In an industry that’s constantly changing and becoming more and more competitive, it’s increasingly difficult for vacation rental professionals to get direct bookings. That’s why, in honor of #BookDirectDay, Team Bluetent is sharing insights designed to help your business get found online and show you how to utilize online travel agencies (OTAs) to your advantage.
Research has shown that when you list your properties on OTAs, they experience a 35% increase in direct bookings. How does using a third-party search engine of travel increase direct bookings on your website? This happens because a growing number of travelers are using OTAs to research and plan their vacations. After researching, price-conscious travelers will often choose to book direct. So when you list your properties on OTAs, your vacation rental brand is essentially placing an advertisement for your properties where the majority of travelers are searching. This is called the “billboard effect.”
Another way to use OTAs to your advantage and create lifelong guests is to implement an automated email campaign to capture real email addresses for your OTA bookers. After your OTA guests depart, send an email to their temporary OTA email address and ask them to provide their actual email address so they can keep in touch with your brand, receive your newsletter, and get alerts on special deals. “These OTA email addresses have no value once they expire, so converting any of them at all is a bonus,” says Bluetent Email Marketing Account Manager, Kevin Illick.
Now that you have real email addresses for your OTA bookers, you can create email sends that encourage them to #bookdirect for their next visit. Our email marketing “insiders” have found success by offering discount packages to guests who book direct the next time they visit. And bonus, these emails build brand loyalty.
Open Rate: 37.88%
Click Rate: 22%
Conversion rate: 0.86%
Open Rate: 26.61%
Click Rate: 13.95%
Conversion rate: 0.29%
These are two great examples of how to use email to connect and educate OTA travelers about the benefits of booking direct.
A solid SEO and web content strategy is another key to direct booking success. By creating quality content, you establish your brand as the local authority,and give travelers the confidence to click the “book now” button. High-quality content pages also draw Google’s attention, so not only will guests love your content, your brand will be rewarded in the search results, too.
Current, informational web pages – like the ones pictures above – will rank high in travelers’ search queries and reinforce your role as a trusted resource.
What better way to celebrate #BookDirectDay than to contact Team Bluetent and find out all the ways we can help increase your direct bookings and grow your vacation rental brand online. Connect with our team today!