Direct Booking Websites


From a property owner’s perspective, the first thing they must decide is whether they want to be reliant on third parties like agents (OTAs or UK Agents) or whether they would prefer to take control and pay less commission.

The only way to take control is to have your own brand which involves your own online assets including website, social media profiles etc.

Any website can be a direct booking website, you do not need to purchase one that is designed specifically for the purpose of direct booking.  This is because most Property Management Solutions (PMSs) can be integrated with websites with ease, giving you the freedom to choose the most appropriate PMS and website.

Websites can be categorised into various types based on their purpose, design, and functionality. Here are some common categories:

  1. E-commerce Websites: Online stores selling products or services, such as Amazon or eBay.
    – Platforms: Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL
    – Payment Gateways: Stripe, PayPal
  2. Business Websites: Showcase a company’s information, services, and contact details, like corporate sites.
    – Platforms: WordPress, Wix, Squarespace
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP
  3. Blogging Websites: Platforms for sharing articles, opinions, and updates, such as WordPress blogs.
    – Platforms: WordPress, Blogger, Medium
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP
  4. Portfolio Websites: Highlight individual or company work samples, ideal for artists and professionals.
    – Platforms: Wix, Squarespace, WordPress
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  5. News Websites: Provide news articles, updates, and multimedia content, like CNN or BBC.
    – Platforms: WordPress, Drupal
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP
  6. Educational Websites: Offer learning resources, courses, and educational content, such as Khan Academy.
    – Platforms: Moodle, Teachable, Udemy
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Python
  7. Social Media Websites: Facilitate social networking and interaction, like Facebook or Twitter.
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Node.js, MongoDB
  8. Entertainment Websites: Provide entertainment content, including videos, games, and music, like Netflix or YouTube.
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React, Node.js, SQL, NoSQL
  9. Nonprofit Websites: Represent nonprofit organizations, providing information on causes and ways to contribute.
    – Platforms: WordPress, Wix, Weebly
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP
  10. Personal Websites: Serve as personal homepages for individuals to share information about themselves.
    – Platforms: WordPress, GitHub Pages
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript
  11. Forums/Communities: Enable discussions and interactions among users, like Reddit or Stack Overflow.
    – Platforms: phpBB, Discourse
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby on Rails
  12. Government Websites: Offer information and services related to government entities and public services.
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, PHP
  13. Landing Pages: Single-page sites designed for marketing campaigns and lead generation.
    – Platforms: Unbounce, Leadpages, Instapage
    – Technologies: HTML, CSS, JavaScript

These categories often overlap, and a single website might serve multiple functions.

Property owner’s will either be looking at the following platforms or using something built by a third party which may or may not use one these platforms.

  • WordPress
  • Wix
  • Squarespace
  • Weebly

A word or warning.  Technology is always changing and websites need maintenance to keep up with the changes.  They also need to be hosted somewhere and they need to load fast which is a function of design and hosting.

Of the above list, WordPress is the most universal and that means that there are hundreds of hosting options and thousands of engineers who can help maintain the sites.  WordPress sites can be moved from a slow host to a fast host and from one designer to another with ease.  So, if you are with a company that built your website and charges you a monthly fee for hosting and maintenance, so long as it is built on WordPress you cannot be held to ransom should they decide to increase their fees.

Wix, Squarespace and Weebly have a slightly different model in that they charge a monthly fee which includes hosting.  There are less engineers with the appropriate skills in the world but these systems are less complex and are popular with DIY enthusiasts.

There are big debates about which ones are best for SEO (search engine optimisation) and there are rational arguments in favour of WordPress due to the many “plugins” developed for that purpose.  Purists would argue in favour of sites built from scratch rather than using one of these platforms.  The problem is that even if they are correct, very few people can maintain those sites and therefore you are dependent upon the authors being able and willing to do so.

At the time of writing, typical hosting fees for a fast WordPress site are £25 + VAT per month.  The cost of building a WordPress site varies greatly ranging from a few hundred pounds to several thousand pounds.  It is certainly possible to build your own WordPress site but it is a complex area for those who are unfamiliar with it which gives the alternate platforms an advantage.

Then there is the specialist “direct booking website” builders such as CraftedStays.  They have built a template that can be used by property owners to create a direct booking website for their business and they make it easy to connect with the main USA based PMSs although they claim that any PMS can be used.  They charge $60 per month for the first two properties with a small surcharge for additional properties but there is nothing stopping them form raising their fees in the future.

Other specialist website builders with varying features and pricing include the following:-

  • Booking Ready
  • Booklee
  • Boostly
  • PromoteMyPlace
  • Ditch Your OTA
  • Help4Hosts

We can help owners to assess their needs and to choose the most appropriate platform for their business both now and in the future.

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