The Top 3 Lessons Learned From Hosting My First Big Event

In the podcast, Mark reflects on the valuable lessons learned from hosting the Big Bash event, and he shares insights from his recent experiences. Mark's admission of the importance of having an event manager becomes a focal point of discussion. As he acknowledges the significance of pre-event planning, he recounts the supportive messages he received from industry friends, emphasizing the role of networking and connections in event organizing. 

Mark delves into the specific challenges he faced due to not having an event manager, detailing how he had to leave a family dinner to handle unforeseen logistics. This prompts him to stress the necessity of having someone dedicated to managing the event's operational aspects. Mark's realization about the oversight in his planning serves as a valuable takeaway for listeners who may be considering organizing their own events.

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Timestamps (audio)



[00:00:00] Mark: All right. Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening and welcome as I clear my throat. Uh, so very, very special impromptu podcast. Um, I wasn't going to do this. I was going to wait a couple of weeks to do this, but there are a lot of things coming up and all of this is going around in my mind 48 hours after the big bash I will forget about.

[00:00:17] So I wanted to do it now. This episode is all about the top takeaways, and lessons learned from hosting my very first event, which was the big bash and all of those things. Um, so first of all, Um, this is my first and only event I am going to be running in, in the UK. If there's enough, uh, need for it, I will do one in America in a couple of years.

[00:00:40] Uh, but, I, uh, this, uh, this has been seven years in the making. Uh, I'm never gonna be doing it again, even though a lot of people did come up to me and say you gotta do it again. I am done. The amount of work that has gone into this has been huge. I'm very, very, very, very, very fortunate to have some amazing people working behind the scenes at Boostly.

[00:00:59] That just means that even though I was so, um, concentrating on this for quite a long time, the business has not slowed down or been affected. So, um, that's a massive testament. And again, I would encourage anybody who is thinking of putting on an event this size. Uh, to make sure that your systems and structures are in place before you do, because if it was maybe a year ago that I decided to do this, then, um, a lot of, a lot of things would have gone wrong within, uh, Boostly.

[00:01:28] If I tried to do it two years ago, it just would never have happened. So, I'm a massive believer that things happen for a reason. I'm a massive believer of, uh, that things happen when they're meant to happen and all those cool things, and I just think that with Boostly being, the hospitality community.

[00:01:41] I'm been seven years in now. It was, it was the right time to do so. We sold 300 tickets, which was a lot. We had just under 200 people turn up on the night. So there's a lot of people who didn't turn up. Um, obviously. The location in York is not the easiest for people flying in, etc. And people told her two stories of how they got to York, which was kind of funny but crazy at the same time.

[00:02:04] And, as well, people message me on the day with illnesses and et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So it was a it was it was a big deal. And to get there and to, you know, fight through the traffic and fight through the weather conditions, putting it on in November was, the weather and driving conditions weren't the easiest, but those that did and battled through, I just want to say first and foremost, thank you for everybody that was in the room.

[00:02:29] Um, I said on the night that, you know, this has been seven years in the making and we've had seven years worth of people chatting on Facebook. We've had seven years of people chatting on Zoom. And, you know, the people in the room, um, don't go to loads and loads of industry events. You know, this is like a big deal for a lot of people in that room and to be able to get everybody in and then to see people chatting and meeting for the first time.

[00:02:51] People have been probably speaking on Facebook or in Facebook groups and the hospitality community group pretty much every week for like an extended period. That was a big win for me. And, um, the, the community aspect of it and the sort of the community building part of it. You literally couldn't put a price on that at all.

[00:03:08] And, you know, putting on the event was expensive, but to see people chatting and hugging and having a drink and, and having a chat was, was everything for me. So for those of you that are in the room, I hope that you, you all, um, were able to meet people and, and got loads from it. And that was like the, the sort of the, the most basic thing that I wanted to get out of the event.

[00:03:29] When I put the event on, um, what I I based everything on everything that I ever do. So every podcast we've ever recorded, every online thing that we've ever done, any video I've created or, or, um, a product that we've done, etc. I've done it based on the fact that would I, would I like this? Would I do this?

[00:03:48] Would I have fun doing this? And when it came to the event the key thing that I had written in my sort of mind map as I was drawing this out was fun because There are a lot of industry events. There are a lot of short-term rental, medium-term rental, and hospitality events that are out there. And every event, um, is fantastic in, in the education.

[00:04:08] So there are loads of events, and I don't want to name them because I guarantee I'll forget somebody. But you know what, what they are. You've all been to them, you've all seen them. and how great in what they do because you get a lot out of it with the, with the education part of it. But one common thread that I have seen from every single event I have been at is everybody talks about the party.

[00:04:28] So everybody starts off saying, Hey, this is what we're doing. And then we've got the after-party. That's going to be the party. And that's the thing that everybody's like getting ready for. So I thought, well, let's just skip out all the education. There's, there was no talks. There are no presentations. There was none of that.

[00:04:42] It was just all pie. And once I realized that that's what the whole event was going to be about. And as soon as you walk through the door or as soon as they came up the lift and the lifts opened, I wanted it to be like a, wow, where, where am I? What is going on right now for the senses? So, uh, for those that were in the room, um, you'll know that as you came up the lift,

As you arrive

[00:05:04] So I greeted everybody as they arrived. Um, they came into the lift, up the lift. I give them the bands and the drinks vouchers, which we'll talk about in a second. And I gave them a name badge and then we came up, turned to the right and there was Mr. Troy Hawk there. So if you don't know Mr. Troy Hawk, he is very, very famous for doing Greeters Guild.

[00:05:24] Let me see if I share my screen super quick. So this is Mr. Troy Hawk here. Very, very popular on Instagram, on YouTube and on, um, on, uh, on TikTok. He is, uh, well known and he's built a very good brand around Greeters Guild. So he got very famous by just standing outside of Waitrose and Primark and Weatherspoons and just catching strangers off guard and greeting them in.

[00:05:46] and he does it positively. So he, you know, he, he, he looks fantastic himself. He's, you know, tall, he's tanned, you know, moustache, got a very smart dinner, dinner jacket on, and he greets strangers by walking them into, uh, I can't like to say a Primark or a, or a Waitrose or wherever like that. And he's got very, very popular.

[00:06:06] We're very fortunate to get him to do, to do the event, to be perfectly honest. And, but that was the first thing that everybody saw. Turn to the right and you get a Greeters Guild welcome. And then as you walk into the actual main room, you don't go into like, where all the tables are, you go into what I call the fun run.

[00:06:22] And as you walk through, you turn to the right and there was, um, loads of cool things. There was a, there was a phone box. So let me see if I can bring the phone box onto screen right now. That phone box there, everybody could record a greeting in and, uh, that, those recordings are going to get sent to me in the next few weeks and they are going to, we're going to turn this into a podcast or a video online.

[00:06:44] Everybody got to sort of say a little word, uh, and, and leave a few messages. Um, I've been told by the people who own that box, there are a lot of swear words. So the editing team are going to have a lot of fun, uh, sorting that out. We had a 360 photo booth, which was cool. I've got a video here

[00:07:10] So those things are cool you stand on it There's a camera that literally whizzes around with a GoPro and it takes and it takes a cool video That was Dave Dave Goodfellow Dave Vincent and Harry from the iconic team. They were on it And everybody had a lot of fun with them. My kids got on at a great time, but as you walked in as well, I want to do something a little bit different.

[00:07:29] So just to cue this next video up, um, on Friday night, me and my brother-in-law Kieran, who is one of the co-owners of the social media club, who are a big sponsor of the event, we were sat having a drink and it was, uh, I want to do something on, uh, on Friday and we were just watching, uh, funny videos on YouTube with the kids with us.

[00:07:46] And one of the funny videos that came up on YouTube was a scare prank video. There's a guy who dresses as a plant and he hides in like New York and London and all of a sudden he'll just jump out on strangers and we're watching that and I said let's do that and you know it was up for it he said yeah 100 per cent I had a quick look online uh I was able to get a costume delivered in literally 24 hours it was on the front door and then this happened so as you're walking in you're your senses are going all over the place Troy Hawks there greet his guild greeting people in there's loads pictures of that online you walk through and then this happens

[00:08:34] So that was, uh, Helen and Jane walking in and that was, um, and that was, uh, Kieran who was down there and he was making people jump literally as they walk in. Um, I have literally, Kieran is sending me these videos through literally now as we speak and it was hilarious to see. So you come in there, you see the fun run, you go down and then you come into the main room.

[00:08:55] Uh, the main room, um, looked amazing. So we're at the York race course. I managed to grab this picture before everybody arrived. Everything that you see in that room from the bunting to the boxes on the table. Um, and all of the cool stuff that you saw around the event and on that night is thanks to the team made by Evolved, otherwise known as the printing people, Gary, Helen and the team.

[00:09:18] Um, if you've ever had a Boostly mug in the post or anything Boostly in the post is because of that team. I work with them and I've been working with them for years. They're a UK-based company. They are phenomenal to work with. And if you are looking at swag or any print or anything for your business, I recommend that you get in contact with Made by Evolved.

[00:09:38] Um, They're a, an unbelievable company based outta York. And yeah, I recommend you all get in contact, but this is what the, this is what the room looked like as you walked in. So you walk in, um, the, the stage is at the top there, which is cool. It's got all the sponsors on there. Um, and yeah, it, and, and that was it.

[00:09:54] And, and that was the layout. And so the layout was really important to me. Every single thing from the little details of, of what you've got as the bangal and stuff, I just wanted to make the event fun and interesting and Instagrammable, which, which is what we did. Um, as the night kicked off, we then came down to the lineup.

[00:10:11] So the lineup again was important because we, I wanted to make sure that we, we made everybody laugh. And when we got in contact with Troy, uh, obviously he's got the Greater's Guild, but he's also a stand-up comedian. That is how he is, you know, that's his bread and butter. And he's got some stand-up shows coming up, um, next year.

[00:10:29] Um, let me just bring my screen up again. So he's going to be touring around the UK. So if you need to see this guy, this is where you can go and check him out. But on the actual night, he said, listen, I'll do a standup show as well. If you want, I was like a hundred per cent. So, uh, when we got everybody sat down, uh, we did some cool things and we got Troy on stage and he was funny.

[00:10:47] Uh, he, uh, he, he, he, told stories of meeting, you know, Jack Grealish and of some of his greatest Guild stories and he spoke to a few people in the audience which was, which was hilarious. We had a few people try and get a little bit clever, a little bit rowdy, but he had a lot of fun with them, which, uh, which made me giggle.

The music acts

[00:11:03] Um, but yeah, as, as the event went on, we, we did a few more things and then we got the, the, the main act, well not the main act, but the, the, the song that the singer's up. So we got, um, I work with a company called A1 Star Tributes. And A1 Star Tributes, uh, I spoke to them last October, so a year ago, and I said, listen, I want to do an event and I want to get some tribute acts.

[00:11:24] Um, I want to get, I want to get Robbie Williams and I want to get ABBA. And you know what? They came back to us and they, they, they delivered. Then, the two acts were hilarious. I got to know Matt, who was Robbie, and the ladies who did ABBA. and you know, hilarious, really funny. They travel around the whole of the country, uh, singing at club nights and whatnot.

[00:11:42] And they had an amazing time. So, you know, I went to all the acts and I just, you know, I want to make sure they had a good time because if they had a good time, I know that there, their performance was amazing. And I knew that they, and everybody else would have enjoyed it as well. But when he came on and he did, um, let me entertain you.

[00:11:55] I was like, yeah, that's sound. That's good. I'm sound. I'm good on that now. And there was a, there's a lady called Caroline, Caroline monks. And it was a birthday on the day, she was a huge Robbie fan and she messaged me before the event saying, I wonder if Robbie can give me a shout out, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

[00:12:10] And he did sweet Caroline for Caroline, which was, uh, which was epic. And we all got to sing Caroline happy birthday at the event. And yeah, and I know that she had a good time. I think she got a selfie with Matt, AKA Robbie at the end. So, um, another one of the singers that was on the stage was a, was a young girl called Amber Mason.

[00:12:32] And the story behind that is that Amber was never meant to be at the event. The only reason Amber was there is that in the day,, Laura Rosie went for something to eat in York, and we had to pick up a few more bits and bobs for the event. And as we were walking through the shambles, there was a busker playing.

[00:12:49] And you could hear it from, from, from a way off because the, the, the voice was unreal. It was such a nice voice. And so Laura had to pop in to get something done. Um, I pushed Rosie over and she was in a pushchair and Rosie loves anything music. She will bob away, she will dance, she will throw her hands in the air.

[00:13:05] And, uh, I just thought I'd stop outside the busker and just watch while waiting for Rosie. Uh, well, waiting for Laura, sorry. And Rosie was having an amazing time and Amber was gesturing to Rosie and it was so cute to see. And at the front of the placard. of her stand had her Instagram handle, Amber Mason Music.

[00:13:24] And I didn't think much more, we put, we put some money in to say, you know, thank you for entertaining our Rosie. And I just had an idea as I was walking away because it was such nice, sort of welcoming music. She was singing Adele and other songs and, and I messaged her on Instagram. I just said, I know this is super last minute, but do you fancy doing an hour gig tonight?

[00:13:43] Um, and she replied within an hour saying, Yeah, absolutely would love to. And, you know, for me as a business owner and has done all of these things to see somebody else in a young kid who has taken the initiative to a brand of business properly. So she's done the marketing aspect left. an easy way of clicking to action of a call to action on the street and then going backwards.

[00:14:06] But instead of going, I'm not sure. Yeah, the idea I just bit last minute. She was like, Yeah, I'm up for it. I'm sound. Let's do it. That was massive for me. And so, um She came down, no prep at all, 6. 30 just before everybody arrived. She set up, uh, spoke to the sound guy and from 7 to 8 she was playing amazing music.

[00:14:24] And my biggest regret is I couldn't pop up to see her singing. Uh, but luckily I had a performance early on in the day because I was welcoming everybody in. But people that I spoke to said, yes, she was nice, really good. And, um, you know, and, uh, she, she played, you know, she stayed there for a little bit of the intro.

[00:14:39] She played a few of the games and then, and then she left and, you know, and I'm a massive, massive fan of Amber. So please make sure that you do go in and follow it. Um, it was, it was, it was great to see. Um, and yeah, someone's put in the chat here. The young singer as people were walking in was lovely. Yeah, it was great.

[00:14:57] So it's Amber Mason user. Let's see if I can bring it up on the screen here. Amber, make some music. So if I share my screen, Go on, give her a follow and just say, Hey, I saw you at the bash, 'cause she's just getting this started by the looks of it. Stands in yorks and sings, And, uh, yeah, it was fantastic. Uh, and so bringing it back to the, To, to, to the event, Um,

Things I learned

[00:15:24] What, what are things that I learned?

[00:15:25] Well, number one, Have an event manager Talking of which before the event so on LinkedIn on the daytime I would just quickly check in my messages because I was helping a few people get to the event And there were two nice messages. Uh, one from Diane Lloyd, who helps run events, for STAA. And I've known Diane now for about four years.

[00:15:46] We, first met when I went to one of the events that she was running and managing, and she just sent me a message saying, good luck with the bash, which meant a lot to me at the time because it was getting very stressful. And another message from, uh, Damien Sheridan, who is, one of the co-founders of scale rentals.

[00:16:01] He's put on so many amazing events. That meant the world, you know, that little message on the day from the two of them was amazing. And I think Diane and Damian will testament to this. If you're going to run an event, have an event manager. Now, the reason why I didn't have one is pure and foremost, I, you know, I wanted to keep the cost as low as possible.

[00:16:20] I wanted to keep the ticket prices as low as possible because putting on an event like this, put on any event isn't, isn't cheap at all. And, um, I was saying to Laura yesterday, my one biggest regret is I didn't have an event manager because There were a few things that needed to be dealt with on the date and the plan was six o'clock.

[00:16:40] Uh, me and my family, we're going to sit down, we're gonna have a meal together in the restaurant with the boys and Rosie and my parents were then going to jump in a, uh, I organized and I surprised the boys with a limo ride from the restaurant to the race course. And we're going to do all those cool things, walk in and the event, you know, go ahead with the event.

[00:16:57] It's a bit naive on my part because as the day transpired with logistics and getting everybody in, getting all the things set up, that was never going to happen. So I had to leave. At the restaurant, I leave the hotel about a quarter to six to get to the event to sort out these last little bits and bobs.

[00:17:15] And I missed all of that. And, you know, it's, it's stupid. It's on my parks, my massive fan of who, not how, and it's one of the things that you, you don't know what you don't know. And it's the first time I've put an event on like this. And again, if I was to do it again, I would a hundred per cent have an event manager to be able to run it and, you know, power to Diane who does this for a living and she's amazing at it.

[00:17:33] Every event that I'm, I'm, I'm speaking at where she's there, they just run so smoothly and I know it's not smooth because nothing ever goes to plan, but to have an event manager, that would be. Uh, one of my core, uh, recommendations for, for everybody who was looking to put on. So, the major takeaway so far, the event manager, design the event for you.

[00:17:53] So design the event that you would enjoy. And then if I think that's the case, everything else will go to plan. Uh, but also as well, I've got a little, um, secret sauce. A little, um, what's the word? I can't even think of the word now because I know I need to finish this soon. But, um, my little secret sauce to put on an event was, uh, this guy.

[00:18:14] Um, and I only literally discovered him about a month ago in America. So I was at an event, uh, BiggerPockets, uh, and, and HostCon. And this guy was at the events and he spoke at HostCon. He spoke before me. And this guy is called Nick Grace and he's got a book out called The Two Hour Cocktail Party. And I discovered this guy and I, I've been going down the rabbit hole and his Instagram game is amazing.

[00:18:42] What he talks about is so cool. And one of the things that he's got is, uh, basically he is all about putting on events and how to make them fun, whether it's like a small meetup or whatever you want to call it. And he's got this thing called the Nick Party Formula. And I watched this about a month ago on the plane back after, after meeting him in Houston.

[00:19:01] And I was like, this is unreal. So the NIC party formula N is name tags. So name tags help 110 per cent because not everybody knows each other. Name tags are an easy way of remembering names and you know, and it's, and it helps break, break down any potential barriers that there are. So that's the N. So as you know, if you've been at the event, the first thing I gave you when you registered and you sort of said, hi, give you a name tag.

[00:19:27] I am for icebreakers. So, an icebreaker is a great way of, you know, any sort of nervousness or whatnot that's in the event. So, for me, what we did is we did a game called Boostly Beetle Drive. And again, this, um, this, uh, this game that I've played, it's me, you know, my mum and dad would break this out at every family event.

[00:19:49] It's called Beetle Drive. You may have heard of it, or you may not have heard of it. A lot of people in the room hadn't heard of it, a lot of people had heard of it. But it is an amazing icebreaker game. And it's very hard to explain it and for you to listen in or watch this back go, yeah, that sounds good.

[00:20:03] You have to be there to play it, but just Google Beetle Drive and just do it your next family event or meet up or whatever. It is a lot of fun. And we called it boosted beetle drive. And that was our icebreaker. Just as people were coming in, getting settled, maybe sitting down in the friend groups or whatnot.

[00:20:16] It was a great way of mixing people up. C is cocktails. So, uh, a big part of what he does is no food. And, you know, it caused a lot of uproar in the WhatsApp group chat that we set up that said there's no food at this event. Get your food, get fed beforehand. But C is for cocktails. So C is about drinks.

[00:20:34] And so, uh, instead of doing food, what I did is I put the money towards, uh, a bar tab. Which went down really well, you know, I couldn't have done that bar tab without Dave Goodfellow, Dave Ince, and Harry from Iconic Training Academy, so thank you very much for that. But it's like, yeah, no food. Nibbles at most.

[00:20:51] So what we did, we provided Pringles and sweets and bits and bobs, but no food. And then K is a kick-out time. And, uh, the kickout time I didn't come up with the race course came up with that for us at 12 o'clock, but that is a really solid little formula for hosting any event. And again, I don't want to butcher it too much.

[00:21:09] I've asked Nick to come onto the podcast so we can delve into this. Go and check out the book. Go check out this guy. Cause he's just come out of nowhere and I'm fascinated with it. I think it's a great idea for any event. So even if you're organizing events and conferences or whatnot, even just a small little meetup, do go check out this guy.

[00:21:23] Cause I feel like that was my secret sauce to the event going, going so smoothly as it is. And, uh, and yeah, and the final thing is timings. Like, I was setting timers on my watch. My watch was buzzing the whole event, because everything had to go up to time at right. And I got warned by the race course. I said to the race course beforehand, like, all the events that you've done, what's the one mistake that you see everybody make when you do these things?

[00:21:44] And they said timings. Things running over, things going for too long, yada, yada, yada. And so timing is key. So just make sure that you have your time and you stick to it. And again, that's what a good event manager would have helped with. Well, yeah. We've all been said, um, this event literally could not have happened without the sponsors.

[00:22:04] I mean, the sponsors, uh, were, were everything because the event ticket price was low. And the reason why it was really low is because we're able to get sponsors to come in and, and help with this. And, you know, I've, I've given him a shout out on the night, but I want to give him a shout out again, very, very, very, very, very quickly here, because it's, it's really important because.

Sponsors shoutouts

[00:22:25] I've put on the event, I've announced it, and you know, there's a big, big outlay to do. And so to help reduce the costs, I go out into my little black book of people that I've got to know over the industry, and I just said, hey, would you like to be a part of it? And what I wanted to do is I wanted to get people into the room that would help make the night as good as possible.

[00:22:45] I didn't want people to come in and sort of go, Yeah, if I'm going to sponsor this event, I want to be speaking on stage. I want to give a presentation on performance. I was like, No, none of that. So I said to everybody that if you do this, there's no booths, there's no presentations, there's none of that.

[00:23:00] You were just here to join in with the party, get to know people, get to meet your customers because a lot of these people had customers at the event and you know, and just come and join in the form. And there was so much trust on the end of the sponsors coming into this because this wasn't a normal industry event.

[00:23:16] They are used to the very standard where you come in, you have a booth, and people can come up to you and talk and swap business cards. This was so new and so many people didn't get it. But these guys did. And again, I will always be grateful for him to them. And you know, I want to shout out about them as much as possible.

[00:23:34] I want to do it now very quickly on the podcast. So Pricelabs, Superhog, Touch Day. These three companies have turned into friends, and they were with me on the… In the book, Direct Blueprint. So the book, Direct Blueprint, that we put together, they were co-authors on the book and, you know, they were one of the first people to come back saying, Yeah, let's do this.

[00:23:56] Touch Day very kindly came in and they provided the digital guidebook. So the digital guidebook was a big success. So many of you used it, used it for times, how to get to the venue because it was not an easy location to find. The room was not easy at all. Touch Day came in and helped put all of that together.

[00:24:11] Here we got Alice and Ned in front of the balloon. This is definitely towards the end of the night, but they looked amazing. They were amazing and they got to meet Joyce McGuire, who is a big fan of Touch Day, uh, who is part of their testimonials and all that good stuff. So it was amazing that we could make that happen.

[00:24:28] Um, Price Labs, Superhog, Hannah and Caitlin came down and you know, it was, it was, uh, I'm you are just in my contact list. They're always there and I will always be grateful to them. We've got so many people that Boostly that use Touch Day, that use Superhog, that use Pricelabs. Pricelabs is, of course, Dynamic Pricelabs.

[00:24:46] Superhog is, of course, is the, is a host protection guest, um, verification platform and Touch Day is digital guidebooks. There are so many people out there that you can go to, but you literally cannot go wrong with those, with those three. Um, the next up is, is host and stay. So, Dale Smith. Um, everybody should know Dale Smith by now.

[00:25:08] He is all of the events. He wins a lot of the awards, the host and stay team. They sponsor football clubs. Um, they do a lot of great advertising and their properties are all over the major tourist spots that are in the UK and they offer such a fantastic model. I've been lucky enough to stay at one of their properties.

[00:25:25] I've seen their operations in, in, um, in, in action and they just do it right. And again, the team came down. Um, Dale was one of the first ones that got back to me saying, yep, 100%. We'll, we'll, we'll put it on my, my way that I sold it to Dale. I was like, listen because Dale's from Saltburn. The teams are from Saltburn, which is near Stockton, which is near Middlesbrough.

[00:25:46] For those who don't know where it is. I was like, there are no events in the north. There are no events in our industry in the north. Everything is down in London. Let's just like put a flagpole in. Let's, let's do this event for the north. And, and he was in on the back of that. And, you know, um, a lot of people were there chatting to him.

[00:26:01] And there's a lot of people who will be able to partner up and team with him, which is, which is amazing to see. The next up is, uh, James Valley. So, uh, James, I know he'll be probably seeing this on LinkedIn at some point in the future. Uh, I met James in person, it feels like forever ago, but it was in September in, in, uh, in London.

[00:26:24] And we were, when we were at the event, uh, we're talking about, uh, holiday cottage handbook and what he was doing and the plans. And, you know, he's, he's literally started this up and he, you know, he's doing this and, you know, he's, he's literally at the startup phase. He doesn't know what he's going to evolve into.

[00:26:42] He doesn't know any of that. Okay. But, um, I'm a big fan of what he's doing. The podcast is great. I'm going to tag him in, the chat now on LinkedIn so he can see this. And I want everybody to go and check out the Holiday Cottage Humble, go check out the podcast, go check out the resources because He'll need your guidance, the Boostly guidance, as he is growing this in terms of how it shapes and what it looks like into the future.

[00:27:07] Um, there are good people in this industry and there are great people in this industry and anybody who is, is nice, good and great and just a nice person. I will support 110 percent and I always will and I always, and I always will do. And James is getting started and I can see already in the content that he's putting out there, in the podcast that he's doing, the resources and the newsletter.

[00:27:28] It's one that everybody should have in their inbox and it's free. So go and check it out. Um, and he very kindly came along to the event and he documented it all, which was amazing to see. So we've got some real cool thing on, on, on his, on his LinkedIn. Um, the next up, so now I put a post on LinkedIn today about this.

[00:27:49] I, um, have been a fan of these guys since smart BNB. Since the good old days of Smart B& B, which started as a messaging platform to make your lives easier when guests are chatting to you on Airbnb, etc. They have, they have built a business around the community. And they are a community-first business, and the community helps guide them in the way that they go.

[00:28:09] And this is now Hospitable. Uh, Hospitable, um, they are PMS. They are PMS that never wanted to be a PMS, but the community has driven them to it. And they are doing amazing things. One of the cool things about what they're doing, Is that they are still new and when you are working with a new start up your feedback means so, so much more if you're with a more established, bigger vendor and if you give your feedback, then it's a lot harder for them to pivot, right?

[00:28:37] And you can see booking. com and Expedia going through these sort of teaming problems now because they're, they're a, they're a, they're a cruise liner trying to turn around. But if you're working with a crawler ship, like a small fishing boat, they can spin around in literally minutes. and they can pivot and they can change.

[00:28:52] And that is literally what hospitable are doing. And they have just brought out this huge product, which is all about diary bookings. And I'm a huge, huge, huge fan of, and our partnership and our relationship is growing. We're able to integrate more with them. So more hospitable customers can work with Boostly and the website has got this epically smooth direct booking process and we're able to do more and more and more with them.

[00:29:14] The products they're creating are fantastic and the best thing about it is that it's impacting hosts at property one to property seven level the most. And with Boostly, with all the people that are in our system, you know, the 2, 500 customers, we've got about 20, 000 people on our email list, the podcast and everything.

[00:29:33] that over 80 per cent of the people that are in our world are in that one to seven property world. So when you're looking for a PMS and if you're going right, which is the one for me? You want to be thinking, which is the one for me in my situation now? And there are loads of choices, but you've got to look at the ones where the people are raving about it the most.

[00:29:53] And not only is their customer service, but on the product team are fantastic. What they talk about is great and how they act and just is everything to me. And that's why I was so glad that they agreed to be part of the event. So hospitable, please, please, please do go check them out. Um, it was, it was amazing to have you part of it to meet to meet the guys.

[00:30:15] I met many of them in Burma in Orlando and then to chat with him a bit more. Uh, it was great. So please do check out hospitable. Next up is the social media club. So social media club. Um, if you don't know my wife, Laura, Laura Nicholson Simpson and her brother, Kieran Nicholson, started up a business a week after Rosie was born.

[00:30:37] And, um, what they're doing is they're providing a done-for-you solution for your social media done-for-you solution for Instagram more in particular. And the result is that they have so many of their customers. Uh, customers and the reason why it works is that Boostly has never done a done-for-you solution with social media.

[00:30:55] We show you what to do, which is great, but there are others out there. But just go, you know what, Mark, you're talking sense all makes sense to me, but can you just do it? And I was like, no, we don't do it. But now I can pass over Laura's contact details. And so many people are speaking to her. So many people reached out to her since Tuesday night.

[00:31:10] which is, which is great. She had a couple of calls lined up for today and for tomorrow. Uh, and so, and, but they can only work with a limited amount of people, which is, which is, you know, it's, it's great to see them doing, it's great to see them so full already, because when you start up a business, you know, and I say this a lot in the world of hospitality, you're all very lucky because you can start up a hospitality business.

[00:31:30] You can take a couple of pitches, you can put it on Airbnb and be pretty much depending on your market and your niche guaranteed revenue. When you start up doing any other industry in any of your career, there isn't any of that. There's no website that Laura could go and list their businesses on and be guaranteed revenue.

[00:31:43] So they're having to start all from fresh and from scratch and, um, to see their journey is, is being unreal. The results that they're getting for their, for their customers and their members and their clients is, is fantastic. And to be able to showcase them at the event for me was, was amazing. And everything on the fun run that you saw, the phone booth.

[00:32:02] The balloons, the 360, Laura and Kieran, they sorted that, uh, and, and they, and they paid for it to be there. And so it was, uh, it was epic to be able to, to do that with them. And I just, wish them all the best. And, you know, I try and give advice, but if you ever tried giving advice to your spouse, you know, it goes in one ear and out the other.

[00:32:19] So I was just like, how can I support them in any way, shape or form? And this is what we can do. The last two people, well Dave and Dave and Harry, Iconic Training Academy, they had a great time, they're the ones on the 360, they put the money down for the, for the bar, which was great, they helped a lot, so every single one of you that had a free drink at the bar, it's thanks to Dave.

[00:32:41] Dave and Harry. So please say thank you to them. Iconic training academies. Go and check it out. Dave's got a book coming out in January. Uh, I've, I've given it a read already. Um, I'm doing the forward for it. Hopefully, my forward stands up to the test and they produce it, but it is a good book for anybody who is looking to level up their short-stay accommodation business in 2024.

[00:33:00] So do go check that out. The last one that I wanted to give a mention to is. Gary and Helen were made by Evolved, otherwise known as the printing people. When I say that I could not have done this event without them, it's an understatement. Um, when I came to them with the idea, they were like, brilliant, leave it to us.

[00:33:20] What's the budget? Let us go. And they came up with all of the little things. So one of the things that I loved this morning, was I saw a post on LinkedIn from Laura Burnett, and she talked about the little things that make the event. And every single little thing that she spoke about, It wasn't me. They came to me, I just said, sound, I trust you, go for it.

[00:33:38] So, the, the, um, the, the, uh, door hangers that you tap, that was their idea. The bunting, that was their idea. The boxes were their idea. The, uh, the, the, the beetle drive cards was their idea. The, uh, the drinks token vouchers, that was their idea. The wristbands, that was their idea. The name tags, the actual design of it, that was them.

[00:34:00] Anything that I brought to them, They did it and it was phenomenal. The deck chair and all that cool stuff because I think that the way to make an event as good as possible is you've got to make it as Instagrammable as possible. Just like with your properties, the more Instagrammable your properties look, the more it will spread on Instagram.

[00:34:17] And they came up to me with tons of Instagrammable ideas and loved it. And they gave Troy a little present as well, which I know he loved. His real name is Milo, by the way, but Troy loved it. And it was a, it was a, it was a, it was a nice touch of everything that they did.

[00:34:35] Um, and so yeah, if you are looking for swag, if you are looking for merchandise, if you're looking for printing, go to Made by Evolved, go check them out on Google, based out of York. If you've ever got anything in the post from Boostly, it has come from them. They ship it, they post it for me, I don't know if they offer that to other people, but we've been working together for years now.

[00:34:53] And I met Gary, this is going back, to 2018. When I first started Boostly, uh, the local university in Scarborough approached me to do some workshops for them. And it was a government-based thing. So the government paid me to do it and I travelled around to Scarborough, to other places. And I had to spend a day in Malta.

[00:35:14] And this wasn't hospitality people. This was every person. And, um, Every business was there and Gary had just started up the business and he was sat down and I met him in Malton in 2018 on a very, very cold, um, September day. I know it was September because a week later, Uh, little Frankie was born back in 2018.

[00:35:36] Uh, and so we've known each other since then, and it was around 2020 that I had the idea of posting things out in the post to people, and he was the first person that I came to. So we've known each other for a while now, and to be able to bring it all together at this event last night was amazing. So, yeah, please do go go and check him out.

[00:35:56] And that's all my notes. That's everything. I mean, the, the main thing that I have learned, get an event manager, number one, to design the event for you. And number three, have the Nick party method in your world. Um, the final thing I want to show you, which was my favourite bit of the night was this.

[00:36:16] So I, the reason why the event was in York was for no other reason than I wanted my family to be there. And if I'd have put it in Liverpool, I'd have put it in Manchester, if I'd have put it in wherever, Newcastle, they wouldn't have been able to come. Because it was on a Tuesday night, it was a school night.

[00:36:35] And I put it in York because I wanted them to be there. And one of my favourite things, and this was done last minute, uh, I, I said, um, I said to Laura in the morning, I said I want to get the kids on stage. And so, at the end of my little introduction, before we got Troy Hawke up on stage, uh, I got the kids and Alfie is here, Charlie's here, Frank is here, and Alfie's holding Rosie.

[00:36:58] They came on stage to say thank you. And the why, the reason why I got them on stage to say thank you, is because, you all that are watching this now, You have been following me, but then following them since 2016. As people have been watching Boostly since Boostly since 2016, these have grown up, and you know more about them than they even realize.

[00:37:22] And so, we've got to travel to amazing places to meet all of you, really, like, we've stayed at your places, we've traveled the world to meet you, and we've got to meet so many people from the world of Boostly. And they've got to experience amazing things because of everybody who is part of this right. And everything that we have done over the last seven years.

[00:37:40] And to get them on stage to say thank you, uh, was amazing for me, but amazing for them. Frankie wanted to stay. He wanted to do dances. He wanted to do handstands. These two were very shy. Rosie didn't have a clue what was going on. And they haven't stopped talking about it since. They haven't stopped talking about that or the limo ride since.

[00:37:56] But to get them on stage, just to say thank you and hi to everybody. And I know they went from there. They had all of the sugar. Their uncle was giving them Coke, which I was fuming at because they're not going to drink Coke. And they had the best of times. They were meant to leave at nine. They didn't leave until 11.

[00:38:13] I am amazed that they were on the school run the next day, but they made it to school. My mum and dad, bless them, they came down, they, they got the kids, they took them back, uh, but they stayed with them over in the hotel, they got them up in the morning, got them breakfast, got them fed, got them dressed, and they got them off to school.

[00:38:27] I was fast asleep. I didn't get to one o'clock in the morning. They woke us on the way to the school run and I didn't see the kids until three o'clock. But yeah, little Frankie last night, he fell asleep at four o'clock, uh, on the sofa, uh, at night. And he woke up at 6 a.m. This morning, they were shattered.

[00:38:43] I've got parents evening to go to tonight and I've got to apologize for the state of my kids for the last two days because they are well and truly knackered, but they had the best, best of times. So. Yeah, thank you to everybody for making them feel so welcome for everything you do. All right, the next podcast will be back to normal.

[00:39:03] It'll be back to your normal run of things of doing this, but I wanted to do this now while it is top of mind. Uh, there's so many people in the room that, you know, I wanted to thank you, thank them for being there. And if I haven't thanked them on the night, I thanked them, in a WhatsApp the next day.

[00:39:18] And, um, I really, really hope you all as much fun as I did putting it on. It was very stressful. Things weren't going right on the day, but we make, we're able to make it happen. And I feel like. At the end of the day, the reason why it just, it just worked is that in hospitality, this gene is born and created with inside you, that you just get it done.

[00:39:39] And you know, I've been in this industry for a long time. I was born into it and I've been into it full-time since 2011. And you develop this knack of just getting it done. It doesn't matter what the situation is. whatever the problem is, whatever the issue is, you just are able just to get it done and we're able to get it done.

[00:39:55] And the event was epic and I could properly relax after I'd say 10 o'clock. Well, the more that Laura, uh, Laura power and I'm a managing director, the more Mexican mules tequila, very strong tequila, uh, was able to give me the more I was able to relax. And by the end of it, it was, it was amazing. And, um, this high I'm on now we'll, we'll stick around for a while.

[00:40:16] Um, I'm going to switch off and recover. now for the, uh, for the, for the next couple of days. And then I'll be back on Monday because when I'm back on Monday, whenever you tune into this, this is going to be the 25th of November. When I'm back on Monday, we are all systems go for the book direct virtual summit.

Virtual Summit

[00:40:35] Um, um, I, I think I got kind of popular by putting on this five-day. Giveaways, five-day challenges, five-day training. Um, but ever since Laura Powner has come in as managing director of Boost, it's given me the ability to step outside of the business and plan and there's something that I've wanted to do for a while now is turning these five-day challenges and put them on speed and turn them into a virtual summit.

[00:40:59] So that's why from the 27th of November to the 1st of December, I've opened up my little black book and I have invited some of the best speakers. in the world to five days of virtual training. So no having to travel to York, no having to spend time away from your business and your family. This is going to be on your phones, on your devices, and your TVs.

[00:41:20] We're not going to do just one session a day. We're going to do at least three sessions a day. and it is going to give you all the biggest heads-up for 2024. We have got some amazing speakers lined up and I can't say anything more than that now. I'm going to start announcing it on the 20th of November and we're going to start on the 27th of November.

[00:41:40] It's 100 percent free. It's going to be open for all to tune in. And I'm now going to switch off and I'm going to tell you more about it on Monday. So I'm going to leave you on a teaser and we'll be back on Monday. So whenever you do listen to this podcast, you may listen to it when it goes out, maybe listen to it live with me now.

[00:41:57] Maybe in the future you're going to be listening to this. I hope you've, I hope you've enjoyed it. It's just been me rambling on for 30 minutes. But, um, I wanted to do this. So, for everybody who's a part of it, thank you. Thank you so much for being part of it. Um, it meant the world to bring my whole world together into one place.

[00:42:15] Um, there's even a guy who won't watch this because he's not on social media. You may or may not recognize him. There's a guy called Jim James Hescov. Uh, I've known him since three years old. We went to play school together. Um, we grew up together and went to primary school, secondary school, and college together.

[00:42:32] Um, I didn't go to university cause I dropped out to do soccer coaching. So I went to America to do soccer coaching. He said at uni, he came back out of uni in 2006. He messaged me in June 2006 saying, do you want to go travelling? I said, yes. We went to Thailand. We booked a one-way ticket to Thailand and for two years we travelled together, came back, moved to London together, came back and then that's where we went our ways.

[00:42:56] He moved to Sheffield. I came back to Scarborough and, uh, and that's when I fell into the family business, but best man at my wedding, known him for years and he lives in Leeds. And, uh, I messaged him saying, do you want to come down? Do you fancy it? And he came down, didn't know anybody. Uh, but had a, had a great night and it was great to have him in the room, um, uh, to, to be able to, uh, to be able to see it.

[00:43:16] So again, bringing all my world into it, into this one room was phenomenal. So thank you everybody for being part of it. Uh, thank you to your race course for being so welcoming, because it was, uh, it was a lot of messages sending and to everybody else. I don't think I've left everybody out, but if I have, I'm so sorry.

[00:43:33] Uh, if I've, if I've not messaged or spoken to you, I will get two years and, uh, I'll be back very, very soon. So for me, take everybody and have an amazing night, an amazing day, afternoon, whenever you're tuning in speak soon.