I’m not really sure how I got to be doing what I’m doing now. But if you start at the beginning it actually makes a lot of sense!
Back to the beginning...
Hospitality was the world I was brought up in. My father is a retired hotel general manager. When I was really little, I don’t remember him at home much. He worked in downtown Vancouver (Canada) and we lived out in the suburbs. In those days there was only one car in the family. On the days my mom had it, I remember him coming through the door, often with a wet umbrella, after a very long bus journey home from work.
Growing up with a dad in hospitality was actually a tad glamourous. We had great holidays and enjoyed staying in numerous five star hotels. I knew which fork to use for which course at dinner from an early age. My brother and I used to take to the dance floor at one resort we used to holiday at. The band would smile and we’d try not to step on each other’s toes.
When I was in high school, my first summer job was in a hotel.
It was my job to restock the mini bars in the guest rooms. I also helped out in the laundry room each morning. This job was a real eye-opener.
I was frequently in guest rooms before the maids. The front desk needed to know if anything been used in the mini bar so they could charge the guest. I saw how people left their rooms. I saw the mess.
Perhaps this was why I never went into hospitality, I don’t know. I enjoyed the perks but it wasn’t where I wanted to spend my day-to-day.
I had been living and working in London since leaving Canada in 2002 but after almost a decade of the grind it was time to move on.
By that time, my then-boyfriend and soon-to-be-husband and I had started renting out an apartment he owned in the French Alps. It was a roaring success. We had put it on Airbnb one morning only to be taking bookings from the ski slopes that afternoon.
We ended up moving over to mainland Europe. We rented out another property we owned which again was very successful. So while I was working on design and marketing jobs, on the side we were starting to build a holiday rental business.
Although it wasn’t until we bought a five-bed chalet in Austria that we really realised the full impact we could have renting it out.
The previous owners had been renting it out by only through direct bookings. They didn’t have a tonne but it was enough for them.
We came in and knew we could increase bookings very quickly. We had experience with using the OTAs (online travel agents like Airbnb) with our other properties. We had drunk the juice – it was OTAs all the way!
The area where the chalet was part of had so much competition on the online platforms. It was a skiers paradise and practically every building was rented out during high season. We weren’t prepared for this.
But then our phone started to ring. Guests who had stayed when the previous owner owned the property wanted to come back.
This is when the penny dropped for us!
These direct bookings meant we didn’t have to pay commission and the guests didn’t have to pay any bookings fees. We started contacting more of the previous guests and were able to get more direct bookings from those who already knew the chalet and loved it.
This is when we started to look at this venture as a proper business. We very quickly realised that even better than the money we were saving – we were able to create and run this business on our own terms. We didn’t have to abide by someone else’s rules.
I also realised how my design and marketing background fit in and what I could do to help drive direct bookings to our website.
To the present day...
2020 was a crazy year but it also brought me back to the world of hospitality. Everything fell into place for me and I knew what my mission had to be.
Empowering my fellow hospitality owners, like you, to achieve more direct bookings through their website, branding and marketing. And I LOVE it!
I love seeing how a client reacts when they see their logo or website for the first time. I love helping a client realise that they can create their own audience online and attract direct bookings.
Why? Because the investment a client makes with me works both ways. I invest in my client’s success with my design and marketing knowledge and expertise. Nothing makes me happier than seeing the direct bookings my clients achieve.
WHEN I’M NOT WORKING...
You’ll find me out exploring the north west of England where we live; out in the garden playing hide and seek with my daughter; curled up on the couch in the late evening watching Netflix with my cat; or on a video call with overseas friends and family.
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