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Since the Covid 19 situation and how the situation was handled by the OTAs (especially badly by Airbnb!), more and more people are coming to me asking me how to get direct bookings and how to be less dependent from the OTAs. That’s why I decided to write this blogpost exactly on this topic.
In fact, this is exactly my area of expertise. I am consulting rental owners on their marketing strategy to get more direct bookings. I help them through my 1:1 consulting packages , my monthly Mastermind and most of the advice I am giving both in my Facebook group, in my blog and on my Youtube channel are with the goal to help you increase your direct bookings percentage.
Before giving you my tips on how to get more direct bookings, let’s see what does direct bookings mean exactly?
What are direct bookings?
Direct bookings are when the guests book directly through you (via a website, social media platform, direct contact on the phone or via email).
Why should you want to get direct bookings?
For the guest it means that they won’t have to pay the added fees from an OTA and for you, it means that you have total control over your bookings (and your cancellations, which is so important, as you saw now!) and that you will make more money.
It also means that you have a better way to communicate with the guests without having a middleman in between. You can have a direct contact before, during and after the stay with your guests. You can thus create a better relationship with your guests even prior to their stay.
There are of course some concerns to tackle first before starting to get direct bookings.
How do you verify your guests and know they are trustworthy with direct bookings?
As a short term rental property owner or manager, you don’t want to rent to people who will damage your property. So, this question is obviously one which comes to your mind when thinking about taking direct bookings.
Other things to think of:
- Have a rental agreement
- Have a deposit
- Have a rental insurance (you should have one anyway even for bookings on the OTAs)
How do you get more direct bookings?
1- Get a website to take your direct bookings
Here are a few posts I wrote about having your own website:
Option 1: you use an all-in-one solutions handling bookings and website design for a monthly fee
Option 2: You create the website yourself with WordPress
Option 3: you have someone do it for you
A lot of people are asking me if this is something I do. I was doing it, but I don’t do it anymore.
However, I know some people who do and I would be happy to put you in contact with them. Just contact me through Messenger and I can help you find the right fit for you.
2 – Let people know that they can book direct from now on
The best way to get your first direct bookings will be thanks to a great communication with your repeat, past and future guests. Those are the ones who trust you more, so of course, they will be less afraid to not have a middleman while booking.
It’s very important to let people know that they have this opportunity to book direct. As some probably have no idea that you have your own website as well.
When communicating with people about the possibility about direct bookings, always make sure to think about their fears. You can even have a page on your website or on your FAQ mentioning why booking direct is better for the guests.
a. Let your previous guests know that they have the direct bookings option
Send a message or an email to your past guests to let them know that you now have a direct booking website. Ask them if they would like to have the link to your website and if they want to be added to your email list to know about your next promotions and giveaways.
b. Let your future guests know the perks of rebooking with you directly instead of on an OTAs.
Here are some tricks that you can use to get people who have booked already through an OTA cancel their OTA booking and book it with you directly.
- Mention the difference between booking via an OTA and booking directly (you can for instance say that the early check-in is only available to people booking on your direct booking website)
- Mention the possibility to rebook directly on your website on the website page where you give them tips for your area
- Mention the awesome discounts that you have for your local partners for your direct bookings clients.
c. Let your friends and family know that you have a direct bookings website
3- Get your place mentioned on Google Maps with a Google My Business listing
As one of my group member says “I love the fact that they have found my website online, and found the info they needed, and trusted it enough to book direct!”.
One easy way to get more direct bookings is to be listed on Google Maps. I did a full training on this that you can find below.
4. Use Social Media to get direct bookings with using ads
Social Media can seem overwhelming at first and might seem like a waste of time, but when you see the results of my Mastermind or Online Course students, who are getting 1 to 5 bookings inquiries per Social Media post, then you see that Social Media is very worth it!
I discuss in detail about Social Media in this blogpost.
5. Know how to rank higher on Google to get direct bookings from a Google search
Getting bookings from a search on Google without having to pay for ads is the best feeling ever! Especially, since it might be some work at first to get your website on the first page of Google, but once you are, then you won’t have to spend much time on it!
You can check out the audits I have done for other property owners here to know how to use Ubersuggest and Google Trends to rank higher on Google.
6. Get direct bookings with Facebook ads
Facebook ads return on investment can be very high IF (and only if!) you know how to target ads. You can check my tips here on how to do it.
I will stop here the list of tips for today, but be sure to join my FB group as I do weekly training there and the goal is always to help you get more direct bookings 🙂
Now, that I gave you my strategy tips on how to get direct bookings it’s your turn: tell me in the comments what you have done or plan on doing now to get direct bookings?
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask me via Messenger.
Please remember to pin me.
I’m Natacha, a French vegan Airbnb host who has been working online for the past 4 years. I help hosts stand out and make more money online so they can have a good work-life balance!