Although the Second Annual #BookDirect Guest Education Day is winding to a close, vacation rental managers, homeowners, and industry influencers are keeping the discussion going year-round. New resources pop up daily to help property managers build or maintain their OTA independence.
Among those resources are podcasts, many of which are becoming a popular primary source of continuing education for industry professionals. Here, VRM Intel rounded up several of these series and a selection of their episodes focused on driving direct bookings. All of them can be found on most podcast apps or directly on the websites listed in this article.
In the Unlocked podcast series, host Matt Landau of
Listen to the episode here.
Vacation Rental Ninjas
One of the newest podcasts on the block is Vacation Rental Ninjas produced by ICND. Co-hosted by Paul Hanak, director of marketing, and David Thompson, director of social media, the series covers marketing, SEO, social media, website development, and other topics for vacation rental managers in half-hour segments. Episode two focuses on strategies to drive more direct bookings. One of their top recommendations (of many) is to focus on booking engine interface and interaction.
“This is probably the best tool you have in your arsenal for booking direct,” Thompson wrote in his show notes for VRM Intel. “You want the booking process to be as streamlined and easy as possible for the consumer. If you want to check out how well your booking engine works, get on your phone or computer and try and book a property. Or have someone else do it. See what steps you have to complete and ask yourself if the consumer would understand these steps.”
Listen to the full episode here.
Sarah and T
Sarah Bradford and Tim Cafferty have discussed marketing and distribution in several of the half-hour episodes in their podcast Sarah and T, but one episode from season one is entirely dedicated to four OTA independence strategies. At the time the podcast was recorded, Cafferty, who owns Outer Banks Blue in NC’s Outer Banks and Sandbridge Blue in Virginia Beach, said his OTA use was virtually nonexistent, whereas Bradford, who owns Winter Park Lodging Company and Steamboat Lodging Company in Colorado, was getting around 30 to 40 percent of reservations from OTAs. Together they provide balanced viewpoints on why driving more direct bookings is important for managers at any level of OTA independence. In this episode, they go through four main strategies:
- Identify your independence or dependence by taking a close look at your data and non-OTA marketing strategy effectiveness
- Encourage OTA leads to book directly with you by leveraging the branding opportunities the OTAs allow
- Create a “book direct for lowest rate” campaign
- Don’t let guests return to the OTAs and create loyalty
Listen to the complete episode here.
Related Article: Drop the Mic: A look behind the scenes with VRM podcasters Sarah Bradford and Tim Cafferty
Vacation Rental Success
Many of Heather Bayer’s Vacation Rental Success podcast hour-long episodes cover marketing and distribution strategies to help drive direct reservations, including episode 271 released today. In this episode, she speaks with Annie Switzer of the Say No to VRBO Service Fee Facebook group and Joe Godar of ivacationonline.com vacation rental software and regional listings sites Emerald Coast by Owner (ECBYO.com) and DestinFlorida.com. Together they discuss ways to reduce reliance on OTAs, such as focusing on making the direct booking process as easy as possible.
Additionally, the previous episode 270 covers seven alternative ways to promote a vacation rental business. Though they cater more to small or new property managers and individual homeowners, Bayer tips and ideas can serve large professional managers well, such as how to start their own podcasts.
Listen to both episodes on VacationRentalFormula.com.