Before taking over the Direct Booker franchise, I was working in the tourism and hospitality industry. I was renting 2 apartments in Ljubljana with my family. I also worked for many clients on their apartment websites and created listings for them on Booking.com and Airbnb.
On New Year’s Eve 2017, I was talking to a friend about the blooming of vacation rental business in Ljubljana. With a few more apartments to manage, I knew I could create a real business. I just lacked a system, or technology that would support it. Shortly after, that friend found out about Direct Booker, a company that was offering exactly what I needed. Some flights to Dubrovnik, some great meetings, and everything else is a history…
Everyone involved with the Direct Booker brand is asked for 100% engagement. We should forget about working 8 hours 5 days a week. After two years, I can see it was necessary – things are getting into perspective, the company is growing, we are hiring new people…
At first, we were a bit confused, we were diving in the sea of information, and we are still learning. However, a help from Dubrovnik is really top-notch, and that helps to solve the problems.
The biggest challenge now is the organic growth and business optimization – how many workers it takes to get the most out of it, while acquisitions, listing setups, info desk and everything else go smoothly.
I see Direct Booker as a blend of great online marketing and sales company, driven by its own IT solutions, which invests a lot in their employees. I think that people are the biggest value of any business. I see myself and Slovenia franchisee as the “role model” of this business, with all the functions and departments as in the headquarters.
My short tip to everyone interested in a franchise business: in the initial stages, be prepared to do more than 100% and plan your finances realistically, without too much optimism. And your main concern is to bring in quality associates and work to keep them engaged. Educating co-workers and mistakes that are part of it can sometimes be very expensive. In the end, time is money!
The model works, but it is very important that you understand and adapt the business to the destination and its peculiarities. Personally, I would never start this business from scratch, as there are endless investments in developing IT solutions.