How to Drive Direct Bookings & How OTA Data Visibility Can Help

Zeevou gift us some top tips on driving more direct bookings, and how OTA performance data provides a useful benchmark for your direct booking strategy.

Getting more direct bookings is any vacation rental manager’s dream, but here comes the big barrier that makes the whole thing look like an unreachable goal: the dominance of OTAs. After all, who’s able to compete with giants like Airbnb, Vrbo and Booking.com?

Well, in this blog post you’ll be provided with some data that’ll help you gain a much more optimistic perspective, yet not an unrealistic one because every claim is supported by data. 

The proportion of direct bookings is set to increase

More direct bookings means higher margins on your booking revenue, and also frees you from the shackles of OTA policies which may not be working for you. Despite the afore-mentioned big barrier, there seems to be some direct booking momentum.

Of course all the OTAs do not have the same share of bookings; different locations and property types experience different levels of demand across OTAs. However, taking a look at the average percentage of the total bookings made per each channel can clarify the big picture. 

The above chart depicts the percentage of EU property manager bookings made per channel in 2019, and those expected in 2020. As you can see, the big two giants of the industry, Airbnb and Booking.com were expected to experience a decline while direct bookings have increased by 3%. 

Now let’s take a look at the data in the US.

Even more so in the US, though VRBO still has a great share of short-term rental bookings, direct bookings are gaining momentum.

Besides the above stats,  Google search trends depicts that direct booking has driven more traffic in comparison with searches for OTAs and other queries. This can prove the increase of awareness between travellers about direct booking.

The Demand for Travel Will Significantly Increase in 2021

Travel has been an inseparable part of life for many people around the world. But since the first spread of COVID-19 we have all been locked in our houses to varying degrees, not allowed to go a few miles away even for a couple of days in many cases. 

Therefore, now, more than any other time in at least contemporary history, people are thirsting for travel.

Moreover, some recent studies including a report by Hometogo reveal that the demand for travel will significantly increase in 2021.

According to this study, “An overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that they plan to travel in 2021.”

What Marketing Steps Do These Statistics Posit? 

As a vacation rental manager, you might have gone through difficulties during the last year and now it is the time for your business to capitalize as new opportunities emerge.  

An important step is to focus on ways to get more direct bookings. With more domestic travel, longer stays and a thirst for flexible cancellation with professional guarantees, direct booking channels are in a position to captalize. There are many companies out there that help vacation rental managers to generate more direct bookings:

Transparent 

Transparent data helps property managers adopt more advanced revenue management strategies to maximise profit ahead of their market and facilitate growth.  This unrivalled visibility of OTA activity in your area will position you to benchmark effectively and optimize your direct bookings.     

Different Google Tools 

Fortunately, Google is also helping property managers to increase their online visibility by providing them with different tools, Google My Business, Free Hotel Booking links and  Google Hotel Ads, to name a few. All these tools enable you to drive more direct bookings and maximise your profit margins.

 Zeevou: The Direct Bookings Revolution!

Zeevou is a Property Management System and Channel Manager that automates almost all areas of your short term rental business, optimises processes, and minimises human error.

As Zeevou’s main goal is more automation and enabling property managers to attract more direct bookings, they offer many tools that pave the way for anyone in the industry, including offering an SEO-friendly direct booking website, a commission-free OTA called Zeevou Direct, automated booking processing and so on. 

You can learn more about their many other features here or simply ask for a FREE demo

Word of Wisdom on Direct Bookings

The hospitality industry is going to get its place back. So, get ready to stay ahead of OTAs and not only make up the losses you might have experienced but gain more profit and contribute to tourism.