It’s #BookDirect Day!

What is #BookDirect Day?

Championed by Amy Hinote and the team at VRM Intel, the third annual #BookDirect Guest Education Day is today! (This recurs on the first Wednesday in February every year.) With a multitude of new travelers searching for short term rentals, STR managers and homeowners join forces for one day with a singular message to let travelers know that there are many advantages to booking directly with management companies and homeowners.

Why NASTRA Cares

The short answer is… because we are not “Airbnbs”. Short term/vacation rentals date back to the 1950s in America — and even earlier in some European countries. But in 2008, Airbnb came along and made it cool. Their approach made it accessible and engaging to a younger audience. Much like “Google” has become the verb for searching online, “Airbnb” has now become the verb for hosting and the noun for any home that is used as a short term rental.

However, the downside of short term rentals being referred to as “Airbnbs” is that our members — the local homeowners — get lost in the shuffle and overlooked in the public perception and understanding. Here in Nashville, 73% of permitted STR owners live right here in Davidson County. (80% live in the state of Tennessee.) Most short term rental owners use the income from short term rentals to maintain living here — basically that income gets spent right back in the county. Not to mention the residual effects of the people who work alongside hosts to help welcome guests: property management companies, cleaners, maintenance people, local furniture companies, you name it.

While Airbnb, Vrbo, booking.com, and other listing sites certainly help connect us to guests, they are not our identity. When our local government creates news laws, there may be a subtle impact felt by the listing sites. However, the people who really feel the impact are right here: your neighbors and fellow Nashvillians who also happen to be hosts. So while this day may have originated to drive awareness about where you book, it has evolved into a movement about homeowner independence.

Why Every Host Should Care

Beyond the actual booking source of where your guests come from is something greater: you. It’s all of the time and effort you put into your rental homes, whether they’re your own or you manage them for others. Even if you choose to solely market your home using Airbnb or Vrbo, it takes your hard work to actually host guests. Let me share with you an example not related to the vacation rental space to showcase that point:

A few weeks back I wanted a gluten free donut (pre-New Year’s resolution, for the record). I have my go-to places but I wanted to try something new. I searched “gluten free donut Nashville” on Google. I found a place right around the corner. They ended up having amazing gluten free donuts and matcha green tea. Of course, I took pictures, posted them on Instagram, tagged the donut shop, and told everyone about the amazing donut and tea I just had.

Now, imagine for a minute that since I initially found this donut shop on Google, I took a pic, tagged Google, and told everyone they need to go have a Google donut and tea. You’d probably be scratching your head, right?

I know this may seem like a far-fetched example, but it’s really not. In this instance, Google was the marketing platform that connected me to my donut but the donut shop made the donut and the experience. Now that we all want donuts, let’s bring this back to short term rentals…

Airbnb, Vrbo, your own website, referrals from past guests, Facebook… they are all marketing platforms that connect you to guests but you and your home are the experience. You and your home are the brand. #BookDirect day is about that!

Participate In Today

I encourage you to think about what #BookDirect really means and to participate in some way today. Once you’ve done that, then share a photo of you or your your home on social media, send it to your friends and family, let guests know in whatever way you can: social media, email, your website. When you post online, use the hashtags #BookDirect #NashvilleHost.

Comment below to share what you’re doing to make the most of today!

Megan McCrea
Host. Neighbor. Nashvillian.
NASTRA President

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