Why should I promote Houfy when I have my own website?
Ask yourself this:
"What percentage of bookings will be generated solely by my own website in one year, two years, three years?" Only a handful of hosts can truthfully say 100% of bookings will come from their own website. The majority will continue to rely upon the OTAs (online travel agencies).
Airbnb will likely move hosts to a 15% commission model–and we all know Vrbo follows whatever Airbnb does. Booking.com charges a minimum of 15%; that doesn't even include the host's credit card fees.
TripAdvisor quietly adds up to 16% extra to the owner's nightly rates. Expect the major OTAs (online travel agencies) to eliminate traveler service fees altogether, with all of them charging a minimum of 18% (to include credit card processing).
Now, think about this...
IF your website only generates 50% of your bookings, which platform do you want to supplement the other 50%? One that wants a 15% cut of your revenue and overrides your own policies?
It's always been touted to never send a traveler to a 3rd party site, only to book your competition instead. But Houfy is different. It's not just a listing site–it's a movement.
Think long term. Start promoting your preferred booking channel in tandem with your own website brand.
Unlike the OTAs, Houfy isn't out to exploit owners. Instead, Houfy has given us the freedom to take back control of our properties. Align yourself with others who share a similar vision and goals.
Each new person (traveler or host) who joins Houfy, brings us all one step closer to breaking free of the OTA chains. Collective efforts always outperform individual ones. But in order for people to use and add their inventory to Houfy, they first need to know it exists.
Tell Both Hosts and Travelers About Houfy
Talking about Houfy shouldn't be reserved for just your hosting groups. In order for Houfy to succeed, it needs the inventory...right?
The more inventory, the more travelers will shop on the site. And the more likely they will use the site again in the future.
With the recent industry explosion, almost everyone knows of a friend, family member, or co-worker who is also a host. You never know when a traveler inquiring through your own website is also a host themselves. Or maybe your incoming guest lists their property on another platform.
Many hosts advertise their availability in facebook book direct groups. Imagine if all of us posted something like this:
Book Great Retreat Cabin directly on our website or on Houfy's book direct market network. SAVE BIG and skip the excessive traveler fees from those other sites.
Other owners and travelers would repeatedly hear the name Houfy and eventually check out the site. This is the quickest way to help add inventory to Houfy, while simultaneously promoting your own brand. It's a win-win!
Start to view each traveler and guest as a potential opportunity for another property to be listed on Houfy. And who knows–that next traveler may be a realtor with 50 properties to add.
Houfy Members Are Not the Competition
Begin to think of other Houfy members as your allies. The real competition is the OTAs–not each other.
A traveler has already found your website and was interested enough to send an inquiry. What are the chances your property perfectly meets the needs of their group? I don't know about you, but I don't always hear back from travelers after answering their questions.
Maybe my place wasn't in their budget, they needed more bedrooms, or just preferred a location closer to downtown.
By not providing travelers options, they'll likely find their way to one of the listing sites you don't want to be using in the future. Wouldn't you rather a Houfy member receive the booking, versus a host on Airbnb?
And even if your property is the perfect match, most people still shop around just to see what else is out there.
Don't be afraid to direct your website inquirers to shop around on Houfy in case your property doesn't meet their needs. Chances are they'll return to book your place anyway. Plus, they'll appreciate you shared helpful tips of how they can save money–even if they didn't choose your property this time.
Introduce Departing Guests to Houfy
Have you ever had a repeat guest contact you but the dates were already taken? I have. But often repeat guests don't reach out once they see the dates are not available. Or, maybe their group is larger this time, and they need an extra bedroom you can't provide anyway.
Travelers often book multiple vacation rentals throughout the year and use the same platform they booked through last time.
When thanking your departing guests for choosing your property, tell them they can save money by either booking directly on your website, or directly on Houfy. This conveys that Houfy is a marketplace to find other properties as well.
When they go to book their next vacation, hopefully they'll remember you mentioned Houfy doesn't charge traveler fees. I don't get many repeat guests, so my departing guests' "next" time may be a booking for your property on Houfy.
What Goes Around Comes Around
All of us will have our turn benefiting from another member who recommended Houfy. You may receive a booking because of me. And vice versa, I will one day receive a booking because of you.
But if I only promote my own website, and my neighbors only promote theirs, the only people hearing about Houfy are those in online forums and friend circles.
Promoting Houfy alongside your own website, in no way takes away from you building your own unique brand. There's room for both. And travelers will remember both brands!
But no one benefits (except the OTAs), when we keep Houfy a secret for fear a traveler might book our competition.
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