Direct Booking Simplified Podcast – EP13 – Building up your social media and five-star reviews to drive more direct bookings with Tara Bergstrom

On this episode, we have Tara Bergstrom. She’s a short-term host in multiple markets and has leveraged social media and a 5-star experience to gain more direct bookings.

Podcast Summary

In this podcast episode, the key takeaway is to approach new endeavors with confidence, even amidst uncertainty. Emphasizing an open mindset and belief in one’s ability to adapt and learn proves pivotal. Furthermore, the importance of prioritizing guest satisfaction is highlighted, stressing the significance of small gestures that enhance the overall experience. From providing essential amenities to setting clear expectations, attention to detail is paramount in fostering positive guest interactions.

Moreover, leveraging social media emerges as a potent tool for driving direct bookings. By dedicating resources to content creation and engagement across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, hosts can effectively reach potential guests. Additionally, the episode underscores the value of direct bookings in reducing anxiety, despite the complexities associated with integrating messaging systems. Lastly, maintaining high standards through proactive measures, such as incentivizing cleaning crews and conducting regular inspections, ensures continued success in the hospitality industry.

Essential Highlights

  • Utilize social media, especially by having someone dedicated to creating content and engaging on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. This helps drive direct bookings.
  • Set guest expectations upfront in your listing about things like potential bugs/wildlife so they aren’t surprised.
  • Motivate your cleaning crew with bonuses tied to 5-star reviews on cleanliness to maintain high standards.
  • Consider getting an inspector or handyman, not just relying on cleaners, to identify maintenance issues.
  • Direct bookings reduce anxiety compared to third-party platforms, though integrating messaging can be trickier.

The overarching advice by Tara is to have confidence you can figure it out, provide a thoughtful guest experience, leverage social media strategically, and don’t be afraid to pursue direct bookings even while also using platforms like Airbnb. An open, guest-focused mindset is key.

Follow Tara on instagram @tarambergstrom


I’d say confidence, um, and not the cocky confidence where you’re like, I know everything. I think the confidence that I can do this, because once you finally take that leap and you do do it and you figure things out along the way, cause I mean, I have no idea what I was doing. I still don’t know what I was doing.

I still don’t know what I’m doing. That’s how I feel at least, but I’m confident that I can figure it out and typically I usually do. So I think having, I’m That mindset of being open and being confident that you can do it is huge. And that’s, what’s going to help you succeed. 

Hey folks, welcome back to direct booking simplified, where we break down the strategies and tactics to win in direct bookings. On today’s show, we have Tara Burstorm. She’s a short term rental host in a market that I’m very familiar with, the Smoky Mountains, and is going to walk us through how she leverages social media to get more direct bookings.

So let’s bring her in. Hey Tara. Hi. Welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to be here. I’m, I’m very excited to have you here. Uh, you are one of the few guests that is not only a guest of mine. You could even consider yourself a competitor since you’re in the same market that I am.  I haven’t had many, uh, smokies folks in there, even though I know a lot of smoky hosts as well too.

Yeah. Yeah. How, how are your cabins doing right now? It depends on what cabin you’re talking about here, because, uh, I have two small ones, um, that like killed it April, May,  and then I have a bigger one that was just, it was sleepy for April, May. Um, but I did some work on the back end ahead of time and I was able to get most of that booked for the summer.

So, um, it’s kind of flip flopping. So yeah. What’s your, what’s your booking window look like on both the smaller one and your bigger one? So the smaller ones are usually around like six weeks out. I try to have those.  Yeah. Um, the bigger one, more like eight to 12. I try just, I think bigger groups playing ahead of time, you know?

Yeah. But these days I’m seeing more and more last minute bookings, like Memorial Day just booked last night. So for the big one, actually all of them, I think, uh, two small one and big one books last night. And then I had a booking today for Memorial day weekend. I’m finding the same thing. So I have a similar portfolio as you do.

I have one bigger, one, one four bedroom, um, I guess I, I actually consider it more of a medium, like all bedrooms out there. So I would say large, then I have a medium size, um, four bedroom and now on last year, we had a booking window of like 45, 60 days. And now we’re probably looking at 20 something days, which gets me a little bit scared.

Um, because then like, that’s in the cusp of where I start to decrease my price and try to aim for that occupancy. So like, I’m learning. Right now the open dates I have is much lower than what I charged last year for the same period. Um, but then my one bedroom is doing extremely well. Like I’m completely like, I think may we were 97 percent occupancy.

We had like one or two days free. Um, yeah. And April, we did really well too. June coming up, we’re doing really well. And then it starts to teeter off like towards like, Mid mid after like 4th of July. They’re like, there’s like very little bookings. And I’m already starting to work on September, August, late August now, because I feel like it’s going to be like April, May this year.

So I’m like trying, trying to get those booked up slowly, but surely. What are some of the things that you optimize for? Is it mainly like revenue management, like on the pricing side, or are you doing other things as well too? Um, mainly revenue management. Yeah. Yeah. I feel like with Airbnb or mainly the OTAs, that’s like the one lever you really can pull.

Like there’s not much you can do. You can do something like the flip your pictures around, update your content. But I find that those don’t really move the needle. Not really. Yeah. Maybe they’ll throw you back up in the algorithm a little bit, but I think it’s, honestly, it’s been pricing for me, at least.

This past, I’d say this past year, obviously, uh, the previous years we’re in an anomaly and nom, I can’t even say the word  anomaly.  Thank you.  Um, but anyway, yeah, I think it’s been pricing. It seems like, and all these special, I was talking about this, um, the other day, the special badges we’ve been getting and all that, um, I have two, two properties that are in the top 1 percent and very nice.

Congratulations. Thanks, but honestly, I feel like it’s just bragging rights for nothing. You know, are, are the guests really looking at that? Maybe, but I think it can give you some sort of boost in the algorithm. And I haven’t been on page one every day since. You know, I got the, I got those badges or whatever.

So, are we talking about the Smokies or another, another market? Just Smokies. Yeah. I mean,  there’s only like, what, 20 slots on the first page and like, how many, how many cabins do we have in the Smokies? Exactly.  I’d be happy if I’m like always on like the first four pages. Yeah. Agreed. Yeah. I was looking at Memorial Day weekend.

Um, just kind of, you know, look at how many cabins were left over still, and it still says over a thousand properties.  So  that’s where we are in the Smokies right now. How many, how many cabins are in there in total? That’s a good question. I don’t know. I’m not a big statistics person,  but that’s something I’d like to find out at some point.

Yeah. Do you use price labs to do your, your every management? Yeah. Yeah. I’ve been, I probably spent way more time than I probably should on price labs. Like I always look at the graphs and I don’t know, not many people use that. Look at the seven day, what’s it called?  Not seven day pacing. I think it probably might be.

Um, but it talks about like in the last seven days where What weeks or what days got booked the most? Oh yeah. I find that a very interesting one because of if I see a lot of like I saw like 12 to 15 percent bumps in certain days and I’m like, wait a minute, I didn’t get a booking in that period at all.

So like there’s something wrong with. Um, where I should be spending my time in terms of like where to optimize for. Right. Yeah. I’m always trying to find something new and in price labs to like help me understand whether or not like I should be lowering prices or just hold a steady. Yeah. Um, I feel like it is a science in a way and I haven’t figured it out yet.

Yeah. Yeah.  Uh, we went pretty deep already on one, one, one specific topic. Um, before we go even deeper, do you mind giving folks an introduction to yourself other than being a Smokies host? Sure. Yeah. Um, so I originally I’m from Southern Illinois, like right outside of St. Louis, uh, grew up on a little horse farm.

And, uh, I have a background in, um, animal science. I have a master’s and bachelor’s in animal science. I actually studied, um, poultry nutrition for my master’s. So nothing related to real estate, how do you, how do you apply that one?  Um, and I actually still, I have a W2 job still that I do. Um, and I basically, I sell vitamins and enzymes to poultry companies.

Um, so. Yeah, that’s, that’s my day daytime job. Um, but background on the real estate part, uh, growing up, my dad was actually involved in flipping. Um, he, he would flip and then he also would hold. So he worked at the refinery and then on the, his, his hobby was, was fixing up houses and then renting them out to travelers that were in town working at the refinery.

Um, and that lasted for a while. And then he started doing flips once they left and selling the houses. And it was more on a smaller scale, but, um, he was always like trying to get me to read rich dad, poor dad,  teenager going, I don’t want to read that stuff. You know, It’s a good book. It’s a really good book.

I wish I had found that book earlier on. Agreed. I wish I would have read it when he told me to, because I ended up reading it, obviously. And it’s like, yeah, life changing. Um, so anyway, fast forward, went through college and, uh, we moved to Nashville in 2017 and I had some, uh, extra money and I was like, I’d been just sitting on it for a little bit that I had been saving up and  it was like, Oh, I really want to, you know, do something in real estate.

I don’t know what. And then, um, my husband, Ben, his cousin came to visit and he was running the half marathon marathon here in Nashville. And, uh, we got talking about real estate and how I wanted to get into it. And he’s like, you should really listen to this podcast that I listened to that kind of like changed it for me and wanted me to get into it.

So I even wrote it down here. It’s. Episode 2 29, all right, of the Bigger Pockets podcast. And it’s Ziana McIntyre. And she goes into talking about how she, uh, you’ll just have to listen to it, but it’s, she got started in short-term rentals. Um, and then I kinda went down a deep hole of like, podcast listening and, uh, was number one fan of BiggerPockets and, yep.

So I was like, okay, Nashville. I know Nashville. I live here. Let’s do, you know, a long term rental. So I reached out to a friend of mine who was a, um, or who is a real estate agent and we started looking and I couldn’t find anything that I really want or that would cash flow much. And all the while I’m still listening to, you know, um, all these podcasts and I kept hearing short term rentals and smoky mountains.

Never been to the Smoky mountains. Um, so I started looking on Airbnb at the Smoky mountains and I’m seeing all these cabins and I was like, Oh, like every one of them had, it was just bears, bears, like just bears, a lot of bear.  And I remember hearing one podcast and somebody had said, you know, the Smokies are, they’re known for that.

Like you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And I remember telling my husband, I was like. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but you can put a little glitter on it, you know?  Yeah. So, um, we started looking in the Smokies and got under contract with one in December of 2012. 19. Okay. So right before the rush, right before pandemic.

Yes. Yeah. So  that happened. And then we went over there during the inspection and it just so happened that it was, it was terrible. The roof wasn’t put on correctly and there was mold. The whole roof was covered in mold. Like when you  put a flashlight on it. So we were like, We can’t do this. Like this is our first property.

We cannot do this. And so our realtor was there with us at the time. He’s like, well, is there anything else you want to look at? And I was like, well, there’s one that’s a little bit out of our price range or what I wanted to pay at the time. And, um, but you know, it’s been on the market, so let’s go look at it.

We walk in and the rest was history. Like it was beautiful. It smelled good.  Perfect condition. Um, so we ended up purchasing that. Uh, and the other thing going back with Nashville at the time was it was, you know, in my town, so it would have been 20 percent down and I was like, I was scared at the time I didn’t want to throw cash at it.

So, um, I was able to do the, the, uh, vacation home loan, which is 10 percent for the Smokies. Um, so I did that  and that’s got me started and the Smokies, but of course. Um, you know, COVID hits.  So we were like, what do we do? Like, this is, you know, the worst thing that could have happened. And, um, but all the while again, going back to putting the glitter on it, I was like, let’s redo, you know, this and just, you know, zhuzh it up a little bit.

So we got new countertops, new flooring, all new, um, you know, updated decor. I got this beautiful green couch. And so it just stood out from the rest. And then we were finally able to list in May. And as you know, it was like. nonstop after that. It was either people were going to the beach or they were going to the mountains.

And so we were like, this is the best thing we ever did.  Um, and then after that, everybody else started putting glitter on it. And now, as you know, and yeah, there’s pools and there’s, um, you know, putting putt, putt courses, there’s laser tag, there’s everything. So. Um, yeah, but after that we get, we were, we were hooked and so we went on to purchase another one in 2020.

What was that?  2021. Okay. Still, still very peak then at that point. Very peak. And that was when you couldn’t get your hands on anything and it was just buy whatever you could. Yeah. Um, So we went for a three bed, three bath cabin. That was like a homemade cabin. Um, is that a good thing? Or is that a bad thing?

It’s a bad thing. Okay.  Very bad thing. Um, so anyway, we. Luckily, my dad, he is, again, he’s very handy and thank goodness for my mom and, um, my mother in law for being so like, do whatever you need to do. You know, we’re here to support,  um, my dad was like, well, we can, I can do it. I can do whatever you need. And I was like, are you sure this thing, you haven’t seen it in person.

This thing is, I don’t know about it. He’s like, it’s not a big deal. We went through the inspection list and everything.  Next thing you know, I purchased it and it is a full on renovation. So  the dads, my dad and, um, Ben, my husband’s dad came down and we ended up working on that thing for, I think, five months, um, and yeah.

So not your ideal, like investor story where you want to just get it going quickly, but it was more like a family affair and  so much, we drove to the Smokies every single weekend for, again, five months. Yeah. But now that thing is my top producer and it has doubled in, um,  um, you know, price if we were going to sell it.

So, wow. Yeah. What, what, what, what do you think made it separate from, like, why do you think it’s your top producer versus some of the other ones? Uh, I mean, Just based on my net, uh, every month it’s in and for what I paid for it. Um, and it’s, it is, it’s a great property. Uh, we put in built in bunks, um, so we were able to sleep more.

It’s right that at the bottom of the driveway, a little further, there’s a, a fishing pond.  We provide poles. Um, so I think things like just little things like that people love and it’s, it’s private. It’s, uh, it’s a great cabin, but, um. Yeah. So did that one. And we were like, after that, we were like, we’re not, we can’t do this again.

Like we cannot go on and do what we did.  And then here we go. 20 night. That was 2021. I said, 2021. Um, I got pregnant and then  about around Thanksgiving happened, rolled around and we, like a bunch were coming online.  And of course at that time it was like 20 plus offers on. Anything like literally anything.

Yeah. Is this, is this 22? Is this November 22? No, this is 21. No.  Okay.  Um, so anything we put an offer on at that time, we, it was,  we weren’t, we weren’t competing. Yep. And then this little Chalet we call it’s around debt and Gatlinburg, um, showed up the day before Thanksgiving. Giving and we just threw an offer out there.

And luckily, I don’t know what was wrong with these people or what they were thinking. They were just like, we’ll take it when  they were just like, we don’t want to deal with any sort of, um, offers and back and forth over Thanksgiving. So it’s yours. Like, Oh, okay. Uh, so anyway, we closed on that one in January of  2022.

And that again was a full renovation, but luckily that one was only 800 square feet versus the 2, 500 square feet that the last one was. Um, and, uh,  so we started a renovation on that and then I ended up having the baby and so we had to wait a little bit, but we only waited three weeks and then that our poor daughter was back and forth to the Smokies with us every weekend from three weeks old.

And then we finished that one in June of 2022.  Um, so luckily all three of them were within a really, really good time that we had purchased. Um, and then I recently purchased one in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a townhome.  Um,  what, what drove you to do Chattanooga? Uh, so my husband is a veterinary ophthalmologist and he,  he started his own practice last year.

So that’s why we took off a year of. Buying short term rentals,  just commercial property for his, um, practice. And he had a satellite clinic that he wanted to open up in Chattanooga. We were like, well, what if we get, you know, a short term rental there? And you know, the doctors stay there on the days that, you know, they need to be there.

And then we rent it out. Any other time, which is mostly the weekends or through Sunday or whatever. Um, and we were like, that’s a crazy idea. Like, there’s no way. And I just so happened to see like this A frame that came online in Mon Eagle. And I was just really interested with it. So I reached out to the.

The, um, real estate agent, she told me her story and, uh, how she had had, um, short term rentals and, um, Chattanooga and whatnot. And she was like, actually, I have one coming on board here really soon. And it already is permitted. You just have to do, you know, switch the permit over to your name. Right. We ended up getting that one.

So.  We have to make this work. So yeah, um, I’m excited about Chattanooga. I know there’s a lot of like regulations and people are a little scared of it, but, um, the area we’re in is a good area and like I said, it was already permitted and the city did a great job of, you know, getting the switch for me. So I’m confident.

Are they, are they one of those cities that does like the grandfathering? And if you’re already permanent, then you’re pretty good. But getting into it, I think what I hear, I’m none of my properties are kind of in that state. We’re all like, most of our properties are in pretty.  Um, short term rental friendly spaces, but I hear like the spots that have regulations actually perform pretty well because then you’re stumping the supply that can actually come, come back on the market as Airbnbs or as short term rentals.

Oh yeah, exactly. I looked online, um, cause I listed it on Monday and I got a booking for this weekend Yesterday, two days ago. And I was just interested to see how many, you know, properties were online for Memorial Day weekend versus what the Smokies were, which was over a thousand and I think the Chattanooga was like 150.

So, um, we get the big difference there, but obviously also a big difference in tourism too. So, yeah, yeah.  Actually, I wouldn’t mind being in a smaller, smaller area. Like our brands in the property is like, it’s much easier to stay on the first two pages than it is in the Smokies. Like in the Smokies is really, really hard. 

Yeah. Yeah.  So what’s next for you?  Uh, so we are under contract with a condo in Nashville, which also is very controversial. Uh, uh, it is zoned for short term rentals. It’s right on music row.  Have been under contract for two and a half years. It’s a new build property. They said that it would be done in a year.

And here we are two and a half years later. And now we’re finally getting to the finish line. And of course it’s all like happening at once when this Chattanooga property is coming online and  doing everything with his, um, his business, because he’s doing a full build out for his actual practice right now.

He’s like in a temporary, um, building for his clinic. So, uh, yeah, everything’s happening at once, but that’s kind of what’s going on for me. Yeah. When you got in contact with that one, did you already get your loan in place or are you getting the, like, do you not close on the loan until it’s, it’s actually ready?

Yeah. You don’t close on to the, on the loan until it’s actually ready. It’s funny you say that. Cause I’m like in the process of trying to figure out. Yeah. Yeah. He’s in the numbers a few times. Like there’s a huge percentage difference, like a year or two, especially two. I think like even a year ago, the rates were probably in around the same spot as right now.

But if you go back even six months more than that, it was dramatically different. Oh yeah. Yeah. So I was able just to show like a pre approval at that time. Um, it’s amazing that like lenders will do that when they don’t even know what it’s going to be done. Uh, but now I’m in like the nitty gritty of, okay, exactly how, which, what kind of loan day I want to go with and you know, what lender to go with and all that and having that lined up.

So yeah. But the numbers still work out for you. Yeah, yeah. I think they will. I don’t think they’re going to be as great, but I mean, I could be pleasantly surprised. So we’ll see. Um, it’ll be nice just to have also a place for like overload of family, you know, somewhere to put them. That’s cause our, we don’t have like a huge, huge house.

So we’re not even a huge, huge house. We don’t even have a huge house.  So when we have like all the family in town, sometimes they have to stay at a hotel or whatnot. So it’ll be nice to have that place. Yeah. Yeah. Nice. Um, one of the, one of the things that we talked about earlier that, um, you’re pretty passionate about is really like the guest experience there and kind of how you deliver that.

And we always talk about five stars, but I think you you would think about it a little bit differently and a little bit more strategically. Um, do you mind kind of going through,  walking through with the listeners, kind of how you approached really delivering that five star experience and how you think about really that amenities that kind of go around it?

Sure. Yeah. So I am, I don’t know if I would call myself like five star obsessed. I think  honestly, um, it’s a little too much, but excuse me, I, so I have 494 reviews total out of four, four years of hosting 490 reviews and 493 of them are five stars. Oh, you must hate that one. I actually just had another one, um, not too long ago, but luckily I was able to get the, the guest to take it down.

So, um, she, and she was so sweet, but she gave me, she said she couldn’t give me five stars because I didn’t leave wine or snacks. And I was like, I don’t leave wine or snacks. Um, because number one is technically illegal to leave wine. I know a lot of hosts do it, but, and then snacks, sometimes I, you know, I worry about like, um,  uh, but that brings me to a learning experience and then five stars and all that.

Um, and the ho or the guest experience, you know, I learned from it and I’m like, okay, what can I do next to make sure every guest, um, has a great experience. And I think I travel quite a bit for work and whatnot. Usually I’m in hotels, but I always think of, okay, As, as a guest, how can I. Like, what do I need when I’m there?

You know, and it helps make me happy. Um, and one thing for instance, is I feel like I’m always searching for a place to plug everything in. Right. Um, or they’re in those like crappy lamps on the tables where the charging like thing falls out, or it’s, uh, like not giving you enough power to actually power your phone.

So, um, some things I like to do are, you know, put. Big charging stands on each of the nightstands. Um, I put all, I put actual chargers and the drawers.  So that way, if somebody is like, Oh man, I forgot my charger, which I’ve done before, and then they’re just like, maybe somebody left one behind and they open it and they’re like, Oh, wait.

They provide them. That’s amazing.  And yeah, they may go missing every once in a while, but it’s like  10 for a three pack or something. If you can’t, if you can’t like replace that, then you know, you’re not doing  something right. Can’t afford to replace that. Um,  so, and then I label like Everything in terms of the light switches, um, they’re not straightforward.

All of the kitchen cabinets are labeled with what goes where, um, you know, obviously the cough coffee stations. And, and I think the biggest thing is providing not just like a startup of two K cups. Um, you know, I’m providing. A whole jar full,  um, same with like trash bags and um, dishwasher pods and cleaning supplies and things like that.

Like nobody wants to walk in and be like, Oh, I need to go get more toilet paper. Um, so I think,  am I doing like the major things like, uh, I don’t know.  I’ve seen a lot of posts do, um,  Yeah, the baskets. Yeah, the baskets. I don’t do the baskets. Uh, what I like to, yeah, but a lot of it comes down to storage. I don’t have the storage for it at some of my properties. 

Um, but, and then messaging, uh, just being straightforward with messaging and being in contact and with your customer or your guest. And then, um, also setting guest expectations. A big thing I do in my listings is I think, um, Say like four or five things that I don’t like about my property. And I don’t want to like sell it, but I wanted to make them aware of, you know, what could be so, um, like past bugs and the smokies that you’re going to see a bug every once in a while.

So I put that in and the other things too. To note on Airbnb,  um, you know, I put, you know, there’s  so many pet or so many bugs or wildlife or whatever, and the Smokies and, you know, one may crawl in, but we do, you know, we do, um, treat it monthly for pest control, but, you know, just to make, make you aware. And I think when people read those things and they’re less like when the, and they do encounter them, then they’re less likely to.

Um, and then I’m like, Oh, I need help or I want a refund or whatever. Cause you can just be like, Oh, well you, you already read it. You know, you already saw this before you booked. Yeah, I, I completely agree with that. Like that’s like, I think with anything is like really setting that expectation there and if you set that expectation early on in the, and I actually consider relationship, but if you can set that on very early on in the relationship, um, You’re then able to help them kind of adjust things as appropriately, because if they think like, Oh, this is a gorgeous home, it’s going to be no dust, no pest, like none of that stuff, then they have a pretty high bar, which you then have to meet.

But if you, if you are very upfront saying it, yeah, there’s a cabin in the woods. It does get a little bit more dusty than usual. We do get past every so often. You may encounter a bear every so often. Like if you tell them about those things and they they’re like, Oh yeah, it’s no big deal. And they, and they just have that expectation there.

Yeah. And like power outages, I don’t, I’m sure you’ve probably experienced  smokies. Um, it seems like it happens after every storm or big rain or snow storm or whatever, uh, you know, I write that in there, Hey, if the power goes out, it should be on back on within an hour. You know, if it’s not contact me, so then people aren’t messaging you right away, you know, when the power goes out and they’ll be like, okay, she said it, it’ll probably come back on.

So I’ll wait. So yeah, things like that. It’s just trying to be as straightforward as possible and, you know, provide the basic amenities. Um, so they feel like they don’t have to go anywhere else. Do my properties have The huge game rooms and, you know, like what we were talking about, the pool, I don’t have a pool, I don’t have, um, laser tag or anything like that.

Um, but I do try to provide the best experience. So when you walk in, you don’t have to, you don’t have to leave other than you need to bring your food, obviously. So, yeah, yeah.  How do you think about. Um, what’s been your experience of having your cleaners or your team really adhere to that quality standard and how do you actually maintain that?

So I have a, um, I have a bonus structure in place for my cleaners. Um, for every five star review, Or five stars, like in the cleaning category that I get, um, I give them a certain amount of money, um, for that. And typically I, based on my messaging, I’m getting like 85, 90 percent of guests reviewing my properties.

So they get a pretty good, a decent payout every month on just bonuses. Um, and then I also, I’m an owner who, as soon as they say, bring something to my attention, I fix it. Um, A lot of people are, they have told me that a lot of their other owners won’t address anything. So, um, they’ll tell them and then they just won’t do anything about it.

So they’ve like, I have two sets of cleaners right now. Um, and they both,  and I’m not like trying to toot my own horn or anything, but they always tell me, they’re like, you’re my favorite, um, to work with because you know, you fix things. Uh, and I don’t make a big deal about, You know, the. The five star reviews. 

Um, I don’t like throw that in their face or anything. It’s just kind of like, Hey, here’s the extra bonus. And I don’t even tell that, tell a new, a cleaner ahead of time about it. It just kind of happens for the first month. So I don’t want it to be like, Hey, I’m, I’m, I’m, you know, I’m watching you kind of thing, but don’t get my five stars. 

Um,  but anyway, so I think, I think that’s the big part of it. Yeah, that’s, that’s really awesome. Do you, um, use inspectors at all in any of your places or do you have someone kind of walk through it? Well, I guess you’re, you’re not that far away. You’re, you’re three hours away. So you, I’m guessing you visit your properties every so often.

I’m three and a half, four hours away and I don’t visit them that often. I did obviously when we were, um, working on them, uh, each when we were doing the renovations, but since I’ve, I’ve had my, my daughter, I go there as much as I honestly should. Um, they’re honestly, my cleaners are so great. They’re my eyes and my ears.

And, um, I also have a monthly maintenance man who goes through and he was a inspector, um, and this, you know, for his Previous job, um, for properties. And so he kind of just goes through and go through his checklist. And then at the end of the month, he sends me an invoice with, with anything that’s wrong in there.

And then I’ll either have him fix it or I’ll bring on another handyman to take care of it. Yeah. Yeah. I think I learned the hard way. I’m not sure if that’s the right way to say it, but I learned that even though your cleaning crew can take care of some of those things, it’s actually better to bring in a handyman because they’re, you’re, your cleaners are there to get in and kind of get out and move on to the next property.

And they kind of have this mindset of like, okay, I have to do these things.  And if they find that the blinds are messed up and needs replacing or things like that stuff, they oftentimes they don’t even mention it because if they mention it, then that’s one more thing that you’re going to ask them to replace or put in there or whatever.

So I find that it’s just a lot easier to have an inspector or handyman kind of walk through the place and say, okay, these are all the things I found because they’re going to look out for every single thing because that’s more that more hours or more things that they can, they can clock in as well too.

So like the motivation there is a lot different. I just find that the. When I rely on the handyman or inspector to, to do the work of making sure the quality is there,  I think it’s a better outcome. Oh, I totally agree. And especially like, things like locks. Oh gosh, locks. Um, before I had him, they were like constantly going out of battery.

Um, and so I put, you know, and then you tell your cleaners like, Hey, can you fix the lock? It’s dead. And they don’t have a screwdriver to take the back plate off of the lock. Um, so getting ahead of it and, you know, having him change the batteries out every month or every other month has been like a game changer.

So, like you said, just having the, the other set of eyes is. Yeah, I think reflecting back, it’s like, it’s really about motivating your team with the right things. Like, like you mentioned, like motivating your, your cleaning crew to really reach that reach for that five star and they money motivates a lot of folks.

Um, so that’s, that’s a very natural way to like get them to do it rather than like you Like coming down with them on hand with a hammer, if they ever get like a four or three star review on, on, on the cleaning side of things, like that’s more effective. Um, and same thing goes with on, on the maintenance side too.

Yeah. And I will add, I do, I also give them a holiday bonus. So it’s not just the five stars. Um, So yeah, they’re, I, I, I try to compensate as best as I can because they’re, they’re truly acting like a property manager and they do hard work and they do great work, and they should be rewarded for it. So yeah, likewise.

Yeah. I, I, I do the, the holiday, holiday thing, I should probably schedule a bit better because I don’t do it until like, pretty much like Christmas morning. Oh,  give like a few weeks before Christmas. Yeah. I’m, I’m, I’m  for, for me, I’m like going through like.  You know how it is in the Smokies, it gets pretty darn cold and you, you’re often like fighting a lot of fires during, during the winter.

I forgot. It was like  year 2022 Christmas was Christmas and New Year’s was the worst. Like that’s when we had that really big storm. That was terrible. It was so bad. Like day too, wasn’t it? It was Christmas day and it lasted through New Year’s, like when your bookings were like the, the, the highest it possibly can be. 

Yeah. So I could, I could definitely have done a better job in preparing and setting out my holiday gift gifts early on your, you’re going to have me set up a calendar reminder now. Um, well Tara, talk to me a little bit about, um, your direct bookings as well, too. So I was introduced to you from a fellow host, um, and she’d mentioned that you, you’ve done actually fairly well on the direct booking side.

Can you talk a little bit about some of the things that you do maybe differently or some of the things that some levers that you invest into? Yeah. So, um, I do have a website. I actually do it through guesty. Um, and typically the way I get direct bookings is through social media. I have, um, somebody who helps me with social media is actually our nanny.

When my daughter’s sleeping, she, uh, during nap time, she does all like checks the locks for me and puts up social media posts. Um, so she’s been fantastic for that. Wow. Yeah. So I have basically an in house VA, which has been great for me so far. I’d like to get an actual VA as well, just to help, but that’s another topic.

Um, anyway, so I do, uh, social media, I do, um. Uh, Facebook, um, Instagram,  and, um, she’s, she’s a Gen Z er. So she’s like really trying to get me to do the Tik TOK thing. So she’s been doing Tik TOK for me a little bit too. Not a, like, I don’t do the dancing and stuff. What’s the type of content that she produces on Tik TOK?

It’s just, I think it’s mainly what she’s putting on Facebook and Instagram and it’s more just like videos and pictures of, of the properties. Um, do you have to like speed it up? Like 1. 25 X just to  have it really has been a little bit more. Honestly, she does all that. She sends it, she sends it to me, uh, via, I think it’s, what’s it called?

Slack.  Um, and so I just approved the posts. So anyway, I, I would like to get more.  Brand worthy. I don’t know if that’s the word. Um, and have them like really look great, but I think just posting, you just got to post, right.  And, and that’s helped us. So a lot of it’s been, uh, direct booking, a lot of. Word of mouth, people who’ve been there before, um, and, you know, told up, told others to follow us on social media.

Um, and then they book that way. And then there’s also the, you know, the smart people who are trying to save a few bucks, who were looking for us  on Airbnb and they find that, you know, I, I put our handle, you know, follow us on social media for a tour of the property and whatnot, and then that takes them to the, To the, um, you know, Instagram or Facebook or Twitter or not Twitter, we’re not on Twitter, um, TikTok and, um, it gets them, you know, looking at our page and then our direct booking website is on there.

And then they, you know, type in their dates and realize, Hey, I can save some money doing this.  So, yeah, that’s, that’s kind of so far my tactics. I’ve done a few, um,  Um, ads on  our Facebook sites, uh, like Nashville. I try, I try not to do the smoky mountain ones because everybody does the smoky mountain ones.

Like as soon as somebody posts in those, it seems like there’s like a hundred people who throw their cabin on there. And then it’s just overwhelming. Um, I do try to do. Every once in a while, Nashville has, I think it’s called Nashville visit visitors and you can pay, um, the, the person who runs that page and, um, that way I can,  I’m like, Hey, basically I say, you know, if you want to extend your trip in Nashville and go to the Smokies, you know, book direct here, blah, blah, blah.

So. That’s the intent of me, you know, and, and pushing the direct bookings soon. You’ll be able to, uh, to host them in Nashville and then send them over to the Smokies. That’s true. That is true. They can,  they can land in Nashville, stay a night and then yeah, go to the Smokies. That’s not a bad idea. That might be a package for you. 

A lot of people really do, um, do that though.  Quite a few people. Cause I have an automatic message that goes out saying, Hey, do you want to stay an extra night for a discount in the Smokies? And a lot of people come back and say, Hey, I’d love to, but I can’t because we’re going to Nashville for a night before we fly out of Nashville.

And so it’s like, uh, and I always just am nice and say, Hey, you know, I’m happy to give recommendations and whatnot, but yeah, I should make it like a package somehow.  Well, when you fly, so we were from the West coast, right. Um, when we fly in. We used to do Knoxville and because that’s, that’s, that’s a closer one.

It’s like an hour drive from, from the Smokies.  But having two young ones, we actually prefer to fly to Nashville. Oh, really? Just so you don’t have to lay over. Exactly. Because there’s no directs from the West coast. At least not in San Francisco, all the way to Knoxville. So we go direct from SF to Nashville and then we’ll do the three hour drive.

So the last time we went to the Smokies, it was a red eye. And then once we landed, it was like five o’clock local time. And I would just basically get the, get the kids to the rental car. They would sleep another three hours. And then dad is like completely beat. Like I’m completely beat by the time we get to the cabin.

Yeah. But the kids are like, Well rested, they had five hours on the flight or four hours on the flight and an extra three in the car and mom and dad’s carrying them, like shuttling them through and through. So like they had a really good time.  It’s hard, but I, I actually prefer that than having a stay at the airport for an hour in the middle of the night or in the middle of our trip and then doing it all over, like do it for another like two or three hours.

Yeah.  So yeah, I can completely understand why, why folks like want to go into Nashville and then you can also have some good food while you’re in Nashville. Well, that, and I think a lot of people want to experience the honky tonks.  Yeah. Yeah. Did you go to WealthCon? I’m sorry. Did you go to WealthCon in Nashville a couple months back?

I did, but I was I went there and then I came home. There was no honky tonkin for me. I played Broadway at like all costs.  It wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t too bad. I think it’s low season, too, because it was. And then, yeah, February is usually pretty slow in Nashville, January, February, uh, beginning of December.

Uh, and then after that, it’s, it’s run a wild. So I saw, yeah, I saw pictures recently. And that  town is really busy now. Yes. Yeah. And you can spot spot a tourist from a mile away. Uh, they all got their hats on their cowboy boots and like no one around here wears those things. Um,  you mentioned earlier that.

A a few folks will find you on Airbnb and then they’ll go to your, in your, they’ll go to your instant. So I’m guessing you put your handle inside the, your listing, right? Yeah.  Um, do you do what some folks do where they’ll, where they’ll pin a post? On comparing how to compare your Airbnb rates against your direct booking rates. 

We don’t, but that is a wonderful idea. Usually I’m just putting like save, uh, by booking direct, but I don’t put an actual number to it and that is fantastic. Yeah, that’s a really good tactic. Like if you run like a quick, sorry, say again, are you doing that? Like, do you, I haven’t, I haven’t done that yet, quite honestly.

I, I.  I schedule most of my posts, so I don’t think about my social all that often, so I’ll batch post everything. So I’ll probably create three months of content  and then I use Metricool as my scheduler. So I put everything on Metricool and I’ll post three times a week.  And  I got so busy with the business that I completely forgot the, like, Oh, my three months ran out and I have to go back in there and post again.

So like, I actually had to spend a bit more attention on my social myself. I I’m not all that great on that. You need a social person like I do. It’s been very helpful.  Yeah. I need to find a babysitter that can help me. Exactly. I do pay him for the extra work. So it’s not just not in any time. I’m sure you’re getting a hell of a deal with that though. 

So what are some of the things that she had? She, uh, she does for you. So does she create the content for you as well too? She does. She creates the content. So I give her like, she still hasn’t even been to the properties, um, which I’m trying to potentially go next week and take her with. But, um, she creates the content.

So I just usually go over there and take, Videos or pictures when I’m there. I also have a friend who lives in Knoxville, um, and she’s been doing some stuff for me so that she’s takes pictures. She’s fantastic and great with social. So every once in a while I’ll have to send her over there. And, um, so I’ll give her those videos and then she comes up with the content and I just approve it.

And then also she does the door locks, like I said, and she responds to every single, uh, review on Airbnb. Um, that’s part of one of her. Jobs.  So wait, you said door locks. Are you talking about like, uh, assigning new codes to every, every new guest? Just making sure the codes, uh, correlate or are in their, um, guest.

He does all of my like automatic door code, um, generating, but sometimes it doesn’t work. I don’t have the best internet at one of my cabins. And then I have another cabin that the door lock just always seems to go offline. So I just. And I, I learned the hard way, um, where I would have guests, you know, texting me saying, Hey, it’s my, I can’t get in and then rambling, you know, and figure it out.

So now we try to get ahead of it. Um, so she even messaged me today and was like, Hey, just so you know, you know, one of the locks is offline. So love, love that. I’m sorry. Is there no way to get a notification on that stuff?  No, or I think it’ll tell you if it’s offline. Yeah. Um, and I did turn that on, but it was, cause it would tell you when it’s offline, then online, and if you have like a weird.

Uh, internet, it’ll just keep coming and it’s just annoying. So I turned that off, but, um, I use the Yale, uh, Sherlock’s the Yale, August, I don’t know what you use, but, um, it seems like the new generation generation is a little bit better than the old ones. And I have some old ones. I may just need to switch out, but yeah, I use just like myself.

I  ironically, I worked for August. Uh,  yeah, yeah, yeah. I did a lot of mobile development for them, their, um, their subscriptions. And then they ran a couple like in home delivery pilots with FedEx and a few others where if you had an August log, um, and this is like before Amazon key that you can deliver into someone’s home.

So we were partnering with a lot of like the major delivery companies into delivering inside your front door.  So yeah, ironically I did work for August a little while back  and you don’t use them. You’re done. Boom. The thing about August is that it needs that extra hub there, that little white looking box.

That’s where the new ones don’t need that anymore. Yeah, yeah. But yes, you’re right, because that’s my number one problem is when those things go offline. People unplug them, even though I like write a little, put a little sticky on it that says do not unplug.  Or when the internet goes off, for some reason, it’s just, it’s a pain to get it back online.

Yeah, so we use the Yale’s at home, Um, we have like four of them here, um, in our homes, but like, exactly like the hubs get like taken offline. People don’t know what it is. And when you unplug it, they don’t see a difference. Like your, your lock still works. It’s just that they don’t know that you can’t register the next set of codes because of it.

So like, I don’t want to worry about a guest unplugging it. And then like, I can’t let my next guest in. So, um, the Schlage is easy because it just wifi direct connects and it’s actually been pretty reliable.  I can’t really fault it for, for, for very much other than like, it’s not easy to see at night. Like, you actually have to press that button on the lower right corner to see any numbers.

And if you’ve never been to one of those locks, like you didn’t, you wouldn’t have known to hit that little home button. That’s the only, that’s the only thing. Mixed reviews of it not working and working. I feel like that’s. For all of them though. So exactly what I might switch them out to the new, the new version, uh, cause they don’t have the, the box anymore.

So I just put one on my, my town home and Chattanooga. So we’ll see how that goes. And then, uh, I’ll make it. Yeah. Live with it for a little bit before you overhaul your entire. Yeah.  Um, so you, you mentioned like, um, you. Um, what amount is like really big for your direct bookings? Like how, how have you seen that like user journey and how do people, what do people talk about and like, what, how does that drive your direct bookings?

I think honestly, one reason I get them, um, through the social media is  the reviews, I think Airbnb in a way assists us, um, because, and this also, You know, shows, I guess, how, uh, basic my website is through guesty, uh, it, it’s supposed to show the reviews, but it doesn’t for whatever reason. So, um, I think Airbnb guests will go to that and see, okay, she has 200 and something five star reviews.

This place is legit. I’m go now to her direct booking website and, you know, book it through there so I can save some money. Um, and then I’ve also been getting.  Interestingly enough, I have been getting bookings and then a month or two later, like bookings ahead of time, a month or two later, I’ve had, this is now the second or third one in like a month that I’ve had somebody say, Hey, they’ll message me through my website saying, Hey, I saw, I just found out that you had a website.

Can I cancel my booking  on Airbnb and then, um, you know, book directly through you.  And so I can’t say no, technically I don’t want them to cancel an Airbnb because Airbnb, yes, is doing me a favor of getting that book in the first place and also cancellations  from the guest side, um, you know, don’t always look the best for you as well.

Uh, but I say, you know, yeah, go ahead. You know, you just, you risk potentially if you take too long, it could get Once you cancel on Airbnb, you know, it could get booked up, but usually if you do it quick enough, it’ll be fine. Um, and I’ve had a few people do that now, which is very interesting to me that they are asking after the fact, rather than doing the research, you know, upfront, and so it’s making me wonder, okay,  How are  they getting to that point?

Right. How are booking two months ago and then all of a sudden finding my website? Um, are they just trying to look up their trip and just put in the name? I do like name all of my properties. Um, and then like I said, I have the socials for them too. So, um, Yeah. It’s just, I don’t know, maybe you have the answer to that.

I don’t know. Like, so how are they reaching to you? Are they, are they messaging you inside the platform or are they reaching out off the platform? Off the platform. So they find the website and then they do like an inquiry through the website saying, Hey, I just found this website. Can I booked through the website now and cancel my Airbnb? 

I’m guessing these guests are getting a lot more savvy. They know not to ask the same question on platform because they know that you wouldn’t be able to give them an honest answer. Like  what I’ve noticed probably  maybe in the last eight months, um, direct bookings is, is, uh, It’s getting a lot more common.

I’ve seen a lot of posts, uh, people sharing like hacks and ways to find out if a, if an Airbnb has a direct booking site, like doing a Google reverse image search or copying and pasting the,  um, like the headline headlines or the descriptions. And if you do that and you do decently well in SEO. Your website will basically pull up and that’s an easy way for a guest to know that, Oh, this is a property management company that has the ability to direct.

And I think the more that hosts talk about it and give folks the option, it’s probably going to be a lot more like what we’ll start to see that more and more if anything. Yeah.  Yeah. And it could be also the economy. Like folks are trying to stretch their dollars a bit more and they’re being, they’re being a little bit more price conscious.

So they’re looking for other ways to get that same stay. Like they don’t want to compromise their, like their family vacation, um, but they, they want to ultimately like save a few dollars here. Yeah. And that’s the last, the last one I just got a few days ago, um, who inquired about it? He was like, I would really love to save.

Um, it looks like it’s going to be a significant savings for me. So, you know, can I, can I do this? And I just was like, you can do it. You’re, you’re, you know, more than 30 days out from my cancellation policy. So you can do it. But I was like, please do not say anything in your cancellation note about direct booking.

Cause you know, then I can get penalized. Potentially. And I don’t want to risk that, but I also want to make the guest happy. So, um, I always make sure to throw that in there and they’re always like, Oh, of course not. We’re going to, we won’t say anything. So yeah. Do you like the direct bookings more than the guest being on Airbnb?

Like, how do you feel about that? Like if someone’s like originally found you, they’re going to book with you anyways. Do you prefer them being on Airbnb or direct one way or another? You know, I like them both. I think I’m less scared. I hate to say that. Yeah. I’m doing it direct. Uh, cause there’s always, I just feel like the, the anxiety, those are just like hanging over you, you know, either like they’re on your side.

It’s like the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other. It’s not like they’re the ones who are giving me the business, right? So I can’t, again, I can’t, um,  knock them at all. Um, and that’s what’s, you know, giving me success. But I think for a direct booking, it’s like, okay, I guess, yeah, they could give me like a bad Google review or Facebook review, but it’s not as big of a deal.

Um, one thing I don’t love is that everything goes to email.  Welcome message. My, um, you know, I send out quite a few messages  before, during and after their stay. Um, but yeah, it’s not like an app that goes to the right. They can easily message me. I think a lot of times that’s easier,  uh, because. A lot of times people don’t check their emails immediately.

Uh, I know I don’t, I don’t have like the pop up that comes up every time an email comes through. So that part’s kind of, you know,  not as ideal, but if there was an emergency or something, I have their phone number. So I could reach out to them that way and vice versa.  Yeah. Are you also on VRBO?  I am, but it’s crickets.

Yeah.  That’s, well, that’s what I found with the VRBO.  One of my cabins does really well. The bigger one does really well on our VRBO, but it’s like seasonally, like I’ll do really well. Like last winter season, half my bookings were VRBO. And if you look at the rest of the year, there’s almost nothing. Yes. So it’s really, really weird where like VRBO will bump you.

But  I think I remember early on, um,  Uh, at least for we use owner as, as our property management company, um, or software and they didn’t have messaging integrated into it. So we could only message them through, uh, we can only automate message them through emails. So we were doing, doing everything through emails and it actually was okay.

It wasn’t terribly bad, but. I definitely feel like it’s a little bit delayed where folks I don’t really reach out to you and like, unless they absolutely really need to, because it’s, that’s like a hurdle to go after and you don’t know when your response back is.  Um, but yeah, I think even some PMS is they’ll do, they’ll allow text messaging as well too.

So if you have a direct booking and they have the number recorded, then you can basically. On their platform, like if you are on the, on the guest, the platform, you can message them within the port, the messaging portal, and it’ll be sending text messages back and forth. I don’t know if guest actually does it does do it.

No, it does, but it’s only a certain, um, character limit and usually, and obviously it’s a text, so I get it. Uh, and my messages are probably too long for that. Yeah, it’s probably not good for like. So you’re, you’re welcome. Like here’s all the links and here’s your check in time and your checkout times.

Yeah, you’re, you’re absolutely right. That doesn’t make sense for them. Yeah. So if there could be like a easy downloaded app, that would be amazing. Something for you to think about, I guess, for  your business.  I, the one, I think the, as a, as a guest, I, my wife and I, and our families, we travel on Airbnb is quite a bit.

Um, I remember staying in a, I don’t know if you have ever stayed in an ebb and stay place before. Oh no, I have, they usually only take properties that are. Sleeps 12 and up. Um, so the really, really big places and they’re basically property manager company, they don’t own any of the properties themselves.

I don’t think so. But they had a really good app experience. They made me, they make you download the app. You have all your details in there, your messaging in there, they’ll message you at the night of your check in. Um, and they just had everything all in one place. And I guess Airbnb does something similar, but.

It just felt really nice to be in that app. And I don’t know, like,  if it’s sustainable where people are willing to download an app in order to, to experience that. But I actually had a really good experience using Evan’s app. I was like, in the very beginning, I was like a little bit like peeved a little bit because, Oh, one more thing to download that I’m going to have to delete later on, but it actually led to a really good experience.

Oh, that’s cool. Yeah. Yeah.  So you, you mentioned you’re using the guesty,  I’m guessing is it guesty for hosts or guesty for pros? Yes. See for hosts. Yeah. Okay. And you’re using their direct booking platform right now. Have you, are you pretty happy with it? Yeah, it’s okay. It’s like, it’s very bare bones, um, basic, which is okay for me now, but I definitely Plan at some point I want to level up and, you know, get more branding and a pretty website.

Um, I know like my husband just went through all of that with his veterinary practice and it’s, he has like this beautiful website with, you know, I don’t know, it’s, it’s just great. And I’m just like, when I go to my website, I’m like, okay, it does the job, but it’s, it’s very basic. And then, you know, there’s obviously the SEO that goes along with it.

Um, you know, they’re really not doing that with, uh, What I have. So, um, yeah, I w I want to upgrade at some point. Uh, and I think it also gives a little more professionalism, I guess, if that’s the word, uh, credibility, uh, when you have a really cool website, I do have my own like URL and stuff like that. So I’m not using, you know, guested.

com slash.  I did go that extra mile. Um, but yeah, so I’m hoping to level up at some point, but for right now it seems like it’s working, but I think if I, if I did something better, I could do better with the direct bookings. Yeah.  I think you’re, you’ve already  turned on your direct booking engine already and you’re starting to get more and more direct bookings where some of those things, they not maybe not make it.

It’s like, it makes more sense right now, but it’s more important now than it was in the early days. Like if you really invest in hiring agency or use some type of platform early on, it may not have been worth it. But now that you’re getting consistent direct bookings, like  you could potentially, you’re driving a lot more traffic to it where a bump in conversion makes a huge difference on the backend on how many bookings you get. 

I’m having, and now that I’ve been hosting for four years and I’ve had returned guests, um, I think that helps too, obviously they want to save a buck. They, they know the products that I offer and they want to come back. And so I’ve had quite a few who have, you know, come back and, and, uh, books direct. And I even have like a magnet on all of my, um,  my, uh, Refrigerators that says, you know, want to save on fees, book direct or something like that.

So, yeah. Um, I try to push it, you know, while they’re, while they’re there, but not too much as well. Do you do any of the emailing?  I don’t, but I did sign up for, um, Staphy. I have two of those little hubs sitting in a box. You just need to install so to try out. But, uh, that is on my list because obviously I know I’ve, I know that’s huge is, um, email marketing.

Yeah. I think especially in some of the areas that you’re, you’re in where you see that annual visitorship, like, um, Folks go to the Smokies, not just once, but they, they tend to go over and over and over again. Um, and in your, for your time span, like you very much have the guests that stay with you year one, they’ve probably been back to the Smokies like once or twice already. 

So it makes, it makes a whole lot of sense.  Awesome. Tara, was there anything else that you kind of wanted to share with our audience today? Any other tips that you may want to share?  I don’t think so. I don’t know if you have any more questions happy to answer, but I feel like I’ve blabbed  long too much already. 

Awesome. Well, I do end with two questions. Um, one’s a mindset question and then the other one’s a big kind of a takeaway question. Um, the mindset one first, what’s the one thing that you would Recommend to someone that is starting something completely new. What’s that mindset advice there? I’d say confidence.

Um, and not the cocky confidence where you’re like, I know everything. I think the confidence that I can do this because once you finally take that leap and you do do it and you figure things out along the way, cause I mean, I have no idea what I was doing. I still don’t know what I was doing. I still don’t know what I’m doing.

That’s how I feel at least, but I’m confident that I can figure it out. And typically I usually do. So I think having it. That mindset of being open and being confident that you can do it is huge. And that’s, what’s going to help you succeed. Yeah. That’s really good advice. That’s really, really good advice. 

All right. The last question is what’s, uh, what’s the one big takeaway from this entire conversation that you want our guests to, to really absorb?  I think just. Again, confidence that you can do it because, um, I was in the shoes of  listening to all these podcasts, like I told you, and I hadn’t take the first step and I finally did it.

Um, and then just trying to provide that best guest experience that you can with, and you don’t have to, and without feeling that you have to go over the top to do it because you don’t, you just have to provide a great product and give the guests. what you feel like you would want when you’re traveling and then the rest should fall into place.

Um, and again, that will also lead to repeat guests and direct bookings. Yeah, absolutely agree. Well, Tara, it was really good having you on the show. Thank you for sharing your entire experience of have you kind of grown your portfolio where you’re going next and giving us a bit of device advice on just how you approach direct bookings in the first place.

I appreciate you having yourself. Thank you so much for having me. It was like, it was absolutely fantastic. And I’m so happy to be here. So thanks again. Thank you. Bye. Bye. 

Scroll to Top