For the last decade, the short-term rental industry has experienced ups and downs due to emerging lockdowns, virtual work trends, rising expenditures, and fluctuations in worker churn.
Still, the industry market size is expected to grow annually at 11.1% from 2022 to 2030. So if STR businesses can seize the opportunity to attract repeat customers, they can capitalize on growth opportunities and profit.
To help you scale your short-term or vacation rental business, we will be exploring the importance of repeat and direct bookings and tackling how to get repeat bookings for your rental properties.
Why Do You Need Direct and Repeat Bookings for Your Short-Term Rentals?
Increasing occupancy and average daily rates are the main objectives for property managers, and most of them rely on OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) to reach their target.
These online booking agencies, or vacation rental websites, might be good at getting more eyes on your property listings, but the fees they charge for these services are a high cost for your business, and more eyes don’t always translate to more bookings.
Additionally, working with OTAs can restrict you in many ways. You have less control over the way your rental properties are represented, and because the OTA is designed to own contact with the customer, you have limited opportunities to increase customer loyalty and fewer chances to provide your guests with special offers.
All these factors have two major effects on the productivity and scalability of your business: rental management operations’ lack of personal touch and reduced customer-centricity.
So clearly, if you want to expand the profit of your rental business, provide a better guest experience, and increase the occupancy rate, you should focus more on getting direct bookings and retaining those guests as repeat customers.
Before moving to tips on winning direct and repeat bookings, let’s clear up an important point in achieving this strategy.
It is not about getting online booking agencies out of the way and taking over the workload yourself. What OTAs do, they do very well. It is more about balancing your use of OTAs with making sure you have a team of professionals executing customer operations, responding rapidly to booking inquiries, and offering customer-centric attention to their hospitality needs.