What market forces are holding you back?
The #1 answer to this question is: dominance of the OTAs
Let's look at why the OTAs are such a major problem:
- They make a barrier between host and guest
- They impose their own payment schedules and cancellation terms
- They are middlemen, taking a slice of the rental and increasing the cost of renting
- Their might in terms of advertising spend makes it impossible for your own mass-marketing efforts to be effective
- They result in a higher proportion of sub-optimal bookings, creating avoidable calendar gaps or losing the opportunity to field guests to a better-fitting property
Can a new listing site ever compete?
Many attempts have been made to break the dominance of the OTAs. You are probably aware of many recent start-up sites that claimed to have the magic formula in the form of an alternative listing site with no commission and direct contact between guest and host. As you might expect, they tend not to get traction. What might surprise you here, is that there have been a few successes. We can point at floridarentals.com, ecbyo.com, spain-holiday.com, twiddy.com and a few others. If we learn from the successes and if we don't repeat the mistakes of the failed enterprises, it should be possible to reduce the dominance of the OTAs for travelers to all USA destinations.
Here is a Do/Don't list for success as a new listing site:
- focus on easily defined, year-round destinations with high rental values
- concentrate on getting sufficient listings by approaching all relevant property managers
- ensure easy on-boarding using software integrations
- continuously, test out all possible marketing methods
- adapt quickly to optimize advertising
- be prepared to spend on start-up advertising
- continuously test guest behaviour to optimize the site for generating inquiries
- take on the whole world
- make unrealistic claims
- start charging until success is proven
- spend big on advertising until density of listings is sufficient
- expect the site to be self-financing in the early stages
- give up if it isn't an instant success
How can HiChee.com succeed?
First, we follow the Do/Don't rules.
Next, we try all kinds of enhancements. For example, we enhance the site with additional information for guests.
Live Price Comparison
Our price comparison demonstrates the big advantage of direct booking for guests. We want to make sure that every guest who comes to our site wants to inquire through our site in order to save.
Our aim is to make the advantage of direct booking absolutely crystal-clear.
Then, we add meta-search facilities so that a guest can find all rentals on the HiChee site regardless of where they are advertised. Naturally, we make sure that the HiChee (or Manager-direct) listings are seen first.
Metasearch (coming soon)
Now, the guest has no reason to start their search on any other site. The advantage of HiChee is clear. All the rentals are visible and on many, there's a direct-booking price advantage.
These features are there to ensure that visitors to HiChee are much more likely to make their inquiries through HiChee. There is no reason to search on other sites because virtually all rentals are here.
The overall effect of our guest-glue is that we achieve more conversions per advertising click, making our advertising spend sustainable.
Why join HiChee?
When you join HiChee, you'll find your business in good company. Look at the HiChee Property Managers who have already joined: https://blog.hawaiichee.com/property-managers-on-hawaii-chee
For Property Managers, HiChee offers the best chance of reducing dependence on the OTAs.
At present, we can only offer a trickle of inquiries while we refine the site and optimize our advertising. We want to turn that into a flood! In order to get the density of listings that we need, we are making an offer that is very hard to refuse: We publish your listings for free. We will eventually charge, but will offer you a choice of charging models including pay-per-inquiry. We guarantee that our charges will be great value. (Terms apply: Listings must also appear on one of the major booking sites and you must commit to our "Best Price Commitment".
That's a NO-RISK, free enrolment deal. Just get in touch using This Form.