In the short-term rental world, there’s a lot of discussion about direct booking sites. Do rental owners need them? Or are hosting sites like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway sufficient? Right now, many owners don’t think a direct booking site is necessary because platforms like Airbnb may bring in plenty of business.

But will that always be the case?

Probably not.

Especially with the recent downturn in travel due to COVID-19, Airbnb and other similar platforms may institute major changes that affect rental owners. They could charge you to advertise your listing, stop accepting new listings, or start taking a bigger cut of your earnings.

Who knows what the future holds, but if you want to protect your rental income, you need to have a back-up plan or alternative booking venue. That’s where a direct booking site comes in.

Vacation Rental Owner’s Guide to Direct Booking Sites

What is a direct booking site?

With a direct booking site, you can cut out the middlemen like Airbnb. Having your own website for your vacation rental allows renters to reserve their booking with you, instead of a platform.

What are the benefits of a direct booking site?

Great Expectations

As you probably know, the vacation rental industry is experiencing massive growth right now. This is good news for owners, but it also means that there will be more and more competition in the coming years.

That means guests will have higher expectations for rentals, as well as the booking process. A direct booking site shows that you take extra care to delight and provide for your guest. First impressions really count, and your booking site is where your potential guests will first get to know you and your booking.

Plus, with your own booking site your guests will be able to contact you (or your rental manager) directly. This means you can solve their problems or answer their questions more quickly, resulting in higher guest satisfaction.

Higher Profits

Studies have shown that a direct booking site can actually earn you more money per booking. While direct sites are responsible for 22% of all vacation rental bookings in the US, they provide 38% of the profits! If you invest in a direct booking site, you’ll see an increased profit per booking.

More Bookings

When you get bookings through sites like rental platforms, you have to pay a service fee to the company. For instance, Airbnb takes 3% of your earnings while HomeAway charges you for each listing you have on your site.


When you have your own direct sites and don’t have to pay these fees, you can decrease your price accordingly. Lowering your prices, even slightly, will make your rental more attractive to vacationers, resulting in more bookings for you!

Better Guest Retention

If you want to have better guest retention and keep renters coming back to your listing year after year, a direct booking site is the perfect thing for you. With a direct booking site, you can gain access to information like their email address and rental preferences. You can then use this to reach out to them directly and keep them coming back for more.

Do You Need a Direct Booking Site?

Clearly, there are many great benefits to creating a direct booking site for your vacation rental. Of course, there are things to consider, like the expense of building a website and the importance of creating an attractive, seamless online experience for renters to get to know you and your “brand.” Direct booking sites aren’t right for every vacation rental owner, but they definitely provide plenty of benefits for the renter who is serious about increasing their profits.

Contact Us:

MountainTown VRM

110 E Broadway, STE 203

Missoula, MT 59802

(406)369-3080

info@mountaintownvrm.com