Book Direct vs. Online Travel Agencies
The Great Debate: Book Direct vs. Online Travel Agencies
It’s a debate that’s been raging for years now. Which is better, the book direct model or online travel agencies? While there are similarities between the two models, there are also significant differences. It’s no secret that Find Rental has always been a huge proponent of Book Direct. It’s what we’ve based our business on.
Online Travel Agency or OTA are online companies whose websites allow consumers to book various travel related services via the Internet. They are 3rd party agents reselling vacation rentals, hotels, cars, flights, and vacation packages.
Book Direct takes you directly to our partners to complete your reservation on their site, so your rate, property, and services are guaranteed. Big Travel brands list the same properties but add % of the cost in hidden fees.
OTAs in the Time of Covid-19
Since rearing its ugly head in the first quarter of 2020, Covid-19 has turned our entire world upside down. The vacation rental industry was hit particularly hard, with an unprecedented rash of cancellations in March and April. We’ve been very fortunate. We’re recovering quickly and bookings are up for the remainder of the year. However, it shed some controversial light on online travel agencies.
A Kinder, Gentler World
In a world gone mad, people are looking for humanity, compassion, and kindness. Even, or especially, from corporate neighbors. We’re particularly looking for a connection.
It’s hard to see the OTAs in that light. While all for-profit businesses exist for that purpose, some seem to appreciate, more than others, that it’s not all about money. Some even believe that it’s better to leave a few dollars on the table if it means creating a good relationship.
Book Direct is Sustainable
Why? Because our model is fair and equitable. Care and concern for fellow entities are built-in. Book Direct values relationships over profit. Here are a few more compelling reasons.
- Cost - Many companies are now holding on to solvency by the thinnest of strings and online travel agent fees are no longer realistic for them.
- Size - The size of some of the OTAs has become unwieldy. With thousands or even tens of thousands of listings, it’s almost unrealistic to believe a prospective guest would even find your listing, much less choose it from all the competition.
- Customer Service - Dozens of 1-star reviews don’t lie. The online travel agents don’t seem to have an investment in keeping their clients happy. Perhaps it relates back to the unwieldy size of their portfolios and the fact that service can’t be personalized. No property owner or guest calling an OTA is going to get a friendly, familiar voice.
- No Investment in Clients - Do the OTAs provide you with links to your website and social media? Do they allow you to post guest reviews back to those sites? Unfortunately, the answer is probably no. At Find Rentals, each client is provided with a branded mini-website. We offer information about your company, links to contact information, your website, and all your social media. Each of your properties gets its own page, with Book Direct links built-in.
Book Direct Bookings are First Priority
If you read reviews on online travel agent sites, one of the major complaints is overbooking. Guests “confirm” reservations, including payment, only to be informed minutes, and sometimes days, later that the property is not available due to overbooking. When you book direct on a vacation rental management company website, you don’t run that risk. Each management company website booking engine is in real-time and your booking gets first priority.
Find Rentals is a Book Direct aggregator. This means that we don’t accept reservations on behalf of our client partners. We send guests directly to their websites so they can book direct and enjoy the savings and service of doing so.
Our site benefits our client partners in several ways:
- First, we are an authority site, boasting over 100,000 unique visitors every month.
- Second, because we advertise properties in a variety of locations, we attract a wide variety of prospective guests who may not have previously considered your location.
- Third, we offer both you and your guests substantial savings over all the add-on fees online travel agents charge, which can range anywhere from 5-19%.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is this: our guests and partner clients matter to us. We would be devastated by a 1-star review. We work hard to actually resolve your issues because they’re important to us. Our small staff ensures that you will find a friendly, familiar voice each time you call.
We pride ourselves on being the opposite of an online travel agency. We invite you to experience the difference in being part of the Find Rentals family.
BOOK DIRECT and SAVE!
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