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What I wish I had known
Episode 311th July 2022 • Direct Booking Success Podcast • Jenn Boyles
00:00:00 00:10:40

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Growing up in the hospitality industry gave me a unique insight into its ups

and (smelly 😊 ) downs! In today’s episode, I give you some insight into my background, growing up in hospitality, my creative education, and managing properties around the world. I let you in on some of the things I wished I had known in the hope that it will help you in your quest to direct booking success

Topics discussed

  • Growing up with the fun and glamorous side of hospitality
  • The dreaded laundry room
  • Acquiring skills in graphic design and marketing creative arts
  • Difficulties standing out on Airbnb
  • Guests from previous owners
  • What I wished I’d known






Join me at the virtual Direct Booking Success Summit (27-29 September 2022). 


03 - What I wish I had known


I grew up in Canada, Vancouver, Canada my father was a hotel general manager he is retired now. Worked all over, you know, in Vancouver and, up in lake Louise as well.

So I got to see the benefits of working in hospitality. I got to see sort of the, I guess the glamor, if you will, if you could use that word as a little kid, I got to benefit from the, the fancy dinners and getting all gussied up and, really enjoyed it.

And we just had really great [:

So it wasn't like he was gonna be home every night at five o'clock it really depended on what was going on. And as kids, we didn't realise that. I remember my, my brother having a three piece suit at three years old and we'd go to this resort and, they had a live band after dinner and him and I dancing ugh, we've got pictures, but anyway, it was, it was good childhood and I really got to see the fun and the sort of glamorous side of hospitality.

in the laundry room. It was [:

So I think that might have put me off a bit on hospitality. I found out how hard it is to work. You know, the work is and, and made work is backbreaking. It really is but it means so much to the business so that kind of think put me off and my draw was more visual, creative. So I went into after school, I went to college university and did, graphic design and marketing, and those creative arts

is gonna be quite fun. Let's [:

fast forward again, we were living in the Netherlands and we, Sold the apartment and, some other properties and. Bought a chalet in the Austrian Alps. So we went from a small two bed apartment, in a ski village to a large, really luxury five bed chalet in another ski village, in a different part of the Alps.

re that term became popular. [:

I went and turned one of the bedrooms into an office while I was there and then I would pack up my things when, um, when we had it rented out. But what we figured out really quickly when we got there was that every during the, the ski season in particular, every, property was rented out. So B and B short term rentals, hotels, all this, and it was really hard to stand out on Airbnb.

Here we are thinking that this is an easy thing to do, and we're the bookings are just gonna come through because we've done it before. It's so easy to do.

y wanna book direct with us. [:

So we said, of course, yes and, I then started to put my marketing background into use and built ourselves a website and a social media presence and we started marketing ourselves for direct bookings. This was before I knew this was a thing. This was just what we wanted to do to stand out. We contacted previous guests and they came, we got great reviews. It really worked well.

cult to manage a business in [:

We could not sustain that business any longer. We needed a team on the property or close to the property and we just couldn't find anyone. We limped along for a while, but we just couldn't do it. So we ended up having to sell it.

%, book [:

So it is great. We do use the channels when needed, because why not? But it is a great business and, enjoy doing it. So I learned from my mistakes as I went along, you know, nothing came easy.

The only thing that was probably the easiest was when those bookings first came on Airbnb of that first apartment, but air Airbnb was new. You know, it, it's not like today where it is so full of properties.

couldn't replace them, need [:

You need to have people there because they're the ones that you have to turn to in a crisis when something's wrong. Or maybe something it's just something very small, but you can't be there. So having that good team, close to the property is imperative to your success. Another thing I wish I had known in the very beginning was to build a brand rather than a more heads on bed strategy and this came to light in, um, with the property in Austria when I ended up creating a brand and that's where it started to work for us in bringing in those direct bookings and also past guests, but the more heads on bed strategy of, using the OTAs like Airbnb, just wasn't working for us and not something I wanted to, , to look at any longer.

the noise from everyone else [:

You've gotta do this. And this is what's gonna work. And you're jumping around all the time and it has taken a while, but I've really learned to shut out that noise from everyone else and do what I know works, but also to realise when I need help that I don't have to do everything yourself and you don't have to do everything yourself.

lse's and same goes for you. [:

In the next episode, I'll be talking about the direct booking success summit, which is coming up, in September the 27th to the 29th of September.