Airbnb and other vacation rentals have been steady competition for hoteliers over the years. But lately, they’ve been receiving some negative press. Consumers are tired of complicated hosting policies, lack of amenities, and exorbitant fees associated with these rentals – which is good news for hoteliers!
In the wake of bad experiences, people are looking to stay in more traditional accommodations with clear safety and liability policies, enjoy basic services and in-house amenities, and avoid insane fees that are oftentimes undisclosed. Since Airbnb gained traction due to its online presence, enhanced digital marketing is the best way to get your property in front of those who might be wavering on those platforms.
Here are three ways you can start making your property a better alternative to an Airbnb or other vacation rental.
Social Media Ads and Paid Media
In 2019, Airbnb spent $1.4 billion on performance marketing, but in 2021 that budget was cut to just $482 million. Putting that into perspective, how can an individual hotel compete with this global company? Your social media ad budget can help put your property directly in front of the same people who typically would be getting Airbnb ads.
Paid Media is a very useful tool to increase your direct bookings and see a return on investment as well. While we understand the hesitation to increase spending in this area, it really is one of the strongest ways to combat big platforms like Airbnb and give your property a leg up.
Sleeker Website Design
Airbnb’s platform and user-friendly design has given it a boost in the digital marketplace. Visitors like using their site to search for availability, and, even when the pandemic hit in 2020, they maintained 95% of their web traffic. Travelers enjoy the fantasy escape that being on their site provides, and, as we know, the more people on your site means the more people who book directly.
Updating your website’s design, cleaning up the navigation, creating more visible “book now” buttons, and updating photos are all ways to bring your website up to date with a fresher, more user-friendly design. You want to create a website people are excited to be on that also drives them to book directly.
SEO and Metasearch
In a recent statement, Airbnb said they rely on “unpaid SEO,” which gives you a huge advantage in this arena. In this article, they stated “we believe that our SEO results have been adversely affected by the launch of Google Travel and Google Vacation Rental Ads, which reduce the prominence of our platform in organic search results for travel-related terms and placement on Google.” Their reduced prominence is great news for you.
Metasearch is a newer channel where most hoteliers may not be taking full advantage of its benefits. Google (along with other travel-specific sites like TripAdvisor) populates their search results through metasearch, which means that other short-term rental platforms like Airbnb or VRBO could be pulling in ahead of you. This also means OTAs can pull ahead as well. Metasearch optimization is an easy yet essential way to ensure your hotel is seen by as many people as possible.
Hopefully these tips give you some ideas on how to increase your visibility, your ROI, and direct bookings, all while competing against platforms like Airbnb. Increasing your digital marketing budget can be a tough decision, but it’s one that always pays off in a big way.
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