Many travelers prefer to stay in the comfort of a vacation rental over that of a hotel. The process of booking a vacation rental has always included some sort of direct interaction. This direct interaction is important to better understand the layout of the home and neighborhood, as well as getting to know exactly who you are renting from. When you book a hotel you always know if it’s a Hilton property vs Hyatt but that is not the case when booking a vacation home.
It’s become increasingly more difficult to understand exactly who you are renting from using the channels that lead the industry. Why is that when an estimated 80% bookings follow some sort of phone interaction? Well the issue lies in the business models employed by these sites which focus on earning a commission on each booking. In order to protect their commission, they have to control the conversation which means no conversations between guests and the provider of the rental that they can’t moderate. That means no direct calls! Again, why would they do this if the data shows the importance of a call in the booking process?
What Does it All Mean?
It all boils down to money. If you travelers book direct with the source they pay less and the providers of the rental make more while the site makes nothing. This is bad for business for them so they control all aspects of the conversation and booking process including stripping away the identity of the provider.
The travelers that are long time users of vacation rentals are smart about the process and are finding their way around the aggressive monitoring of conversations and added fees they are being forced to pay. One such guest gets creative in the way of sharing direct contact info just so they can speak with the actual provider directly.
Meanwhile other travelers are stuck in the process unaware why they can’t get a call back. Rest assured its not because the provider is providing a terrible guest experience. No, in fact it’s much worse, the source they entrusted to drive travelers to book their home is preventing them from speaking directly and openly. This poor guest is at whit’s end that he can’t get a call back not realizing his contact info is being strategically blocked by the site he thinks is design to help him.
Owners are doing their best to find ways to still reach the travelers direct. They are willing to ensure these sites get their commission but they know how important that phone call is. However, they are being met with intimidation and even full account removals if they don’t comply to their no contact rule or share things that would show a path to the traveler to potentially book direct and save. You can see here just one of the many account owners met with this fate for simply sharing contact info.
What Should We Do?
So, what is the solution? Travelers are missing the opportunity to truly know who they are renting from and the ability to save on middle man fees. Owners are missing opportunities to book their home and create a better guest experience that would have the traveler come back and stay year after year.
Truth is that there are sites out there that keep these lines of communication open and promote direct bookings. More importantly however, is the providers of vacation rentals need to come together and move away from listings their homes on commission based sites. These commission based sites will only increase the communication and price gap between the travelers and the providers.
Travelers need to be better educated when booking a rental as to who is providing the home and ultimately responsible for their travel experience. These sites just are there for the transaction everything else is in the hands of the provider yet open communication is not provided till the transaction is complete. Travelers need open communication with the provider and be able to look into other traveler’s perspective on that provider above and beyond just the home they are looking to secure.
What Tripz is Doing To Solve The Issue
That is exactly the approach Tripz is taking in all this. Educating travelers to the fact direct bookings saves them money and allows them to really get to know the provider before making the purchase decision. Owners get to advertise in an environment that allows them to showcase their brand in addition to their properties.
Keeping the line of communication ensures guests can reach the providers without being monitored or swayed to book in a manner that costs them more money. Owners can be in touch from the first point of contact all the way through the booking process ensure a better experience for the traveler. This leads to more bookings and further growth of the vacation rental space!
As travelers and owners continue to be frustrated by these commission models, service fee and communication monitored environments the more communities like Tripz will thrive offering a better experience. Become part of the movement and book direct!