Mark Simpson has been on a roll this past year creating comprehensive resources for short-term rental hosts. Aside from the many free and paid training tools offered by Mark through his organization Boostly, Mark kicked off a more methodic approach to information dissemination with the launch of The Book Direct Playbook earlier this year. His Playbook collated how-tos and tactics for hosts to grow their direct booking channels, and ended up being an Amazon bestseller in its category shortly after.
A singular resource that demystifies all aspects of running short-term rentals
Now, Mark has returned with The Book Direct Blueprint, a multi-author collection of systems to support every aspect of managing and professionalizing vacation rental businesses. In it, readers will find chapters dedicated to key aspects of running a short-term rental business, from pricing to guest experience to adding revenue streams.
Dynamic pricing tools provider PriceLabs has authored the chapter on Pricing in the Book Direct Blueprint, and since Rental Scale-Up became part of PriceLabs only a few months earlier, we interviewed Mark to get a deeper understanding of what galvanized the creation of this book, and how it all came together. You will find a transcript of the interview further down.
Boostly Bingo: An opportunity for hosts to win resources valued at $10,000
We also checked in with Mark about Boostly Bingo – a challenge connected to the launch of the book with a $10,000 prize attached to it. Here is what he had to share on the subject:
When you sign up, you also get entered into what I call the Boostly Bingo. Those who take part in this challenge will get to mark off daily actions in the challenge (i.e. showing up for the live videos throughout the week of the 28th of November – 5th December)At the end, if they have ticked off all of the boxes in the Bingo, then they get entered for the prize where one person will win the lot. And what will you have a chance to win? Glad you asked. Because the prize is EPIC! Take a look for yourself. You’ll have an opportunity to win what I call the “Boostly Blueprint Bundle,” which is valued at $10,000. (Yes, you’ve read that right.) This includes:
- $1,500 credit towards an Uplisting subscription. This is over a year’s worth of usage on Uplisting for anyone with 5 or fewer properties.
- 2-year membership with I-PRAC AND 2-hour coaching call from the CEO and Founder Chris Maughan. Value £2000
- 6 months free on PriceLabs Dynamic Pricing subscription. Up to $1500 in value
- A weekend in a luxury apartment in Cannes for 4 persons, including a dinner in one of Brad Pitt’s and George Clooney’s favorite restaurants – airport transfers included. Flights are not included. $2000 value
- $1,000 cash donation to the non-profit of the winner’s choice
- 12-month membership of free Intelligent Guest Screening by “Know your guest” value $2000
As you can see, this opportunity is one of a kind. Not only you’ll have a chance to wine and dine in the exact same place as Hollywood’s most sought-after celebrities…And brag about it to your friends every chance you get…This Boostly Blueprint Bundle has an opportunity to completely transform your business in 2023.
Learning what gave way to The Book Direct Blueprint
When I was writing the Playbook, I had a bonus chapter in the Playbook that was about the systems and the structures that you need to have in place to have a direct booking business or a successful hospitality business. And when it came to the editing stage of the book, we pulled the chapter last minute because what we realized is the Playbook was all about marketing. So it was about, you know, how to apply 101 marketing tactics into your business to grow a direct booking business. And the chapter just sat there in a Google Doc. Uh, the book was released, it went down really well. And then in May I was part of Hospitable Hosts, and that was a multi-author book. And in that multi-author book, there were stories from 40 hosts around the world. And I really enjoyed being part of that process.
Um, and I kept coming back to that, that missing chapter from the Playbook, which was on the systems and the structures. And it was a July morning, I woke up early cause I literally woke up thinking about it. I had a strong cup of coffee. I had a big piece of A1 paper in front of me, and I just started to circle and brain-dump what a book would look like when it was about the systems and the structures, like filling it out. So one of the circles was Pricing, which is obviously PriceLabs. One of them was Trust, one of them was the Upsells, one of them was Guest Experience, the PMSes (property management software), like everything that I could think of, I, uh, I put in these circles. And what I realized is that I had just created a book.
And when it came to the book, I didn’t want to do it all myself.
I wanted to tap into the expertise of friends and peers and vendors from the industry, from the people that I’ve met over the last six years of doing Boostly. And so, next to the circles on that piece of A1 paper, I started to write down companies that I wanted to reach out to be part of the book. And, um, the first person that I reached out to the literally the first day, I drafted up a very coffee-fueled Google Doc with the idea why they should be part of it, the wins that it’s gonna happen on the back of it, and why I want them to do this journey Madi me. And Madi was the first one I sent it to. She was the first one to like literally instant reply back saying I’m in. And basically the message went something along the lines of, um, I wanna put this book together.
In February 2022, I tapped into an unknown marketing channel, which is Amazon. And it’s a marketing channel that I’ve always wanted to be on, but had never done before. And the Playbook has opened so many doors on the back of it. I wanted to now showcase and show off and sort of, um, represent other peers, friends, family, vendors in the industry on a channel that I know they are not visible on i.e. Amazon. And I wanted to do it in a way that fit the Book Direct model. And this will be the follow-up book to the Playbook. And this is gonna be all about the systems and structures and the things in place. Um, all they had to do was write 3000 words and just talk about their area of expertise.
Um, at the same time, I messaged Jody Sterling and I just said, listen, I’ve had this idea for a multi-author book. And coincidentally she messaged me back saying, I’m actually starting a publishing house called, um, Sterling Publishing House. I have to check on that one, the name is, but she, um, she said, I’ll be more than happy to be part of his project and help put it together. So all I had to do was find 10, 11, 12, um, vendors to be part of it; 12 chapters.
Boostly was gonna do a chapter, but I went out and found the rest. The main thing for me is there was gonna be a no-compete clause. So I didn’t want to have, for example, PriceLabs and Wheelhouse on the same book. I just wanted to have one, you know, so, um, I had all of my first Avengers, my first list, my A-list, and I’m lucky that everyone got back to me and said, yeah, which is great. And um, from there it just sort of snowballed, really. Everything came together.
Um, so we’ve got obviously PriceLabs for Pricing, we’ve got I-PRAC for Trust, we’ve got Mount for the Upsells, we’ve got TouchStay for the Guest Experience with their Digital Guidebook, Uplisting is PMS, the team at DAK, uh, which is the mobile app experience, sort of the Guest Loyalty. Uh, we’ve got Tech Tape, which is, um, sort of your tech stack, how not to make it complicated. Superhog, which is, um, obviously the Guest Verification, the Host Protection. Minoan, which is putting together your property, how to do it in a simplistic way where you actually get a kickback from it and at decent rates. Dtravel, which is obviously something that I’m passionate about, which is web3. That’s sort of the future of the hospitality industry. And, um, Dtravel, one of the first people — I had to convince them <laugh> a couple of Zoom calls, but I’m glad that they came on board. Uh, and then, Robertin from the Co-Host Expert, um, for basically corporate, midterm travel, you know, um, something that not many people talk about when it comes to hospitality.
And then Boostly’s got a chapter, so it’s not me that’s doing it, it’s the CTO. So basically Boostly is being founded on training, but more, to the point, websites. And there’s a guy that’s the brain behind the scenes. He’s like the unheard of, or the unseen part of Boostly. But I really wanted to put him into the forefront with this book. And so he’s in a chapter on about 33 secret steps to build a true direct booking website. So it’s great to be able to showcase him. And yeah, so we’ve come together.
Jody helped run the show. She helped with an inspirational, um, person came in right at the very start. So basically she helped to get an inspirational person coming, to give everybody inspiration on what to write. Uh, and then she organized an editor and a proofreader called Jen, which is fantastic. And now we’ve all put the book together. We’re currently recording the audiobook with, um, Hannah Gardener, uh, and it’s sound recording in York. And we’re ready to go for December.
The unofficial release date is the 12th of December. And the reason why it’s unofficial is what I learned with the Playbook is you don’t marry your date, you don’t set a date. Cuz anything can go wrong with Amazon and it most likely normally does, as we found out. So, uh, we’re aiming for the 12th. Everything is literally ready. Um, we’re just waiting on the audio to get edited, but the book’s ready.
Books are going to the printers and we’re just sort of doing everything behind the scenes, but I’m just saying December 2022 release. And the big thing about the release is that any profits, so after Amazon are taking their cut and all those fees and whatnot, any profits from the book, all of the profits from the book sales will go to food bank charities. And so we’re just gonna start building a big pot and I’ll just start finding food bank charities and start putting into them. And all the authors have agreed on that, which is, which is cool.