Accommodation Owners: Here’s How You Can Take More Bookings Privately With Your Own Website

Accommodation aggregator sites like and AirBnb are a great source of traffic and customers for your business. However, as I am sure you are aware, they do take a large percentage from the final booking value. Tourism has taken a massive hit the past 2 years so in this blog post, I want to show you how you can start taking MORE bookings privately through your own website and stop solely relying on these aggregator sites.

Offer incentives to customers that book privately.

Offering incentives to customers that book privately is a great way to encourage them to do so. For example, you can give them free breakfast, vouchers for activities and other goodies. These incentives will not only incentivise your current guests but they’ll also help bring in new guests as well. It’s also important to try to slightly have a cheaper price than the aggregator sites. This will make customers more inclined to book through your website and not the aggregators.

Have a clear cancellation policy.

These aggregator sites are popular among tourists since they safeguard the consumer. Make sure to offer free cancellations up to a certain date and make this clear on your site. It’s important your user knows that you won’t hold their money hostage if they need to cancel.

Cater to international audiences

If you receive international travelers, it’s important to make sure your website is available in their language as well as currency. This will make them feel both comfortable and secure, encouraging them to book with you over the aggregator sites. It’s also important that if you require payment upfront, that you are able to bill them in their local currency. You can setup many international bank accounts to help you with this and also sign up for a Stripe account to take payment in over 135 currencies!

It’s also important to have your phone number include your country code. Additionally, being setup on WhatsApp and WeChat (if dealing with Chinese tourists) is extremely important in being able to communicate effectively with your guests.

Link out to external review sites

Accommodation websites have built trust because of their reviews and ratings. This is because the accommodation owner can’t just remove a bad review or give themselves a better rating like you can with your own site. That’s why I would recommend linking out to external review sites like Google, Facebook and TripAdvisor. This way your guests can see that you are genuine in providing a high quality service with lots of positive reviews!

Sell YOU

Many accommodation sites except for perhaps AirBnB fail to showcase the difference that the owners and staff can make to the experience. Don’t be afraid to place yourself front and center on your site. You could even have a dedicated page for this!

Some of the best interactions I have had while travelling is with accommodation owners and staff, so if you offer a personal service, please make sure you don’t skip on this!

Make it easy for users to book

This is probably the most important point. It is absolutely necessary that you offer an interactive booking system which shows what dates are currently available. There are a few solutions out there that you may already have a subscription to.

In this day and age, you will miss out on a lot of bookings if the user has to email or phone you to make a booking. If you make it easy for them, they will book with you rather than the aggregator site. Which means more money in your pocket!

Have a modern and up to date website

I know how this looks… The website agency is trying to tell me just how important updating my website is. I promise you… I wouldn’t be saying this if it wasn’t true!

Your website plays the most critical role in how users perceive your business. If your website looks like it’s from the 90s, then they users will most likely book elsewhere unless there is a very good reason not to. If you want to pull users away from AirBnb, and the like then it’s important that your website is up to date, modern looking and easy for them to book.

The takeaway

In order to increase your bookings for private stays, you need a website that is designed with the customer in mind. This means it should offer easy navigation and have an intuitive design so people can easily find what they’re looking for from their phone or laptop while on vacation. You need to be aware of who you need to cater to and what they need from your site to feel comfortable booking.

At Refresh The Web, we specialise in working with you to boost your online presence. If you’re sick of handing thousands of dollars to these accommodation booking sites like AirBnb, then get in touch or request a call back for a no obligation chat.