Successful Marketing – Collaborating With Other Hosts To Boost Bookings

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In this podcast, Liam introduces Blake from, a California-based short-term rental host with a property in Houston, Texas. 

Blake discusses his unique marketing strategy, the Houston Hospitality Collective, where hosts and local businesses collaborate to market their properties. He highlights the challenges of integrating technologies and praises OwnerRez as a key tool. 

Blake's biggest achievement is bringing the first business into the collective, validating its growth potential. He aims to provide guests a premium experience with accommodations and access to local events.

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Timestamps (audio)



[00:00:00] Liam: Welcome everybody to the new episode of the Boostly podcast that gives hosts, the tools, the tactics, the training, and most importantly, the confidence to go out there and get more direct bookings. Today, we're talking about marketing strategies and, uh, this particular host who we've got on the. Behind the Host podcast, uh, is based in Houston, Texas.

[00:00:22] We're going to be talking about his collective there. And, uh, as I've mentioned, we go behind the host on this episode and, uh, we pick out short-term rental hosts who have got interesting businesses and ask questions about their business, which you as a host can take into your hospitality business, and there's tips, tricks, and tactics that you're going to learn.

[00:00:43] from this very special guest. So my name is Liam Carolan and today we've got Blake. He's from duartedestinations. com and that's spelt d u a r t e destinations. com. And we're excited to dive into his business today. And if you do get a chance to go onto his webpage, check out not only his cool properties but also Particularly because he does co-host and management check out those sections of his website because he's ever so clear with his offer.

[00:01:12] And certainly something which I was impressed with, um, before we jumped on this call. So welcome along Blake. Thank you for joining me.

[00:01:19] Blake: Thank you for having me,

[00:01:21] Liam: Blake can you give yourself an introduction, um, where you're based, where your properties are based and the number of properties and. Anything else you'd like to share?

A bit about Blake

[00:01:32] Blake: Yeah. So I'm based in California and my Airbnb is going to be, sorry, a short-term rental is going to be in Houston. That's the one short-term rental I have, uh, right now. And then I have a couple of long-term rentals, one in Indiana. One in additional in California. So as I went on to the journey of marketing with the short-term rental in Houston, I recognized that it was a lot of effort and ended up forming the Houston hospitality collective to create more of a group effort in marketing strategies.

[00:02:10] Liam: And what is that, um, collective just talk us through what the collective is. Is it not a term over here in the UK that we're, we're ever so familiar with?

What is the Collective?

[00:02:20] Blake: So, I, uh, I was looking at different types of words to use for this because, uh, I was looking at collaboration and collective just seems to sit better as to what we're doing, but it's a group of hosts who together, um, we put our properties on 1 website.

[00:02:36] And as we move to market ourselves, we're marketing ourselves as a group. So right now we have 3 other owners signed on to this collective. Uh, we just went live with the boosted website about a month ago and. As we grow, I have different plans on how to continue the marketing strategy. So as we've got the four owners now on four different properties on the collective, I've also got two local businesses.

[00:03:05] One's a realtor to help us out as we continue to expand. And then I recently was able to talk with top golf, which is a golf event centre, one of which is close to my short-term rental and, uh, they, uh, Agreed to allow advertising on our website as well. That way we can create an incentive or an event for guests to participate in while they're staying at our short-term rentals.

[00:03:35] So, as we expand the different businesses that I get to join the collective it's not just hosts also going to be local businesses, we can create a Simultaneous referral process so that our guests go to their business and then when they host events and when they have different types of venues going on, they can refer to us that their guests can stay with us.

[00:04:00] I think it provides a little bit more of a Premium experience for them because instead of sending your guests to maybe you're hosting a wedding or an event, they're going to be staying at a very nicely decorated short-term rental that's a little bit higher than a hotel.

Where did the idea come from?

[00:04:18] Liam: Where did the idea first come about for the collective and how did you put it into practice?

[00:04:25] Blake: So the ideas came about just out of starting to try to market me and it was very difficult and as the difficulties piled on, I recognize the need to make this more, um, I guess, in a group sense, so that way we can have a stronger effort and put the, the efforts out. And get a stronger gain.

[00:04:52] So as I'm, as I'm speaking with different businesses, for instance, top golf, one of the questions they asked me, well, how many markets are you in? And I had to explain a lot right now, we're only in the Houston market, but as we expand this model, as we build it out, then we can expand, you know, to different markets nationwide, which top golf is nationwide.

[00:05:09] So I can understand why they would want to, uh, see how far we can build this relationship. So as we, Bro gain more short-term rentals on the collective, then we can mark ourselves better and be a better option for the local businesses that could refer to us.

[00:05:28] Liam: Um, have you Had any challenges in getting this all together so far?

[00:05:33] And if so, how have you overcome them?

[00:05:36] Blake: So my biggest challenges are all about the integrations. So as, you know, as I dove into the Boosley website structure and dove into the different types of systems, I have lots of questions and finding ways to get things integrated was my number one. Uh, my number one issue and I reached out to a lot and started a lot of discussions on, uh, on our Facebook groups and whatnot, and to try to figure out what exactly is going to be the ideal tech set or ideal, uh, groupings, but it's going to end up being, uh, subjective to each person.

[00:06:07] So, as I researched it, trying to figure out all of these integrations has been the hardest, uh, hardest part of this and to overcome it, it's been a lot of trial and error. And I've been thankful of, of the hosts in my collective who's, you know, they bear with me and, and, and work with me on different transitions as we switch from different PMS is because one doesn't have features that the other might.

[00:06:34] And as we grow and develop. So it's very, very nice to have owners that are interested in the group marketing strategy so that way we can work together as we. Grow and deal with some of these difficulties.

[00:06:52] Liam: Is there either a piece of tech software or an app that you use in your business that you rely on currently, or one that you've found that works well for you and your business?

[00:07:05] Blake: So I have been quite, um, I guess astonished with owner res and the, the extreme abilities that it has. Mm-hmm. that there's a lot of different ins and outs. And so I'm on that frequently trying to, uh, make sure that everything's optimized so that way as much as I is automated as possible. And using that p m s, um, their, the reason why I went with them was their widgets for the, the website and as.

[00:07:37] As I scroll through my website, I like the way that you can transition from the website, look through dates, pick which property you like, and then you can book without having to be taken to three different pages to get there. And I think that's going to be, that was one of the features that brought me to them.

[00:07:55] And there is a piece, of technology that I ended up using every single day to manage the business.

Biggest Win?

[00:08:02] Liam: What have been some of the biggest wins and wow moments, uh, during your journey?

[00:08:08] Blake: So I think getting signing on there, our first business to the collective was the biggest win because it gave validation that the, the idea is good.

[00:08:17] The collective idea that. You know, it gave proof that, hey, this is, uh, this is going to be able to expand and as we move on, I can see how many other businesses we can get in to satisfy whatever needs that they're looking for because each business is going to be different. Right now we're marketing for a couple of different bars and restaurants because I know that they hold events as well.

[00:08:47] And so being able to. Take a large party and book, uh, at a V. I. P. room at a restaurant or a bar. That's gonna be, uh, it's gonna allow us to create additional revenue sources as far as if we could do like upselling, we could do affiliate marketing, that type of thing. And that's really where I see. Expanding this collective and, and moving forward,

[00:09:11] Liam: having a blast.

[00:09:12] Gonna get it on the Boostly podcast. Bruce Lee. Let Bruce Lee 'cause it's so hard on the tees. Loosely. I looked up those rhymes. Don't write it, just do it loosely.