All You Need for Your Vacation Rental Direct Booking Growth—Hospitable Conference Compilation—Day 1


By The Hospitable Team

The highly anticipated Hospitable Online Conference excited all participants about the rapid progress of new tools and practices in the short-term rental (STR) industry. The first day unveiled the secrets of Direct Booking success

We kicked off with four compelling panels that brought together a dynamic array of industry experts, seasoned hosts, and innovative thinkers, all focused on one goal: maximizing direct bookings for short-term rental hosts. Each panel was designed to provide actionable insights and strategies tailored to help you bypass traditional booking channels and connect directly with guests. 

Did you miss the conference? Hospitable has got you covered 👇

Dive into the highlights below and transform your approach to managing and promoting your Direct Booking rentals — or sign in here to watch the full recordings of our pro panels! 

Dominating with Direct Bookings

Andrew Schorr, Director of Product at Hospitable

Andrew Schorr - quote

Andrew dove deep into the benefits and strategies behind establishing a direct booking system. Andrew emphasized the shift many experienced during the pandemic — the necessity of owning the relationship with guests to build a sustainable and diversified business.

“Once you’re your own boss, you start to take on an identity, you start to have a voice… that’s you building your brand,” noted Andrew.

He explained the concept of “take rates” and how they affect profits, noting, “If we could eliminate all of those services, where would we be?” To answer this, Andrew revealed that reducing dependency on OTAs could save a host approximately 15% per booking, which translates into thousands of dollars annually.

To help those not yet listing directly, Andrew introduced Hospitable’s unique approach to direct bookings, which includes advanced features and tools and does not entirely dismiss the use of OTAs. Instead, it helps create a balanced strategy that leverages your listings’ strengths while cultivating an independent brand. 

Are you curious to hear more from Andrew? Watch the full recording here

Driving Direct Bookings with Email Marketing

Arthur Colker of StayFI and Mark Simpson of Boostly

Arthur Colker and Mark Simpson - quote

Arthur started the discussion with practical tips on collecting email addresses through a Wi-Fi login portal, which is crucial for any successful email marketing strategy, capturing emails from 80 to 90% of adult guests

Mark brought his expertise on website strategies, discussing how to capture emails through pop-ups and dedicated sign-up areas effectively. He stressed the importance of a ‘give-get’ approach, where guests receive something valuable in return for their email, such as exclusive tips or discount codes. 

Both experts underscored the importance of creating engaging and valuable content that encourages guest interaction and return bookings. They shared techniques like immediate post-Wi-Fi sign-in messages offering discounts for future bookings and quarterly newsletters to keep your property top-of-mind. 

Mark and Arthur highlighted the power of direct communication through emails, which reduces noise from competing offers on OTAs and social media platforms. They suggest, “Even if you’ve just got one property and 10 emails, you can fine-tune your messages and have real conversations with potential guests.”

Are you curious to hear more from Arthur and Mark? Watch the full recording here

Growing with Direct: Tips from Hospitable Hosts

Kevin Ramirez with Jessie Fischer, Marilynn Taylor, and Matthew Krueger

Kevin Ramirez - Jessie Fischer - Marilynn Taylor - Matthew Krueger - quote

In this engaging panel, seasoned Hospitable hosts shared invaluable strategies for leveraging direct bookings to enhance control over their vacation rental businesses.

Marilynn emphasized the importance of using all available platforms, including OTAs and direct booking websites, to maximize visibility and control. She noted, “I am not the advocate that’s like, ‘Get off of Airbnb!’ I actually help people get on the Airbnb platform, but Airbnb also has problems.” She encourages maintaining a presence on multiple platforms to ensure stability.

Matthew discussed the significance of building a personal brand beyond the OTA platforms to mitigate risks like sudden de-platforming. He shared, “For me, it’s about building my own brand… even through OTAs. You’ll see our branding on mugs and blankets. So when you enter the property, you know you’re staying at one of our houses.” This approach helps in nurturing guest loyalty and encouraging direct rebookings.

Jessie highlighted the practical benefits of direct bookings, such as lower fees and greater customization opportunities. But it is not only you who benefits — your guest satisfaction rates also go up… as well as their savings. “Using direct is extremely helpful for the second, third, and fourth-time guest,” Jessie pointed out. 

Are you curious to hear more from our expert hosts? Watch the full recording here

Harnessing the Power of Community for Direct Booking Growth

Robert Geller and Thijs Aaftink from Houfy

Robert Geller and Thijs Aaftink - quote

Robert shared how the “Say Yes to Houfy” Facebook group, which started as a networking hub for hosts, has grown into a vibrant community of over 10,000 members. This group not only fosters collaboration among hosts but also influences the development of Houfy’s platform, demonstrating the significant impact of community engagement on business growth.

Drawing on this example, Thijs emphasized the similar importance of collective efforts in competing against large OTAs. He pointed out, “Individually, we can’t outspend the OTAs… but together, we can create a powerful and meaningful voice.” This collective strength enables smaller players to amplify their reach and influence within the vacation rental market.

The experts shared more real-world success stories to illustrate the effectiveness of community-driven strategies. For instance, a host named Melanie leveraged community resources to achieve 60% of her bookings directly, a testament to the potential of community support in enhancing business outcomes.

Are you curious to hear more from Robert and Thijs? Watch the full recording here

More expert tips on direct booking and AI 

Ready to dive deeper? The second day of the conference focused on AI revolutionizing your rental strategy. Learn from top industry experts how artificial intelligence can streamline operations, personalize guest experiences, and drive more direct bookings — stay tuned for the second-day compilation blog

If you missed any part of our first Hospitable Conference or just want to revisit these rich discussions, full recordings are available here

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