I have monitored closely an owner who has been working collaboratively with ListDirect the last few months. The amount of views this owner has received on her ListDirect listing is phenomenal. I wanted to dive a little deeper in to the data, to see if this has impacted the traffic on her own holiday let website. I was blown away with what I found. The owner of the property very kindly shared the Google analytics data for her website, along with answering questions I had. This helped me to get a better picture of her marketing techniques, during the massive peaks in her listing view count.
Everything this owner has done you have had access to. Everything I thought ListDirect had the potential to do for holiday let owners, it has.
Back ground information
Before we delve in to the data I think it is important for a bit of background information first. For the purpose of this report and data protection, the property and owners name is currently not disclosed. What I can disclose is this data is based on:
- 2 bedroom holiday let
- Based in the UK
- Verified owner on ListDirect
- Property not advertise on any booking sites
- I will refer to the owner as a lady
What is the report looking at?
An owner who advertises her holiday let on our website, has been actively using the advice of ListDirect to start sharing the unique ListDirect (URL) to her property when marketing on social media. After watching the view count on the owners listing rise significantly, I was interested to see if it had impacted the traffic in any way on her own holiday let website.
If you do not know your unique URL on ListDirect for your listing, I have attached a how-to video from your ListDirect Owner’s How-to Handbook, explaining where to find your link.
Analytics overview before joining ListDirect
This graph shows an overview of the traffic on the owners own website for last year, Jan 2021 to December 2021. Important to note here, this data is all prior to the owner being actively involved with ListDirect.
Traffic only starts on the website around May 2021. I have asked the owner, when did the website go live? April/May 2021 the website got built and went live. This is evident from the data.
As you can see from the graph the data shows a massive influx of traffic, maximum point reaching an estimated 180 site sessions.
I can tell from the data, that there was no data recorded for the previous year 2020. Which was confirmed by the owner as the site was not created then. This is why the numerical value and percentage value for site sessions and unique visitors ‘match’.
Keep an eye out of the figures on the Y-axis for this graph and the next graph too follow as they contain different values.
Analytics overview after joining ListDirect
This next graph is an overview of the analytics for this year, Jan 2022 to the start of June 2022. Important to note here this data incorporates the periods of time when the owner is actively involved using her ListDirect URL to advertise her holiday let.
Again before reading the data it is important to have some prior knowledge of the owners ‘behaviour’. The owner followed the advice given by ListDirect to share her unique ListDirect link in various places. This was done by the owner in February 2022, then the owner had a break from sharing her ListDirect link. June 2022 the owner is back advertising her ListDirect Link.
Now lets look at what the graph tells us. Quick glance over the graph it clearly shows a massive influx of traffic to her own holiday let website during February and June. The influxes of traffic all occur at the same time the owner is actively sharing her ListDirect link when advertising her holiday let. Not her website link (URL) but her unique ListDirect URL to her listing.
The highest site session this year reached an estimate 200-210. By sharing her ListDirect URL to advertise her holiday let, she has superseded the immense traffic received to her website during the staycation boom period last year. In a year were bookings are lot slower for owners due to many factors, this owner has managed to increase traffic on her website when marketing her ListDirect URL .
Important to mention the owner was actively sharing for around 7 days in February, compared to June when the owner was less active and only shared her link over 2 days.
Traffic distribution before ListDirect
This chart shows the overview of traffic distribution to her website. If your not tech savy it basically shows what website the user came from when clicking her website link.
Again always keeping in mind the data here was for the staycation boom year. As you can see Facebook drove the majority of the traffic to her website.
If I had data from 3/4 years ago (as an example) for this owner, I would not have included the staycation boom years (2020/2021) as this data would be classed as an anomaly. An anomaly is data that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.
However this data doesn’t exist, so there is no other choice but to use the over inflated staycation boom data.
The owners site went live April/ May traffic started being recorded in May, so for argument sake the data shows traffic from the start of May to the end of December 2021 (8 months).
Grand total of 1,883 (1,320 + 444 +97 +17 +5) for 8 months.
Traffic distribution after joining ListDirect
This chart shows traffic distribution for this year 2022, when the owner is actively involved with ListDirect. This data is the traffic to the owners direct website from the start of January to the 1st week in June (6 months and 1 week).
Grand total of 2,034 (887 + 404 +303 +264 +176) for 6 months 1 week, lets keep things easier to read and say 6 months.
So in 6 months the owner has exceed the traffic distribution to her own holiday let website. An increase on last years figures recorded, during the most busiest time holiday let owners have ever received due to Covid by sharing her ListDirect URL when marketing her holiday let. Lets use this data to do some estimating…
- Last year you could say on average traffic distribution scored (1,883 / 8 = 235) 235 referrals per month.
- This year you could say on average traffic distribution scored (2,034 / 6 = 180) 339 referrals per month.
On average the amount of referrals this year (this means the amount of sites that have sent users to her website) has increased by 44.2% from last year, an increase on the busiest year we have all faced as owners.
Worth mentioning here, I used part of the owners holiday let name on a google search. Her ListDirect advertisement ranked on the 1st page of google, above her own website. On other keyword searches the owners ListDirect advertisement ranked no 1 on google.
Last 7 days traffic distribution
The following chart shows traffic distribution on the owners website for the last 7 days (26th May 2022 to 1st June 2022). The data is compared against the data collected for the same time period last year, when the owners site was live, but when she was not working collaboratively with ListDirect.
This time last year holiday let owners were receiving an inflated amount of enquires compared to the years before. There is less demand for a holiday let in the UK this year and there has also been a rise in the number of holiday let businesses opened up. Yet none of this seems to have impacted traffic to this owners website, when sharing her ListDirect link on social media.
As you can see every ‘website’ source that sends traffic to her website has increased. The highest increase coming from Facebook with a 2,900% increase this year compared to the same time period last year. What is the owner doing different this year? Sharing her verified ListDirect link instead of her own website link when advertising.
I was interested in the Facebook traffic. The owner stated she only shares her ListDirect URL when advertising. She shares her website links (availability calendar/more information) when messaged privately or responding to comments from her advert. All depends what the user asks for. This will contribute to the Facebook rise as they user clicks her link on the Facebook platform.
Last 7 days traffic overview
This graph shows an overview of site sessions for the last 7 days on the owners website. Compared to the data collected for the previous week, when the owner never shared her ListDirect link. The faded line and shading you can see is last weeks data. The darker line and shading represents this weeks data (2022).
That massive peak you can see on the graph represents the owner sharing her ListDirect link following our advice, learnt earlier on in the year. The data shows an increase to her website compared to last year week.
- …195% increase for site sessions.
- …244% increase for unique visitors
The owner shared her ListDirect link on 6th and 7th of June. From the graph you can see when the owner stops actively advertising, the traffic to her holiday let website drops dramatically.
This owner does not advertise on any booking sites, so no traffic has come from being found on an OTA site and searched for. I can not stress enough the power your verified ListDirect link has on social media compared to your individual website URL.
ListDirect data for the owner
Now lets look over and analyse the data collected for the owners listing on ListDirect, for the periods the owner was actively sharing her ListDirect URL. The data here is only looking at her 1st property listed. To date from January 2022 to June 2022 the owner has had 2,959 unique views to her advertised listing on ListDirect.
February 2022: The owner received over 2,000 views to her listing in February alone (1 month). How? By sharing her ListDirect link on social media. I asked the owner, how many times did you share you link in February? From memory she estimates over 1 week. That is 2,000 views in 7 days, 285 views to her holiday let per day.
June 2022: The owner shared her ListDirect link on social media over 2 days in the week, total views to her ListDirect advert in June 747 (over 7 days).
Important to note, when you share a post on social media the reach stops after a day (roughly) can even be after a few hours. This is why it is important to stay consistent. You can share your link every day by setting up scheduled posts. Good habits and regular routines will generate your business a lot of money and ensure you fill the dates with direct bookings, before bookings sites do.
Direct bookings in February 2022
From sharing her ListDirect URL on social media in February 2022 the owner received 13 direct bookings! Cost her nothing but a bit of time creating the post and advertising for FREE.
New skills learnt paid off
The owner launched another holiday let 2 weeks prior to this report. Using the same techniques learnt earlier on this year and knowing the power sharing her ListDirect link had on social media she marketed the holiday let instantly. On her second property she has received 11 direct bookings in 2 weeks.
- 8 direct booking from sharing her ListDirect URL
- 1 direct booking, direct from ListDirect
- 2 direct bookings from word of mouth
If you haven’t yet read our blog on word of mouth, it is well worth a read. Everything this owner has done in advertising you can do with the help of our how-to videos and blogs.
Comparison of both holiday lets
When analysing the amount of views both her advertisements received on ListDirect, the findings were very interesting. The holiday let launched 2 weeks ago received 453 views, compared to her other holiday let which received 747 views, for the same period of time. A difference of 64% increase in traffic between the holiday lets, yet the property which received the less traffic had taken more bookings.
I asked the owner what property link to ListDirect have you shared more? Both URL’s have been shared equally.
What was difference? Both properties have the same amenities, in the same area and finished to the same standard. One property allowed short breaks over the summer compared to the other holiday let which stipulated a 7 days min stay over the summer. It was the holiday let allowing shorter breaks receiving the most bookings.
I shared my findings and the owner dropped this business model of a minimum 7 night stay on her holiday let after I had reported this information back to her. Resulting in her gaining even more direct bookings. The owner received another 6 direct bookings a few days after she changed her business model. More bookings are now being received on the property which had the 7 day minimum stay stipulation as this has now been removed. The short breaks actually generate more revenue.
How many direct bookings in total
Property 1 – 19 direct bookings
- 17 sharing ListDirect link when advertising
- 2 word of mouth from family and friends
Property 2 (new property) – 11 direct bookings
- 8 sharing ListDirect link when advertising
- 1 direct from the ListDirect website
- 2 word of mouth from family and friends
Grand total of 30 direct bookings. 26 out of 30 direct bookings came from working collaboratively with ListDirect. 86.6% of direct bookings came from joining ListDirect.
Which Link to share on Facebook
Time to take an unbiased logical approach when thinking about what link to share on Facebook.
Facebook account – Can anyone create a Facebook account/page? Yes. Are any legal checks done? No.
Creating a website Can anyone create a website? Yes, if you have the skills or pay someone. However, the important question is do you need to show proof you own a holiday let to create a website? No.
There are absolutely no ‘ID verification or proof of ownership’ processes in place to create a Facebook account/page or website. To become a verified ListDirect owner, we conduct checks on ID and ownership.
One could argue you can have reviews or comments on your account on Facebook. Again all created by an account where no ‘verification’ process is needed. Reviews could be from an account you created or friends. Your verified ListDirect website link (URL) confirms you are the genuine owner of the holiday let. Instantly creates trust and confidence with a holiday seeker to book direct.
What does the owner do?
Shares her ListDirect link on social media, following our advice on targeting buy and sell groups instead of holiday let Facebook groups. These groups as a whole are used by opportunist scammers, to overcome this issue she uses her ListDirect URL instead of her website URL, as you can see above this has increased traffic to her website.
The owners responds promptly to enquires. This is an other great way to build trust. Would you want to book direct from an owner who takes a few days to respond? What would it be like if there was an issue at the property? How long would it take for the security deposit to be paid back?
The owner believes replying promptly helps to keep the holiday seeker enquiring focused on her holiday let. After receiving so many direct bookings, she is doing something right.
Giveaways – no bookings
Whilst collecting the information needed for this report I was very interested on a comment the owner made. She gained no direct bookings from her givaway at the start of this year. A giveway financially costs your businesses, depending on your rates could be anything from £100 – £1,000+. you also need to cover the cost of electric and cleaning etc. for the winner.
The followers you ‘bribe’ to like your social media account, more than likely will impact your reach when you share content on your social media account for the next years to come. Why? The account had to like your social media account for a chance to win. They are now your follower and will be placed in a ‘batch’. If they have no interest in your content and only the free holiday that was on offer, they will not interact with your content.
What does this mean? When you share content and it is tested by ‘batches’ of your followers to see if more accounts should be shown your posts. It will fail and your reach on posts will drop, genuine people who follow you to receive updates etc. will no see your content. To learn more on this please read our blog here.
The owner received endless direct bookings sharing her ListDirect link, financially costing her nothing! Gained lots of new followers, again at no financial cost and this time genuine accounts interested in her holiday let.
Are you verified?
Unfortunately it is not hard for an opportunistic to create a book direct holiday let scam. You can help contribute and ensure these scammers don’t ruin book direct for us all, become verified. Clean up our industry and make it impossible for a scammer to tarnish your business. Secure yourself more direct bookings. More information on becoming verified, can be found here.
Discount instead of book direct
I asked the owner do you think there is anything else that may have contributed to your bookings? The owner said, the only other thing is she currently advertises a 10% discount on her prices. Now this got me thinking! No one I speak to outside the holiday let industry understand the words ‘book direct’ and what it entails. No one is aware of all the extra costs they pay when they book through a booking site.
Why do we all advertise our book direct prices? Do people really know how much they have saved? I have changed my business model in light of this report. I advertise my booking site costs on my website, with a % reduction showing my book direct prices. I was finding when people enquire, they had no clue how much my property was and how much they have saved booking direct. This way my guests are aware of the massive reduction they received when they booked direct.
15% reduction on all rates
This owner has received 30 direct booking: 83% from sharing her ListDirect URL, 1 direct from ListDirect, 4 word of mouth. As you can see from this report the owner has drove more traffic and direct bookings to her own website by sharing her unique ListDirect URL. It has not impacted traffic to her own website, if anything it has increased traffic to her holiday let website.
Everything this owner has done cost her £0. Everything this owner has used was FREE. All profit made is hers, by using ListDirect no percentage was given to a booking site.
Are you fully booked this year?
What about next year dates? Use the same marketing techniques this owner has and ensure you fill your calendar up with direct bookings before booking sites get their hands on the dates. Ensure you maximize your profit margins next year and the years to come.
If you need a friendly reminder, a little bit of tech support or just acknowledgement that you are not on your own advertising join our WhatsApp group set up to help owners increase their direct bookings. WhatsApp 07467188833 to be added to the group.