Unlocking Success: Insights From Lodgify's Direct Booking Champions

Unlocking Success: Insights From Lodgify’s Direct Booking Champions

Happy Book Direct Day!

Every year on the first Wednesday of February, the industry comes together to promote direct bookings in the form of Book Direct Day. But more than just a celebration, Book Direct Day is a movement aimed at educating guests on the benefits of booking directly with property owners and managers rather than online travel agencies (OTAs).

At Lodgify, we’re no strangers to the benefits of direct bookings. One of our core goals is to empower hosts and property managers to start and grow their businesses independently. Direct bookings are key to making this happen.

This year, we wanted to champion some of our customers who have had the most success generating direct bookings. These vacation rental managers receive more than 74% of their reservations via their direct booking sites, making them an inspiration and model for anyone who’s looking to gain more control over their bookings and business.

So, let’s see what these customers have to say about how direct bookings have impacted them!

Meet our direct booking superstars

Hanna | Hobbitenango


Hanna manages four vacation rentals in Vuelta Grande, Guatemala, including three hobbit houses. Hobbitenango receives over 88% of its bookings directly.

Built using innovative ecological techniques and perched on the side of the mountain in the incredible Panchoy Valley, the Hobbitenango “casitas” might be some of the most exclusive in the Western Hemisphere.

Nick | Crosby Lofts

Crosby Lofts

Nick manages Crosby Lofts, a hotel with 16 private guest rooms in Crosby, Minnesota. Nearly 80% of Crosby Lofts’ bookings are direct.

Crosby Lofts takes up the top floors of two beautifully restored 120-year-old brick buildings. Its convenient Main Street location and proximity to nearby Cuyuna Iron Range, one of the best mountain biking destinations in the U.S., makes it a biker’s paradise. As its homepage explains, “Guests who stay in the rooms at Crosby Lofts can park their cars and never get in their vehicles again until they check out to depart. We’re that conveniently placed.”

Keri | The Buzzard’s Roost

The Buzzard's Roost

Keri manages The Buzzard’s Roost Bar & Inn in Laurel, Mississippi. She uses Lodgify to manage the inn’s four suites and receives over 74% of her bookings directly.

The Buzzard’s Roost was established in 2023 and quickly became an integral part of its community. Keri and her team are dedicated to honoring the history of the surrounding area while also providing unmatched service.

What they have to say about direct bookings

How has embracing direct bookings positively impacted your business and relationship with guests?

Hanna: I enjoy the ease and security that both we and the customer feel at the time of booking. Everything is made easy for us and for the customers. We also appreciate the lower fees associated with direct bookings versus many third-party booking sites.

Nick: Direct bookings allow us to get to know our guests better. 

We ask an optional question of all guests who book directly: “What is the main purpose of your visit to Crosby Lofts?” Through the answers, we can better address guests’ needs when they stay with us. This also allows us to tailor our marketing and advertising….ensuring that we target groups who are more likely to visit Crosby. 

Another advantage is that we get the email addresses of our guests, which can be used in direct marketing. Finally, direct bookings do not have the high commission costs that come with OTA bookings.

Keri: I think direct bookings are the BEST way to interact with guests. It’s just more personal than going through a third-party booking website.

Why do you think guests prefer booking directly with your property?

Hanna: It is easy to find on Google, all of the information is in one place, and the customer can be assured of a final price with no hidden fees.

Nick: Some guests prefer to make direct bookings so that more of their payment goes to the property that they love instead of an impersonal online entity. 

Others find that it’s far easier to make changes to bookings directly with us, rather than through an OTA. I cannot tell you how many times a guest who has booked via an OTA calls us directly to make a change and is surprised to find that they didn’t book directly with us and disappointed that we cannot make changes to their booking. Those guests usually book directly the next time.

Crosby Lofts
Crosby Lofts in Crosby, Minnesota

Keri: It’s a good way to avoid higher prices and fees on third-party booking services! I think they also appreciate the personal aspect of it.

Have you noticed any specific benefits or trends in your direct bookings compared  to third-party channels?

Hanna: We typically book further out through direct bookings, and last-minute bookings are usually made through third-party channels. 

Direct bookings allow us higher profits, less fees, and a better ability to project into the future.

Casitas Hobbitenango in Vuelta Grande, Guatemala

Nick: We recently set up our property on Google Hotels, so our website now appears as the “official site” on the booking window resulting from a Google search of our hotel name. This has led to a slight increase in direct bookings.

Pro tip: Listing your property on Google Vacation Rentals offers the same benefits. Lodgify’s Professional and Ultimate plans offer direct integration with Google Vacation Rentals at no additional charge, helping to boost your visibility and send traffic to your site.

What advice would you give to fellow hosts looking to boost their direct bookings?

Hanna: Work on your SEO, work with bloggers who will write about your business and share links, and keep prices competitive across all channels.

Nick: We use social media and email marketing campaigns to connect guests to our website and therefore to direct bookings.

Keri: Make sure you have a great online presence. 

Your only advertising can’t be on third-party sites if you want to increase direct bookings! You need a great website. If you don’t have one, use Lodgify’s website builder!

The Buzzard's Roost
The Buzzard’s Roost in Laurel, Mississippi


There you have it: Direct bookings bring numerous benefits for hosts and guests alike

For guests, direct bookings offer a more personal experience in which they can work directly with owners, make changes easily, and support local businesses. For hosts, benefits include longer booking windows, more tailored marketing, and a better ability to make future projections.

And, of course, both guests and hosts enjoy the lower fees, leaving more money in their pockets.

With so much to gain, we hope to see more vacation rental hosts follow Nick, Hanna, and Keri’s advice to drive more direct bookings! 

Hint: If you don’t have a direct booking website yet, what are you waiting for? Try Lodgify for free today to create your site and start generating direct bookings!

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