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The Complete Guide to Vacation Rental Direct Bookings

While listing on sites like Airbnb and VRBO is a great way to get exposure and bookings, being completely dependent on these sites for bookings has its drawbacks as well. You are at the mercy of their fee structure (like Airbnb’s 13% guest fee), and they determine your ranking in their search results.

Also, any traffic you send to your listing, through your own marketing efforts, will be shown a list of recommended alternatives to your property, which appear at the bottom of your Airbnb or VRBO listing.

With your own direct booking website, you can eliminate your dependency on online booking platforms. This means you can remove booking fees (and offer a discounted price for direct booking) or keep the fees for yourself.

With repeat guests, friends and family, and guests you find through your own marketing, you may be surprised how many direct bookings you can start to get. And this number will increase over time as you continue to market your property, provide a positive experience for your guests, and benefit from even more repeat guests and word-of-mouth marketing.

Before you start taking direct bookings, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Insurance. If you are renting your property outside of platforms like Airbnb and VRBO, then you will need to make sure you have your own insurance coverage. In fact, it is a good idea to have your own insurance either way. Check out our list of vacation rental insurance options.

Contracts. You should have a legal contract or Terms & Conditions that your guests must agree to when booking. In some areas this is legally required, but either way, it’s a good idea to protect yourself and your property. If you create a Floorspace website, you will have the option to require guests to check a box indicating that they agree to your Terms & Conditions.

Taxes. Online booking platforms usually collect the required taxes. Taking direct bookings mean you will be responsible for collecting and submitting taxes. You can find a list of taxes collected by Airbnb to get an idea of what taxes you should be collecting and reporting on your own.

With Floorspace, you can easily create a website that handles direct bookings, online payments, and syncs with your Airbnb, VRBO, or other online booking calendar. So you can start to take direct bookings while continuing to use other online booking platforms. A website is the backbone of an effective marketing strategy—it’s what ties your entire online presence together.

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