I am primarily on ABB and not much comes through VRBO so I am trying to diversify.
I am almost done in building my website but wondering how to prescreen guests that book direct. I don’t want people to book without contacting us first.
Maybe I am missing something here, being new to the book direct stuff, but does any one have ideas as to what they do?
Thank you in advance!
Just let them book and ask questions later, no big brother to knock you down in the search rankings if you cancel it is your own site. I find most people inquire first on my site anyway. How are you planning to drive traffic to your site? I use Google PPC plus I have business cards in the cabin so guest who book through other platforms can book direct next time. It has been 4ish months of PPC and I have had a few direct bookings. It takes time and investment but in the end it will pay off.
You set up the software so people can’t book instantly.
You decide what vetting system you want to put in place and then implement it.
The website is just the start of the process, it’s how you market it, that’s important to drive attract from your target market.
I have my own website and get a significant amount of bookings from it. It does take a few months to establish your Google ranking using the right keywords. As for screening guests this is what I do:
Google their phone number
Google their email address - even if they call me I insist they email me to confirm booking this insures I get their email.
Let the guest know I need their full name, address, phone #, etc
Google their name along with where they live
Check them out on FB
Check them on Linkedin - be aware if you are signed into Linkedin they will see you checked them out.
Hope they own property and check them out on their town’s assessor database. Why do I do this? Let’s me know they are a property owner therefore hopefully responsible, etc. Plus the assessor site usually has a picture of home and property, which gives you a little insight into them such as is the yard maintained, a bunch of junk cars, etc.
I also always ask for a deposit check equal to one nights stay that has to be received within 7 days to insure booking. If coming sooner than that ask for credit card deposit and have Square account for deposits.
Have not had an issue yet but always go through these steps - 10 minutes that gives me peace of mind. Hope this helps.
@RiverRock shared a good answer. Simply ask them questions about their visit and you’ll be able to get a better idea of whether or not they’re your type of guest. Good luck!
I have built a site through Wix and I really like it is easy to change/build but they have Wix Hotel for payment/reservations … I’ll have to see if they have this option. Or change to another?
I am on Houfy, but don’t have booking thru there yet but have been getting quite a few views, surprisingly. So I need to come up with payment options that would work for both routes, it appears. Now that I have my feet wet and all is working out, I feel more comfortable branching out bc I certainly don’t want to be dependent on only one site.
I will have to look into keywords and Google PPC. I made business cards and magnets and have been surprised at how well they have worked out. I’m using Facebook for researching and sharing events in my area and that have been picking up more than expected. At first I thought I would start the site for informative purposes but booking looks more and more promising.