Are you sick of the big listing sites squeezing more and more money out of your business?
Well, in this article I share 4 ways that you can hit back and increase your income, all with the help of Airbnb and HomeAway…
In the recent weeks, both Airbnb and HomeAway have announced that they are looking to do away with the fees that they charge travellers and instead levy those fees against YOU the owner.
You may not know it, but Airbnb fees can be as high as 25%…
They are now looking at doing away with that system and are testing nought percent guest fees with the owner/host picking up the difference.
Last week, the CEO of Expedia announced that the company are looking to follow suit.
No change there.
I wrote about that announcement and pretty much every owner that wrote back to me or commented on various threads said the same thing.
“Well, I’ll just put my prices up then”.
There is some degree of logic to this. The guest would, of course, be spending the same amount of money on their accommodation. Airbnb and the HomeAway group get to advertise “No guest fees” and everyone’s happy.
Or are they?
The thing is, we are in an over-saturated marketplace. Bookings are down.
Ask the average owner or manager.
More and more property owners are entering the marketplace.
Supply keeps increasing.
So what’s your best route of action?
There are well-established ways to succeed in an oversaturated market. It’s just that owners/hosts seem to have lost sight of them.
You don’t actually have to put your prices up.
In fact, you can make a lot more money if you don’t.
Raise your game, not your prices
1. Start with your brand
These commission changes bring as good an opportunity as you will get to reevaluate your online presence. Unless you are happy with giving away 20 to 30 percent of the price of your rental.
In the most part, owner owned vacation rental websites are, quite frankly, awful. In many cases, these sites are dated (as above) and the vast majority only serve the owners interests.
Nearly all VR websites are little more than a mirror of the same information that can be found in the same owners listing on HomeAway or Airbnb.
Many owners contact me asking
“How can I get more direct bookings”?
The simple answer is ‘
“By having a website that is better than your competition”.
Both the search engines and potential guests are looking for websites that shine.
Google is never going to be impressed by a 5 or 6-page website, especially if it contains the same information as a site with millions of pages (The HomeAway’s and Airbnb’s of this world).
This also applies to people searching for a vacation and a place to stay.
Time spent creating a quality website, packed with information, is the best stepping stone toward direct bookings. Here at Vacation Soup we are giving away best in class VR websites that truly stand out from the crowd. You get a completed website along with a video course that shows you how to change photos, text, rates, contact details, etc.
2. Differentiate Your Business
This is much easier than you may think. It’s not like we’re all selling cans of coke.
There may well be 100’s, even 1,000’s, of competing properties in your area, all vying for the same potential guests but none of us is selling the same thing.
This is literally a cottage industry and even if you have a condo in a block of 100 other condos, no two are the same. No two owners are the same.
Sell your unique qualities. Tell your story. Offer in-depth information. Offer extras. Use your website to communicate your unique value proposition and set yourself apart.
If you differentiate yourselves you can thrive in an oversaturated marketplace. If you don’t you will drown in competition.
3. Offer Greater Value To Your Guests
This is where it gets interesting..
Guests want to make sure that they are getting the best deal possible and Expedia, Booking and Airbnb are going out of their way to help us market our properties – Directly.
Currently, the owner commissions and so-called service fees range between 11 and 30 percent, so as an owner you can offer huge discounts to those who #bookdirect
You can, of course, raise your prices and still be much cheaper than the OTA’s.
The greedier they get the stronger your position.
All you have to do is advertise on these platforms (on a pay per booking basis), then block your calendar.
If you raise your base price by 5 or 10 percent and advertise that you offer the lowest prices on the web, you can offer discounts to repeat renters – And still be earning more than you are currently.
You can then throw in extras to further sweeten the deal.
Free trip insurance, a $50 voucher for your favourite restaurant, free admission to an attraction, a very well stocked welcome pack – The list goes on.
Not only do these incentives appeal to potential guests, but they can also strengthen customer retention and loyalty.
Add large banners, like the one above, to your website. Hammer home the price differential on your homepage, your rates page, your contact page and in the footer of all pages.
Everyone loves a deal and you have the best deal in town.
4. List on ‘No commission’ listing sites
By definition, no commission sites don’t need to put up walled gardens in order to stop ‘leakage’.
No commission sites encourage owner/guest communication (just like it used to be).
Let’s face it, HomeAway and Airbnb aren’t operating for the benefit of owners, hosts or guests.
They are operating for the benefit of their shareholders and investors.
Owners need to operate for their own benefit and that means advertising with companies that have the owners interest at heart.
Here at VacationSoup.com we are a no commission, no service fees platform. We link together owners websites and collate and syndicate those same owners blog posts in order to get each owner more exposure.
When your posts or property catch a potential guests eye, they then click through directly to your website so that you can communicate with the guest just like you used to.
There are many other ‘no commission’ listing sites too. Some local, some national and some worldwide.
Some are free to list while others charge nominal amounts per year.
Here are some that may well fit the bill