WAV Group, a lead real estate consulting agency, defines third party sites as “consumer facing websites that are not operated or owned by real estate agents, brokers, associations or MLS’s.” Third party sites give your valuable property more exposure which lead to a better return on your investment…most of the time. Nowadays, however, property owners are starting to learn the hard way that the cost, (which is ever-increasing), just isn’t worth it anymore. It’s time to make the transition of getting your properties off of third party sites and back under your control.
Define your value proposition by being personable: Most rental property owners want to be seen on as many online resources as possible. And why wouldn’t they? It increases the chance of attracting customers, right? While that may be true, you lose a personal connection with your lead, which is much more valuable than an online “skimmer.” The value proposition is that customers can get accurate information directly from an expert – you. Not to mention, it’s borderline impossible to find out who the listing agent is for a property on third party sites.
Make your site, and the listings on it, user-friendly and easy to navigate: There’s a reason third party sites like HomeAway and Booking.com are so popular: They create a fun, user-friendly experience for customers, but even seemingly flawless site like these have their pitfalls.
The biggest pitfall is competing with the other properties that are listed in your category. You are at the mercy of their “algorithm” and how much you can either say about your properties or how you can list it.
Draw people away from third parties by offering valuable content: This is where the Inbound Marketing Methodology comes into play. Simply offering visitors to your site content they actually want to see. This could be blogs, agent information, property designs, helpful widgets or anything else that your persona may be looking for. Even if this visitor is not looking to book right now, your offers will nurture them into closing a deal with them in the future. Not only will providing this content increase your SEO, but it will ensure that visitors return to your site for additional information.
Let your customers know that booking through a third party will cost them more money than it is to work with you directly. Not only do they get charged more on the nightly rates but they are also charged more fees, which increases the amount they are spending. On average a customer spends 20%-25% more when using a third party such as Airbnb and Booking.com.
I’m not saying all third party sites are bad and it doesn’t hurt to have your site listed on a few. Decide which ones are REALLY working for you. Get their stats and compare them to your stats and see if there is a true ROI. Third party sites are popular and some do work hard for you, you just have to decide:
- Does it still fit your budget?
- Does it deliver?
- Is there a true ROI?
- Is there something better?
- Why not work on getting them to your site and save some dollars?
Just some thoughts to ponder about getting your property off of third party sites and keeping more dollars in your pocket.