Double Your Bookings By Listing Them Online

Written by Jade Shojaee

So you’re not ready to get your business online? We get it. For those of us who didn’t grow up on our iPhones it can seem daunting, maybe even unnecessary, to spend time navigating the world of online travel channels, Google search rankings, hashtags, and the myriad of online advertising options made worse by tricky cost models and unpalatable analytics databases. Here’s the thing…  67% of travelers say it’s easier for them to book a trip online (Henry B. Tippie School of Management) and 50% of people aged between 35 and 44 prefer to reserve through OTAs (TNooz). 

Online Inventory Sells

In 2019, global online travel sales totaled $755.95 billion U.S dollars and experts predict this number will grow to $817.54B by 2020. Case in point?  Modern consumers prefer to shop for travel online. Online Travel Agencies like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Vrbo combine to account for 40-45% of the alternative  accommodation market, triggering private travel retailers and vacation rental managers to follow suit or face potential failure. 

According to the Cleveland Research Company, HomeAway’s offline gross bookings declined from $15B to $10B between  2015 and 2016 and plummeted to $8B by 2018. According to that same report, HomeAway no longer generates any revenue on offline bookings and their online bookings have grown by $5.5B between 2015 and 2018. 

What If Your Local Brand Is Getting Bookings Offline?

Remember The Thomas Cook Group? That was the multi billion dollar company that just recently closed its doors September 2019. According to an article in the New York Times How Could Travel Giant Thomas Cook Fail?, one of the biggest factors that contributed to the final closure of 178 year-old Britsh Travel Company was their lack of a digital presence. Despite running  600+ stores and serving over 19 million travelers, The Thomas Cook Group could not overcome the digital disruptions rocking the travel industry. 

Would-be travelers expect easily bookable,  online searchable listings and, as the vacation rental owner/manager, it’s up to you to make the shopping and booking process as accessible as possible to the modern consumer. 

The Modern Consumer: Millennials & Gen Xers

Millenials and GenXers currently make up the majority of the workforce, and they value travel more than their Baby Boomer successors did during their reign on the economy. According to data sourced by Turnkey, Millennials are predicted to spend $1.4 trillion on travel each year by 2020. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again:

Marketing to Millennials is all about engaging with them on their level.

They prefer content from those in their network and look at social media as a primary form of communication and inspiration. While Millennials trust their peers and celebrity influencers, they are much less trusting of big brands and traditional advertising. Being online shows modern consumers that you are on their level, and gives them a chance to recommend you to friends, family and followers  via their favorite means of communication: digital communication.

Generation X

Generation X values their independence and likes to do their research before making purchases with 68 percent making their buying decisions based on online reviews.

Generation X now holds the majority of business leadership positions and despite their small total size relative to the entire population, their purchasing power now accounts for 31% of the total U.S. income.

Get More Direct Bookings by Going Online

Getting your listings on the major OTAs is one thing but what about direct bookings? While RedAwning gets your listings on the largest global distribution network in the industry, we also know that there is nothing like a direct booking made by a repeat customer directly through you, and we are here to help you to get as many of those as you can muster. How? With your own fully responsive, bookable website designed by our  team of digital marketing experts with 20+ years of helping vacation rental managers and owners maximize their bookings. 

Why stop at  website when you can go the extra mile with a paid ad on Google? 

Last but not least, social media. Over 70% of the US population with internet access has an active social media account. Social media is mainstream and it’s no longer just about building relationships with friends and family. Social media has morphed into a space where users connect with brands and influencers, conduct research, share content, and even purchase products. For millenials, social media is the most effective way to break through the competition and build a relationship with your potential consumer that inspires them to choose your listing

Optimize Revenue Generation With An Online Approach

Understanding your Comp Set will get you everywhere when it comes to competitively pricing your vacation rentals during both peak and shoulder seasons. Would-be travelers know how to work the system and are always looking for the best deal, thanks to online price comparators and meta sites that serve up auction-style displays of vacation rentals all instantly bookable online. The fact is, your competitors are online and if you aren’t, you are missing out on countless bookings and the opportunity to dynamically price your listings. 

Don’t Know Where to Start?

That’s where RedAwning has you covered. Our team of digital marketing experts have been helping vacation rental owners and managers drive bookings (omnichannel and direct) for over 20 years and know what it takes to support at both the global AND the local level. Don’t think of going online as sacrificing your local brand. We’ll help you enhance your relationship with the local community while expanding your brand presence worldwide. Let the bookings pour in!