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Be in it to win it with Paul Stevens
Episode 356th March 2023 • Direct Booking Success Podcast • Jenn Boyles
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Are you staying up-to-date with industry news?

Today we speak with Paul Stevens, editor Short Term Rentalz, part of the International Hospitality News network. He is also the host of The Shortyz Awards, a perfect way to get some recognition for all your hard work.

We talk about:

  • Providing world-wide coverage of news for our short-term rental sector of the Hospitality Industry
  • The isolation you could be feeling by working for yourself, by yourself and how being part of a community can help
  • The background of the Shortyz Awards
  • Getting a pat on the back for a job well done
  • You need to enter for a chance to win
  • The new venue for the 2023’s awards ceremony
  • How the awards are inclusive to everyone
  • Some of the categories to enter
  • What direct booking success summit






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Top tips for submitting Shortyz entries here:

ENTER HERE before 15th March 2023:


DBS#35 - Be in it to win it with Paul Stevens

Jenn: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Direct Booking Success Podcast. Today I am speaking with Paul Stevens of Short-Term Rentals. Hey Paul, it is so lovely to have you here

Paul: today. Likewise, Jen. Thank you. thank you very much for having me on on your podcast.

Jenn: Brilliant. Let's start by getting you to introduce yourself, telling everybody a little bit about

Paul: who you are.

Yes. So, as you said there, my name is Paul Stevens. I'm the editor of a B2B website called, short-Term Rentals, and that's short-term rentals, with, with Z on the end. they asked me the reason, why that is, but We've been going now for, just over four years, and we're part of a wider, hospitality media portfolio belonging to a company called International Hospitality Media or ihm.

And, short-Term Rentals is one of our websites as well as Boutique Hotel News, service Department News and Urban Living needs. So we cover lots of, sort of segments across real estate and, and hospitality. . and I'm, I'm the editor of our, our short term rentals website. And, we cover, companies and people right across the world.

We run news stories. We do features, q and a type interviews. we also do more exciting things such as podcasts like that we're doing here. webinars, and we also have our own awards. So, we certainly kept, busy a lot of the time and, and there's always so much to, cover in such an evolving industry.

Jenn: And I guess it's almost a way of thinking of short-term rentals. It's like, it's like our newspaper, you know, you're covering everything in the sector. all the who's who and things that are going on. It's, it's how we get

cause when we, set out in, in:

And we managed to replicate that from our existing, uh, beauty and service department, these websites and. I think we spotted a gap quite early in the, in the market. We, we've all seen like the, the evolution of, of the industry and, and the boom particularly, during, during covid times. And yes, we want to be, there helping, educate and, and inform people, whether that's independent, property owners or hosts to wider, property managers.

To channel managers, to suppliers, you know, e everyone who's a professional, in, in this industry, we really want to, support and be there for. And, yeah, we've got a, a growing, subscriber base as well. We've sort of expanded quite a lot in, in the last couple years and hopefully we'll continue to.

Jenn: Well, I know that I'm on your subscriber list and it keeps me up to date what's happening. not just in, cuz we're both in the uk but it's worldwide.

Paul: Yeah. And, and that, that's absolutely true as well. It's, there, there are other publications, within the space that we are very keen to emphasize. We cover UK news, we cover European news, but, and, and US News.

But this is a. That's, we cover the whole spectrum of, of the industry as well. It doesn't matter if it's in mm-hmm. Australia, in Africa, in, in the Middle East. we're there to cover it and, and to provide equal coverage. And whilst probably the majority of our, our readership is in the states purely because of the, the volume, the numbers.

Yeah. we. We're seeing the, the viewing numbers, grow up, go up all the time. And, yeah, we really want to, grow our whole community as well, whether that's with our, our newsletter or with our awards. but it's always great just to get the word out about our content and show people how we can support them as well with their journey.

Jenn: And what would you tell, somebody who's maybe listening and they're thinking, okay, well I've got one or two or three properties, whatever, and, they haven't heard of you and they're feeling really, you know, it can be a real isolating business, when you're working for yourself, by yourself and then finding out that there's a larger community out there and the news.

What, why should they care? Why should they get involved or listen?

thank, thank you, Jenn question and, I, I think actually it just, it helps me, but firstly to have this platform to go out and directly, you know, appeal to people and, and show what opportunities are out there as well,course during, you know, what is now a cost of living crisis.

Paul: And I think this is something that's not just affecting. Everyone in, in the uk, but in a wider, world context as well. There's so many more people who have, have gone into the, the hosting business now, who, who weren't necessarily thinking about that before, and they're looking for these additional revenue streams.

They're perhaps new to the industry. . of course I would, encourage them to, come to our website, which is short-term And I would, and you know, on, on top of that, we're very active on LinkedIn as well, sort of connections that we've got. have, have a look at the, the people who are creating a noise, creating a buzz.

the word influencer gets, gets bandied about, but, Yeah, there's, there's so many, podcasts out there now. and through our website as well, we are trying to make people aware of what's happening in, in a global context. I think if people read, our content or, or subscribe to our, our newsletter as well, it just gives a sense not only of of the national context, but of, of a global context and.

Paul: I think they need, I think everyone needs to be aware of what opportunities are out there, and there's so much more. Of course, this is a direct booking success, podcast as well, so we're seeing movement gain, so much traction at play. There's all sorts of players launching, playbooks, launching podcasts, launching training programs.

I would, I would sort of take it from there, really have, have a look at the. The publications out there, the websites, and, you know, use us as something like a connector as well. This is an industry that's so well connected and, you know, one connection could have a huge difference on your business. Mm-hmm.

you don't, you don't really know where it could lead and eventually scale your portfolio as well.

Jenn: Yeah. And even if it just made you feel not so alone.

Paul: Yeah. I, I, I'm, I'm guessing this is something perhaps that, that comes. Maybe fairly often with your, with your, with the conversations that you are having with mm-hmm.

and property. And I think absolutely this, this is an industry that is challenging, regardless of the economic, times we're going through at the, but, this, this is genuinely, I'm, I'm only four and a bit years in, into this industry. I could never have imagined the whole scope of the industry and what's out there.

I think, it, it, it's all out there already and it probably just requires that that step to go out and. And educate yourself about the industry and, and find out who these, these people who, you know, can make a real difference for you. Everyone is so friendly as well. I'm sure this is something that you, you've come across Jen.

Paul: Everyone wants to help each other and, you know, I can say promise if you're feeling lonely and, and anxious about, you know, the short term rental business or is quite isolating. , the opportunities are out there and, and yeah, it's, it's an industry that is, is, is well worth, entering and you can.

Jenn: Very friendly, you know, it crossed the board, you know, it really is. I don't think I've ever met anyone in, in our sector who wasn't. And you know, we're in hospitality, so, you know, come on. We're people, people, right.

Paul: Ab, ab, ab. Absolutely. I can, I can totally, test that. And, and, and just, just great to have this opportunity.

We, we want to be connecting more. Independent post property property owners and, and yeah, we are, we're a news platform, but we're there to put out the news where it is and, and if we can educate and inform people along the way, about maybe investment opportunities or, or where the trends are in terms of, you know, staycation demand or new tech suppliers out.

it's, it's just putting it all out there now and, I think over the past couple of years we've, we've managed to, to grow our, our connections and we want, want to keep doing that. I'd, I'd love it if people, were keen to, reach out to me afterwards and always happy to do introductions and, and yeah, hopefully we can continue to grow this industry and the direction it's.

Jenn: Great. So tell us, you said you've been around for four and a half years, so what got you into, into hospitality was something you were interested in before or what kind of got you, got you into this?

Paul: Yeah, it's funny, I have this conversation, with a lot of people when I, I'm doing podcasts and, and I dunno from your experience, Jen, but everyone's.

Response to that question away seems to be that they stumbled into this industry by accident. in some ways I did as well. field might go say I'm, I'm relatively, young, in, in this industry. Although I would say that this, you know, this industry is so diverse and covers so many different ages and, and demographics, but, I.

this industry now since late:

And, after graduating from uni, I did a, short course in, in journalism in, in Brighton where I live. and it's just sort of developed from there. And, within, graduated from there. starting out, here at Short Term Rentals, and, haven't, haven't really looked back. It's, it's a fantastic industry to be, part of, get to meet so many people.

so many different types of personality and I'm, I'm learning every day as well. I think as, as we all are, Yeah, hopefully, we, we can continue to, to develop the, the website and build more connections, but, yeah, I'm looking forward to, to, what the future hold. . Well, it sounds

Jenn: like you got the bug.

I always talk about people who, you know, we talk about just stumbling into it and then you kind of get this bug and you're like, oh, I'm in it now . And I can't, I can't see my life without, you know, whether it's hosting or owning or managing or whatever you're doing. So it sounds like in your side of the industry it's the same.

You've got that bug for short term rentals.

Paul: It does. It does. It does seem that way. Yeah. And You know, pe people who, who want, want to travel as well. I, I think travel and hospitality just go alongside each other. the idea of of of traveling to, to new places and, and staying in all types of maybe unique accommodation as well.

I throw that so many, opportunities and when you. How welcoming people are to, to a city or, or to an accommodation as well that really rubs up on, off on you. And, it's something I, I've been lucky to have the, the opportunity to travel in, in this job and, yeah. . Yeah. We're,

Jenn: it's a passionate, you know, passionate people.

Yeah. You know, we're passionate with our, but our local areas, you know, we're passionate about showing our guests the best have, giving them the best experience they can, they can have.

Paul: Absolutely. And you have to have a passion to do this business as well. I don't, anyone goes into this industry and is half-hearted in, in their approach.

It is, is hard. . But, it's also very rewarding as well when you get, guests who, you know, re re you get repeat business and you get fantastic comments afterwards. And I think this has really been an enhanced since the, since the pandemic as well. Mm-hmm. when we couldn't all just hop on a plane and, and travel to Spain or, or France or, or wherever.

It's that we, we might go on our, our usual holidays and look the wider public. Maybe we're less familiar with, with the short term rental segment. They are now looking at, you know, this, this industry has become far more professional, and far more respected and standardized as well as, as we've grown over the last couple of years.

And hopefully we, we, we play a, a very small part in that. But, people have seen the, the benefits of, of staycation and domestic travel. People perhaps are even building in more, trips, during the year as well. They're making time to, to,stay Haitian and, and try new things and, and new booking platforms as well.

So I, I think it's fantastic, industry to be a part of and it's always great to say communities. Yeah.

Jenn: So I wanna talk to you today about your fabulous awards,that you notice. I want you to give us the background too. And then I wanna get into the details of the awards because, you know, we are talking about the news, we're talking about how isolating this, the, the sector can be sometimes, you know, but, and we just, sometimes it's so nice to have a pat on the.

you know, and we do get it from guests and our reviews and sometimes that's a really big motivator to keep going. but the shorties, which is coming up, in April, the award ceremony is such an amazing initiative, to give that. Industry Pat on the back to individuals, companies that are doing such a good job.

Can you give us a little bit of background on the shorty?

Paul: Yeah. It's funny, in the last couple of years now sort of become almost synonymous with shorties and short term rentals has almost taken a bit of a . But, people will think that I'm the editor. Of Shorty's website or, or something? Well, as, as

Jenn: long as they're not thinking it's like for short people, you know, it's, yeah.

It's not a, it's not an award show for shorty people

Paul: or . We, we, we have, we have made that joke before. I still think we need, we still need Anton deck or something for co haste with me . but, yeah, the, the, the, the short tease, it's,it's, you know, a real passion, of mine and, and bars collectively as a company.

Y Awards back in, it was late:

Paul: But, yes, you've given it a fantastic, introduction already. . this is a, a, a completely, unique, venture, really. But the shortest awards, it's an awards that is inclusive to everyone. And I, I emphasize everyone within our, our sector, whether and host and property managers, whether it's the big global, corporations or groups, whether it's, channel managers, it's suppliers.

Subscription, booking platforms, whatever we, we want to cater to everyone. And the whole point is to, yeah, give, give recognition to people who are doing extremely, exciting, innovative things, that don't necessarily get all the credit or get all the exposure time. And it is an indu. There is an awards that we tried to make as accessible as possible to.

anyone can enter. It's, no cost, to enter into our 20 categories. . And there's also no limit on the, on the number of categories you can, you can enter. Mm-hmm. obviously some might be more, you might be more eligible for, for some than others. But, yeah. And

Jenn: in fact, you encourage people to enter multiple categories if they're a

Paul: applicable Yes.

And I, I did, just to explain a video, a couple of, a couple of, weeks ago, as we're in the middle of our entries period now, . I would thoroughly encourage people to enter a, a couple of of categories along the way. we have a dedicated, entries platform that people can go to. and each of them, there's bit of, personal information.

It's nothing, nothing sensitive, but, just, just the, the administrative things. then we have each category. We've got a bit of criteria. and you, I think you can fill out, maybe about 150 words per, per category, per criteria box. And we recommend doing, bullet points and just note down some key achievements or, or new services or products that you are launching, whatever that might be.

And then you can also either a video. An additional pdf, which just backs up some of those claims. So that's what everyone, is doing and there's no favor giving given to, you know, the big companies or sponsors. This is, an event that we've been running now for, we're just coming out now to our, fourth awards.

kinda lost track of time there. but this is something that's really moving in the right direction. We're looking. Improve incrementally each year and, and just get the word out. Cause this is an event that we really want everyone to be powerful. Mm-hmm. .

Jenn: And it will only be successful if people nominate themselves.

Can you nominate someone else as well?

Paul: Yes. Yes, absolutely. You can, you can nominate, yourself, your company. You can nominate,some, an another individual. Or, or another company. we do recommend though, if you are nominating another personal company, maybe just, check with them first that they're happy to be, nominated.

luckily we, we haven't had that issue before where someone has refused to, to go on a short list or something, but, It's, yeah, any, anyone can enter and, yeah, but

Jenn: don't wait for somebody to nominate you, you know, nominate yourself. It is, you know, I was just telling Paul before we started chatting here, before we, we hit record that I'm gonna apply.

Now I'm saying it now to give myself some accountability because I will be doing it. but you know, you go on and then you're sort of, your little inner voice says, oh, but will you win? Or are you good enough? Well, you know, there's a phrase here in, in England, you know, you have to be in it to win it.

Yeah. And you just. Put on your big girl pants and just do it, you know, because you'll never know and you don't know. Also, like there's some criteria there and we'll get into some of those awards, but you don't know what the people on the panel, you know, what are they looking for and what conversations they're gonna be behind the scenes.

There might be something that you say or do or are written that just, you know, tweaks it over somebody else.

Paul: Yeah, and don't get me wrong, I completely understand people's reticence maybe to, to put themselves scored for awards. I mean, I think I might have put myself forward for one award and I didn't win.

not surprisingly but. It's, it's an award that we, we really want to show that anyone can enter, anyone can win o on the day. This isn't, if you, if you look back at previous years, we, well, we have our entries, period, and then we have a judging panel, which is diverse and includes investors and CEOs and founders.

Paul: And all sorts of people from, from different parts of the world, and they go through and assess all of the entries. And it is the entries themselves, which, would qualify people for, ultimately the shortlists and, and then the chance to win. the, the winners overall have decided by a 50 50 split between the, the judge schools, and, and the public vote.

Typically for each, category will have a, a short list of about five or six names. And I, I can honestly say even if, if you're entering a couple of categories, even if you make maybe one short list, that is an absolutely fantastic achievement that you really cannot, un underestimate or un undervalue in any way the the, exposure.

Managed to build up. I think, and hope that the industry would hopefully say, say the same there, is that the exposure that we're getting now is really strong with, with the awards and there are people from all different corners of world, quite literally, tuning in, logging in, and can vote in these awards as well.

So it could, you know, you don't really know where that exposure could take you. I would just say, you know, if you are doubting yourself or something, winners in the past have doubted themselves and they've come out and, and won or made the short list and it's you, you kind it. Yeah. there's been, we've had the, the biggest companies winning, winning awards.

We've also had companies who maybe just in the middle of raising prec funding. and hosts with, you know, a relatively small number of units that they're adding, but we want to cater to, to everyone and give them the opportunity. Yeah. So

Jenn: it's, so the the process is that you go and, and I'll put them on the sh the show notes as well.

Yeah. but it's the shorties, it's just the, isn't it?

Paul: Yes. So the, that, is. Dedicated, award site, and that gives you all of the information you need to know about the awards. and we've got a, an award ceremony at the Orbit in London on, Wednesday, sixth April, London.

it gives you whole breakdown of all of the categories, what the judges are looking for, different type of criteria you need to fill. . we've got the, the judge, the judging panel is listed. We've got, different here and you can look back on previous years and highlights there. sponsor information, it, that is where everything is.

we also then have a button, which would take you through to our, actual dedicated, entries platform where you would need to log in, print an account, log in mm-hmm. , and, and create your, your entries. . and again, I, we can probably share this in, in the, in

Jenn: the notes afterwards. Of course.

Yeah. And so once you've, once you've done that and you've hit, you've hit submit, the next stage is that, you might, be chosen for the shortlist.

Paul: Yes, yes. So, as we mentioned, off offer, we have, we're in the middle of an entries period now. The deadline for it has been the, Monday, the 6th of March, although we are, announcing that we're gonna be extending that to, Wednesday the 15th of March.

2359, GMT as well. So, okay. There is still plenty of time for people to submit entries. Cause

Jenn: this episode is coming out on the 6th of March and so you have a week and a half. Is that

Paul: right? Yes, yes, pretty much. And we,

Jenn: and have to get those entries in. So don't sit on it, get over to the website, shorty's with an and go for it.

So once you're on that shortlist, you're then, emailed about being on the shortlist.

Paul: Yes, yes. We, we, we would email, everyone who's, who's on the short list, we would email people who aren't on, on the short list as well, but, , it's all very exciting when, when we announce the shortlist, we create real buzz on, on social media gear and have some quite, quite fun videos we're just playing about.

and we announce all of the shortlists, one by one. so there's a lot, lot of names to get through. as we've got 20 categor. . and then from that we almost immediately go into a, a public vote as well. So, so

Jenn: you can com campaign for your own votes, can you?

Paul: Yes. Yes. Oh, that's fun. And, and obviously like you can only vote for, you can only vote once.

So yes, , you can, you can vote in as many categories as you want and you can vote for your own company as well. but there, there is a degree of, campaign. . but as I, I've also said to other people, it doesn't come down entirely to, public votes as well. So people are thinking, well, I'm not going to have as many votes as such and such.

If the entry is the best entry there and it fulfills the criteria more than the other ones make shortest, then anything can happen. And maybe that's something that's a little bit different. Some of the other, award ceremonies out there and, yeah, that would, that would be my, my way of encouraging people.


Jenn: no, I think great and quite fun too. And, and think of the publicity you're giving yourself by saying, Hey, I've ma made the shortlist, you know, come vote for me. You know? And for your guests to see that as well and say, oh wow, you know, we've stayed there. I wanna stay with somebody. Who has made the shortlist and then, you know, cuz there can only be one winner in each category.

Yeah. So, you know, you gotta look at the odds I guess as well. But there'll be 20 winners on the night, on April 26th. It'll be exciting. So let's talk about some of these categories. We're not gonna talk about all of 'em cause there are 20 .

Paul: Yeah, I know , you, you've got limited, limited time. So I'll try and be concise.


Jenn: The top one I have on my list is the sustainability award, because we talk about this a lot. I know in my direct Booking Success Summit, we talk about sustainability. and I know that they're gonna be, companies from one, you know, property up to hundreds that are doing a lot with this. In fact, I think probably the smaller companies might have an edge over the bigger companies for

Paul: this.

Yeah. I guess I hadn't necessarily, thought like with, with, with the size like that, but you, you make a, a really good point. And, companies Yes. We, we brought in this award, I think, I think we've actually had it from, from the start as well. But this is a com an award that literally anyone can enter.

You can be property manager, you can be a, a booking platform, you can. you know, a business with say five, 10 units. It does, it really doesn't matter how many units you would have, but, it's always a very varied, short list. And yes, we want to, we intentionally wanted to have a category that rewards companies and businesses that aren't making efforts to be green and, and sustainable, and contribute to a more sustainable tourism industry.

And, The, the winners we've had so far have done some incredible things. When we, when we go through the,when we go through what, what, what, the companies have done. When, when we see the entries, it's, it's mind blowing actually. It's, even for me, I'm, I'm constantly, learning about it

Jenn: Yeah,

So there's 20 categories and we're talking about the sustainability one. Now. There's, you know, best home automation solution, best corporate accommodation, booking channel, you know, they, most effective use of social media.

You know, some of these will be more relevant. To, to, to you than others. depending on your, your business and your company. best channel manager, like it's best property management system, which is really interesting from just seeing, the players and, and you know, who, who wins and who votes for an, I think it's just, it's, it's, it's good fun.

but there's some individual awards too. like The Rising Star and the Pioneer, the Innovator Disruptor Award, which just sounds like they're gonna come out in some kind of Cosme Cosme, you know, or something kind of crazy outfit or something. . .

Paul: That's just me. Yeah, .

but there's the Rent Entrepreneur Award, which is new.

Jenn: That's the

ur. Yeah, only new award for,:

making money from renting a holiday property or holiday properties. And these people, they, may be educating the rest of the industry about how they're doing this. they may be speaking at events. They may be, very active on, on social media. they maybe have it, maybe have their own podcast or TikTok channel, or Whate, whatever it is.

Paul: We're really looking for a whole. People, and this is, a new category as well. so we've seen, there's, there's a book out I remember called Hospitable Hosts where I think 50 hosts, or rental have contributed to this. And we just think it's a huge market that we weren't maybe giving enough visibility to.

and this, when when I say what anyone can enter, this is, this is like the category really reinforces that. Um mm-hmm. .

Jenn: it'll be interesting. Sorry Paul. It'll be interesting to see what, entries you get for it. Yes. You know, cuz on the podcast here on the direct booking says Success's podcast that you're listening to.

I've been having, owner managers in who have done something in their marketing and their business. You know, one thing and they're telling their, every, their, their, their colleagues, you know, what they've done and educating, others. And I think because, you know, we talked at the start about the, the industry being so friendly and we are hospitable, you know, we really are.

and I. It's almost a natural progression of, you know, you're doing well in your business and you wanna help other people. So I think it's a great new category.

Paul: This, this is, I mean, I, I think exactly the same that we are essentially helping the industry to grow. we are, you know, maybe we're only playing a small part in that, or maybe this, this role is increasing, with the news that we're putting out or, or with the awards, but, ev everyone is doing such amazing work and they maybe didn't feel before a, and, and this, this podcast is, is a great platform for this that, they didn't feel like they had that recogni, that platform for recognition before.

And this is where we need to be giving more visibility to the awards. and yeah, we, we want to, you know, celebrate startup achievement. We want to recognize. Technological innovations and within the market. And, just looking at some of our, our winners before is such a diverse mix of, mix of people.

and, this, this is a category I'm, I'm really excited about as well because this is presumably where we're going to get people coming, sorry, entered the awards before and who knows what it's gonna be like with, with a short list. But it's always exciting when we have new. New companies represented and, and, and yeah, within the wider community, there should be some good, recognition and, and exposure for people.

Paul: Finally.

Jenn: So how are the entries going so far? Have you been getting them in daily?

Paul: The, yes. The, the entries period is always quite,it is quite stressful. I've got, I've got to be honest as well, because, really. Get the words out and encourage people to enter. We are on, I think, a, a good track.

and, and to be quite honest, we had 350 plus entries last year from, from all over the world. we had like a first short listy, that's even a word, from Africa and Great from the Middle East. So, you know, this is something that hasn't happened before as well. . and, yeah, I think we're, I think we're on a good track.

Paul: If we can beat that again this year, we, we'll be extremely happy. it's, you know, opportunities like this that we want be doing more of and, and every year we are learning a little bit more about how we can keep improving and keep giving people the chance to enter and make the selection process as efficient as it as it can be.

Mm-hmm. , like the, the en entries. So the actual process of entering, we've made sort of more efficient and, and quicker, easier. So people do not have to spend days and days doing entry. This should be something that we can hopefully wrap up in, you know, couple of hours max and the,

Jenn: tell us a little bit about the award ceremony.

So this is happening in London on the 26th of, of

Paul: April. Yes, very, very, very exciting. we al we always do the awards in a very unique, venue. So , the first year we had it on a, on a boat, along the river tens the second year we were in, in lockdown. And so we had to record it all virtually, last year we were back in person and we did it on a rooftop balcony overlooking the Tower of London.

and then this year we thought, how are we gonna top ? How are we gonna top this, in, in more white, more ways than one? And, we've confirmed, the orbit in, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, as our venue. So, so the very top, of the orbit and, got some absolutely incredible views, overlooking London and the Olympic Stadium.

I was there just a couple weeks ago as well, and we'll, More than 200, 200 plus, attendees on, on the night of Wednesday, 26th, April. other shortlisted companies, we'll have sponsors, we'll have judges, but of course, the team,organizing it, I'll be co-hosting on, on the night myself, so it would be great to see as.

of, of your listeners, Jenn attending that as possible.

Jenn: So anyone can buy a ticket and come along on the evening. You don't have to have been on the shortlist or, or a

Paul: winner. No, you, you don't have to have been on the short list. And again, this is something I can, emphasize. It, it could just be, of course if you're on a short list, then great.

We, we really want to have as many of of you there as possible because if you're a winner, then you can be there to collect it in person. So does the

Jenn: winner not know until

Paul: that night? Yes. Lit. Literally, like even the judges don't know who, who is won. It is. It's us as the team. Go through the judge scores and the public votes, and we combine them to come up with our ultimate winners.

And through sort of a couple of ye a couple of years of doing this and experience, we believe that this is, is the fairest way and the, and the most exciting. Yes, yes. even, even the judges, if they're reading out the name, they don't know who's gonna appear, on, on that. But, yeah, we, we. Most rewarding way.

So it's not relying completely on judge scores. and the judges are completely free of any bias of course, as well. we make sure that, that the judging. Yeah. and if you not rely on, on the just public. Right.

Jenn: And if you couldn't make it, you still get the award.

Paul: Yes. If you win, they like, I mean, there might be the opportunity for us to hand over in person at a later day or in the.

When you go into an entries platform, you'll see there's a spot where you can list the, the company address mm-hmm. . And, we, would, you know, be in touch with, the winner and we can arrange to,however the be collected. .

Jenn: Yeah. Oh, it's really exciting, and I hope that everyone listening is really thinking about entering and going onto the website and having a look.

This is, it's a shameless plug this episode, because I believe so highly in this, and being able to give yourself a pat on the back is brilliant in having that feedback from your guests. But having that award, an industry award, you know, a public pat on the back, it just, it can't be.

Paul: And if, if I may,add to Jennyou and I both met at the, I think for the first time in person last year at the Short Stay Summit.

Yeah. So for, those of your listeners who might not be aware, there is another short term rental event happening the day after. Also in London. I think it's an old Billings gate. we're a media partner as well, so we'll, we'll be there. and we really wanted to combine forces as well so we can harness each other's a.

and again, they have just a huge variety of people, UK based mm-hmm. people all over the world as well. And yeah, we both agree that this is a great opportunity for networking and being close with other people who you can, you can learn from or you can, or, or, or you can teach, teach things too.

Jenn: Yeah, no, it's great.

And to have both the events back to back, it makes coming to London for those that are outside just a little bit more, I guess, economical and makes more sense. But I already know somebody from South Africa who's got their ticket up to London and is really planning to be there for the events. So it's, people are planning and I think, you know, we just need, it would just be great to see, so many new names maybe on the, on the ballots and, and that this.

Paul: We, we'd love to see this, this person from South Africa, at the awards and, and even better if they're, well,

Jenn: I can already see her for a couple of these. I'm gonna be emailing her because I can already see her for, I can see a lot of people for a lot of these awards. So, I might be just, contacting a few people and saying just, do it.

but anyways, I can't have you on and not ask you what does direct booking success mean to

Paul: you? Yes. That's a a very good question. And, from listening previous episodes as well, I think everyone has, their own interpretation of, of an answer for this, but I think roughly, roughly the same in, in many ways as well.

I, I see it from the, the host and, and owner side, but I also see it from the OTA side as well. So I think probably my answer would be somewhere, in the middle and I. Even, even more. So we've already mentioned covid and some of the, the cost of living, crisis that we're going at the moment. I think direct booking success for me would be perhaps being able to have your own financial freedom.

and I would say that the, the OTA bookings, if, if we're going through third party sites, would be something that you probably, you know, do need as part of your. , but at the same time, I think it's healthy. I, it's about maintain that healthy mix and you're not being reliant a hundred percent reliant on, your direct booking business, but also not being wholly reliant on, on the OTAs like an Airbnb or booking com.

and I, I think having, that, that balance allows you obviously more control, more unrestricted, perhaps communication. with, with guests, for example, and perhaps greater, ownership of, of your data. And, yeah, I think, I think it also allows you, I would say, to appeal directly to the sort of guest demographics that you want, that you want to, come to your business.

Paul: And hopefully that will turn into repeat business as. and, eventually scale a portfolio. So I hope, I hope that answers it. I love your answer. It's very much about balance and balance. Yeah. and yeah, the OTAs are not something to be completely ignored or vilified. It's, it's something, you've got a fantastic business and you want to keep that identity, but it's, it's combining forces to Yeah.

Really strong, sustainable. . Yeah,

Jenn: no, there are pros and cons to third party sites. There's pros and cons to direct bookings. You know, it is what works for you. And that's why I love this question and why I created this podcast was to get those opinions and find out what people, what people think. And to have your point of view I think is really great because you're in a different position, you know?

So thank you.

Paul: If I, if I may as well, just, it's great to have a podcast like this that is really connecting all the different sides of, of the industry and giving a voice to people who, yeah. Ha have these businesses. And we all, we wanna, I don't need to go on about the, the difficult times that we are, we're living in, but it never hurts to have a bit of recognition and a bit of exposure and, I think it needs people.

More people like you who are, who are giving people that voice.

Jenn: Ah, well you heard it here first everyone. I'm gonna be on a short list. You just wait and see. .

Paul: Gotta get your interest in first. . I promise.

Jenn: I promise I'm going to apply. I'm going to apply. I definitely will, and I won't hold you to it. I'm just teasing you.

Paul's just looking at me like,

Paul: what? Not, not a, so not .

Jenn: No. Thank you so much, Paul, for coming on. And talking about short-term rentals, but also the shorties, which is such a great thing. And if you're listening, if you're listening after the 15th, well you're stuck now. Now you're just gonna have to vote. But, you know, get your, get your applications in the shorties with a

I'll put all of this. In the show notes so you can head over there. but thank you so much, Paul. Remind us of that deadline to

th of March,:

Please do drop me a message. I'm trying to be as successful as I can on, on LinkedIn or, or email or, or whatever. And always happy to answer questions or queries. Yeah.

Jenn: Brilliant. Thank you so much, Paul.

Paul: Thank you very much, Jen.

Jenn: Hey, thanks Paul for coming on the Direct Booking Success Podcast today. If you are thinking of entering the Shorty's Awards, head over to their website right now, the shorty's with a and get it done. I'll be getting my application in as well. Let me know if you do apply so I can support you.