How many of your bookings come through an OTA (an online travel agent like Airbnb or booking.com or VRBO)?
Perhaps you are only listed on one of them, or maybe you're listed on all of them.
In this episode, I talk about why you should get off the OTA rollercoaster and concentrate on your own Direct Booking Success.
Are you ready to build your business on your own ground with your own rules?
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Friday 11 November 2022 at 2pm GMT
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Ep#21 - Why now is the time to get off the Airbnb rollercoaster!
Jenn: Hello and thank you for joining me for another episode of the Direct Booking Success podcast. I'm your host, Jenn Boyles. I'm delighted to be here with you today. Let's start by me asking you a question. How many of your bookings come through an OTA, an online travel agent like Airbnb or booking.com or VRBO?
Perhaps you are only listed on one of them, or maybe you're listed on all. Be honest with me. How many? Is it all of them? Is it most of them? This episode is for you if you have answered all or most.
When most of your bookings come through an OTA, you put all your eggs in one basket. Have you heard this saying before? Think about it. If you were carrying a basket of eggs and then you dropped that basket, all of your eggs would be broken and gone. There goes your breakfast.
So think about it, if you're Airbnb listing or another platform gets shut down, poof, your bookings disappear as well. If you are managing someone else's property or you have a mortgage to pay the actual situation, no bookings in the calendar can be a real problem.
Think about explaining the situation to the property owners you manage and telling them that all your bookings were only coming in from one source, which has been shut down. I really wouldn't want to be part of that conversation. Now I'm not scaremongering. Okay. Listings get shut down all the time.
If you listen to episode one of the Direct Booking Success podcast, Previously, you will have heard me speak about a listing in New York City, which was shut down due to a guest complaining about seeing a gun in a property. It turns out it wasn't a gun. It was a self-defence, plastic gun-like- thing in the dog toy basket. But their listing was shut down, and all the bookings were cancelled overnight without any warning or discussion. This happened quite a few years ago, and they had to take Airbnb to court to get their business back up and running, and they did win and were reinstated, but it took months to get it all sorted, and that was without any income coming in.
Now, Heather Bayer told me a story in episode number 12 about a place she stayed in during a holiday in England this past summer; a guest complained to Airbnb about a privacy concern, and the host listening was shut down, and bookings were cancelled right away. The story is that the host knocked on the door one evening to ask them if they needed anything, and the guest took offence to this.
It took them two weeks to figure out what exactly had happened and reinstate their account. I’m telling you these stories not to scare you but to illustrate the point that you are not in control if you advertise with an OTA. You aren't in control of your own business. You can't operate with your terms and conditions.
You have to obey those of the OTA. You might not even agree with them, but you have no choice but to obey if you want to use their service. This is fine in small doses. OTAs are great for visibility, but you want to use them sparingly. If you’re going to build your own business, do it on your ground with your own rules.
Then now is the time to get off of that Airbnb rollercoaster. Pull the emergency cord and say, I'm getting off now. Don't get me wrong, there is no need to delete your listing, but you need to focus on your bookings and your direct bookings instead,
and there is no better time than right now, the present, today! I spoke to a new client the other day who told me that they had no clue what they were getting into when they bought their existing vacation rental business. They thought, How hard can this be? The OTAs will bring us bookings, and we'll do the changeovers.
Easy peasy. They soon found out that while the day-to-day running of the business was working all right, they needed to make more money to get anywhere. And they soon found out they had no control over who was booking with them. I see this so often, especially with property gurus who promise an easy life, buy their property investment course, and you can have a property empire in months, which will bring you a passive revenue stream.
You know, for anyone running a vacation rental, this is laughable. There is nothing passive about this industry. It takes work. If you want a good business, you can put systems and processes in place to help take the pressure off. You can hire staff to do much of the work, but it certainly isn't passive.
So when I started this episode of the question, I was also going to end it with a question. Are you ready to build your business on the ground with your own rules? If you were saying yes, that is the first step. The next step is starting. Just get going. Be sure to get everything perfect. Just start.
Start by telling everyone to book direct with you and not use the OTAs. Tell your guest to book direct when they want to come back. Set up social media profiles to tell those following you how great your area is and for them to visit and book directly with you.
Now, this episode has explained the reasons why now is the time to get off of the Airbnb rollercoaster. In the next two episodes, I'll share more about how to get started or, if you've already created one, how to give your direct bookings a shot of adrenaline. However, I have a special invitation if you are listening to this episode during the week it's been published.th of November,:
I hope to see you there.