For short-term rental (STR) managers and owners, building and optimizing a profitable distribution strategy for their portfolios is a crucial part of their success. A major component of that strategy has always been to list properties with online travel agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com. The reach these OTAs have is massive and they are a welcome and essential part of doing business.
There are, however, some drawbacks to exclusively depending on OTAs for customers. Concerns about branding, rising commissions, and a growing fear of becoming too dependent on them for revenue are just a few of the real concerns of STR managers and owners.
Beyond’s Julie Brinkman recently sat down with Skift's Jeremy Kressman and outlined the top 3 reasons STR managers and owners should include direct booking in their customer acquisition process.
One of the best and most direct ways to make more money is to make sure the money customers are spending is coming directly to you. Businesses just getting started with direct bookings stand to recapture 15-25% of every dollar spent on an OTA reservation. That’s an opportunity to reinvest each of those dollars back into your business and to begin to establish your own brand and reputation.
Be Strategic with Online Travel Agencies
It is true that there is no better way to reach millions of potential customers than through the major OTAs. They provide a nonstop highway of people looking to book accommodations every day, and if you’re not on them, you are leaving easy money and bookings on the table. You will inevitably face, however, the Law of Diminishing Returns if you list on too many platforms. We suggest listing with the top 3 or 4 and then capturing that demand from those channels to build a loyal (and profitable) guest base.
Additionally, typical OTA agency fees are around 3%, so if your distribution portfolio depends entirely on them, those fees will start to add up. Spread over an entire year, that could mean tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary fees paid to the OTAs for customers that you could have directly booked otherwise.
Investing in a direct booking capacity for your portfolio will save you time and money in the long run, as well as allowing you to make deeper, longer-lasting connections with your loyal customers.
This is where STR managers and owners can take a page directly out of the hotel playbook and ensure they don’t ever repay an OTA for a repeat guest. Invest in your website and ensure that it’s mobile-friendly so that guests have a seamless direct booking experience.
The direct booking engine is essential for any STR property seeking to profitably grow and retain guests – it is only through this solution that they can run impactful marketing campaigns or deploy valuable merchandising tactics.
With these three things in mind, short-term rental managers and owners will be well-equipped to incorporate a direct booking to their revenue generation strategy.
Ready to learn more about direct booking? Check out Signal, Beyond’s direct booking and website builder tool!