So we all know that as property managers we rely heavily on the major listings site. The problem is they know this too. With that a lot of change has occurred across these platforms with some people being able to capitalize on the changes and other owners suffering major downturn in bookings and inquiries.
So here are some facts:
Consumers turn to Google for everything, problem is 67.6% of all traffic on a given search goes to the top 5 organic search results, and another 5.59% to the remaining on the first page. That leave all other related items competing for that bottom roughly 27%. Why is this important? Well straight from the horses mouth at TripAdvisor that only about 10% of their listing receive as much as 75% of their traffic, while the other 90% of listings are fighting for that bottom 25% of traffic. These kind of stats remain true across the main 2 providers Expedia (HomeAway, VRBO, VacationRentals.com) and AirBnb. TripAdvisor although a top provider is not seen as competition from Expedia as the are partners and to Airbnb they tend to see them more for their origins in reviews.
The problem we are all facing to get in to the top percentile with these providers is to basically pick one and become exclusive which is exactly what they want. Then you must play by their rules and succumb to their changes, demands and rate hikes or fear of losing total control of your clients and business.
What I am doing to escape from this and find success and bookings:
- Sync to a booking software Manually - Do not use BookingPal or other distribution software or built in integration's in your property management software as that opens you to a 1-3% cut of your business. Who wants to pay that if you can avoid by just taking some time and doing it once manually with your providers. Syncing gets you credit for all off channel bookings and boosts your listing rating
- Push reviews on all listing sites your property is listed. The goal is 21 or more. Statistics show this is the point where travelers credit your property as legitimate and you have a 3x better chance of booking
- Get professional photos and make sure you have at least 20 or more images as good photos and a good quantity of them will increase your chances of booking 6x.
- Diversify and try up and coming sites: One I am seeing more and more of and seems to be gaining ground is https://www.tripz.com/ They have relatively low costs to sign up and no games. They let me link out to my site and give me direct contact with my guest without logging in or playing the HomeAway best match games. inquiries have been slow but its seems to be picking up and the travelers I do get are highly interested. Sites like Tripz.com : link will help disrupt the market a bit and give us homeowner and managers more options.
- Build up your own webpage. Spend some time on SEO to get localize searches to provide results. As well as by search terms on an exact match for things that people search the most in your area when looking for a home. Broad match terms will spend your hard earned marketing dollars with no results
- Get a call tracking system and run click to call campaigns. More than half of your guest are going to search for travel on their mobile device. Run campaigns to get them to call. Many campaigns of this nature can be ran only paying for calls.
- Finally - pay attention to social media. It may not show direct conversions but I can assure you it helps influence travelers to book with you! Stay active and put out interesting images and content to inform your potential guest why to book with you.
Hope this helps others out there and would love feedback