Professional property managers of vacation rentals are busy people with many competing priorities. The daily to-do checklist seems endless, and there are some items on that list that always get pushed to tomorrow’s list. One of those items that is almost certainly pushed back all the time is their website.

Their old, outdated, clunky website.

They know it’s an important part of their business, but it’s never a priority given everything else that’s on their plate. Besides, they’re not even sure if a new website and booking engine will help them all that much. Plus, listing with online travel agencies (OTAs) like Airbnb and Vrbo is enough, right?

Unfortunately, that’s not enough if you want your short-term rental business to do more than just survive. Let’s take a look at why having a direct booking engine for your vacation rental business is so important.

Survive Unpredictable Times

Direct bookings are a key part of your overall revenue maximization strategy, and play a key role alongside dynamic pricing, market knowledge, and optimally managed OTA bookings. And for the most part, short-term rental managers and owners know this. In a recent survey conducted by Beyond, direct bookings was the most common “top 2021 goal” of North American property managers who managed 16 or more listings in Q4 of 2020.

Source: Beyond Survey Data

This matters because being able to control your own listings online can mitigate factors that are out of your control. For example, if one of the OTAs decides to block or limit bookings in your market because of a pandemic or natural disaster, a direct website can keep you in business by booking stays compliant with local regulations for essential workers, quarantines, and permanent residents needing temporary housing during a move or renovation.

More Control Over Your Own Finances

Short-term rental managers enjoy the financial control offered by having a direct booking option. For example, they’re able to directly contact and rebook many direct booking guests for future stays, as well as have more options in terms of cancelations or refunds.  

The blanket refunds imposed by some OTA’s during the pandemic were not the best solution for either the owners and managers who had to take a financial hit nor the guests who still looked forward to traveling and were ready to lock in better dates at their previous rate. Had these short-term rental properties been totally dependent on OTAs, they would’ve been facing even unhappier owners with even emptier future calendars.

A Happy Customer Is a Loyal Customer

Are your repeat guests still booking through OTAs? For the most part, they shouldn’t have to.  OTAs make it hard to measure performance for repeat guests on purpose, but many rental managers have a good sense for when a customer is happy with their experience and would be likely to return. Give them the ability to book directly with you!

OTAs have an important role to play in helping to introduce your listings to new guests, but your repeat guests should be able to find you directly, book easily, and share your business with their friends. All of this, in addition to having more independence and financial control, takes having a direct booking engine for your business from a nice-to-have to a need-to-have.

Beyond’s Direct Booking Tool: Signal

At Beyond, we’ve transitioned from a single product to a multi-tool revenue management platform, and one of those tools is Signal.

The Signal Reservation Engine is highly flexible, mobile-friendly, and designed with guests in mind. We’re able to build SEO-optimized and responsive websites for your vacation rental business that are optimized to allow visitors and search engines to find what they're looking for quickly and on any device.

We will build you a beautiful, custom-branded site at no upfront cost, and with our dedicated team of support specialists helping you every step of the way, there’s never been a better time to revisit that old clunky website.

The best way to know what Signal can do for you is to see it in action.

Contact us for a free website evaluation and Signal demo today!