Direct booking is simply a booking occurring between a traveler and an owner without the interference of a commissioned booking platform.
Why should I book direct?
Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) add approximately 20% to the cost of a booking. As an example, VRBO charges a traveler a commission ranging from 12% to 14% of the total cost. This appears as the "service fee" on the booking summary. At booking the host is charged 8% which of course is also covered by the rate the traveler pays. The percentage charged to the guest on Airbnb is 15% and again the host pays an additional transaction fee, typically 5%. Some companies charge as much as a 35% commission. The traveler derives no benefit from the fees.
Many owners who book direct know they can discount their rates and still achieve the needed revenue. What may appear as just a $30 or $40 daily decrease in rate saves the traveler hundreds a day as they are not paying a commission to an OTA. A recent booking one owner of a larger cabin received through VRBO incurred a $217 service fee to the guest on a three-day stay with the total cost being over $2,000. A direct booking for the same dates would have been $318 less. In short, even excluding the added service fee, you're not going to get the best rate shopping on an OTA. You will save hundreds of dollars on most bookings when you bypass Airbnb or VRBO.
What's in it for the owner?
As owners and hosts, our biggest motivators are great guests and peace-of-mind. Our guests interact with us, not faceless, multi-billion-dollar companies and our second homes become their second homes as they return year after year.