Book Direct Day is almost here! Now would be a great time to remind your guests about the advantages of booking directly. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) count for 65% of the global travel and tourism market in 2020. When a guest uses an OTA they are missing out on the booking experience and end up paying more than booking directly with the property manager. Today we will cover some things about booking direct versus using an OTA.
What is book direct Day?
Created by VRMIntel back in 2018 #BookDirect Day is an annual event on February 2nd that brings together many independently owned vacation rentals to spread the word about booking directly. Customers are missing out when they use an OTA either by the experience, paying more and other services provided by the property manager.
Top 3 Advantages of Booking Direct over booking with online travel agents
Hidden OTA fees
Cut out the middleman and save. OTAs charge for their service and can be up to 25% per reservation. Even if they do not charge the customer they take a percentage from the property manager.
Let’s take a look at a vacation rental property in Myrtle Beach and compare the prices.
On the left is the total amount from an OTA. While the right is the total from booking direct with South Wind on the Ocean. Using an OTA the customer is paying more than booking directly.
Missing opportunities for special offers and savings
While I was using an OTA I could not find anything about specials or discounts on their website. Using a google search I found some coupons for the OTA in the results, however that would require some effort & fine print reading to pursue.
While looking at the property manager’s website I was easily able to find current specials and ongoing discounts. I found a bunch from Avista Resort, which features discounts for military, public safety, medical professionals, and more! These discounts are much better than using coupons from various sites.
Less stress on resolving issues while on the property.
Let’s admit it, we have all been there. You are at the property and something is wrong. You talk with the service team on-site and end up having to jump through hoops because you’ve booked with an OTA. If you have booked directly any issues could be resolved almost immediately rather than waiting on the phone with a sub-par customer service representative. I remember a time many years ago when I booked with an OTA for a property that they claimed allowed pets. Upon arriving at the property I couldn’t enter with my pet because the property did not allow them. The property website said no pets allowed, however the OTA said they were.
See the issue? I prepaid in full with the OTA and I was on the phone for over 45 minutes trying to resolve the issue. In the end I was refunded, however it took a few days to hit my account. I ended up staying at another location ultimately having my vacation budget very tight during my stay.
How to help spread the word
Use the hashtag #BookDirect on social media in your posts and start an email campaign with a message about the value of booking directly. Provide your guests with tangible reasons to book direct #BookDirect day is a great opportunity to surface those benefits you might already have on offer, or to even set up a special rate just for direct bookers.