Proper way to incorporate website with AirBnB?

For those of you who may also have a web site that features your rental, how to do you square that with how you use Airbnb?

By that I mean, if a customer finds you via your website, do you still have them book through Air or do you take that rental in directly?


Directly for our place.

Our website links directly to our Airbnb listing. We give a little information about the place, plenty of photographs, then all links to straight through to Airbnb.

I decided to do this because juggling bookings from both would be time-consuming and there’s always the danger of double bookings if you’re not monitoring things constantly.


I do it a bit differently. Whatever bookings come through Airbnb stay on the Airbnb platform, and whatever bookings come through VRBO stay on the VRBO platform. Whatever bookings I get on my own through any of my own marketing means, I take the booking directly and privately. There is no advantage to me personally to have all of my bookings go through any one platform, and I am much happier controlling the entire experience and collecting all of the revenue.

It’s totally up to you, but your product is just like any other product. You can sell it at Best Buy or you can sell on Etsy or sell it out of your garage.


Ditto this!

All calendars are synced so there are no double-bookings. There is an advantage to guests who would like to pay a little more and use credit cards through Airbnb. But if someone doesn’t mind a check or e-mail Transfer I like the control that comes with booking directly. The deposit comes in immediately, and the balance well ahead of the rental, so I don’t have to worry about cancellations.

We’ve had only 1 cancellation booking privately and because they defaulted on the final balance 4 weeks prior, I was able to rebook the dates. I gave them a full refund without having to worry about them being dinged for fees.


This is an excellent topic. Thanks for posting!

I was having the same doubts as you: Process them directly or send them to Airbnb?
The main question for me relies in what would be the conversion rate and the price of my listing if I decided to process all reservation directly vs Airbnb.

1.Brand. You are you, and Airbnb is Airbnb. You are a “not very well known custom website” against a super travel brand as Airbnb. The guest will feel more safe to make a reservation through Airbnb. Airbnb WINS.

2.Reviews. Guests feel more safe to book with someone that has many reviews verified by a third party like Airbnb. This isn’t the same as copy and pasting those reviews into your website. The guests could think that you made up those reviews if there is no clear link to your Airbnb account. Airbnb WINS

3.Payment. Another VERY important thing to prevent scams is the way Airbnb handles payments. It isn’t you asking to pay directly to your guests but instead the guest pays through Airbnb and the money is sent to you 24hs after he checks-in into your apartment. This gives your guest an extra layer of security that you can’t deliver if you managed his reservation directly. Airbnb WINS.

4.Independence, Airbnb is a lot viased to the guest when a problem arises. If you handled the reservation directly you will feel more in control of the stay and your property. Specially, by meaning that you will be able to collect security deposit by yourself without the need of sending proves of damage to a third party that it isn’t present at your place. Your WEBSITE WINS

5.Service Fees. Don’t need to extend to much on this one, but it is clear that if you handled the reservations yourself you might be able to price more your listing and collect all those fees that Airbnb takes from the reservation. After all, the cutomer will be paying the same. 15% of service fees isn’t a minor amount. Your WEBSITE WINS.

6.Competition. The guest went to your webiste by a regular google a search, You have all his atention devote to stay with you and then you link him to Airbnb where there are more than 1K listings similar to yours where the guest can make his reservation. Yes, Airbnb gives your guest a layer of security to make a reservation, but it also gives him more options that he might not have consider before (specially if he hasn’t heard about Airbnb before). This also applies to your rate. If you are competing with a lot of other listings you are on the need to drop your price whereas if your guests came to your website by his own you might have more freedom to rise up your price more. Your website WINS


You’ve thought this through very thoroughly! Just a couple of suggestions from my experiences of both…

If a potential guest is able to eventually find your site they have likely already seen your reviews on another booking site (Airbnb, VRBO, TripAdvisor) which will nearly always come up first if they don’t already know about you. If they haven’t seen those reviews you can just tell them to read reviews on those sites.

Yes, there are scams out there. But if you have had a website going, sometimes for many years, people will know that you’re legit.

There are some people that want to only use Airbnb, which is fine. If they like the security they can go for it. I have my base rate on the website and add any additional fees to my ABB rate so I end up making the same either way. If someone wants to pay more for security they always have the option to do so.

I am careful not to mention my website in my correspondence through other booking sites, but my signature notes the name of my rental. If they do a google search I’ll likely come up first. Those are the people that will nearly always choose to deal with me directly. If someone is set on booking through Airbnb they won’t even care to do a search. This just gives guests more options.

My website shows SO much more information that I can show on any other listing.

If someone is a past guest or a referral from a past guest they feel especially comfortable in booking directly.

1 Like

I’m not against having your own website. I guess it will be the way to go if prices on Airbnb continue to drop. I was just listing side to side which are the cons and pros of making a link from your website to your Airbnb listing. Despite Airbnb is very well-known brand, my listing’s views in there are less than 100 per week. I’m a SH, more than 5 years of hosting, more than 400 reviews and still 100 views per week. The reason is that the market is fully saturate of hosts in my city so having my own webiste might give me a lower conversion rate but much more exposition.

I always prefer to book directly. My rental is a whole home and Air is the riskiest site for me to book through. Knowing that a guest can book my prime Christmas week for the year, and then produce a Drs. note is just a bit unnerving. I only require 7 night stays three times a year. Especially now that guests can be refunded for weather issues not even in my own area is also disturbing.

I have used reviews on Air, VRBO, Flipkey, etc. in order to gain an inquirer’s trust, but I do let them know that they can save the service fees and spend their hard earned money on a nice dinner out. It isn’t a good idea to send guests to all of your competition on those sites (even though I am guilty). But the service fees are high and hopefully guests will come back to you to book your property. I can only take this approach because my property has some unique features.

I did make a mistake last year offering a weekly discount (no matter how they booked) and what do you know…the guest ended up booking through Air and paying high dollar booking fees. That was a lesson learned and I was having a huge brain fart. They had actually used Air before and I guess preferred to pay the fees versus writing me a check…even with my Air reviews. I had only assumed they would want to save the money. Some people get great rewards on their credit card or they can’t afford the upfront cash. Lesson learned and not a big deal.

I have been very blessed with any cancellations/major complaints happening to be through other sites. It was to my discretion what amount I thought was fair to refund back.

My Flipkey guests this Christmas paid $249.00 in service fees to FK just to book for one week. I always follow up (if I want the guest back) to let them know they can save all those funds and book directly next time.


When I get an inquiry via other means, I handle it directly and do not lead them to Air or any other platform which will take a share of the pie. I have a stellar reputation for integrity and value of product, and can usually ease any qualms a potential guest might have. Best of all, the money is mine…all mine. (ka-ching!)

Travelers do prefer to pay by credit card, even though they can save the 3% or 4% processing fee which is passed on to them if they choose another method of payment. But I guess the perks they get with their card (air miles, points, etc.) plays into it.


I process credit cards directly through my (now home-based) business so easy enough to add room rentals. There is a roughly 3% fee that gets taken off the top, but the money is in my checking account within two days. Stay away from Discover as they take more. What people do not understand is all those perks like miles, gifts, etc. come from the merchant, not the card company. Corporate cards take more. In the old days those premium cards were clearly marked as such. You could refuse to accept them. Now they all look the same so you do not know until you see the statement.

It’s the cost if doing business these days. I just accept it and move on. Besides, it’s all tax deductible as a business expense.

Stay away from Cube and those others. They are making money off the float. The time they collect the $$ until they release it to you. Get a standard merchant account. The machines can be found online. Do not buy from the card company unless they price match an online dealer. Cost around $150 for one that takes the new chip cards. You can also input the information manually if they call to reserve. It’s really foolproof.

I pay no monthly fees. No transactions that month, no charge.

3% for european cards of US cards?

it’s cheaper with stripe that I use (using stripe on mobile and online)

It’s a personal decision for each host. The service fees on Airbnb are definitely high and getting higher, but the benefit of having a reputable 3rd party handle everything can benefit the host and the guest. It comes down to opportunity cost. Is it worth your time to personally take care of these things, or does it make more since to just pay Airbnb for it?

Especially when it comes to opportunistic guests who try to take advantage of the host-- they will be less inclined to do so if they have booked through Airbnb. If they are renting through you directly, they may think you don’t have the time/resources to enforce your contract. Airbnb on the other hand does a good job of preventing fraud and keeping people honest on both sides of the contract.

However if you are running your rental like a true business with all of the legal structures and protections in place, then it might make sense to book through your website and keep the extra margin for yourself.

Did you mention who you process through?

At one time BJ’s, the wholesale store, had a merchant program for the small business owner and I signed up then.

Not sure if that is still available. Check with them, Sam’s and even Costco.

However, I have been quoted lower discount rates from other companies. I prefer to stay put. Never ever had any issues. Great phone support.

It’s more like wanting the option of dealing direct with the “client” if they come to me via other means. In my other life I use agencies and dealers to get work for me. While I appreciate that, the middleman aspect often gets in the way. I prefer to talk (as in pick up the phone and call) to the person to work out the details. That way, no misunderstandings. Texting and emails between multiple parties make that hard to do.

I’d almost prefer Air to be my second or third (after maybe Craigslist) source for bookings if I can make the web site work.

How do you promote your place locally around town. Any reciprocating with local merchants like diners, restaurants? They refer your place and you do the same?


I opened a PayPal account 6 yrs. ago solely to process credit card payments for my VR. (My LTR’s pay by check or direct deposit.) The processing fee comes to about 3% for U.S. cards and 4% for outside the U.S.

My thinking was that credit cards are for the guest’s convenience and it only benefits the guest (with perks), so why should I pay the fee. It would be as if I was giving them a discount. So I decided to pass the fee on to the guest.

What I do is send the guest an online PayPal invoice which has all my account info on it. They enter their card info, which is only visible to them, and they press the “pay” button. PayPal notifies me when payment is made and I send the guest a confirmation. Easy-peasy. After their stay, the guest is also refunded a portion of the processing fee along with the security deposit. Never had a problem in 6 yrs.

On AirBnb, I had to bump my price to make up for the percentage that Air takes. As a result, the bookings are sluggish but c’est la vie.

1 Like

The bad thing about Air lately is that there are SO many listings that you end up doing SEO inside Air.
Airbnb will definitely get more visits as a whole than your website but once the user gets there he has to find your listing within plenty of others. Even if he luckily reaches your listing, he will know that there are other (plenty) of choices besides yours.

1 Like

[quote=“SandyToes, post:17, topic:10894, full:true”]
My thinking was that credit cards are for the guest’s convenience and it only benefits the guest (with perks), so why should I pay the fee. It would be as if I was giving them a discount. So I decided to pass the fee on to the guest. [/quote]

I use PP only for my Ebay purchases. Not sure how sophisticated their invoice might be with how you have set it up i.e. tax purposes.

With a direct merchant account the statements are very detailed and elaborate. Everything broken down. The bank fees and discount rates show up on your checking account statement and all these are fully deductible as a business expense.

So basically, you are recouping those charges and costs.

How are you full recouping the costs? It’s a business expense. Sandy is having her guests pay it instead.

Do you not have any monthly statement fees in the months when you do have transactions?

1 Like