Don’t make this ROOKIE mistake: Direct Booking Sites

Don't make the mistake of thinking a cheap and nasty direct booking website will do!
Don’t make this ROOKIE mistake: Direct Booking Sites
Last Updated: 16/05/2023

Yes, you NEED an Airbnb direct booking website!

Let me start by saying it is a GREAT idea to have your own direct booking facility. 

There are a variety of reasons that you’d want to set one up, which we’ll go through below. 

But first, I want to caution everyone.  

I was inspired to write this article by a post I saw on an Airbnb hosts group on Facebook. 

Hosts were sharing their direct booking websites. 

Some of them had built their own. Good on them for having a go. 

Sadly, for the majority, it was not a good look… 

I actually felt bad for some of them. Those websites were shocking!

Some of them even said they had paid THOUSANDS for their badly designed website. 

It was nothing short of a disaster. 

The worst part? It doesn’t HAVE to be that way. 

But for those hosts, it was already too late. 

They have invested time and money into that outcome. The job was done. 

Hopefully, I will have caught you before you go ahead and make this mistake. 

Read this article and take it in! 

It might be the difference between your STR business flourishing, or not. 

5 Reasons you should have a Direct Booking Website 

There are plenty of good reasons to get your own website built for your Airbnb business. 

The savvy business owner understands that controlling risk and taking opportunities is a huge part of building your success. So, for many owning your own online space is understood as a must-have. 

Here are the main reasons to get your own direct booking website: 


1. Income Security 

  • Occasionally, we hear stories about limitations being placed on a Host’s listing or account for violating a rule or term of service, or because of a complaint made by a guest.
  • Sometimes the circumstances may be untrue, or misunderstood, but the approach from Airbnb is usually the same.
  • If alarm bells aren’t ringing in your head right now, then they should be! 
  • Losing your listing means you can’t take bookings, and if you lose your entire account, you might won’t be allowed by Airbnb to make another. That’s crazy! 
  •  This is simply dangerous for many people who have a mortgage and bills to cover. Can you afford to lose that income? 
  • Reducing your reliance on any particular platform is always a good thing, because it makes you more flexible, less vulnerable, and more able to react if things go wrong. Thing of it as being proactive in 

2. Marketing

  • This is an often-overlooked area by many Hosts.
  • Some basic marketing can go a long way to establishing your brand and property as a must-visit destination. 
  • It doesn’t have to be complicated, either. you can build up on the side with your own Airbnb marketing plan. 
  • Or you can use professional Airbnb marketing services, like those that HoliHome offers. 
  • Without a website for people to find, they won’t be able to find your business in the results when they use a search engine like Google. 
  • A website also adds legitimacy to any business, and especially one that is trying to establish a brand name and image. 
  • Having a website also signals to potential customers that you are a real business, and that they can trust you.
  • It’s also a great place to include reviews and testimonials. The more often these types of “trust signals” are seen, and the more “social proof” you have, the more at ease customers will be, and the more likely they will be to book. 

3. More Revenue 

  • Skip the service fees when you let guests book using your website.
  • You can remove the 17.2% of the booking fee that is taken by the platform, and instead put that towards having some excellent insurance, and offering your customers booking incentives. 
  • You can fill more vacancies by encouraging repeat customers to return with special offers. 
  • Build up your email database so you can send news, offers and personalised updates. This was you can stay relevant, keep in touch, and keep those bookings coming. 

4. Future-proofing 

  • So, you’ve spent years focusing on Airbnb, and then it falls out of favour. What then? 
  • If you build up your own brand and business on the side, you won’t be so reliant on any one platform. 

5. Opportunity

  • This is an opportunity! One that can easily be wasted. 
  • If you have aspirations of getting more than 1 property, then it makes perfect sense to create a brand name, build a website, and support your expansion with a legitimacy. 

Do NOT let your business down!

As a professional with a web development, SEO, advertising background, I have seen a lot of poorly done advertising.

The sad thing is that often people don’t realise that they are actually HOLDING THEMSELVES BACK!

It always puzzles me when I see someone attempting to do something good for their business, but in reality they are actually hurting it.

Some of the websites – yikes!

They look like they were designed by a teenager, not a “professional”.

SEO? Nope! They have NO chance of getting search traffic from Google.

Building a professional image? Not at all.

Instead of the polished image it was meant to be, their business just looks like a low budget operation.

I have to ask “why?”, and then shake my head. I don’t see the sense in doing half a job, or doing an ‘OK’ job.

Especially when it’s easy enough to get a professional outcome…

And for a price that every savvy business owner can factor into their operational expenses (and even write off on tax).

Let’s face it – the world of short term rentals is VERY competitive!

Potential guests have an ENDLESS number of possibilities to choose from at the swipe of a finger.

When they come across your online listing, you really need to be putting your best foot forward.

If you need a professional result, then you need a professional to do the job.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can do a professional’s job without the time and experience to back it up.

Remember: First impressions last!

Humans are bound to remember their first impression due to a phenomenon called the primacy effect.

This initial impression and the first information learned is usually becomes what is remembered first.

This can then become what is called an anchoring bias, as the new information is ignored in favour of the old information.

It then serves as a reference point for subsequent interactions, even as new information is layered on top.

That’s why people say first impressions count!

In our increasingly digital world, where customers shop and purchase online, your online presence is the first thing they come into contact with, and the first thing that they’ll remember 

So, what do you want your business to be remembered for? 

Whatever it is – it needs to be accurately reflected in your online presence. 

Be careful which CMS platform you choose for your Direct Booking Website 

Content Management Systems (CMS) platforms like Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly, are quick to set up, but they are very limiting in what you can do. 

Of course this is to make it easier to use for people who are new to building websites.

But the functionality and extendability is also limited for that reason. You can only customise so many things, can only add a limited amount of plugins, are limited in theme choice, and can’t access the code. 

These sort of sites tend to have a similar basic look to them as well.

Another very important oversight is that these CMS platforms offer a very limited amount of potential for search engine optimisation (SEO), and some are even notoriously bad for it. You will have trouble getting good search engine rankings and attracting visitors to your site – if you are able to get any at all.

Overall, if your main goal is to get something up and running quickly, that is cheap, and you want to build it, then a basic CMS platform is perfectly suited for that. 

I’m always encouraging everyone to have a go, and you will learn a lot, and might even enjoy it! 

Melbourne Airbnb Co Hosts - HoliHome

Which content management platform should I choose?

If you are looking to build a proper long-term web asset, then you will want to stay away from the basic CMS platforms we mentioned above. 

I recommend everyone go with (not install as the most flexible option that will produce the best results.

Particularly if you are looking to blog, run adverts, or would like to do proper search engine optimisation.

Using a channel platform manager can save you time – and make you a better Host

If you’re not already using a channel platform manager, then you should be! 

A platform channel manager offers hosts a range of productivity tools, which offer a huge range of advantages. 

We’ll be writing more about our favourite platform channel manager, Uplisting, in a future blog article. 

Can you use a platform channel manager instead of a website? 

Yes, you can generate a direct booking site built with a platform like Uplisting

But keep in mind that the direct booking site generated by Uplising is actually just a booking portal, and not a full website. 


Uplisting actually pulls the data used to create your Uplisting direct booking site from your Airbnb listing, and syncs it with all of your other booking calendars in the process. 

So, if you want to do any marketing, blogging, or SEO, you will need to have a proper website that has the facilities. 

The best combination is a WordPress site that uses a channel manager that’s set up with a subdomain to manage bookings, messaging, update calendars, deposits, and all of the other features it has. 

This is the cheapest, quickest, and easiest option to set up, and offers the most flexibility. You are free to try out other channel managers if you need to. 

How much should I pay for a direct booking website? 

As with most custom projects, it all depends on how detailed you want to be, and how much time is involved. 

You can request a quote by sending us an email – [email protected]

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