Why You Should Book Direct (#BookDirect). Hint…Cheaper And More Rewarding Vacation…Every Time!!
This was the day a movement was started that we and many others in the vacation rental space hope takes hold….especially when at the end of it the ultimate winner is you.
Guest Education Day and its accompanying hashtag #BookDirect on Twitter and #BookDirect on Instagram was started with the sole aim of making people aware that by bypassing all the Online Travel Agencies (O.T.A’s) and booking directly with the property themselves they can save possibly hundreds of dollars…..and at the same time have a better vacation.
Most people would be unaware that when they contact a property, via let’s say Airbnb or TripAdvisor, they are not truly dealing with them directly.
When a potential guest contacts us via an O.T.A. we have to be constantly on guard with what we say as any references of where to find information on the area we have our vacation rental or anything on our website will have our communication blocked and worse still can end up with us getting banned from the site.
All because we want to share the in-depth information we have to help you make the most of your stay!!
For example, we cannot send you out our “Guest Welcome Book” which contains over 50 pages of not only all things about Villa 353 Degrees North but also serves as a pretty decent guide to Nusa Lembongan including write-ups and reviews on restaurants, bars, things to do, various beaches, surf breaks and surf schools, diving companies and where to go diving, plus informative pieces on seaweed farming and links to blog pieces on a manner of all sorts.
Surely something that is for your benefit, which is why we have put so much effort into it, should be made readily available to you so you can come to your best decision when choosing where to go.
To add to this lesser experience of booking through an O.T.A. you get charged “Service Fees” which can amount to several hundred dollars more than if you #BookDirect with us.
Airbnb and TripAdvisor typically charge anywhere between 5% to 16% over and above the rate we charge, plus they take a fee from us as well amounting to nearly a 20% difference going into their hands.
If you would like a full list of pretty much all the O.T.A’s and their fees you can have a look HERE.
Furthermore only when you #BookDirect do you get our no obligation advice to all your questions or concerns before committing to stay and it’s through our in-depth local knowledge that we can then give you the best experience possible by catering to your needs.
One of the arguments the O.T.A’s like to put forth is only they can be trusted to transact your money and only through their payment system, which is another lark to make more money.
So on one hand they imply we can’t be trusted with your money, but on the other hand that we can be trusted to be responsible enough, because they’ve never visited, to make sure the villa is clean, the linen is washed, the bathrooms all work, the pool is crystal clear, the gardens are neat and tidy, we’ve paid our utility bills and the photos we supplied are as the property displays in real life!!
As a matter of fact, if there was a discrepancy, mis-selling or argument with money, as pretty much everyone pays by credit card, which I advise you do to do, your bank is your insurance policy and they will step in and mediate any problems for you.
The best advice we can give you, and I definitely encourage you to, is to please check TripAdvisor and Booking.com first for a place to stay and to look at the reviews. (A word of warning is that TripAdvisor reviews aren’t always 100% as there is no complete check that the guest has stayed whereas on Booking.com only guests who have stayed can leave reviews).
After reading the reviews then simply put that property into your search engine and contact them directly.
Some O.T.A. listing sites won’t have the property name but you can get around this by right-clicking on the picture of the property and searching Google. This in effect is Google search, but by image, which will then show all the places that picture is featured. One of the places will be the owner who has it on their own website.
Another way is to copy some of the description from the property in question and put that in Google search. Most of the times the property has taken the description from their own site and placed it in the listing they have on the O.T.A.
This blog piece though mainly about the benefits to you if you #BookDirect, it’s also about wanting to make it an even playing field for all vacation rentals including hotels to compete.
Between Priceline (Booking.com, Priceline.com, Agoda.com, Kayak.com, Cheapflights, Rentalcars.com, Momondo) and Expedia ( which operates about 200 travel booking websites in about 75 countries including Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com, Trivago, Venere.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, HomeAway, Stayz and Wotif.com) their percentage of the O.T.A. market is approaching 95% according to a 2017 Harvard Business School report.
With that amount of influence, there is no chance to compete fairly when trying to advertise or rank in Google search, instead, we have to enter into agreements that ultimately make travel for you more expensive.
So please, next time you are looking to spend your hard earned cash on a vacation why don’t you #BookDirect knowing you got the best price possible and most importantly leaving you more money to enjoy yourself while on holiday.