How to get more direct bookings without losing Airbnb or Booking.com customers?

February 9, 2023

Airbnb, Booking.com and other OTAs were the gamechangers in the hospitality industry. They made the whole booking process easier and faster both for hosts and guests. However, this comes with a price. Vacation rental owners pay between 15%-25% on commission.

Moreover, most OTAs generally don’t share valuable guest data with the rental owners so in the future they can’t contact them directly. That’s why many vacation rental owners now invest a lot of money and time to get more direct bookings. And while the customers might use the OTAs for research, after making a choice many prefer to contact the rental/hotel directly. 

The statistics also prove that the direct booking trend is rising. According to PhocusWright, in 2023 online direct booking will surpass OTAs, representing 51% of total online leisure sales.

So how exactly you can get those direct bookings if you’re a vacation rental/hotel owner? The most obvious choice is building your own website with a booking engine. However, that’s not the only way. Here are 5 simple steps on how to significantly increase direct bookings even without getting your own website! 

Step 1. Present your rental on social media

Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and other social media platforms are powerful tools to get more direct bookings. Research by Meta found that 91% of Instagrammers use the app to follow an interest. And what’s most important, the top interest is travel (45%): people actively use the platform to search for new destinations. So if you weren’t sure if you should create an account for your rental, the answer is right here! 

However, the game rules changed. Posts with general information and pictures are not enough. 

If you want to get more direct bookings, you should regularly show off your rental on the Facebook and Instagram stories. 

And don’t forget about reels! 9 out of 10 users watch Instagram videos weekly. You don’t want to miss out! Post at least 2-3 videos per week. You can record the materials in advance, and edit them later. 

Besides just simply showing the rental and promoting special offers, you can also share tips and advice on what to do in the area, and tell stories of your guests’ experiences. 

Another important tip: use a consistent visual style for your posts and create a unique voice. This will help you stand out from the competition and create a lasting impression on potential guests. 

Finally, you should use social media to connect with influencers. If you can get them to promote your rental, you will reach a larger audience leading to more direct bookings. If you don’t have a big budget, you can still try to get in touch with influencers and offer them a barter collaboration: they can tell about your rental on their social media platforms in exchange for staying there for free.

Step 2. Create your link in bio page

On this step, you're already leading customers to book your property.

Obviously, you can create a website and place it in your bio. Having your own website is a great way to reach potential customers. However, it can take a lot of time and money to create and keep it updated. 

Another thing is, that potential customers have different needs. Some of them still prefer to book through Airbnb and Booking. Therefore, you can lose customers if they see only see direct booking option. 

As you know, the most popular social media platforms allow putting only one link in bio section. 

So how exactly you can handle this situation without losing clients?

Simply. The best link in bio website builder for rentals and hotels Booklee allows potential guests to find the link they need and make a booking in seconds.

Booklee helps you to promote your rental and offer direct bookings without building your own website. Just create a unique page for your rental in less than 2 minutes and customize it with photos, videos, descriptions and multiple ready-to-use widgets. The information can be updated in seconds both from the computer and mobile device. 

On Booklee link in bio page, you can display listings from multiple OTAs (Airbnb, Booking.com, Agoda, etc.) and offer a direct booking option. That way, you won’t lose customers who anyway prefer to use Airbnb or Booking. 

The information can be created in multiple languages, allowing users to easily switch between them. There’s also an option to aggregate reviews from multiple sources and promote special offers and discounts.

Step 3. Showcase the direct booking as the best option

After creating a link in bio Booklee page with listings from Airbnb and Booking, don’t forget to put there a direct booking option. 

But there is a catch.

You should make it clear to potential guests that booking directly from you will get them the best deal. You can mention a notable price change in the title, for example, “Book directly with 15% off!”. If you are not ready to give a discount right now, you can promise a free breakfast, transfer, or another service.

Step 4. Add reviews to your link in bio page

Booklee can aggregate reviews from multiple resources. They are great to show the quality of your rental and the services you provide. Potential guests are more likely to book directly if they see positive reviews on your page. 

Read more on how to increase your short-term rental bookings by displaying reviews on a bio link page! 

Step 5. Build a relationship with your guests

Great customer service makes customers come back to you. Reply to customers’ emails and messages promptly and make sure they have a great experience. 

Be sure to follow up with customers after their stay. Ask them for feedback on their experience with you and offer them a reward for their loyalty. This will help you understand how you can improve your services and make their next stay even better. Additionally, use this feedback to share with potential customers, so they can see firsthand how much you care about your guests. 

Don’t forget to send out regular emails to your past guests and offer them special discounts and promotions. This step encourages them to book directly from you again. 

As a vacation rental owner, you can increase direct bookings significantly by actively using social media platforms and creating a link in bio page with Booklee. With the right strategies, you will experience a high return on investment and make the most of your rental without relying too much on OTAs. Sign up to get the most cost-efficient and practical solution for direct bookings!

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