Discover the extraordinary journey of Annie Sloan, a CEO who transformed her own experience as a short-term rental host into an innovative software solution. As a young entrepreneur in California, Annie delved into the world of vacation rentals before platforms like Airbnb even existed. Her story takes an unexpected turn when she uncovers a recurring challenge faced by hosts and the untapped potential for additional revenue. Brace yourself for an eye-opening tale that will leave you eager to learn how Annie’s game-changing platform revolutionizes the way hosts connect with vendors, offering guests unforgettable experiences. Get ready to unlock a world of possibilities with Annie Sloan’s inspiring story.
Offering upsells in your short-term rental is not tacky, it’s the way hotels do it. Upselling allows you to provide a higher level of hospitality and offer experiences that are outside of a guest’s budget. – Annie Sloan
Annie Sloan is the CEO and co-founder of the Host Co, a software company specializing in helping short-term rental hosts optimize their listings and increase revenue. With a background in the hospitality industry, Annie has firsthand experience as a successful short-term rental host herself. Her journey began with renting out her apartment in San Francisco using Craigslist, and she later expanded her portfolio to include Airbnb rentals in the city. Annie’s expertise in property management and her deep understanding of guest needs led her to identify a common challenge faced by hosts – upselling amenities and services. In response, she developed innovative software that allows hosts to easily offer upsells and add a new revenue stream to their listings. Through her work at the Host Co, Annie is dedicated to helping hosts maximize their guest experience and achieve direct booking success.
Connect with Annie:
In this episode, you will be able to:
- Increase your direct bookings by implementing successful strategies.
- Maximize your revenue through effective upselling of amenities and services.
- Enhance the value of your vacation rental by adding personalized items and unique experiences.
- Learn direct booking strategies that will help you attract more guests and boost your revenue.
- Discover the secrets to a successful direct booking strategy that will set you apart from the competition.
The key moments in this episode are:
00:00:08 – Introduction
00:01:50 – Annie’s Background
00:03:17 – The Host Co and its Origins
00:06:06 – Hospitality vs Upsells
00:08:16 – The Host Co’s Online Shop
00:13:48 – The Power of Upsells
00:14:17 – Unique Upsell Ideas
00:15:48 – On-Site Sales and Additional Services
00:17:54 – Expansion to Europe and Partnerships
00:27:53 – Creating Sticky Marketing Messaging
00:28:35 – The Perceived Value of Discounts
00:29:27 – Adding Incremental Value on a Tight Budget
00:30:15 – The Significance of the First Direct Booking
00:31:27 – What Direct Booking Success means to Annie
Show notes are available at: https://directbookingsuccess.com/podcast/
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Join the Marketing Hub Free Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/marketinghubforholidayrentals
Sign up for the free masterclass – The 4-step framework for a profitable direct booking sales engine: https://directbookingsuccess.com/masterclasswaitlist
Get on the 2024 Direct Booking Success Summit Waitlist:
00:00:32 - Jenn Boyles
Hello and welcome to another episode of Direct Booking Success. I'm your host, Jennn Boyles, and today I have Annie Sloan, who is the co-founder and CEO of the Host Co with me. So welcome, Annie.
00:00:47 - Annie Sloan
Thank you, Jenn. It's great to be here.
00:00:49 - Jenn Boyles
It is just wonderful to have just enjoyed our pre podcast chats, and I can't wait to get into everything. Was somebody just waking up under a rock? Can you tell them who Annie Sloan is, please? Yes.
00:01:04 - Annie Sloan
So I am, of course, CEO and co-founder of a company called the Host Co, and we make software that helps short term rental hosts very easily, offer upsells and add a new revenue stream to all of their listings. I am also a short term rental host, so created this product because I had short term rentals and was facing these upselling issues in my own rentals. Besides that, I live in California, but spent much of my youth also growing up – a hybrid, if you will. That's right, a hybrid.
00:01:40 - Jenn Boyles
Love it, love it. Okay, so let's get into your background because you said you're a short term rental host. How long have you had these properties that you've been renting out?
00:01:50 - Annie Sloan
So I started renting out my apartment in Craigslist Arbitrage style. Right. I didn't own it in San Francisco before Airbnb existed, so the first rental I ever did was on Craigslist, which is really sketchy. I don't recommend that ever, but successively, because I was living in San Francisco and working in San Francisco. Right. At that kind of cusp of technology time. Right. I would say I want to go to Guatemala for a month. Right. Or I want to go to the Southeast. I want to travel. So I would rent out. And then with Airbnb starting successive apartments in San Francisco, and now I have vacation rentals in Joshua Tree.
00:02:28 - Jenn Boyles
Brilliant. Brilliant. I love it. And I love how you basically were doing the model before Airbnb started.
00:02:37 - Annie Sloan
No regulation. I would say, oh, send me a picture of your license. Like, no regulation, no insurance. Again, products have improved.
00:02:48 - Jenn Boyles
Sketchy. Sketchy is the right word. And also being in the same city where Airbnb started, I think that's brilliant. That is great. Okay, so how did The Host Co, how did this idea come about? So you're renting out your own places so you can go traveling. How did you get into sort of the upsells and what you wanted to provide? When did Joshua Tree and your rentals come into that story?
00:03:14 - Annie Sloan
They came in a bit later. In the last probably five years, I turned to real renting. But how the host co came about is my co founder. His name's michael. He's great if anyone meets him. She and I met as producer directors at HGTV, and we worked on all manner of shows curb Appeal, landscape, smart Design to Sell, design on a Dime, color, splash. I could go on. A lot of those shows are rinse and repeat, as some of you guys know, but he left in, I'm going to say, 2008 with a designer from HGTV. And they started a real estate and property management company in the Joshua Tree area. So what they would do is they would house really quickly because of that, that's our secret skill. I could flip houses in no time after I've done it on TV for years and years, right? They would flip these houses, vacation destinations, furnish them, and they would sell them as a ready to go vacation rental. So here are the keys. Do you want us to rent it tomorrow? The listing is already up. We already have the permit. Anything else you need? And they would sell that at a premium because as many of you know, too, if you're making your own listings, especially the first few listings, oh, what WiFi do we need? Oh, what kind of gate do we know, what kind of lockbox do we need? It's all done for you. Here you go. So they built up this very large and they also ran the property management company, so they were still getting 25% of the revenue on every property they sold on the rentals. Really smart model. Smart, very smart. And also beautiful, beautiful design, too. So of course you're going to want that. The photos are already done, right? So Michael and I for years would talk about, hey, our guests are asking the same questions over and over again and we're not able to fulfill them. Or they're asking them in a very singular way. They're going to text you at midnight. Hey, we're 30 miles from a store, we've had two bottles of wine and we ran out of firewood. What do we do? Right? Gesture, treat. Just happens over and over again. Or, hey, where can we get a massage around here? It's a special occasion. Do you know of any chefs we could bring in? All of these questions we just saw on repeat, and I am a big data person, and I went, okay, well, I think we can solve this because we know there's a problem, this repeated problem. And also we're losing out on a lot of money. I mean, be hospitable, but when your guest checks in, it's a sunk cost in most cases, right? There's this joke in Joshua Tree that your guest checks in, they crank up the AC and then throw open the windows, right? So you start losing money right away. How are we still able to earn off of their stay throughout the entirety of their stay in a way that actually solves their problem for them. So that's how the host co started.
00:05:55 - Jenn Boyles
Okay, now when we're talking about upsells, let's talk about sort of hospitality versus upsells so that maybe hospitality and upsells is a better question. What is sort of the difference between the two? What are the kind of things that we should be charging for? What are the things we really should not be charging for?
00:06:14 - Annie Sloan
Yes. I think that people often hear upsells and go, oh, it's so tacky, right. I don't want to offer something to anyone, but if you look at the way hotels do it, that is the way we should be doing it in the short term rental space, you are never selling anything. You are never nickel and diming anybody. You are never saying, oh, it's $2 for a toothbrush, I'm going to charge you for your towels. Right. And you would leave immediately. This isn't a hostel, right. And people are also buying your hospitality and they're also reviewing you, right. So the things that you should be upselling are the things that are outside of a budget that you can afford. So keep giving your welcome basket, keep giving that starter bundle of firewood, but a massage, getting a vendor to come in and do a massage, a chef, really big, souvenirs and a bundle of snacks, right? Just give a snack or give a bottle of water, of course, but things that are really just outside the realm of what you can give firewood is a really good example because I'll give free firewood, but if I just say unlimited firewood, somehow my guests are roasting a pig back there until six in the morning. You can't have it be endless. And your guests are accustomed to some of those upcharges. So even late checkout, early check in, you can do that on OTAs, but we make it much easier and more profitable for you, which is nice, but pool heating, extra pet fee, right? We see. Fresh flowers are a big one, which we can get vendors to bring in mid state cleaning. Again, you're not going to give that away for free. Maybe if you're doing $5,000 a night and they're staying for two weeks. But in general, your guests are going to be asking you for things. And once you kind of start listening for it, you go, oh, that's something that I should be charging for and putting in a store. So not only can I charge for it, but they stop texting me at midnight, or my property manager, or they're going through the Ota and it should be on your just. It makes it a very smooth kind of seamless problem solver.
00:08:16 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah. And that's to say, okay, I've had guests that have asked for certain things, but then I think, oh, but how am I going to actually do it? I don't want to have to deal with it. Like even tickets to a local attraction or something like that. Or we have wild swimming near us in Liverpool, and I can arrange for a session. It would be so wonderful if I could just say, just look here, just look at my shop and choose what you want to buy. And then you can decide to go because there's just less manual labor needed. And also the phone calls. Yes. Two in the morning. Something's wrong with this, something's wrong with that. Got it. All right. So this is an online shop. It's like having your own store.
00:09:07 - Annie Sloan
Yeah. And you can call it a mini market. You can call it a store. And what that store does is it immediately if you enter your zip code or your province number, wherever you are in the world, it will pull in the vendors that we've already approved in your area, so you don't have to do any of that work. And all of these vendors are generally the same ones that hotels contract, so they're not Joe Schmo. Right. So massage, chef, flowers. If you're in vacation destinations, it might be ski rental equipment. It might be a natural wine sommelier to come in for your girls weekend. It might be portrait photography. So it's going to already enable you to offer those local services that we've approved. You can turn them on your own and then add your own. So if you're like, oh, I live on the farm. We'll put out a blanket and make something romantic for you. Or, hey, my sister's a portrait photographer, and I want to add her as a vendor. It will essentially ping her and say, hey, this person wants this thing at this time in this place. Can you fulfill it? And then she can say yes or no, and it'll process the funds and it'll pay her for it. So it's an ecosystem. Then all of a sudden, it removes what you said, not only the questions, but before we had this, I would give people, okay, yeah, you should call this person at this spa. Right. And then I will get back, oh, I think you got the wrong phone number. Oh, she's closed now. All the back and forth of like, oh, man, let's just get you to that person. Let's take me out of the right.
00:10:37 - Jenn Boyles
And these are places that your guests are going to want to do anyway. So if they're wanting to rent a bike, they are going to have to then spend time on their phones, looking around your local area to try and find that right place. If it was in your online shop. And you can say, just go to this link, they can go, ding, it's done. You're helping them. Which is another hospitable action, isn't it?
00:11:02 - Annie Sloan
Yeah. And they are generally willing to pay not much more, but pay for the convenience. You're on vacation. Where are you going? Vacation. You are time poor and cash, rich or richer. Right. And you don't want to spend 4 hours doing that. Just tell me where to go and if it's through you, not only am I more likely to go there because it's in front of my face, but also because you're my host and you sent it to me. So it just removes the yelping if you will.
00:11:29 - Jenn Boyles
Well, that's it. And I love the idea that it's not just outside suppliers. If there's something that you can do for your guest that not every guest will want but some will that you can then get that profit from. So things like cooking a meal, I remember going to a villa in Tuscany and the people there did a cooking course. We went and had this we learned how to do some Italian dishes and had a big meal with them which was amazing. And that would be a perfect opportunity to have as an know, we only did it because we were chatting with.
00:12:16 - Annie Sloan
Uh what separates upsells from something like airbnb experiences is it is in the house and it is just you. So it is not that I'm going on a bungee jumping trip, I'm going on a bus and then going on a bungee jumping trip with 20 people I've never met. Right. It becomes much more like a hotel where it makes your space feel so much more hospitable and takes it to that next level. So it's not just rent for the day.
00:12:44 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, that's right. And I think it's a great thing to be using in your marketing as well because we have to lean into that experience that people aren't coming to rent your place just because it's a great place and they want to sleep in your beds. They're coming because they want to have that experience in your local area, do things that they normally wouldn't do. And with that they know they're going to have to have some extra cash with them to do these things. And what if it's a once in a lifetime trip? People are going to say, hey, this is it. I want to splash that cash and get some amazing experiences. And why not have a cut of the action to put it crassly? But also you're providing that hospitality for them because they're going to remember who hooked them up with that.
00:13:40 - Annie Sloan
We had a rental in Joshua Tree rebranded to be a wellness destination. Very smart of them. And they only had amenities through their Host Co store. So they had Narya, a yoga mat, probably even at their house. But because they had a Host Co store that connected those instant amenities, they had a Reiki Healer, a sound bath, personal massage, they had private yoga, they had vegan charcuterie board delivery. So all of a sudden they just become this much more robust destination that you can advertise pre booking and then you can advertise for Rebooking as well. Oh, look at these cool features we have now. And you have to rearrange the furniture to do it.
00:14:24 - Jenn Boyles
So give us some more ideas of upsells that can truly add value.
00:14:29 - Annie Sloan
Oh my gosh. Well, I'll tell you some really interesting ones because they tend to really spark conversation too. Yeah. Okay, creativity. So we had a host who connected a mobile tattoo artist for the week of Coachella and whoever rented that, great. You can purchase for you and your friends. We had to make sure that was legal. I will tell you that first you had a host that connected and we onboard interesting vendors as well, but a host that connected beer burrows which were donkeys that would walk around the property with saddlebags full of beer.
00:15:01 - Jenn Boyles
00:15:02 - Annie Sloan
If you have a bachelor, bachelorette party destination do something like that. We can find companies for you or you can find companies to do that. We certainly have people who've done birthday party decor with holidays. If you are nearby and you are willing to do this, we also have vendors in certain places that will do this holiday decor. Everything from the tree to stockings, if that's your thing, to extra little chachkis in the space and you can upcharge for that. And people are so grateful, especially if they have to travel to visit family or elderly relatives. Just something cool like that. We've seen on site sales, some of our stores do on site sales only. So on site sales are things like knowing local goods that they've curated, which is great. If you're more involved, you can do that in your store and we will essentially prevent your guests from knowing where those things are until on their receipt. We have a woman in North Carolina, all she sells is holiday ornaments in the shape of North Carolina. That's it. That's all she sells then for her, if that's what she wants to sell. Wonderful. And other people who offer tons of wellness services. Wellness is a huge seller. If you're somewhere cold having things on site for sale, hand warmers, extra hats, you can also brand things. Again, if you are going to be more involved with a larger property management company, brand things to your property management company, hats, scarves, and often those things are too expensive for you to just give away. Again, if it's a very expensive rental, you should be giving that away for free. Right. But people generally are going to be really grateful and we see people leaving their roofs. Oh, they saved my life. They had a hangover, oh, this is a funny one. Mobile IV hydration. I don't know if you've heard of these companies that will do it. A nurse knew it's a Super Bowl in Phoenix. We had balloon arch in the shape of the team colors. We had a charcuterie board in the shape of the different teams, which I didn't even know was possible. And if it's your guys weekend and there's ten of you, ten guys, of course you're going to get it. Other big ones that people have already on site, extra recycling pickup. Again, a big party sitting outside, gathering bees or whatever. Right. Hey, $25. Extra recycling pickup. In big cities, we see people doing luggage storage, which I always recommend, if they are there early, store it for free. You need to be hospitable. But if you're in New York City and space is a premium or any other big city after they leave, pay is $15. And if you can automate that through a room that has a key or something like that, and they can do it themselves or exterior.
00:17:46 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, and I know of companies that actually are providing that service, so that would be a good connection there that you don't even have to get involved with. You just connect that company to your store and let them deal with that kind of thing.
00:17:59 - Annie Sloan
Yeah. And then you're generally making affiliate services. So we have quite a few that are baby equipment, rental ticketing for any museum ticketing stuff. We have a rental car now, and we also have upcoming insurance on any of these things. If you have a chef, you can say cancellation insurance, bike boat, et cetera, all of those things you can have in your store. We're seeing now we're opening eSIM cards in Europe next year, eSIM cards, because most people, if they're coming from another country, they're going to have to Google eSIM cards anyway. Why not give you 10%? Right?
00:18:34 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, no, I think it's great. US. Right now, Canada is really soon.
00:18:41 - Annie Sloan
Really soon. I'm hoping for December. It might be January, but it's looking.
00:18:45 - Jenn Boyles
Like so any day now. Any moment.
00:18:48 - Annie Sloan
00:18:50 - Jenn Boyles
And then heading over to Europe and starting in the UK.
00:18:53 - Annie Sloan
Are you? We are starting actually right, sorry, you told me. Yeah. A partnership with the tourism of Portugal because there's so many, particularly UK and American tourists coming to Portugal and there's all these very small sometimes it's not airbnb, it's not Vermont, it's Direct or these small hotels, and there is a language barrier and a currency barrier and the upselling barrier. And what we do is our stores. You can share them on WhatsApp? You can share them over text. However, they're a web link, essentially. So it works really well for really small providers who are like, oh, if you can sell something on ebay, you can set up a Host Co store. That's what I like to do then no, I love it because I used to.
00:19:40 - Jenn Boyles
I Had a shopify store years ago. In a previous life, I sold organic cotton, Turkish towels. Who would have thought? But I had a shopify store, so I kind of got the idea of setting up your own store. And I love the idea that this is even easier than that, that the store is there for you and that network of existing suppliers and vendors that you can plug into. You don't even have to find them yourself. They're already there. And then the option of adding your own. So if you had a boat on your property, that was an upsell. Obviously, if it's a boat only access, you might have to actually include your boat in the rental. But if it was more of a leisure kind of activity, I think that's a great thing. So if anybody is thinking about this, do you have any ideas or tips on how to sort of start with your Upsells? Like you think, okay, this sounds like a good idea. Maybe just one or two properties. What is the best way to get started?
00:20:51 - Annie Sloan
One, so using the host code is free. We get a commission on sale. So, first of all, you could just go and try it, and there's no downside to trying it. The second thing is to sell four things. Don't start with 40 things. Also, it starts to look like the brochure rack at a Best Western. If you are offering 40 different things, your guest gets paralyzed. But maybe that's late checkout massage therapy and maybe it's a pool pass, if you need to tell a pool pass. Right. Most of our top sellers have four things that maybe they'll have ten things in their store, but they sell four consistently. And you will pretty quickly see what those four things are. Oh, this thing sells every single week, right? Every single one we have someone that made $2,000 in a quarter this year just on firewood alone. So figure out what those few things are and sell those. Also, most importantly is to share your store or short however you're doing Upsells right after they book. So we're just a web link and you can add that to your automated messaging on airbnb or VRBO. Direct. I mean, let's just say Direct because we're all looking to go Direct, right? Right after they book. Because airlines do that now where, oh, do you want a rental car? That's exactly where you want to have it. Thanks for booking. We're so excited to have you stay. If you'd like anything while you're here, check out our store because that also gives them lead time. So just communicating that you have that ahead of time is fantastic. Also including specifics in your listing when you're talking about it because that also makes you more competitive. So there may be 30 cabins in your area, but you're the only one that even shows a picture of it that can do massage or can do s'mores kits right. Or whatever it is that you have to offer. Or ski rental delivery. Right. Make sure you're just messaging that so they know specifically what it is. Because as soon as you book something, you start to imagine yourself there and like, oh, we're by the fire. Make sure that's included in that process picture.
00:22:55 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, well, and that's it. That anticipation of that holiday, of that vacation, and that is the perfect time to get in touch. That's why we talk about staying in touch with your guests after they've booked. Don't go silent on them because they're like, okay, where is this person? Where am I staying? I've got a holiday. They want to imagine themselves. That's the exciting bit. I had cousins going to New York from England, Scotland, actually, and they were going for a couple of weeks just to New York City. And beforehand, the excitement. Oh, my goodness. The places they were going to go to once they were there and people got sick and they realized that New York is, like, very big, very loud, a lot know, inbound energy they were, you know so I think that in that kind of situation, if I'd gone to them during their trip and said.
00:23:53 - Annie Sloan
Hey, do you want to do this? Do you want to do that?
00:23:55 - Jenn Boyles
They'd probably been like, yeah, maybe not. But beforehand, the enthusiasm was off. They knew they were going to New York City. They wanted to go to shows. They wanted to go to this place that was in this movie and have a donut there and do this and see the guy in his underwear and his guitar and Times Square and all these things. But once they got there, they realized, oh, my goodness, this is a lot. And that's just natural. That's natural. That enthusiasm starts to wane. But I think I like what you were saying about picking those sort of four things that, you know, that would sell, and it's getting into your ideal guest and who they are, what they want, your location. If you're near a trail for bikes, well, there you go. If that's something your guest is coming there to do, provide that. Who wants to bring their bike with them? Unless they're some elite athlete, then of course they probably sleep with their bike. But that's a whole other story. But yeah, what are they going to bring? Not have to worry about bringing skis and boots and poles or whatever it is. No, it's a great idea. Do you have any really great stories you'd like to tell us? Some of the more I know you told us about the tattoo and the beer donkeys.
00:25:18 - Annie Sloan
I will say one of the best possible stories we had is we had a property manager in wine country in Southern California, and she signed up for the host co, and less than a week later and you sign up and you're like, oh, see if this works. I hope it works. We also have QR codes for you, all that if you want magnets. But I think everyone signs up and they're like, oh, it's kind of a new thing. So in her first week, one guest bought $3,600 in amenities.
00:25:46 - Jenn Boyles
Oh, my goodness.
00:25:48 - Annie Sloan
Four girls weekend, wine country, four massages, a chef's, dinner for eight, and a late checkout.
00:25:56 - Jenn Boyles
00:25:57 - Annie Sloan
And she was asleep. This is the best part. She was asleep. And then the next day she wrote to us, and these are our own services, you keep the revenue. So if you're selling firewood, you're keeping your revenue. If you're selling phone chargers, you're keeping your revenue. If it's a suggested provider, you still keep 10% of the revenue. So she woke up and she emailed us and she said, did I just make $360 while I was sleeping? And I thought, this is exactly why we're doing this. Because people generally as guests, they're going to do other things and generally eclipse their nightly booking rate with the stuff they want to do while they're there. And if you just give them a nudge in the right direction as the host, they're like, oh, there you go. I mean, that's the highest sale we've seen. Some big boats, pontoons, boat rentals. Plus we can do insurance for it, but in the 3000 range. But I was like, this is the best story ever. Because she started less than a week ago, right? That's a high five as a business owner, right?
00:26:54 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah. No, that really is. That's really cool. And what about people coming back? Like, how is this helping with people's direct booking? You talked about it before. We can talk about it in our marketing. But what about returning guests?
00:27:09 - Annie Sloan
This is so cool with direct booking. And I am way pro direct booking. Having amenities is a way to add something new for returning guests. So you know how you're going to have a marketing stream with return booking. Hey. And often the message is, we have a discount for you, or get 20% off, et cetera. One, that's fine. Two, you can only say that so many times, right? But when you have amenities and you switch them out, particularly seasonally, you have a new reason to reach out to your guests. Hey, we're offering holiday decor, right? This summer we have a Reiki healer that's available for our guests. So it actually creates such better, more sticky marketing messaging. Because if your guest is going to get five things from other people that say discount, discount, discount, and you don't want to give a discount anyway, what is the value add? What is the plus that you are offering? And that is going to get them to come back? That not only is going to get them to come back, but if their friends see it. I mean, think about the beer burrow, people taking photos and putting it on Instagram, oh, where did you stay? I want that too. So it adds creativity to your marketing in a way that you can't do if you're always saying the same thing.
00:28:28 - Jenn Boyles
Yes, very true, very true. And I love that idea of switching them out seasonally. I think that is brilliant. And discounts, like, I am not a big discounter. I just think. We're already providing so much. The majority of hosts are providing so much and little return that people don't understand all the charges and the issues that go behind the scenes. But the idea of bringing back guests and getting more money than doing that message comes back for a discount, and that's giving them more value. I can see that being more perceived value for them and their stay, for their memories than, hey, I got 20% off, and who even knows what 20% is?
00:29:19 - Annie Sloan
I always know that my margins go to dish sponges and windex. I'm like, where does the money go? It's going back. So I'm on a really tight budget with my own rentals. How do I just add that little bit incremental? I mean, not that little, but instead of taking it away because there's nothing to be honest, there isn't much that can be taken away. Right?
00:29:40 - Jenn Boyles
Yeah, that is right. Well, I have loved this. I think it's a great product. I'm so glad that you're opening up for more of the world now that the state is under control. You've got that dominated, so now you're going to move on. That's great. Canada is next, of course. That is brilliant. So I have to ask you, what does Direct Booking Success mean to you?
00:30:03 - Annie Sloan
Direct Booking Success means to me this may be an OD answer, your first direct booking. Because once you have done that, you've overcome the hurdle. You've had someone, particularly if it's from SEO, you're like, I did it. I set up my systems enough that it is now possible, and you can only go up from there. It is just getting to that first part and getting off of the airbnb. If it's someone rebooking, sure. But if it's a new booking, I mean, that to me is ringing a ding ding. I did it, and I know how to replicate it and do more of it.
00:30:40 - Jenn Boyles
I love that answer. That is the most different answer than what I normally get, because I ask this in every interview. And that is great because, yeah, it's that hurdle, isn't it? You make it such a big thing in your mind. Direct booking, I want to do this.
00:30:57 - Annie Sloan
How do I do it? And then that first one comes in.
00:30:59 - Jenn Boyles
It's like, I've done it. I've really done it. Now I want more. And I guess it's the same with.
00:31:05 - Annie Sloan
Having your own store with the host.
00:31:07 - Jenn Boyles
Co, because you get that first booking, that first sale, and you're like, yes, I've done it.
00:31:13 - Annie Sloan
I know what I'm doing.
00:31:14 - Jenn Boyles
Now the confidence grows.
00:31:16 - Annie Sloan
Yeah, it's almost like, okay, I finally got that off my list. And now the system is set up and now it can grow primarily on its own. I don't need to do very much.
00:31:26 - Jenn Boyles
Yes, great. So I'm going to add a link to your website in the show notes for anyone listening to the host co. So an easy, easy website there. And where's the best place for people to connect with you?
00:31:41 - Annie Sloan
Through our website, thehost co on Instagram. We have one of the biggest communities on Instagram, I think for short term rental hosts. There's about 20,000 of us on there and we're always talking about just tips in general, and that's at the host company on Instagram.
00:31:58 - Jenn Boyles
Brilliant. I'll put those links in the show notes.
00:32:00 - Annie Sloan
00:32:01 - Jenn Boyles
Annie. The original Annie Sloan. I have to say, if anybody is familiar with the paint lady, this is the original Annie Sloan there in California. So thank you, Annie, for coming on. This has been brilliant.
00:32:16 - Annie Sloan
Thank you. This has been so fun and I really look forward to seeing more Direct Booking Success and hearing more from you.