Discover the Alternative to Expensive Online Travel Agents

What is an Online Travel Agent (OTA)?

As over 1.5 billion people are booking travel each year OTA’s are big business. An OTA (online travel agent) allows customers to make travel/holiday bookings and purchase other travel related products such as car hire, experiences and more. With an abundance of potential customers who now have access to the internet in the palm of their hands, using one or more of these online agents platforms to advertise and receive bookings for a rental property is now common practice among property owners.

 

How much do the giant online travel agents really cost?

We are now all very familiar with big names such as Airbnb, Trip Advisor and Vrbo; to name just a few of the major online travel agent brands which serve the travel and accommodation market. Let’s take a look at these popular online channels to see how much they cost.

Airbnb

Without doubt Airbnb is an incredibly successful model with an average of over 2 million guests accommodated in Airbnb listed properties every night. The fact that they allow pretty much anyone to become a host is perhaps the key factor to how they have grown a database of over 7 million properties. But what is the actual cost of an Airbnb listing?

Hosts actually have the option of 2 models for setting the commission rates for their properties: split -fee and host only.

  1. Split-fee

This fee structure is the most commonly used option for private owners who have a small number of properties to list.

How does it work?  A service fee is deducted from the total rental amount, as well as a service fee being charged to guests.

In the case of the split-fee structure the Host service fee is approximately 3-4% + VAT but this can vary depending on where your listing is located and what type of cancellation policy you apply (so not as straightforward as it may seem at first).

Guest service fee- this can range from 5-20%. Airbnb state that most guests pay a service fee that is under 14.2% of the booking subtotal however based on numerous searches the most common guest service fee is actually around 16%.

  1. Host only

If a host chooses to bear the full weight of the commission fee the rate is 15% + VAT. Yes you’re right; this does seem high compared to the 3-4% offered to hosts on the split fee model. So why would hosts choose this model? Taking on the whole commission amount brings the overall advertised price of the property down- making a more desirable offer to the customer and in a saturated market having competitive pricing is key.

Trip Advisor

Similar to Airbnb Trip advisor charge hosts 3-5% of the total booking amount plus a 3% processing fee if you receive payment through their platform. There is also a guest fee applied which is advertised as being between 8-16% per booking and in most cases tends to be around 14.2%.

VRBO

VRBO (previously HomeAway) charge 5% commission to hosts plus a 3% payment processing fee. Once again (and unsurprisingly) we see the same structure as the other channels where as well as a host service fee there is a guest service fee. Once again this is not set at a standard fixed rate but ranges between 6- 15% with the most typical guest fee being 11%.

At a glance:

OTA Host fee Guest fee range Guest fee (most common) Total host & guest fees
VRBO 5% + 3% 6-15% 11% 19%
Tripadvisor 3% + 3% 8-16% 14.2% 20.2%
Airbnb split fee 3% 5-20% 16% 19%
Airbnb host only 15% 0% 0% 15%

 

In practise:

OTA Host’s Set Weekly Rate Host fee payout Guest fee payout (most common) Total host & guest fees
VRBO £600 £48 £66 £114
Tripadvisor £600 £36 £85 £121
Airbnb split fee £600 £36 £96 £132

 

So, what about an online booking platform with no pay-per-booking commission?

Kalkan Owners Direct offers the same service of a great platform to showcase and advertise your property but with a more simplistic and cost-effective rate alternative than the standard OTA model; of charging a commission for each booking received. Just like Airbnb or TripAdvisor you will have a dedicated page for your property through which guests can directly communicate with you, make booking requests and payments. Our powerful owners dashboard is easy to navigate and allows you to manage all aspects of your property, bookings and payments.

How does it compare with other online agents?

As we have seen the cost of using most online agents is between 15-20% per booking, which is a significant amount for any property owner and can be a huge sum when applied to larger properties. The price of a Kalkan Owners Direct subscription is £25 per month or if you take out an annual membership package we offer 10% discount making the yearly fee just £270. To put it simply the subscription price is significantly less than the commission on a single booking!

The control is all yours. Most online agents hold the received funds for each reservation, usually until after the guests have arrived or in some cases checked out. At Kalkan Owners Direct you handle the payments the way it suits you and the full payments will come straight to you from the guest with no delay.

Another plus is the option to set your booking and refund policy exactly as you wish, rather than choosing from a small selection of standard options which we see provided on the major online platforms. These options can be limiting and not fit your requirements. As we have seen during the pandemic, policies can be overridden by the big online companies to save their own reputation with no consultation to the hosts.

Benefits of Kalkan Owners Direct:

  • Low-cost advertising
  • Minimal monthly fee and no hidden charges
  • No fees to customers so you offer the best competitive rates
  • Belonging to the Kalkan community and a captive customer market
  • Synchronise your availability calendars
  • No minimum property requirement

What can Kalkan Owners Direct do for you?

We provide a free property listing service and can take the task of uploading your property details off your hands. Our team is highly experienced in creating property listings and we will work in close consultation with you to create a listing that makes your property shine. If you enjoy getting creative and want to add a listing yourself, we are on hand to help you navigate our owners’ dashboard and set up your availability calendar. We can also help you to arrange a professional photo shoot of your property as we are based in Kalkan and have some great local contacts.

If you would like to join the Kalkan Owners Direct community visit our site and sign up today or contact us for more information.

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