube, I created [00:10:00] a Facebook page. I have a Google listings page. I have a lot of stuff. And then I realized like I'm not getting any bookings. So the first thing I want to, um, talk about, You know, tell us exactly what is direct booking for people who don't exactly know why you might want to do it.

[00:10:23] What are the advantages and what are some disadvantages?

[00:10:26] Mark: In my opinion, a direct booking is when somebody comes directly to you to make a booking. Now that direct booking could be, um, they could they give you a call or a text, maybe they've got their phone number from your website, or it could be an email, it could be a social media message, or it could be if somebody comes onto your direct booking website.

[00:10:44] In an ideal world, And we talk about the booking process a lot in the, in, in the Playbook. It's the last part of the book. It's the, it's the, one of the biggest parts of the, the, it dives into like the five steps of the, of the booking process that a guest goes through in an ideal world to [00:11:00] make it as smooth transaction as possible.

[00:11:02] Um, because money loves speed, it hates friction, is that when someone arrives on your website, they can make free. and they've made a booking. Um, to do that, you need to have some pretty cool tech behind the scenes, but that's what Bustley helps with. Um, but in the most simplest of terms, a dire booking could be when anybody comes to you direct.

[00:11:21] And if you've got, for example, Stripe set up, you can create an invoice in a stripe. You can create it all. You can send it, they can pay you via stripe. And so there are some tools that make it really. Easy now to to actually create and make your own direct bookings. That is what is a direct booking compared to an ota, which is where they come to you via a third party.

[00:11:45] Danny: And so let's get into when. So, um, I used to think that direct booking was only good if you're gonna brand your space, if you have a bunch of units in the same spot, because it takes a lot of work. Nowadays, I think that most people can do [00:12:00] direct booking. The strategy will be different if you just have one place that's average, you might go to the ho hostels around you, or maybe there's some schools, some parents coming in and, and maybe create some local.

[00:12:13] If you have a property management company with 50 places in the same spot, maybe you can now go to some bigger companies. Maybe you definitely need a website. Start branding it. Uh, let me know if I have that right and I want to know specifically who might this not be rightful, because I wanna save people's time.

[00:12:27] If it's not right for you. I don't think it's right for everybody. Probably not. You know, I even, I even have strategies on my end, and though they work for 80 or 90% of people, there's a segment of people who, it's just not.

[00:12:39] Mark: Mm-hmm. . So let's go. Who is it not right for, um, DRA bookings will not be for you if this is like a hobby for yourself in my personal opinion.

[00:12:49] And, and what is a hobbyist host is somebody that, where this isn't your main priority. Let's say that you've got three or four splits, pin, you've got three or four revenue streams and there's free more. That, that [00:13:00] take up more time, attention, money, uh, resources than your one proper. That's totally cool.

[00:13:06] Like if you literally are looking at this as just, just, just my spare place, it's my spare room, whatever. Then stick to the OTAs. The people that I say that I helped the most are those where this is your business. This is your main, your main focus. And so for, for them, if this is your key focus and this is where you want to spend the most of your time, your resources, your money, et cetera, then dire bookings is, is a hundred percent for you.

[00:13:32] Doesn't matter whether you've got one property. or you've got 2, 3, 4, or five. Now if you've got one property, people are like saying, you've said to me, well, is this really something they need to be focused on? Derek Bookings? And I think it all depends on your mindset. So if you've got one property and. You wanna stay at one property, you don't wanna grow.

[00:13:55] You don't wanna add number two on number three down the line in the future, maybe four or five. [00:14:00] Um, and you want to keep it at one. Ben, your tactics, like you said, is a hundred percent spot on. You're lucky because you've only got, let's just say for an example of this purposes is that you've got a minimum stay of one week.

[00:14:12] If that's the case, you've technically, realistically only got 50 bookings to cover you for the whole year, cuz two of those F 52, you're gonna be wanting to do uptake and maintenance, et cetera. So realistically you've just gotta get 50 bookings. So how are you gonna get 50 bookings? Well, you may not need an old fancy all singing old dancing website.

[00:14:29] You just need to have something that is functional, something. Provide trust because it, if you are gonna go to somebody, whether it is to a friend of a friend or you're going to, uh, approach a local hostel or wherever and just say, Hey, this is my business, this is my property. If you haven't got anything to show him, where's the trust?

[00:14:48] It's literally like me walking up to you and just saying, Hey, gimme. Gimme 50 credit and trust me for it. It's like this's just not gonna happen. You need to have that trust factor behind it, and you need to sort of have a place to show somebody that will [00:15:00] portray that trust and that is what a website does.

[00:15:02] You know, we, I, I've said this for many years. In this industry, we are so lucky because it is an in demand industry. We're in, in the, in the industry of making memories. And because of that, um, there are certain dates in your calendar that you could sell four or five times over. That could be a, a, a national holiday, or it could just be something busy going on in your town or sea.

[00:15:25] And because of that, you can get really. There's no other industry like it. For example, we do website design. There's not a website design listing site that I can go and put my property on my, my business, on my website, design business and be guaranteed to get revenue. It doesn't work like that. So this industry is very unique in that respect.

[00:15:42] But you can just pretty much put it on Airbnb and be pretty much guaranteed to bring in, in, in revenue. But even at Property one, you need to start to put the foundations in. so that you can have that direct book in business. Because the, the, this is the route that most people make is they get one [00:16:00] property, they put it on Airbnb because Airbnb's marketing is phenomenal.

[00:16:04] It is so good that it just makes you think that you just need them and that's it. It's like as simple as going on there and that's it. So everybody starts with property one and they put it on Airbnb and then say, for example, two months down the line, they're not getting bookings on. They may be jump into a Facebook group over here.

[00:16:22] Somebody else talk about another listing site called vrbo. And so they sign up to vrbo, but they have to connect your calendars because if you don't connect your calendars, you could run the risk of a double booking. So what do you do? You connect your I from Airbnb to vrbo. So that means that you are reliant then on Airbnb.

[00:16:41] Now, say for example, you then, um, add another property and another property and you do the same thing. Then you're literally building your house on that Airbnb land, where the flip side is at property number one. If you get that property management software tool, let's just say Hostfully, okay? And you've got Hostfully as the main core [00:17:00] place for you to store your business, that's the.

[00:17:04] The hub is hos ho Hostfully. And then you connect it to your Airbnb, you connect it to your vrbo, and that is the base of where you build your DRE bookings. Cuz then you can add in Stripe, then you can add in email, then you can add in all those other things. And it's all built from that property management software.

[00:17:19] So for me, if even at Property one, you've gotta be putting the foundations and the structures in place to be able to grow and build this. ,

[00:17:30] Danny: great. The key there for me was, and, and I don't recall reading this in the book, but it's genius, and I'm gonna start saying this now, I'll attribute you if it's a hobby.

[00:17:38] If you're just doing it for hobby, side money, retirement money, you don't have any plans to really professionalize it, then direct booking is not for you because there is extra work and direct booking that needs to have a return on investment. If it's more professional, your main income, you have ex, you want to scale it.

[00:17:53] Then direct booking is definitely where you want to go, and you want to use a hub, like a PMs, property management software. There's a [00:18:00] bunch of 'em out there. Hostfully being one. One of the good ones now. When I, so I bought my property in August, 2021. My idea was I, I was gonna go around and film videos here in places where I thought my clients would be do, do review videos on hotels and whatnot around here, and then post them to YouTube.

[00:18:23] I have done that and I have gotten a few inquiries, but not. , um, the one, so, but what has happened though is I've, I've noticed at these early stages that I have spent a lot of time that was just wasted. You know, cuz people are reaching out. Do you have this day available? No. It's not going through back and forth.

[00:18:46] Um, I gotta check with my friends. This is the price. So that's happened to me a lot. How do I avoid that? Because on Airbnb doesn't work. You come, you know the price, you know the dates are available, et cetera. .

[00:18:59] Mark: So there's [00:19:00] a, there's a couple of things that that, that you can do. So number one, and again, this is the advantage of having a property management software tool in place, is that somebody messages you and they reaches out to you on say, WhatsApp, or they reach out to you an email and they say, do you have, um, Next date.

[00:19:17] One of the things that I love to put in, and again, this is something that I learned from Tim Ferriss, is having a, a solid auto responder. So obviously you don't wanna be online all the time, um, but with a solid order responder. So an auto responder is when somebody sends you an email, they get fired or reply straight back and all of the big companies have it.

[00:19:33] And, you know, it's, it's pretty standard and straightforward to set up, but in the order responder it could be. Hey, thank you so much for your email. Uh, we, we will look to reply to you as soon as possible in the meantime. If you are looking to book accommodation Withers, here's a direct link to our availability calendar and here's a direct link to our FAQs because of the what you will notice and the more that you go down and have seasons.

[00:19:57] So I talk about seasons as Lynn like a [00:20:00] year. So the more seasons that you have within your hospitality business, you'll find that there are 20% of questions that get asked 80% of the time, and you just find yourself if you don't put the systems and structures in. Always answering the same question, whether it's parking, whether it's wifi, whether it's do you accept pets party smoking, whatever it may be.

[00:20:19] Uh, I know cause we did, we did this hospitality business for over 20 years and I know exactly the questions. I still get P T S D from doing it. But it wasn't until we put in frequently asked questions and F FAQ page on our website that are problems evaporate combined with a good autoresponder because then the guest doesn't have to wait for response to that question.

[00:20:38] They can go to the FA. And then they've got a live booking calendar. And again, if you've got your systems dialed in properly, they can not only find your calendar availability calendar, but they can also go on book directly on that site pay instant book. And it's all done through your, your pm m s, which is, which is pretty which, which is pretty powerful.

[00:20:58] There's a level up from that [00:21:00] where you could get, um, a live chat tool. So again, the technology that's available to us now in 2022 going into 2022 three compared to 10 years ago is unreal. The, the, the, the, the, the potential of technology that we've got access to as small business hosts and paying very small amount for is wasn't fathomable 10 years ago.

[00:21:20] So things like live chat tools, um, where you can have keywords that are installed. Where they type in a message and they mention a keyword and they give 'em instant response back. The level look from that is where you are then ready to outsource. So when you would have a virtual team member that you would hire, and it can be anywhere in the world and they would be your response, they would be the person that instantly applies back to the people instead of a machine, et cetera.

[00:21:47] But it's, it's all about leveling up. Business is all about leveling up and um, there's different levels to everything, and it's just about getting those right systems and structures in.

[00:21:56] Danny: Something you mentioned there brings me to my first [00:22:00] mistake I made going through this process by myself, and that was when you build a website, when you go to a website developer, uh, you will, they will charge you extra if you want to accept payments on the website.

[00:22:12] For me, what I did first was I said, let's not do that. Let's just gauge the interest. How many messages am I gonna get? I realized, uh, well, so two things. I wanna highlight this again. Really. Um, and I, I, I'm trying to be as authentic as, as I can. I know I have a discount code and I'll provide that, uh, in the description.

[00:22:33] But if I could go back, I would do, I would just go with Bruce Lee because number one, um, at the end of the day, the website, it delayed six months plus another, like three months. I think it was like 10 months in total. It just was delivered in August this last year. And, um, I'm gonna have to. because the payment platform, the calendar availability, the, the, the plugin that I use just isn't working well.

[00:22:59] [00:23:00] So saving you time, just go with a professional website builder right off the bat and go with accepting payments. Because for someone who is not you, doesn't know that you're, you know, trustworthy, they're just a little bit sketched out. Like, okay, how am I gonna pay you? Oh, PayPal, just, just send me some PayPal.

[00:23:18] It'll be good. I. And it will be good, but they don't know that. Mark probably is laughing. He probably . You probably don't even offer website. Oh no, you do. You, you do offer websites without payment, right? That's the basic plan.

[00:23:31] Mark: Yeah. So basically, and and, and again, any website design, this is why we got into this, dialing it back 2018.

[00:23:37] The reason why we started doing websites is because we had so many people come to us in our community, the hospitality community, we're talking about the website designers and. They were charging on putting charges on top of charges and just making it really impossible to tuk duvass. And the main thing is, is that most website designers do not understand hospitality.

[00:23:57] And, and I, I stress this enough, is that I would never try [00:24:00] and build a website for a gym. I would never try and build a website for an e-commerce site because I don't know those industries. We know hospitality inside out, and so, Most website designers, they do try and make a Picasso or Mona Lisa or something that needs to be functional.

[00:24:15] I mean, just go look at Airbnb. It is a bog standard website, but the core thing behind it is they understand the booking principle to a T. They want somebody to rock upon to a site they wanna do click, click, click book. And that is what the consumer wants as well. And with a direct booking site, that is what you need to to, to have.

[00:24:33] So what we do at Boley, we. We add a website, we add a, we add a website, but we are nothing without a PMs. So Hostfully, Loy, you name it, Guesty for host, et cetera. What we've done and our unique selling point and our sort of special relationship is what the relationships that we've built over the last six years with all of the PMSs, and no other website designer has done this, so you won't find any of the website designer who's got a connection and a relationship with Hostfully.

[00:24:58] You have a, [00:25:00] anybody else who's got a connection and a re relationship with Guesty or Lodgify or hospitable. We do. So that what that means is that our website is connected to all of these property management software tools so that we can do payment on site, we can do guest verification on site. We can link up to Super Hog, we can bring in live chat tools.

[00:25:19] We've got the latest reviews coming in, and it just makes that your website is one that will build trust. It will turn lookers into book. And, you know, we, we, we put a money back guarantee. So we put a money where our mouths at is that we guarantee it will get you a return of your investment of what you pay us, um, or your money back.

[00:25:37] And that is why we've been able to do this and this is why we've been able to grow, um, to be the biggest review, um, the biggest website design agency in the, in the short term rental industry. But you'd never catch me ever trying to do a website for a gym because it's a whole different bio method and whole different methodology to put one of those sites together.

[00:25:55] Danny: Now that that's, I just wanna highlight a few things that when I was going through this [00:26:00] process, I was like, oh man, that is a headache and I have to research that. Now I have to research that, uh, payments so I can accept payments, but I want to accept 50% now, 50% later. Okay? That's another thing I have to research.

[00:26:12] You've already done that. I'm confident if I wanted you, you've al you already know to have it figured out. Security deposit. I want a secure deposit. Maybe I can collect it now or later, but that's an additional cost on the calendar. Something I had to figure out, um, extra person charges. Um, he mentioned also, you know, you, you might want an a contract, a separate contract, um, which yeah, you might, might want to set a contract.

[00:26:35] You have that figured out. Guest screening, you have that figured out. So all these little things, I, I, so I, I wasted a lot of time doing this and so, um, I hope to save some of the viewers in their experience going direct bookings and I want to share my next error. Which was, uh, collecting email addresses.

[00:26:56] I am gonna use a company called Stai. Do you have experience with [00:27:00] Stai?

[00:27:00] Mark: Yeah, I know 'em well. I recommend them. Very good. Do you? Okay.

[00:27:04] Danny: I am going to use them. I. , I am a little bit on the edge at the beginning because they haven't responded to any customer service inquiry. I, I reached 'em, my Instagram on Twitter.

[00:27:16] I think I even sent 'em a support message and I've got no responses back. So that was a little concerning, but, um, we'll see how they work out. I know they're the industry leader and what's defi is for people who don't know is when a guest wants to sign in, you know, you go to a cafe, you have to give 'em your email address to sign in.

[00:27:32] That's what Stephi is. You get emails and email. emails are interesting for me because they're like the first piece of internet tech and they are still the most valuable no matter what you're doing. Your email list is the most valuable asset, your email list. So I have an apartment and I ha it has a lot of guests, and I missed a whole year of doing [00:28:00] emails.

[00:28:00] I probably would've had 500 emails, guests, recurring guests prior. visitors. One guest had, okay, one guest had 27 visitors in one night. He paid most of the extra visitor policy. But what would be more valuable than that? Getting 27 email addresses. Yeah. Yeah. So that was an error. Um, I'm sure you have that built in already.

[00:28:27] Email, getting emails from the.

[00:28:30] Mark: Well, we don't, um, do the what's day I do. This is why I recommend them so much, and I love what they do, and I love what they're creating because it's progressed now from just email. It's doubled up the text message as well, and the next stages they're gonna be building in a full email crm and they're gonna be building in email templates and all of that.

[00:28:48] What we do at Boley, we've got a. When you join Bustley, you get access to our content creator. And part of that is we've worked with a copywriter and we've got so many different email templates [00:29:00] because one of the, one of the, one of the easiest things to do is to grow an email list. One of the hardest things to do is to know what to do with it.

[00:29:06] And I know people that are sat on 10,000 database but haven't emailed their guests all but once in the last year, and that was over a, a Black Friday sale. So the key is having a list and knowing what to do with it because you're right, it. It will forever be and is the best form of marketing that is, that is out there.

[00:29:26] Um, the, the, the trick is to know what to do with it. So what we do is we work with, um, a copywriter an an excellent copywriter, and they've put together so many different email templates, uh, that you can just swipe, you mail Jim or whoever you use. Um, but yeah, definitely you, you, you're a hundred percent right if you've got a property that has got, you know, a larger property, for example.

[00:29:49] Or even if you've got more. Four or five, six people stay, five should be a hundred percent what you're using because those 23 people, they wanna be using the wifi, especially like Gen Z. They're always wanting the wifi and what's the first thing that [00:30:00] they do? They try and find a wifi and they can do it.

[00:30:02] They give the email address up and then you know, you've got, you've got 'em in your in, in your contacts and the text message now as well, which is just as powerful.

[00:30:11] Danny: Sta how you just described him, sounds like a future competitor. Boosted competi.

[00:30:16] Mark: Not a competitor. We actually work really well. We collaborate very, very well.

[00:30:20] If they start doing websites, I mean, me and a will start up words, but , I mean, I don't think they are anytime soon. I know AFA really well. I know the team at Stai, uh, really, really well, and I love what they do.

[00:30:32] Danny: The host has a lot of options when they do this. Sometimes it's really annoying. Go to an go to a cafe.

[00:30:37] I gotta enter in my first and last name, you know, my birthdate, my address, my sex, my have to answer some questions. Uh, they, they send me an email confirmation how much my perspec. The reason why I didn't do this was because I just wanted it to be easy. I have a QR code, you scan it in, bam. , how much do you recommend?

[00:30:57] Do you, I know that Stayfi, we, they can [00:31:00] actually confirm that it's a real email. Do you just, is it basic name, email and if you a wrong email, fine. Or do you recommend going a little bit more?

[00:31:08] Mark: First name, email, phone number, tick to say you're happy to get communication. People will give that up the. That people go wrong is they try and get more and more and more.

[00:31:20] They try and get more data. There's, there's easier ways to get to get more data. The the main thing is, again, you want to keep it frictionless phone name and, and, and all you need to do is you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Go and look what other people are doing. Go and look to see how Starbucks do it or insert name of chain or whatever.

[00:31:36] When you go there, it's always first name, uh, cell phone number, email tick box to say you're happy to get communications. And that's literally all you need to get started with. Okay.

[00:31:48] Danny: Now I will be receiving that any day now, and I will be setting it up in my Airbnb called the Belmont Penthouse here in Mein, Columbia, and I'll do a video on that experience, setting it up, et cetera.[00:32:00]

[00:32:01] Speaking about competitors or future competitors, how does Lofi is probably the most well known in terms of name I. Would be, I don't know that for sure, but I think what differentiates Boley from Loy,

[00:32:13] Mark: so again, lofi is a collaborator. We, we partner with them, um, because their websites aren't WordPress.

[00:32:20] Like every pmms. The reason why they put in the website part is because like you said, their customers wanted it and it became an easy sales tactic. That's all it is. And all of their websites are. On nothing more than just glorified landing pages. They aren't customizable. You can't do much to it. It's just there because it's free.

[00:32:40] Our main competitors, um, again, are good buddies of ours, I C N D, which is I coastal net and, uh, signal, which is part of the Beyond pricing brand. . But again, our U S P is that we partner with over 20 different PMs providers, so Loy, Hostfully, et cetera. So what that [00:33:00] means is that if you have a Loy website and you've had it for two years and you've outgrown lofi, so you maybe want to go to a Guesty or a hostfully, so it's a bit more money, but you get more money for your book.

[00:33:12] If you've built everything off the Lofi platform, you lose everyth. So then you have to start it all over again by having a website that Hostly give you our guest to give you. This is the main reason why people come to us is that once you've got your boley website here, your main WordPress website, you can change your PMs as many times as you want in the future, but you never lose what you've built here.

[00:33:33] So your seo, all of that good stuff, it stays there cuz we've got those partnerships. I C N D and Signal have got four partners, Guesty track, whatever we've got. So it doesn't matter how many you change and whatever it is about this industry, people love to change to PMs. They bounce from one to the other for whatever reason.

[00:33:52] But then we are that, we are that website team that you can come with and you can just say, Hey Mark, we're moving from GEI to Hostfully. That sound, you can still keep all that base that you've built up [00:34:00] right here. And that is our, that is our unique selling point. That means that we've got no competition.

[00:34:04] I, I, I've always said there is no competition. Competition is when you look at another company, but it's better than. And so I feel like we've got no competition, cuz there is nobody better than us at what we do. Okay.

[00:34:14] Danny: The, the, for those who aren't super familiar with, with what we're talking about, I want to put it in a different frame.

[00:34:20] So if you use Logy, you're using Logies service that we call it hosting. So you're hosting your website with logy just like Airbnb. You're hosting your listing with Airbnb, Marcus saying create your own WordPress website. I think something like 70% of the websites are by WordPress, create your own website you own.

[00:34:40] And you can connect that to all these different tools. If you start with Lofi and you decide it's not right for you, then you have to start over with a brand new website, which affects your seo, search engine optimization. Yeah. Now, you also mentioned that people switch PMSs, and I believe that people switch PMSs because they go into it not understanding what they might need at the [00:35:00] beginning, and then they start using it and they realize, oh, this is not good.

[00:35:03] This is not good. This is I, I want, I want this feature. It's not there. So to that point, I have a bunch. Tutorial videos on various PMs softwares, both of the ones you mentioned, plus a bunch of others. I have Guestie for hosts coming out Guestie for Guestie for Host. Yeah. Which is three or less listings and a few others, so check that out.

[00:35:22] There was one last question I want to wrap up with, and then we'll give away the, the discount code and, and talk about some final things. I just had a guest. Uh, he, he checked in. It was from Airbnb. He wanted to extend another night. He paid $400. Um, I, I refunded him $200 because he actually couldn't stay.

[00:35:43] Someone else booked before he paid me, but he had extra guests, so I refunded 200 of the 400. What he did that was via PayPal. That's important for the story. What he did later on was he went to his credit card and he did a charge. . So now what that means is [00:36:00] PayPal is saying this $400 charge, the guest wants back.

[00:36:03] So what do you have to say about that? So I provided my support. At the end of the day, he could have gotten my $2 refund plus an additional 400 bucks. So he could have stolen $200 from me, and he knows that . So what? How should I accept money? Zelle Bank transfer would be the best. You can't do anything there, but I don't want this to happen.

[00:36:28] Mark: Chargebacks have been, like you say, a very common practice, um, where a guest gives you whatever through PayPal, whatever, and then they charge back. The main thing to do is just have your systems and your structures and your documentation perfect, because as long as you've got that and the customer has got nothing to fall back on, um, The best and easiest thing to do if you're going to be doing a booking like this, just have, you know, obviously email confirmation from you and him, like have it written down.

[00:36:57] And then if you're gonna send out an [00:37:00] invoice, they're gonna pay via that invoice. I mean, I would be using, uh, Stripe, which is probably one of the most. Commonly used ones, and again, this is again, comes back to the property management software tool. You've got a property management software tool. You can send an invoice out, you can send a proper invoice out via your p m s by via your property management software tool to the the guest, and they'll pay you via that.

[00:37:22] So it is all documented. So if for whatever reason, if they try and be a bit cheeky, lay down the line and try and claim it back, you just put the, the, the documentation through and they won't be able to get away of it. It's all about documentation, I believe on, on that.

[00:37:36] Danny: But is there, is there a method that I can just avoid doing this so I don't have to document a bank transfer?

[00:37:42] I know if they do a bank transfer, it would be, it would be an intensive process for them to try and pull that

[00:37:47] Mark: back. Yeah, I mean, bank transfer. Well, the, the way, the more that we move into this world, this is where web free and cryptocurrency, uh, can play a part, which is obviously, I know what so many people are trying to, to figure out how they're gonna make [00:38:00] that work in the future.

[00:38:01] Um, but yeah, I mean, there are more tools and things put into place now that it will protect. I feel like, again, it all, all comes down to, um, point of this person was already a guest. It wasn't like he hadn't made the booking, so it wasn't so much a case. Cutting out the friction. I definitely would've said, you know, bank transfer, et cetera, uh, moving forward.

[00:38:23] But again, I would simply would've just put it through the property management software. That would've been the easiest thing. And then if he had tried to charge back again, it's just a, a simple email back and, um, it wouldn't become an issue. Okay.

[00:38:35] Danny: Yeah. Great. Well, we're gonna wrap this up. Call up. So I want to reemphasize, the reason why I like Bruce Lee is because not only do they provide a website, but more importantly they provide a community, a Facebook group.

[00:38:47] They have some courses you can take. They have free education, which means they're staying up to date. I have a discount code, I believe it's 5% and I don't know if Optimize works, [00:39:00] but even more than that, people, this is not. I think it's 4,000 bucks.

[00:39:07] Mark: We've got two prices. Yeah. So the, the code is optimized with a Z or you can use Danny, d a n and y.

[00:39:12] They're both with the same. And you get the 5% discount. We've got two packages, two simple packages, two simple pricing, and if you've got one to five, then you're on the light package, which is 1000 pounds, which is, depends on currency rates, about 1,200 US dollars. And then if you want the pro, which is, if you've got seven plus properties, then that's the 4,000 pound one.

[00:39:32] But that comes. Um, a proper done for you service, a personal project manager, everything that, what seven plus properties needs and wants. If you're at one to six, you need a slightly less model because it suits your bus budget, it suits your revenue, and it all fits around you. So it's just two simple prices, two sim simple

[00:39:50] Danny: products.

[00:39:52] And the thing that I really like is you guarantee if I spend a thousand bucks or 4,000 or 7,000, you [00:40:00] guarantee I will. 7,000 bucks. That's not the goal. That would be the, that would be the, that's the minimum goal. But, uh, what percentage of purchasers do you have to refund money to? Because for this guarantee

[00:40:13] Mark: Oh wow.

[00:40:14] So we've got over 2,400 clients been doing this for six years. I've only ever had to refund six people over that time. And that was right at the very start as I was figuring this all out. Now we don't have to refund anybody. My vow is to help everybody get to 80% direct with 20%, um, OT reliance. But the, the legal promise is that we will at least get you back over one calendar year, what you've paid us.

[00:40:42] And we do that through tracking. Um, our websites, just to give you an example, is on cost to bring in 5 million, uh, in diary booking revenue over the course of 2022 in a calendar year. So we, um, we know what we're doing, our websites work. They look the same. They [00:41:00] look very templated because they are, because guess what?

[00:41:02] We don't reinvent the wheel. If you want something that is customizable or Mona Lisa. You know, go find somebody else to do that. But we know what works and this is why we put that money back guarantee there.

[00:41:11] Danny: If there was any questions that I didn't cover that you were, that you were curious to know, put them in the comments down below.

[00:41:19] I will respond, or I'll ask Mark to come on when I publish the video. And his, he, he, he or his team will directly respond. So Mark, thank you. For coming on. This has been an interesting experience for me doing direct bookings. It was just, it's honestly, it's kind of fun, you know, getting a direct booking. I, I have gotten some direct bookings.

[00:41:36] Um, so Great. I'm glad that, uh, you're along. You, you know, I'm glad that you're here and you're helping hosts and I think that Airbnb has created the market. I do think that in the future it would, there will be more direct bookings. There's just, the problem is there's no like, platform for direct bookings.

[00:41:51] I think that's the main platform that might be, Topic that we can go to. I mean, Google, Google Vacation Rentals does it, but, um, not, you know, they're still new. [00:42:00] So any final words, give it to us here and maybe we'll do a part two.

[00:42:04] Mark: Yeah, definitely. Well, if you've got any more questions, please pop 'em in the, in the comments and if we get a lot of them then definitely we can do a part two ex uh, looking forward to it.

[00:42:11] Thank you for having me. Having a blast. Gonna get it on the Bruce Lee podcast. Bruce Lee led Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard on the tee is loose leaf.

[00:42:18] Danny: Looking up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.

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