Direct booking logistics

Hey all-
We need to set-up direct booking and we’ve been thinking about trying to circumvent subscription based services as we’re not sure how much of our business will be direct and I don’t love how it’s a separate site (that sometimes have ads).

I’d rather just set-up a simple site, integrate a google cal to show booked dates and then have a Google form for booking requests. So that brings me to payments. I see some folks use stripe, some bank transfer, some PayPal… I’d love to hear how you figure out security deposits and payment logistics.

Thanks for sharing!

What marketing plan are you investing in to drive traffic to your direct booking channels from guests you have identified as your target market @HudsonNY ?

You can use templates on Wordpress and add Stripe. You need T&Cs and a contract. And of course STR home insurance and liability insurance.

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Where will you find guests? How will you advertise?

We have friends of friends (our realtor friends have been amazing at this), referrals, repeat guests and also have folks find us through Instagram. As we grow these direct leads, I’d like to have the option to not go through Airbnb and just have our own set-up.


Here’s my website:
I’m currently integrated with OwnerReservations (OR) that provides automation for all the calendar and booking processes (the calendar and booking process on our site are OR’s widgets. You can set up an automatic security deposit hold on Stripe with OR. Lots of work to get it set up but lots of benefits.

Before I integrated with OR, I set up the site using a Wordpress template that contained a booking plug in (Motopress booking plug in). A potential guest would send a booking request. I’d respond with an invoice (PayPal) and send them our contract through DocuSign (there are free on-line signing programs, too).


Thanks so much @PitonView! Such a huge help to get these specifics and see an example.

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So my plan, inspired by @PitonView and @georgygirlofairbnb is to get initial bookings on Airbnb and VRBO.

Then I plan on putting business cards in a holder(s), either just one in main room or maybe also in each bedroom (?) with direct booking site and message like “Cut booking site fees in half and direct book next time.” [I’m considering an 8% fee, 3% because I think that’s what Stripe will charge me for the credit card transaction, and 5% to cover OwnerRez and other costs, thinking that 8% is about half of the ~15% fees charged by VRBO and Airbnb. ALL: Critique me on this.

SO in initial years I will be paying Airbnb but returning guests will have option of direct booking. I am not optimistic that I can put an Instagram or other account that will get INITIAL bookings directly, just returning guests. I am open to all suggestions/critiques.

All sounds great if you can build a solid repeat guest client business. I can’t because repeat isn’t my niche. You will find that the public drank the Airbnb koolaid and they deeply believe that they are protected by booking through Airbnb and are terrified to book direct due to continuing bad news articles


Each of my listings has a name.
My introduction says
“Grafton Heritage Accommodation welcomes you to ………”
Each property name is linked to my website.
My website is
The guest can send a booking request.
I use Square to take payments at1.9%
So far it is working and no bill shock!


@Debthecat id love to hear more! How do you handle security deposits and other details Airbnb usually takes care of (ex: do you ask for copies of ID?)

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Airbnb no longer allow a security deposit unless you are using a channel manager.
I have the credit card details and like a hotel, I will charge for damage and those details are on the invoice.


I’ve been having that experience with repeat guests so much that I’ve decided to stop offering. It’s really for them yet they get so suspicious.

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Interesting! I’ve had folks request if we have a way to book directly next time but I suppose we’ll find out once we actually do!

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I haven’t- if it is going to be cheaper booking direct, than going through an OTA, my guests have experienced what I offer and are happy to book direct.
Also, in Australia they have just brought in anti competition legislation where an OTA like b.con cannot force you to be cheapest on their site.
If a guest contacts you direct, you can offer what ever price.
My prices are not on my website as they have usually seen a price on line and I am always cheaper than that by about 10%.
I am using the OTA’s as a marketing tool, as I am over the ridiculous fees I am paying.


I used to get that more but this last year I just got a lot of weirdos I guess. One set of them had refused direct booking (citing airbnb protection even though it was after their 5th stay with us :roll_eyes:) and then they had the gall to demand a discount for staying so often. It’s an odd day when you click that “would not host again” button on an otherwise perfect guest. :wink:

I wasn’t trying to be discouraging or anything. I still think it’s ideal to do direct booking. Some of my guests just have more money than brains maybe, lol. They were all in their 30s. It may be a generational thing though I hate to bring up the generational thing. Because, you know, individuals and all.


I don’t think the so called verification process is of any use at all.
They allow 3rd party bookings, even though it is against their own policies, so sad too bad if there is an issue.
Once verified a guest can change their user name to Donald Duck - how does that give a host confidence?
I request a driver’s license number and names of everyone coming and their home address.

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@HudsonNY , check out to see if it works for you. I’ve used Venmo as a landlord because that’s what my tenants wanted.

Especially in New York, my home state, you do need to have guests sign off on house rules at a minimum, assuming an arm’s length transaction (meaning not relatives or friends. Even then I would not let my husband’s relatives stay for more than 28 days without something in writing!)

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@HudsonNY [quote=“Debthecat, post:11, topic:55721”]
Airbnb no longer allow a security deposit unless you are using a channel manager.

They no longer have a security deposit option, but even when they had one, it was bogus. They never put a hold on guests’s credit cards, nor automatically charged them if there was proof of damage.


True. I suppose just thinking through how it would work with putting a hold or asking for a refundable deposit when doing direct bookings. Someone could dispute a cred card charge if there was damage…

None of my repeat guests ever go through Airbnb and have never expressed a concern about booking directly

It’s horrible seeing people from the US using that nasty phrase ‘drinking the Koolaid’ -you do know this refers to the tragic massacre in Guyana where US cult leader Jim Jones forced followers to drink posion laced soft drinks so adults and children died in agony. 900 people including over 300 children died.