With a multitude of new travelers searching for vacation rentals, vacation rental managers and homeowners are joining forces for one day with a singular message to let travelers know that there are many advantages to bypassing third-party channels to book directly with management companies and homeowners.
On February 7, on this inaugural non-branded Guest Education Day, managers and owners are encouraged to:
- Ask employees to use the hashtag #bookdirect on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to bring attention to the many advantages of booking vacation rentals directly with the manager or homeowner instead of on third party channels.
- Send out an email campaign to their past and prospective guests with a message about the value of booking direct, booking local, and booking smart.
It only take a about 1,200 #bookdirect tweets and retweets to trend, which will draw attention from the media about the value of booking direct and educate consumers about the hundreds of dollars they are unnecessarily paying in fees to third party channels.
Industry influencers will be supplementing the message with national media press releases and story lines.
Here are some ideas for messaging:
- Book direct and save: Did you know that Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway and TripAdvisor add hundreds of dollars of fees to your booking total?
- When you book direct, you have direct contact with the manager or owner: When booking a vacation rental, peace of mind is important. Want to know if there is a grill, a kayak, 24/7 service, a grocery store close by? When you book direct, you can find out many of these important questions and more before you commit to booking.
- The best price isn’t on the OTAs: Unlike hotels, OTAs and aggregators (like Airbnb, Expedia, Booking.com, VRBO.com, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, and FlipKey) don’t have the best price for travelers. In fact, you can save hundreds by booking direct and booking local.
- Many of the best vacation rentals aren’t event listed on the major sites: Because of the cost of using the big sites, the best vacation homes with the highest demand cannot be found on the big websites. Along North Carolina’s beaches, alone, only 30 percent of the homes for rent can be found on the big websites. By limiting your search to the aggregating websites, you might be missing out on the best vacation home for your family or group.
- Mangers and owners have intimate knowledge about the destination: They can direct you the best rental for your needs and send you to the best activities, restaurants, and area service providers.
- If you have special needs, a manager or homeowner can help: Looking for help with your family’s special needs or help with pets? A manager or owner can work with you directly to help with any of your individual needs and give you these assurances before you commit to a booking.
- During non-peak travel times, managers and owners have special offers available: From events and activities to special rates to onsite services, with direct communication with managers and owners, you get insider knowledge and the best offers.
While the vacation rental industry often pits managers and owners against each other, the fact is that there are both management companies and owners who strive every single day to provide amazing vacation rental experiences for guests. OTAs and third party sites have made recent changes to their business models that have been detrimental to both guests and vacation rental providers (including managers, owners, and hosts).
Coming together as an industry in this small way on this one day provides the industry with a valuable cooperative effort to push back on OTA changes and provide guests and media with much needed education about the industry.
Join vacation rental providers on February 7th using the hashtag #bookdirect to help educate guests on the advantages of booking directly with you.
Comment below with any suggestions about messaging and ideas.