Encouraging the more lucrative platform

I was wondering if anyone had tried encouraging guests to use one platform over another by using prices, minimal stays, and cancellation policies? Business wise it seems smart to do so. For instance, if you are on 3 platforms but one platform seems to pay more than the other two or attracts better guests, or has less cancellations, or is easier to deal with etc…, one could use a flexible cancellation policy, a two night Minimum stay, and drop the price by 10 percent and see what happens. One could change the other platform to a moderate or strict cancellation, increase the rate by 10 to 20 percent and stay at a 3 or 4 minimal night. If someone did book at the higher rate/more day platform, it would be a win/win for the host. Or if you paid for the yearly fee for one platform and the date for renewal is a few months away, perhaps promoting that platform would be wise. I do not know of any “rule” by any platform that we can not do that. Any thoughts?

I encourage current and past guests to book direct next time.



Why would you you encourage guests to search for your listing on multiple platforms? If this is how im comprehending this? Don’t you think that they might get angry if they booked at a higher price?
I’d keep it simple and do direct bookings for return guests

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Someone posted recently that Booking.com requires that a property listing on their platform have the lowest price when the same property is listed in multiple platforms.

Maybe In misunderstanding, but I’m reading this as the host knows guests are searching using multiple platforms and the host wants to encourage those guests to use one platform over the others.

So, if the same guests are searching multiple platforms, then why would guests be “better” when the book on a specific platform?

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Easy ways round it, without any real effort.


Still a new host and have not built enough of a clientele to expect that I will fill next year with previous guests off of the platforms, but definitely considering booking direct. I still need the platforms. Some guests only book with one platform and do not use other platforms. Mostly there would not be a big difference in the prices, probably no more than the difference between the fees charged by one platform compared to the fees charged by another platform. Why would it be wrong or a poor business choice to have different prices/cancellation policies/minimal stays? Hotels have significantly different prices if you book on booking dot com cheap hotels.com whatever.Airline tickets are the same. Help me understand what is wrong with this approach? And, yes, there are differences in the platforms especially in their vetting of your guests. Vrbo, for instance, has instant booking but no method for requiring previous reviews, if that is what the host would want. Airbnb does have this method. Vrbo has a place for downloading your own rental agreement if you want to do a longer rental of say 3 months. Airbnb does not have this. Would I want to do a 3 to 6 Month rental on Airbnb. No. Not wise. Could it be done on vrbo more safely, yes.
Would you make more money booking off platform, absolutely, but you miss the exposure from the platforms.

Have not heard that before and I do think vrbo has a link to them so that must be somewhere in the small print. I would love to see the verbiage on that!

I only wish I could fill my calendar with direct bookings! I am getting them though, 8 of 22 nights this month. Some are past guests and the others find my website via Google ads. My ad budget equals about 1 night in my bigger cabin and has always at least been paid for by bookings but now, after 2 years I am getting more. I am in the black!


I expected it might take at least 2 years to build up to a decent number of repeat guests. Expect that advertising will be a new cost in the future as well. I am going to need to work on those things. Thanks for the tips. Good to know possible.

Building up repeat guests does take time and you constantly need to find new ones. Repeat guests have reasons (money, family changes, moves, etc) for not coming to an area at any time. For example, we have a four year cycle since we are in a college area and parents follow their children here until the child graduates.

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We are listed on multiple platforms and do exactly what you suggest. Our website even says “shop around for the best combination of price and policies for you”.

But remember - people don’t read! I see very little evidence that people shop around for the best “deal”. In the past five years, maybe five percent have given me any indication they compared platforms. Or they ask over the AirBnB system if booking directly is cheaper - it is, but I can’t tell them that or we risk getting banned from AirBnB.

We just got a booking yesterday where they contacted us first from our website, but before I could even answer they instant-booked over Vrbo and paid $500 in service fees that they didn’t need to.

I agree that many guests do not look at different platforms and compare. I can not imagine why they would be angry if the prices or policies were different if they did notice. All of the cancellations I have had were on the same platform, and I am not convinced they cancelled for the reasons given. Nonetheless, they got their money back within just a few days of their booking and not leaving enough time For anyone to rebook. A stricter cancellation policy on that platform seems warranted. If the Host fees for one platform are higher than another platform, one should charge more, no? If you need to fill a last minute booking and you are more comfortable with the vetting from one platform, decreasing the days they need to notify you before booking on that listing even temporarily makes sense. Takes more time and energy, I know, but for new listings the devil is in the details.

I am wrong. Vrbo has a link to Expedia not booking.com

I have a strict cancellation across the board. It has never hurt me, I do not see any benefit to a less strict policy. I will not even accept booking changes, I state this in my house rules on Air to be certain when booking as my policy does not allow changes.


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I really don’t understand this idea. It would be an admin nightmare to deal with surely?

Agreed. Most people won’t shop around for a US-based stay. We have done some of that when looking for a place in France, Asia, etc. Sometimes, BDC will have a more interesting stay with better location - and usually more expensive.

Jaquo not as bad as a nightmare but more work. Its covid and we all need some hobbies. Puzzling over these things appears to be a new one for me! Lol. Too much time on my hands some days!

How does booking direct work? Obviously you save money and your guest but don’t you lose the protections that Airbnb has to offer? That would be my only hesitation in case something were to happen.

… and those are?