February 7 is the inaugural non-branded Guest Education Day not only nationwide but internationally.
Things have changed so drastically since that fateful day in February 2016 when suddenly that proverbial rug was pulled out from under us UNANNOUNCED! A day that will live in infamy for any of us that were there.
This is absolutely wonderful advice and travelers need to be educated that booking direct will get them a superior experience and cost far less.
The following has been lifted from VRMintel. It's so wonderful to see February 7 and #bookdirect really taking off!
"**Book direct and save: Did you know that Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway and TripAdvisor add hundreds of dollars of fees to your booking total?
**When you book direct, you have direct contact with the manager or owner: When booking a vacation rental, peace of mind is important. Want to know if there is a grill, a kayak, 24/7 service, a grocery store close by? When you book direct, you can find out many of these important questions and more before you commit to booking.
**The best price isn’t on the OTAs: Unlike hotels, OTAs and aggregators (like Airbnb, Expedia, Booking.com, VRBO.com, HomeAway, TripAdvisor, and FlipKey) don’t have the best price for travelers. In fact, you can save hundreds by booking direct and booking local.
**Many of the best vacation rentals aren’t event listed on the major sites: Because of the cost of using the big sites, the best vacation homes with the highest demand cannot be found on the big websites. Along North Carolina’s beaches, alone, only 30 percent of the homes for rent can be found on the big websites. By limiting your search to the aggregating websites, you might be missing out on the best vacation home for your family or group.
**Mangers and owners have intimate knowledge about the destination: They can direct you the best rental for your needs and send you to the best activities, restaurants, and area service providers.
**If you have special needs, a manager or homeowner can help: Looking for help with your family’s special needs or help with pets? A manager or owner can work with you directly to help with any of your individual needs and give you these assurances before you commit to a booking.
**During non-peak travel times, managers and owners have special offers available: From events and activities to special rates to onsite services, with direct communication with managers and owners, you get insider knowledge and the best offers.
While the vacation rental industry often pits managers and owners against each other, the fact is that there are both management companies and owners who strive every single day to provide amazing vacation rental experiences for guests. OTAs and third party sites have made recent changes to their business models that have been detrimental to both guests and vacation rental providers (including managers, owners, and hosts).
Coming together as an industry in this small way on this one day provides the industry with a valuable cooperative effort to push back on OTA changes and provide guests and media with much needed education about the industry.
Join vacation rental providers on February 7th using the hashtag #bookdirect to help educate guests on the advantages of booking directly with you."
( from: http://www.vrmintel.com/bookdirect-guest-education-day-february-7-let-guests-know-pays-book-direct-book-smart-book-local/)
February 8: A quick update: The combined efforts of those of us working to promote our inaugural Guest Education day, got the hashtag #bookdirect trending and hit 400,000 (!!!) unique views of the hashtag and was still climbing. Applause! Applause!
It's been too long since I've done a blog post and I've learned that they truly matter! It's going to be a very different and anxious year as we forge ahead without VRBO or HomeAway platform. Our Glenn House VR is still listed there but there's really no point at all. We will get so incredibly lucky to get bookings from there now as they've buried us. We're still on the subscription plan so one thing that means is it doesn't generate them any money to point people to us -- they've already got all the money they're going to get. They want to point travelers to listings with Book It Now that run thru their payment system so they can have their added "Service Fee". There's more to it than that as well. I stumbled on a marvelous video one of the members of a VR Owners facebook group put up, and it's astonishing just how they work so that if you're not likely to produce income for them, you almost become unfindable. Most of us on there don't realize that because we know we're searching for our own place so we know to zoom in on the map or fill in a search critera but these are things that will evade most travelers and we never even appear before them. Then they try to pull the wool over our eyes by trying to tell us that their Counter actually works and we get all these hits! They think we're so stupid! I really wish somebody would call them on it but how and what's the point? February 7 is our first "Book Direct" day! When I say "our" , I mean the collection of VR owners who are trying desperately to get away from VRBO, HomeAway and yes, even AirBnB (I don't have a beef with them as I never liked their platform so I was never listed there). Anyway, we're listing on other "Fee Free" sites and websites are going up like mad. I might blog here but I'm certainly planning on making posts on facebook. We've got to educate the traveler!
Fran -- Operator and Co-Owner of Glenn House Vacation Rental in Tucson, AZ