In the past couple of years, hotel and vacation rental guests have become savvier when it comes to finding the best deal for travel products online. As a result, they’ve been increasingly turning to direct booking channels instead of going through large OTAs.  

This has led to an urgency for accommodation providers to offer a smooth, user-friendly direct booking experience and market their listings outside of major OTAs. However, the industry has so far been lacking in tools that would make setting up a direct booking website easy and efficient. 

In today’s article, we’re introducing LODGEA, a vacation rental SaaS startup that wants to solve the direct booking issue once and for all. 

The platform makes it easy for hoteliers and property managers to build their own websites, use the powerful booking engine to increase direct bookings, and automate online marketing. Read on to find out more!

Want to be the first to learn about new startups on the cutting edge of vacation rental technology? Become a member of the VRTECH community. We’ll send you a weekly newsletter and invites to networking events.

What is LODGEA and why was it created?

LODGEA is a next-generation direct booking and marketing engine for hotels vacation rentals. It was launched in early 2021 in response to increasing market demand for an affordable self-service solution to running a direct booking website. 

There are many easy-to-use tools out there that allow people with no coding skills to build their own websites. For example, you can build a blog with WordPress, a website with Wix or an ecommerce store with Shopify. 

However, until now, there has been no similar solution that would allow you to build a direct booking website for your accommodation business. Hoteliers and vacation rental managers have had to rely on large OTAs and outdated PMS booking engines. LODGEA aims to change this. 

“LODGEA brings the benefits that Shopify provides in retail to the travel industry,” said Ricarda Kies, CEO and Co-Founder of LODGEA. 

The company offers a completely self-service, off-the-shelf solution to building a direct booking website, complete with integrated marketing automation. Customers can set up a website by themselves without any support and start taking direct bookings within minutes. No programming knowledge required!

“LODGEA enables you to market and sell inventory without the need of paying large platforms and IT providers. This so far exclusive ability of OTAs is accessible to everyone from now on,” Ricarda said.

How can LODGEA help you build a direct booking strategy?

LODGEA has a wide range of features that make it easy to build a powerful direct booking strategy. 

Here are some of the highlights: 

  • High-speed, high-performance booking engine. LODGEA has a simple, 2-step booking process that’s optimised for conversions. This way, you won’t lose bookings to guests dropping off at the last step because of poor design and technical issues that result in a bad user experience. 
  • Integrations with PMSs and channel managers. LODGEA connects with your PMS and channel manager so you can synchronise your content, rates, availability and bookings in real-time.
  • Marketing automation features. Not only does LODGEA allow you to capture bookings but it also helps you drive traffic from a variety of online channels, from social media to search engines. 
  • AI-based content optimisation. LODGEA’s AI features help you save time while getting the most out of your listings. For example, it uses image recognition to identify services and amenities in photos and automatically translates your content into 79 languages.

According to Ricarda, LODGEA is a game-changing software for property managers who market more than 50 properties who have had to rely on costly custom solutions for their direct booking efforts.

LODGEA is a cloud-based SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solution, available worldwide. To get started, all you need to do is:

  1. Sign up for a free trial of LODGEA
  2. Upload or create your accommodation content. 
  3. Customise the design and configure your website.
  4. Market and advertise your content. 
  5. Charge commissions or fees to generate revenue. 

How much does LODGEA cost?

LODGEA offers subscription-based pricing plans. They have three packages: Basic, Professional and Enterprise, which include different services and have different monthly fees. 

It’s a flexible pricing model that allows you to upgrade your subscription or add individual features based on your needs.

LODGEA offers a 7-day free trial. There’s no risk – you can cancel anytime. You get full access to all of LODGEA’s features and the software is immediately available – no installation required.  

Sign up to the free trial or find out more about LODGEA’s pricing.

How Viva Riverside uses LODGEA

LODGEA has several beta customers who have already set up the platform on the backend and are looking forward to setting their booking engines live soon. 

For example,Viva Riverside operates several river cruise ships as hotel ships for business and leisure trips in Germany. 

“Given the fact that our moorings naturally do not have a street address, it is very hard to work with static solutions that require us to enter an address. LODGEA immediately understood our needs and found the perfect solution for us, also in terms of attributes that differentiate river ships from classic hotels,” said Patrick Ell, Head of Marketing and Digital at Viva Riverside.

What stood out to Patrick about LODGEA was that they were able to speak with “real humans” who made them feel heard. 

“In addition, LODGEA is the first booking engine that includes marketing automation. So we won’t only have a high performing and search engine optimized booking engine being implemented on our website, we are also able to drive traffic by using the marketing automation aspects such as the product data feeds for online marketing channels such as Google Hotels Ads, Facebook/Instagram and Criteo,” Patrick said. 

The Viva Riverside team is looking forward to seeing their new website go live.

“We are currently setting up everything in the backend and are amazed by the easy and intuitive tools, which allow us to enter many properties in a short period of time. As soon as the IBE [Internet Booking Engine] is live, we expect to boost our direct sales with immediate effect,” said Patrick. 

How Green Tiny Houses uses LODGEA

Another beta customer, Green Tiny Houses manages 22 rentals in four different locations in Northern Germany. Their tiny houses of only 22 square meters offer a sustainable experience in nature, making maximum use of minimal space.

“Before we started working with LODGEA, the main challenge was to build up the entire process of bookings. Enabling direct bookings through our website, integrating third party booking platforms and managing individual client requests,” said Jan Sadowsky, CEO at Tiny Green Houses.

LODGEA’s solution stood out to Jan with its unique approach to offering an easily accessible and customisable online booking engine. 

“With LODGEA, we can strengthen our brand and receive more direct bookings. It perfectly integrates into our website and makes it super easy for users to book one of our Green Tiny Houses,” said Jan.

“The team is really helpful and open-minded to design tailored solutions that fit our needs,” Jan added. 

Jan would recommend LODGEA to companies that “want to start and accelerate their rental business quickly and focus on their own platform and brand.” 

Start building your direct booking strategy today

In 2022, having a robust direct booking strategy will be essential to driving revenue and staying ahead of the competition. Now more than ever, vacation rental property managers need to diversify their distribution channels and stop relying exclusively on OTAs. LODGEA might just be the software to help you do it.

Want to be the first to learn about new startups on the cutting edge of vacation rental technology? Become a member of the VRTECH community. We’ll send you a weekly newsletter and invites to networking events.