Even the team at Vacation Rental Web Design admits not every owner should have their own website. Some owners run their rental as a hobby and can afford to forego income – and there is nothing wrong with that. One of the reasons many of us were initially attracted to the vacation rental market is that it enables us to meet and interact with a broad spectrum of people. For those drawn to hospitality, this alone can be enough for them and often the focus on income turns the joy to work.

I literally started my first vacation rental in the early 2000s for just this reason. I was living in a remote area of Belize, had a cabana we had built for family and friends sitting empty a good part of the year, and thought “Why not – maybe this will be fun.” If this is you, then listing solely on the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) such as Airbnb, VRBO or Booking.com may be sufficient. Relax, enjoy, and don’t sweat the details. (If you laughed at “Maybe this will be fun” you are ready for your own website if you don’t already have one.)

If, however, you want control over your rental(s) or you are seeking to maximize profit you need your own short-term rental website. Anyone paying attention has watched the OTAs become increasingly guest-centric and less owner-friendly over the last decade. 2020 proved that without a doubt about Airbnb – the largest and most influential OTA for vacation rentals by far. VRBO did a bit better in their treatment of hosts but if you listed on VRBO during this period you likely still feel the nightmare of their refund process deep in your soul.

I could publish a “Top 20 / 30 / 40” list for “Why to have your own direct book website” but it boils down to one word: control. If you want to be in control of your rental, your policies, your guests, and your income you need to have a book direct option and do all you can to maximize direct bookings.

Not sure where to start or have questions? Answer a few questions here and we can help.