I was involved in vacation rental management before Owners Direct hit its zenith. I have also missed its apparent demise. I'm looking to get back into the industry.

I'm curious as to why OD is so lamented. What was it doing right that nobody is doing now?

Always one to eye up an opportunity I find myself wondering what it would take to bring a modern equivalent into being?

Your thoughts are?...



donald canarddonald canard
7 months ago

I have come across a cute little site for owners who specialize in the family market:


It seems to be a hybrid in that it offers an annual subscription (OD style) or the commission route. Their target market is guests travelling with small children. Could be one for the future.

last year

Being able to control my booking and making contact with guest to discuss requirements before they go on to book. OD only good at being bar stewards!! Same goes for HomeAway.....

last year

Control and honesty.

7 months ago

Some great options to book direct. But, takes time to build up to OTA level budgets and traffic. However, using someone like Tripz is a great alternative. Open communication, book direct and no fees. Flat subscription model of only $299.

donald canarddonald canard
last year

So the big boys think they have market sown up, all at the cost of the consumer and the property owner.

This big fat middleman situation has a clear solution: cut out the middleman.

"But they have customers!" I hear some lament.

Not so, I counter. This is my thinking out loud...tell me what you think.

If an upstart replacement were to take on HA (owner of OD) directly through trying to match their marketing methods and spend, then they'll be crushed.

A new, better way of getting to the customers is needed. Google is now muscling in on the action too. Relying on search engine rankings and PPC is futile. Big G will see to that.

So what's needed is a database of the customers. "Ah, but nobody has that," I hear voices mutter. Again, not so, I counter.


We/you have the database. Collectively all the property owners know who the customers are. The database is fragmented, but it's there.

Centralizing it will result in lawyers running amok.

But we can still use what we've got, we just got to be clever about it.

I remember a time when there were owners 'rings' - if your property was fully-booked you passed the guest contact onto a friendly competitor who took the booking and reciprocated when they could.

I think resurrecting that spirit can only result in good.

Am I making anyone go 'hmm...'?

Is that rebellion I'm sensing?

What do you think?

last year

It's as the name suggested, "Owner Direct". Once upon a time managers couldn't list and it was purely for guests to speak and book directly with the owner. Saves money and the "horse's mouth" so to speak.

The along came HomeAway and bought VRBO (US equivalent) and many others and allowed managers to flood the site(s) and charged higher listing fees for everybody. So the scene was set. Everybody is getting business, booking direct, has customer contact and although prices are up, it's still working.

Now add a pot of money and search domination, convert it all to a book online, remove the contact and take a commission. The big sites make more money, the sites change their focus and their customer is the guest, not the owner. Guests want cheap, quality, easy cancellation and are made promises that are hard to deliver from people who can't and don't want to obey the new hotel booking rules. Add oversupply, Airbnb issues in cities, more regulation and its all changing.

There are lots of startups looking to replicate what used to be. Very tough as the big money is following the historical data models and PPC is expensive.

A lot of enthusiasm to create something though.

last year

On https://www.spain-holiday.com we offer the old model so if you property is located in Spain then we can help. We've been around for 15 years and have plenty of traffic feeding 7500 paid listing adverts.

donald canarddonald canard
last year

A fantastic synopsis. Thank you!

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