Whenever we hear from an accommodation owner that they don’t get many direct bookings via their website, it is often simply a case of not having worked on a few simple things. We have put together a series of articles that focus on the 5 main things that should be worked on to ensure that your website brings in direct bookings. This is the second article, 3 more to follow
Using the big booking sites to get your own direct bookings:
A lot of owners really feel that they are dependent on large booking sites, namely Airbnb, Booking.com, VRBO etc. However the benefits of being on these large sites can be huge, and gaining direct bookings on your website is one of them.
When you are listed on a big booking site, many thousands of people will view your accommodation, it’s likely to give your property a lot more exposure than any other form of advertising. Particularly in the case of Airbnb, a lot of the charges are to the guest, not the owner, so many people see something they like and then search online for the owner’s website to book direct. (This is why it’s so important to ensure that your website looks fabulous, so that once they do find your website, they don’t instantly leave!
We recently helped an owner who was starting out with a brand new holiday let. We built her a brand new website and ensured her new listing on Airbnb displayed the property name prominently. She received 50% of her first year’s annual bookings via her brand new website, simply from being on Airbnb and ensuring it was easy to know what to search for on Search Engines. As this was a brand new property to the accommodation industry, we could know for sure that these bookings were as a result of her website being found, after being seen on Airbnb, as it would take a long time for her website to appear organically for any worthwhile search phrases, other than her accommodation name. Prior to getting added to Airbnb, we ensured that her new website was fully indexed and her property name and area was clearly marked for search engines and it worked out perfectly for her.
But wait! What if you are on the large booking sites, and not getting direct bookings via your site?
Take a look at your online listings on VRBO, Airbnb etc. and make sure your accommodation’s name is really evident throughout the listing. You need to make it really easy for someone who sees your accommodation on a booking site to know what to search for in order to find your own website.
As Airbnb adds a whopping great charge to the guest it is a huge incentive for that guest to book directly with the owner – so make it easy for them to find you. We’ve known numerous owners who hadn’t added their accommodation name anywhere on their booking site listing, and then can’t understand why their website doesn’t get direct bookings!
So to recap,
- Make sure your accommodation name is plastered all over your online listings.
- Make sure your website is primed to come up for your accommodation name.
- Make sure your website looks good, trustworthy and showcases your accommodation as best it can.
- Make sure your website shows up to date availability, or better still – allows your site visitors to book online (see previous article : Make it possible for a guest to book online on your website (or at the very least, view up to date availability).