When you think of memberships and subscriptions, typically you think outside of travel. Amazon Prime, Netflix and Spotify are the subscription giants.

However, travel membership and subscription models have been around the travel industry since the 1980s. While the traditional marketplace model still remains the most popular in the vacation rental sector, new formats of OTAs are evolving and starting to embrace a membership model.

Let’s take a look at the Memberships Only OTA trend, why it’s interesting for vacation rental property managers and which Memberships Only OTAs you should consider getting listed on.

Why Membership Only OTAs are an Interesting Niche for Property Managers

Over the last decade alone, there has been a constant and steady increase in the number of industries and companies that use subscription services and the vacation rental sector is no different. 

According to Amy Konary, VP at the Subscribed Institute at Zuora in Boston, the subscription and membership economy has seen a 350% growth in the last 7.5 years, growing at an average rate of 26% per annum.

Guests are now looking for something more personalised and unique with great end-to-end experiences that puts their needs first, rather than a one size fits all package.

This is especially true for millennials, who are much more open to the idea of paid loyalty, as long as they continue to receive added value. This is something membership OTAs strive for. 

Another interesting benefit of membership OTAs is their resilient business model. Due to having a steady cash flow, Membership OTAs often have more opportunities to focus their product development around what their customers specifically want.

Niche Vacation Rental Membership Only OTAs To Get Listed on:


Market: US

Golightly is an invite-only home-sharing and vacation rental club for women whose aim is to help women travel safely and go lightly. 

We spoke to the CEO and Founder of Golightly, Victoria O’Connell to get an inside scoop on what makes membership OTAs and Golightly a great option for property managers. 

What makes Membership OTAs different from other OTAs that don’t require travellers to become a member?

“Golightly is a private club for women, all Golightly properties are owned or managed by women and all members are vetted. Bookings are made by women within the network, though they can travel with whomever they wish. The fact that we’re a private club gives Golightly a “friend-of-a-friend” feel — you’ll see who you know in common — which creates trust and a more secure booking transaction.”

Some of Golightly’s most popular destinations are Austin, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Chicago in the US, and the UK and Italy in Europe, but who is your typical traveller?

“Golightly has all types of travellers from Business to Family to Solo stays, all looking for a safer space within a vetted community.  With the pandemic, Golightly travellers tend to lean towards families looking for getaways that provide a change of scenery, but where they can uphold a certain level of privacy and seclusion. We are also seeing our members want to book longer stays, since working virtually is now an option for so many people.”

Why do you think Property managers should get listed on Golightly? 

“Listing on Golightly means access to a highly-vetted community of female members, and thus Golightly is a platform with a high-level of accountability. Each PM is able to see how she’s connected to her prospective guest, similar to Linkedin. Guests are always members and they do the booking, but can travel with whomever they wish. Golightly launched in late January and now has 4,700 vetted, connected members across 70 countries.”

What are the added benefits of being part of a global community and how can property managers take advantage of it?

“Every traveler is a Golightly member who has been invited by another member, vetted, agreed to our standards of conduct and must verify her ID before she can book a property. Every PM who is a member of Golightly will have the full benefits of our network of connected, international and influential women. A member can network with women in her industry, alumni from her university, or other members who live in her community. All members share a passion for travel, and the belief that women deserve a safer alternative when traveling and hosting. We hope that a PM would not only feel safer hosting with Golightly, but would feel safe travelling within the Golightly community too!” 

We’re proud to say that Golightly will soon be among the 60+ channels that Rentals United users can connect to, so you can manage your listings on Golightly directly from our channel management platform. 


Market: Europe 

Bidroom is a membership based hotel and vacation rental booking platform with no commission that partners directly with hotels and property managers to guarantee the best prices.

We spoke to Daniel Carvalho from Bidroom to find out what their mission was and why Bidroom is a good alternative for Property managers to get listed on. 

What makes Bidroom special and why should property managers get listed?

“Bidroom is a new generation booking platform, that is membership-based, and a commission-free community that connects property managers and travellers.

We provide direct reservations to the property, do not charge property managers any commission, in exchange for offering our Members a minimum of 5% discount on the public prices visible on other booking platforms. Under a beneficial membership model, property managers can easily increase their revenue and travellers can save more.”

Since you don’t charge commission, how is your business model structured? 

“We operate on a membership model: no business – no pay, which means that the hotel pays us an annual membership fee, once we deliver the minimum of revenue, based on the number of rooms. The first 1,500 € in direct bookings is on us.

On top of that, by joining Bidroom you will not only receive commission-free bookings but also be able to be in direct contact with your guests and you will get access to the marketplace with a partner network reach of 50M+ users worldwide. 

As a support to the industry Bidroom waived all annual fees for hotels for the remainder of 2020. Now you can onboard your property with no commissions and no annual fees.”

You have over 120,000 properties across 128 countries. Who is your typical traveller making bookings? 

“Our quintessential guests are frequent travellers who are passionate about travelling. Typically they plan trips 6 weeks out, and are looking for the best possible experience.” 

Finally, what makes your membership OTA different from a typical OTA that doesn’t require travellers to become members?

“Bidroom is a closed booking platform, where our members can find the lowest possible prices, even up to 25%. We also offer discounts on other partner services such as car rentals, insurance, tours and more.” 

Did you know that Bidroom is one of the 18 new channels coming soon to Rentals United?

At Rentals United, we are constantly adding new booking sites to our list of connections, so you can find the best distribution channels that work for you.  This is how vast your marketing mix could be if you were working with our specialised channel manager.

Membership Only OTAs

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