If you are in the process of moving your short-term rental property from a platform like Airbnb or VRBO to your own direct booking website, you are not alone. Direct booking sites offer total independence to hosts, but they require more upfront work to deliver value. And once you have gotten past the initial hurdle of setting one up, you are still left with the daunting task of making your site really take off. Here is some inspiration from great booking sites and blogs on strategies to complement your own direct booking site and maximize profits.
1) Expanding your social media presence to Instagram
Understanding your key demographic is essential to increasing your bookings and reaching the people that are most likely to book a stay at your property. So then who is the group to target? While this may vary based on your property, it is important to know that most short-term rental visitors are millennials and younger. Studies show that they will account for 75% of all travelers by 2025, and it happens to be that as of January of this year close to 90% of Instagram users also fall into the same category. Clearly, investing in developing your Instagram presence can be a huge asset, especially with the link to your property right in the bio for your target audience to see. Plus, your guests can interact with you in a fun way before, during, and after their stay!
More than reaching your target demographic, an Instagram page gives you the opportunity to highlight all the best parts of your property and give it some character. As an example, look at this feed from @tyehaus, an amazing property in Steven’s Pass in Washington.
Just with these 9 pictures on the feed, the owner of the property conveys that the cabin has a unique look to it, is a luxury stay, and is in a beautiful area. And their reach? 126,000 followers! Every short-term rental property has its own personality, so make sure to convey your property’s through your posts.
2) Earn additional revenue as an affiliate for brands
Direct booking websites open a great channel for you to make extra money every month by partnering with brands. Affiliate offers give you exclusive discounts on products for your listing, along with some unique link or virtual catalog to track when someone buys that same product after staying with you or hearing about the product from your website. If they make a purchase, you get paid a percentage of the sale- fairly straight-forward. With a direct booking website, you have the unique opportunity to include your link or virtual catalog right into your website so guests can easily see where your products are from and get a special discount for having stayed with you. Here’s a great example from thewilsonhaus.com:
Even better, especially given current circumstances, you can drive purchases to people who have yet to stay with you but just appreciate the look of your property! This is where having an Instagram presence comes in and can drive even more sales for you. Get started with services like Glimpse to find exclusive discounts and earn additional revenue from your direct booking site.
3) Attach a blog to your page to bring more people to your site
Attaching a blog to your direct booking website is a great way to get more eyes on your property and increase the odds of someone booking with you. Blogs are extremely versatile tools because you have unlimited freedom in the topics you can discuss. This again ties back into reaching the type of audience that your property appeals to and creating relevant content for them. If you are trying to reach a young adult population, consider writing about tips for decorating your first home and sharing the story of how you decorated your property. Blog posts like these are great ways to tie in the other 2 strategies as you can share the blog posts on Instagram, and write about some of the products you have affiliate partnerships for to try to drive even more revenue for you.
All in all, blogs are a proven way to drive more traffic to your direct booking website. If you want to get deeper into understand content marketing and increasing views to your site, do some research on search engine optimization (SEO) and see if you can implement strategies to get your blog to show up first in people’s search results.
Hopefully these three strategies help you see a larger return as you make your switch to a direct booking site. It is always scary moving from a safe platform to being independent, but it is risks like these that offer the biggest potential payout. Comment below any other strategies you have tried and found to be successful, and share with anyone you know that is making the switch!