Each February, the vacation rental management industry recognizes Book Direct Guest Education Day. During this event, property managers promote the value, benefit of and impact made by local, professionally managed accommodation providers.

The idea originated from a large group of vacation rental management companies collaborating on ways to inform consumers about the value of bypassing the “middle man,” or third-party online booking channels, and instead booking their vacations directly through a local management company.

Amy Hinote, publisher of the vacation rental management industry magazine VRMintel, shared the following in an article, “The urgency for education increased with the guest/traveler fees—and the consequential confusion among guests—that were added to VRBO and TripAdvisor.”

In 2019, #BookDirect Guest Education Day was able to reach more than 7 million travelers, resulting in more than 60 million impressions on Twitter and Instagram.

In 2020, Meyer Vacation Rentals proudly continued the campaign by creating our own set of social media posts, videos, blogs, landing pages with guest promotions, and emails to promote #BookDirect.

Meyer’s Facebook video on the subject resulted in more than 30 shares and was approaching 1,000 views on our #BookDirect video message. The collective impact of the campaign in two days saw 3,600 posts achieve more than 1,630,180 views and just more than 9,109,600 impressions.

Meyer is proud of the marketing power behind MeyerRe.com. For decades, we have worked to build, maintain and grow the area’s strongest accommodations website. This investment allows us to drive, on average, 10,000 daily visitors to MeyerRe.com and generate a direct booking every 5 minutes.

As vital as direct bookings are to generating revenue, technology must be coupled with local experience to ensure long-term success and relevancy in the hospitality market.

As a recent article released by Skift, a media company that provides news, research and marketing services for the travel industry, pointed out, a website with strong rankings, successful SEO and conversion tactics will only last as long as there is equal focus on strong, direct relationships with customers and providing a high-quality user experience. 

“Conversion is important because you want to make sure you get a good return on your advertising spend with Google and other advertising channels, and you will need to market yourself, no doubt about it,” said Skift Research Senior Analyst Seth Borko. “Even more important is taking visitors and turning them into loyal, returning customers. Loyal guests come back directly to your website or property for free. A world-class conversion rate that doesn’t create loyalty still leaves you locked into the hamster wheel of re-acquiring the same customers over and over again.”

You may get that booking today by manipulating the customer, but the chances of them coming back next time are slim, and you’ll have to pay up again to acquire them. Even an industry-leading conversion rate could be counter-productive if you’re overpaying for marketing to bring a potential customer back to your booking site every time they travel.
At Meyer, we love direct bookings and fully support #BookDirect.

But, a booking is only the beginning—not the end—of the user experience. For our owner partner and guest relationships, we measure our success based on “top box” scores generated from surveys.

We believe owners and guests who choose to provide a “top box” score of nine or 10 on a 10-point scale are advocates for our brand. They are also those most likely to return in the future and refer others to do business with Meyer. After all, our mission is building lifetime relationships with our customers and communities.

We are proud to say that we are steadily performing in the “excellent” rating category.

We are proud of our roots, and we are proud to be locally owned and locally operated. But, most of all, we are proud to serve as your property management company.

Thank you for your trust.

This article was written by Michelle Hodges, President of Meyer Vacation Rentals.

To read the referenced Skift article in full, please visit https://skift.com/2020/02/05/hate-selling-in-the-age-of-google-travel/