When Amy Hinote, founder of VRM Intel announced the first Book Direct Day would take place on February 7th 2018 she said:
“With a multitude of new travelers searching for vacation rentals, vacation rental managers and homeowners are joining forces for one day with a singular message to let travelers know that there are many advantages to bypassing third-party channels to book directly with management companies and homeowners.”
With that, managers and owners were encouraged to share the message of the value of “booking direct, booking local and booking smart” by sending out an email campaign to their past and prospective guests.
While this was a huge success, and the message was indeed received far and wide, another benefit was that more owners and managers took notice of it and began looking at ways to make the process easier for their guests.
Over the next four years, successive Book Direct Days have continued to garner attention.
More websites are being built; content has been created; booking platforms have developed to meet the needs of independent owners as well as larger property managers, and while the OTA market share hasn’t been markedly impacted, dents are showing.
But…..having a book direct strategy isn’t for everyone.
There are occasions and circumstances where some operators would not conceive of ‘going off platform’ .
The OTAs do a very good job of instilling the fear of ranking reduction, penalties and even removal from the site.
In this episode Mark Simspon of the UK-based short-term rental consultancy Boostly, talks about why some people should think twice about offering any type of direct booking service
A little tongue-in-cheek maybe, but it’s food for thought.
Mark says you shouldn’t do this if:
- you love Airbnb so much you cannot envisage going off platform;
- you believe the platforms have your best interests at heart
- you honestly believe the host guarantee
- the thought of building your own website brings you out in hives
- you don't believe in offering your guests a better deal i.e. no service fees
Mark’s first book – “The Book Direct Playbook” – is published on February 2nd 2022 – Book Direct Day