#BookDirect #GuestEducationDay #DirectIsBest #bookdirect guide

The A-Z guide on why guests should Book Direct


OTAs and listing sites provide a valuable, user-friendly and simple service for guests to navigate through a multitude of properties around the world to find a great short-term rental.

Furthermore, they provide property managers, owners and hosts a relatively easy source of guest bookings. We actually like them!

BUT there is an alternative and sometimes better option for both guests and owners / managers other than simply using Expedia, Priceline or Airbnb.

BookDirect is the social movement initiated by VRMIntel where travellers are encouraged to to book directly with short-term rental properties as opposed to third-party booking sites.

Here is our A-Z Guide on why you, the guest, might just find that Booking Direct is best…


Avoid Booking Fees – Nearly every major OTA or listing site applies booking fees of up to 20% for travellers. This ‘covers the costs of operating sites, facilitating transactions, developing products and providing customer service’. Whilst the fees are transparent at the latter stages of the booking process, guests actually can do a lot to save themselves unnecessary costs which could amount to hundreds.

Best Price - In many cases (especially vacation rental homes), the best price is to be found by enquiring or booking directly with an owner as they can afford to reduce prices due to no commission being applicable.

Commission - When booking directly with a property owner or business, you will be saving them commission fees typically between 3-18% (sometimes more) in commission. You may not think this will affect you but you may well receive something back upon arrival.

Destination Knowledge. Nobody knows the local area you are exploring like an owner/property manager. Discover those hidden gems in advance of your stay.

Experience –  Get a proper flavour of the property your are considering and it’s owners/management. Let them impress you.

Free stuff – We all love freebies don't we? Complimentary hamper, wine, newspaper or breakfast. You might even get a free night or two. Rental managers and reservation staff are only too happy to reward those booking direct.

Google it - Organic results, local search results, featured snippets or image search. Many properties will appear here and not on listing sites.

Hospitality - The rentals industry is all about hospitality. The booking process (as well as the stay) should be a pleasurable one and not a mundane experience. Start your hospitality early.

Instant Book - All major OTAs are either exclusively set up for instant book or are decisively heading in that direction. If you have questions or reservations about a property, enquiring direct can help make clarify your decision.

Journey - Your stay will inevitable involve some sort of travel to the property. Make the most of your property manager or reservation agent's knowledge to help you discover the travel suggestions, driving routes and times, car hire options or parking advice.

Karma - Sometimes, just sometimes, booking direct can be rewarded in lifelong friendships.

Loyalty – Many short term accommodation providers like to reward their guests with every repeat stay - especially if the booking is direct. This may by way of a gift or rate discounts. Make the most of it.

Minimum stays - Lots of property managers will have a minimum stay implemented across numerous listing sites but may actually be more flexible to a shorter stay if booked direct given no applicable OTA commission. This may apply especially in off-peak seasons. Try them.

Not listed. A huge amount of properties will not actually be listed on OTAs. Whether they are completely independent of listing platforms or have their listings temporarily hidden, using search engines and using Facebook can uncover a treasure trove of delightful and cost-efficient alternatives.

Occasions. Are you travelling for a special event like a wedding, birthday or anniversary? Letting a small property or vacation rental owner know this at the time of booking may well result in a very pleasant surprise upon arrival.

Payment  – How would you prefer to pay? Many OTAs require you to use their own payment facility. You may well be surprised at the number of payment methods accepted directly by your rental property of choice.

Questions - Have you got a question about anything before you book? Just call or email direct. Chances are you will receive a quicker response as communication does not have to pass through a third-party platform. Who should I use for car rental? How close is the property to the nearest tourist attraction? How quiet are the surroundings? Professional property managers know.

Requirements – Do you have specific needs? Want twin beds instead of a double? Need a hypo-allergenic pillow? Would you like to know more about wheelchair access ramps? Requirements like these are actually more likely to be actioned correctly if booked direct with the property.

Special offers – Many short-term rental accommodations will provide special rates and discounts during non-peak periods that will not be available on OTAs. Visit their site or social media profiles. The #BookDirect movement is a great starting point!

Talking - Communicating directly with an owner or reservation manager makes the booking process less anonymous and a far more friendly experience.

Upgrades - Your prospective rental property may be able to offer you a free upgrade to a better room if applicable and available. They will be far more likely to do this for direct bookers.

Video – The majority of OTAs or global listing sites will not provide video features of the property you are considering. Going direct may give you the option of seeing a video of said room, property or immediately surrounding area.

Website Information – Accommodation providers can add a lot more detail to their websites than can be found in a relatively short standard OTA listing. Owner bios. Distances. Reviews. Awards and accreditations. Galleries. Weather. Virtual tour. Plus much more.

Xtra Fees – Fees such as cleaning and extra guests that are added to some large booking platforms may not apply when booked direct as businesses may incorporate them into inclusive rates.

Year-long, month-long or long-term bookings - Long term bookings will nearly always be cheaper if booked direct.

Zzzz - Sleep easy knowing both you and the property have both got the best deal.