Are you ready for Direct Bookings in your #shorttermrental #holidaylet #airbnbbusiness #holidayrental business?
Imagine what getting started with vacation rental direct booking can do for your business – whether you think of your business as a vacation rental, holiday let, short term rental or serviced accommodation, direct bookings with the right booking engine supporting you to streamline the guest experience can be business life-changing.
When you shift your focus away from the listing sites, accept that they aren’t on your side and that they will continue to move the goalposts on a whim (algorithm changes, going against your own business policies, rising commissions, changes in T&C’s) all affecting your business and leaving you out of control, and start implementing Direct Booking Strategies consistently you’ll have an entirely different outlook on how the future of your business could look.
Imagine working from a place of:
- Peace of mind
- Feeling & being in control
- Looking ahead & seeing a full calendar
- Taking informed proactive action ahead of time to fill any calendar gaps
- Operating from a place of knowledge, no more overwhelm or not knowing where to start
- Seeing & enjoying the results of your committed action
Well, you have the opportunity to do just that, and a great place to start is with what you already have!
Direct Booking 101 – a Quick Start Guide to Getting Going with What You Already Have!
It’s so easily overlooked that everyone that has welcomed guests to stay has already created their own email list – a list of email addresses of past guests that have already stayed, and in many cases a list of email addresses of people that have enquired via your direct booking website but not yet booked for whatever reason.
So, get started easily with what you already have and invite your past guests, and past enquirers back to stay once more. Ask them for a referral and offer them a discount code towards their next stay. It really is that simple – with a few things in place, a bit of organisation and a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone!
We are short term rental hosts & owners, we’re professionals, we’ve been part of this fast moving industry and have gone through numerous changes before 2020 was even mentioned – so we can definitely grasp hold of different tech, new ways of thinking and knowing that we can control our own businesses.
So Let’s Do This!
There’s a few simple steps to get this done and getting started with direct bookings – I’ll share what you need in just a moment :
BUT FIRST – a few things you’ll need in place to pay attention to:
A lovely smooth booking process from the guest perspective is absolutely imperative – check the process is smooth, easy and all their questions are answered in the process. Test it yourself, make sure it’s easy – here’s a few pointers
1. Clear Instructions on How to #BookDirect with You:
Your website should be super clear on what to do right now – whether you have built a website using WordPress or have gone for a vacation rental website builder as part of your supporting software.
2. Live, Up-to-date Calendar:
People like to know now if their dates are available and will leave quickly if they can’t answer this question. A Booking engine and a top-notch channel manager can deal with this for you and take the worry of double bookings and the need to respond to enquiries away.
3. Online Payment Collection:
Can they easily confirm their dates and make a deposit/full payment?
4. Automatic Confirmation and Email Follow up:
Again a quality, carefully chosen booking engine and supporting software can handle many of the repetitive processes for you, freeing up time and mental bandwidth for you.
5. Extra Info About You:
Guests should be able to get in touch should they need to – phone, email, about us, with a focus on trust.
It doesn’t matter how much you focus on email marketing, email list building, networking and sharing your place, if the booking process is clunky, slow, not obvious or doesn’t answer their questions quickly, you’ll lose them!
So Back to Reinviting Past Guests – Here’s What You’ll Need
1. Join an email marketing software – e.g. Mailchimp, MailerLite, etc.
2. Create a discount code inside your booking software | channel manager.
3. Upload your existing email list to your email marketing software – separate lists as you’ll be speaking to them slightly differently – e.g. past guests enquired but didn’t book, joined your email list from website opt-in.
4. Email them and thank them for coming to stay in the past, invite them to come and stay again, offer them the discount code and ask for a referral.
At the root it truly is this simple – yes there will be learning curves and new tech and planning, but keeping it simple is the key to staying out of overwhelming and taking imperfect, but forward-focused action that will become informed proactive action to building your own Direct Bookings Generator.
I walked through this in more detail inside the Fully Booked Bootcamp – watch out for the next Bootcamp opening its doors on 5th April 2021 – join and learn how to create your Direct Bookings Generator!
Where will you be in 12 months time if you don’t make any changes to your current marketing plan, if you continue to rely solely on the listing sites | OTA’s and allow them to continue to take huge commissions from your bottom line, reach into your business and change your own Terms and Conditions and keep you guessing how to be ‘found’ in their algorithm?
You may think you’ll be in the same place, but in actuality, you’ll have moved backwards as the proactive short term rental providers take action, move forwards, stand out from the crowd and take control of the future of their short term rental businesses.
There has never been a more important time to take these steps and protect the future of your short term rental business.
If you want to ask me any questions or let me know how you’re getting on implementing, I’d love to connect with you – find me on the podcast, on Facebook at www.hlspodcast.com/FB and look out for The Short Stay Virtual Summit, which is in its second year and will take place in May 2021.
Let’s do This!!