Using Tech to Drive Direct Bookings

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Welcome to the latest episode of The Boostly Podcast where we delve into the intricate world of online business strategies, specifically focusing on the hospitality sector. In this episode, Liam is joined by guest Adams from Booklee and they engage in a thought-provoking discussion about the effectiveness of direct links to websites and the challenges businesses face in managing online information overload. This episode also features an exclusive look at Booklee, a revolutionary tool designed to simplify the booking process for vacation rental businesses.

Join us as we explore how technology like Booklee is reshaping the landscape of direct bookings and online presence, offering insights and practical tips for business owners aiming to enhance their digital footprint in this dynamic industry. Whether you're a seasoned host or just starting out, this episode is packed with valuable information to help you navigate the digital world of hospitality more efficiently.

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Intro

[00:00:00] Liam: I know there's going to be people out there who are saying, well, why don't you just put a link direct to your website? What, what would you say to those, those people?

Direct Links

[00:00:07] Adams: How I see myself as a guest. So I imagine myself in the, in the shoes of my potential guests viewing my social accounts or somehow finding about my, my business, right?

[00:00:17] Adams: If I imagine that I click a website. The book direct website and there's like a bunch of information kind of drops out all of the amenities bunch of pictures 30, 30 pictures, whatever list of things to do and attractions, multiple tabs. It's kind of overwhelming, right? I'm bombarded with a lot of information.

[00:00:36] Adams: And what Booklee does here is that. It gives you the means, gives you essentially the, the, the power to display the most important information about your property so that you're quite sure that the guest is going to be inspired, incentivized more to explore about your property and go to your full fledged Booking Direct website, right?

Driving Direct Bookings

[00:01:16] Liam: Today we are talking about how you can drive direct bookings via some of the tech within your business and some of the cool soft. We're links and things like that. So before doing that, let's just introduce what the subject of all Boostly podcast is about. It's about giving you the tools, the tactics, the training, and most importantly, the confidence to go out there and get more direct bookends.

[00:01:39] Liam: I'm Liam Carolan. I'm Mark Simpson's co host and. We always do these spotlight series from time to time, which are looking at people services within the industry that you need to know about. And today we shine in the Boostly spotlight on a very special guest. We've got Adams Tehrandra from Booklee. And Booklee is this awesome, awesome thing that you do need to know about as a host.

[00:02:02] Liam: So welcome along Adams.

[00:02:04] Adams: Thank you for having me here. Really, really excited

[00:02:06] Liam: for this. I'm excited to have you here. So. First of all, what is Booklee? Let's start at the very basic. Um,

[00:02:14] Adams: sure. So, a quick Uh, one liner, what is Book. ly and then I'm going to delve in a bit deeper into the story, how we got here.

Introducing Booklee

[00:02:23] Adams: Essentially, Book. ly is a simple booking landing page for your vacation rental business. So imagine if you're running, uh, yeah, you're running a vacation rental business and you have some, say, social media exposure. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or other mediums, platforms, and, uh, you're drawing traffic on those, but you want to have efficient tools to convert that traffic into actual bookings, right?

[00:02:51] Adams: And Booklee helps you with that. Booklee builds a simple booking landing page that sits within the bio link as functions as a link in bio of your social media accounts. That helps you efficiently, effectively convert the traffic that you're getting on those platforms into actual bookings. And we have a couple of cool features within Booklee that actually helps you do that.

[00:03:13] Adams: Uh, thing, so that's what is Booklee in a nutshell.

[00:03:17] Liam: And, uh, yeah, I want to say to every host that's listening to this. If you haven't got social media set up is 2023. You need to, for your business, have your social media channels on point, whether that is. The one that you prefer, it might be Facebook, it might be Twitter.

[00:03:35] Liam: It might be, or X as it's called now, or it might be Instagram. The key thing is just take some action. It only takes about five minutes to, to do the actual initial step of getting something set up. And if you listen to this, just going, Hey, I haven't even got a social media page. Well. Don't, don't switch off from listening, listen to the rest of this and then go set it up and then also you'll know what to do and what to put in the link.

[00:03:58] Liam: So can you give us a bit about your background and your history? How did you come up with, uh, Booklee as the co founder?

[00:04:05] Adams: Sure. Um, so at Booklee, we are a team of four as of now, and, uh, essentially, uh, me, myself, and my co founder, we both are hosts. We have been hosting on Airbnb. Uh, me personally, I have two properties that I manage.

[00:04:23] Adams: Those are more of a seasonal properties. And my other co founder, Renis, he has a more of a resort like property. And, uh, how we got to the idea of Yeah, well, essentially the business was simple for us, right? We list on platforms, booking. com, Airbnb, and essentially put our hands in our laps and just sit and wait for bookings to come in.

[00:04:46] Adams: And at one point, we kind of understood that there is essentially no real way for us to grow more. So we wanted to grow more, we wanted to grow bigger, and we wanted to grow outside platforms. And there was the clear roadblocks for us ahead of our business to do that, right? And that was kind of our trigger that we were going to grow more, control more of our business that we need to step out of the, say, trap of OTAs, right?

[00:05:13] Adams: And we just naturally just kind of started to explore solutions, ideas on how to do that. And we landed on this simple idea of social media, right? Creating a brand, creating an experience and trying to sell that on social media, connecting with people, um, or potential guests in our local communities, whatever, just showing them our brand, our experience in doing that.

[00:05:40] Adams: And, uh, yeah, that's what we tried to do. So we set up, uh, social media accounts for both our businesses, properties. And it was fun, right? Doing simple reels, photos and videos about our properties, just trying to create this package. So we call it the emotional kind of experience package and trying to sell it and then present it to our potential guests, right?

[00:06:01] Adams: It was fun, but we kind of realized, quickly realized that it's hard. It's hard to convert that traffic that you get on those social accounts into actual bookings. So we started to brainstorm ideas on how we actually can do that. When you say it.

Developing and Implementing Booklee

[00:06:17] Liam: It is simple ideas are often the best ideas, isn't it? Like, why isn't that more customizable?

[00:06:21] Liam: Why isn't that more, um, tailored towards hospitality? Uh, just one thing I didn't catch is where, where are you guys based in the world? Where did the, where did the business start?

[00:06:31] Adams: Sure. Um, so we are based in Latvia, Riga. That's, that's where our core theme is based. Uh, also where our own, uh, vocational rental businesses are based here.

[00:06:43] Adams: Um, so this is where we are operating from and, uh, but yeah, Booklee is global, so we tried to reach a global audience and we kind of, uh, quickly understood that once we released Booklee, that there's actual need for this, that there are other hosts. Within our community and then we also talk with Liam on our Facebook groups, right?

[00:07:02] Adams: We are engaging on Facebook groups a lot. They're just spreading more about the tool and then, and yeah, a bunch of people globally are trying to use it as well, are wishing to use it. And there's a need for that. So we are based in Latvia, but it's also global. How

[00:07:17] Liam: does it work and how does it help hosts when it comes down to it?

[00:07:20] Liam: What does it look like basically once, uh, once people go to set it up?

[00:07:25] Adams: Yeah, that's a cool question. So let's jump into this. Um, so what we really, really wanted to do with Booklee is that it's super simple, super flexible and super customizable, right? We want to offer this possibility to hosts who want to try this to build out their online presence so they can really make it personal to them, right?

[00:07:48] Adams: So when guests see their page, they see a brand, they don't see an Airbnb, but they see a brand. So how we came about that is that, so once you create an account on Booklee, uh, so the like third stage, I think you simply just. Based in your existing OTA listing link. And what we do is that essentially our software program goes to your listing link, gathers all of the data that is there listed about your property and takes it and dumps it on an existing small, uh, booking landing page, if you will, right.

[00:08:28] Adams: And that happens in like 30 seconds. And then you kind of jump into it and it's a simple drag and drop, change up the colors, add some emojis, add your listing links or, or add your book direct website. If you have, I mean, if you have a Boostly website that is like functional live, you can easily add a book direct link on to that guests.

[00:08:47] Adams: Once they visit your link in bio page, they can finish the booking journey within the Boostly site that you have already live. Right? So, all we actually lose is that. You just paste in your existing OTA link and it's going to generate you a simple booking landing page that you can later on just drag and drop, change up the colors, add emojis, add the links you want to have, your videos, images, whatever.

[00:09:12] Adams: It's a simple, fast playground there. And within 30 minutes, you're essentially done with a simple one page booking landing page that you can easily put up in, put up on your social accounts. Um, it can also be found on Google. You can link it, uh, I don't know, send it on WhatsApp, Messenger. Uh, on your email communication, whatever the possibilities that are in place.

[00:09:35] Liam: I know there's going to be people out there who are saying, well, why don't you just put a link direct to your website? What, what would you say to those, those people as, as I know why I'd rather have a Booklee link, but what would you say to those people? Right? This

[00:09:48] Adams: is a good question because Um, so how, how I see myself as a guest.

[00:09:54] Adams: So I imagine myself in the, in the shoes of my potential guests, viewing my social accounts or somehow finding about my, my business. Right. And, uh, if I imagine that I click a website. The book direct website, and there's like a bunch of information kind of drops out all of the amenities bunch of pictures, 30, 30 pictures, whatever list of things to do and attractions, multiple tabs.

[00:10:20] Adams: It's kind of overwhelming, right? I'm bombarded with a lot of information. And I mean, I'm just browsing the Internet, right? I'm just, I'm just trying to find cool stuff. I'm trying to get the inspiration where I'm going to go next and all that stuff. And what Buckley does here is that. It gives you the means, gives you essentially the, the, the power to display the most important information about your property so that you're quite sure that the guest is going to be inspired, incentivized more to explore about your property and go to your full fledged Booking Direct website, right?

[00:10:55] Adams: To actually finish the booking. So imagine that the guest lands on a simple booking, sorry, Booklee landing page. The very first things. He or she is going to see is the, your real reviews, whether you, whether or not you have your super host status, your beautiful crisp pictures on the booking, uh, bookleet page.

[00:11:15] Adams: Right? And some quick, uh, ideas on what he or she can expect when you're within your local area. Right? Some cool experiences, main attractions, uh, whether there's a pool or not some cool amenities. Those are like kind of the three main pillars that makes guests. The, uh, essentially the, uh, get them all hyped up, right.

[00:11:38] Adams: To explore more about your property. And, uh, essentially this is kind of the main difference. I would say that, uh, Booklee. It's kind of like a really strong entry way into your existing full fledged booking site. It really narrows down on presenting your own big booking site with some core features you have there.

[00:12:04] Adams: Just to kind avoid the issue of your potential guests being bombarded with a lot of information,