After more than a year of battling COVID-19, we’re all still trying to grasp the different ways in which the deadly virus has changed our lives. Indeed, an event of such enormity can only be measured in retrospect, with enough time and outlook to understand the repercussions properly.
Zooming in on the short-term and corporate housing industry, we know that the strings that held this market together threatened to snap under the weight of the pandemic. Fortunately, they didn’t. With travel bans gradually being lifted, and normalcy starting to return, things are finally looking up for short-term rental providers.
In this article, we’ll look at direct website booking trends in the short-term and corporate housing market. We’ll also explore the advantages of direct booking and how they’re superior to third-party listing sites. Let’s dive in.
Direct Booking Trends in the Short-Term Housing Market: What to Expect
For short-term rental (STR) owners and managers, the following booking trends can
act as a credible pointer of things to come.
Short-Term Rentals are the Biggest Winners of the Pandemic
According to the latest Skift Research, which analyzed the size of bookings made through the five largest OTA platforms between Jan and May, it’s clear that the short-term housing is on its path to becoming more mainstream.
Generally speaking, traveler preferences will continue to change throughout 2021. Most travelers will choose to stay in private short-term rentals instead of crowded hotels and resorts.
In light of this realization, STR owners should commit to owning direct booking websites. It’s only through this technology that they’ll be able to handle the large volume of bookings coming their way in 2021 and beyond.
Direct Booking Expected to Exceed Pre-Pandemic Levels
Going by the “Global Online Accommodation Booking Market 2021” report, property owners like yourself should buckle up and be ready for more direct website bookings between July and September.
Summer travel is bound to explode since most people will be itching for a taste of the outside world (we have vaccines to thank for that). Travelers and holidaymakers will hit the road in their numbers. In a nutshell, people will be looking for a quick and convenient way to make bookings for short-term rentals, and online reservations will be the first thing they think of.
Customers are Yearning for Next-Level Booking Solutions
Short-term rental customers are steering away from booking solutions that do the bare minimum, the Global Online Accommodation Booking Market Report 2021 has noted. They want something extra. They want to book on the go, review rental amenities at the comfort of their homes, and safely make payments. They are craving ultimate convenience.
Advantages of Direct Booking for Short-Term Rentals
We admit it.
We’re dead-on guilty of mentioning direct website booking several times in this blog, so we’ll go right ahead and explain why it’s so important:
Maximize Your Revenue Streams
One of the best and most direct ways to rake in more revenue is to make sure the money customers are spending is coming directly to you. So just cut ties with the OTAs already!
With direct website bookings, you stand to recapture 15-25% of every dollar spent on an OTA reservation. That’s an opportunity to reinvest each of those bucks into your business and build your online credibility.
Enjoy Repeat Booking
Once you tweak your website to include direct booking technology, you’ll never have to repay an OTA for a repeat guest ever again. The only other thing you need to do is make sure it’s mobile-friendly. Then you can sit back and watch as customers troop back to your site to make more future bookings.
Take Control of Your Marketing
Third-party channels can restrict the length of the property’s description or the number of pictures you can display.
However, with a direct booking website, you have the freedom and space to focus on every aspect of your short-term rental. This allows interested guests to get an in-depth look at your property and learn more than they would on a traditional listing site.
Direct Booking vs. Third-Party Listing Sites: What Does the Future Hold?
The future of direct booking for STR is looking bright and promising. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for third-party listing sites. We’ll tell you why.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, STR owners and managers that depend on OTAs like Vrbo and Airbnb have been impacted by their cancellation policies.
According to a report by CNBC, STR owners started to diversify their booking channels as early as May 2020. As we speak, most of them have already converted their websites to include direct booking capability.
The pandemic has, without doubt, accelerated the adoption of online reservation software. With all this evidence, it’s safe to say that direct booking is the future of STR.
One more thing…
It’s all good and well advertising your STR property on listing sites to generate more inquiries and reach big audiences, but when you have returning guests who want to book direct, or you’re just sick of paying (costly) fees—what you do? Clearly, the benefits of direct bookings outweigh those of third-party listings. It’s not even a debate.
Transforming a Website into an Online Reservation Platform: A Widget is All You Need!
Now that you’ve read about all the clear-cut benefits of direct booking, you’re asking: “How do I convert my website into a direct booking platform?”
The good thing is, you don’t have to dump your current website for a new one. You only need a reservation widget.
Think of a reservation widget as a live interactive tool on your website that can be added with a single line of code—just one. And true to its name, a reservation widget allows you to receive bookings without the help of OTAs.
Zenya’s reservation management system provides one such widget.
Once you install this widget to your website, you can finally say goodbye to lost bookings (and sales) and hello to:
More money savings (for every reservation made)
Return customer reservations
Improved efficiencies across the entire booking ecosystem
High levels of guest engagement (since your staff will have less on their plates)
More revenue and sales
Does this widget sound like something you might be interested in?
If yes, feel free to request a demo today, and our Zenya team will be on hand to guide you through the nitty-gritty. We can’t wait to hear from you!