A study research firm Clutch found that email, website, and social media are the top three marketing tools used by any small businesses. Around 54% of them use email, 51% have a website and 48% use social media for marketing purposes.
While it’s a positive start, almost half of small businesses are still yet to launch their own professional website – a big error if you want to be successful in a predominantly online industry like vacation rentals.
Think of a website as the first step: the first touchpoint for your potential guests to learn about what your property has to offer. Travelers are becoming increasingly more internet savvy and are window shopping around for the best deal, rather than relying solely on the big OTAs. Some even know about the #BookDirect movement which has cropped up in recent years!
In short, if you want your short-term rental company to be successful, a professional website is key. Let’s check out some of the main reasons why you should add building a vacation rental website to your list of New Year’s resolutions.
1. Take Control of your Marketing
A website remains the “most popular way for small businesses to market themselves online”. So it’s no surprise that in today’s Google-giddy society, online visibility is more important than ever and vacation rentals are no exception.
Think of your website as the backbone of your online vacation rental business. Every effort you carry out in terms of your marketing strategy will lead back to your site. That means every email you send, every blog article you publish and every social media post you share. All marketing actions like these will actively drive visitors to your website for more information.
While using listing sites such as Airbnb are highly effective for getting your property in front of vast quantities of travelers, it’s also essential you have your own online space that you’re totally in control of. This allows you to send inquiring guests to specific pages when they want to find out a bit more about your offerings, and it even facilitates direct communication between you and your potential renters.
2. Avoid Booking Fees
The number of reservations a vacation rental receives is a significant KPI for any owner to track. However, when advertising purely on third-party sites, costs can soon escalate when you take into account all the different fees and charges for using the site or accepting payments.
When you have your own vacation rental website, you can rest assured that you aren’t paying any additional fees every time you receive a booking. Besides accepting new bookings, having your own website is also crucial in order to cater to repeated guests who prefer to reserve their stay with you directly.
In addition, vacation rental website software tends to allow you the possibility to synchronize any external channels and reservations you receive into one centralized calendar via a channel manager. This takes the hassle out of managing multiple listings and helps streamline the overall running of your business.
3. Build Brand Awareness
Ask anyone you know about which travel services they’re familiar with and you’ll discover two common ingredients – they all have websites and recognizable brands. Branding is often overlooked by smaller vacation rental operators, but it’s a huge factor that helps to differentiate one short-term rental from its competition.
Building a vacation rental website not only gives you a concrete location to define your brand – including its logo, color scheme and company values – but it also helps to establish trust and a solid reputation with past, potential and future guests.
According to research by Blue Corona, 30% of consumers wouldn’t even consider a business without a website. That’s because websites are a sign of credibility and can help to establish authority on a specific subject. In fact, for vacation rental businesses, websites are the perfect space to show off insider knowledge about a certain destination, activity or seasonal event that takes place. In providing travelers with useful content that helps them to make their decision, you create a relationship with the potential guest and this can encourage conversion into booking.
4. Personalize your Business
Having your own website means you can personalize your business. You can include a whole section dedicated to “about us” in which you tell your story. For example, how exactly you got into the business and why you love it. Whether it’s a family-run business, with your partner or doing it solo, guests love reading about their potential hosts and want to find more about them. They want to see proof that you care about them, that you’re there to help them, that there is a real human behind the booking forms and confirmation emails. What’s more, they’ll feel more confident that you’re invested in them and in their guest experience.
You can also get creative and have a blog! There are so many topics you can write about, one of the most popular being the area of your rental. Tell your guests what they can do, see, eat and visit. You can also provide tips and tricks for travel in the local area, plus any extra information regarding your rental. Use your social media outlets to promote your post, which in turn, will bring more potential guests to your site.
5. Increase Conversions
Once you’ve got your vacation rental website up and running, you’ll see a higher conversion rate. According to HubSpot, the more pages a site has, the more leads it gets. Together with personalizing your site and taking control of your marketing, you’ll generate more traffic to your website. So naturally, the more chances you will have to increase bookings.
Furthermore, your own website means your own SEO. Google has to be able to analyze your website and deem its content relevant enough to present it to travelers who are on the lookout. For instance, if somebody searches for “holiday home in Florida” Google will scan the texts of your website pages to determine if you offer exactly what this person is looking for.
So by taking control of your own SEO, you can implement the most relevant keywords throughout your website. By doing this, your site will appear on Google when travelers are looking for a vacation rental, meaning increased conversions. Take a look at simple tips and techniques which can easily and quickly improve the SEO of your website.
Get Started with your Vacation Rental Website
Lodgify’s vacation rental website templates are 100% customizable, so you can adapt each aspect of the design to fit your business’ brand. All Lodgify websites are also mobile-friendly, so the quality of your website won’t be compromised when users access your page from a handheld device or tablet.
What’s more, with the built-in channel manager, you’ll be able to synchronize your website with any external channels and manage all your reservations from a centralized system. Plus, you can easily integrate your Lodgify website with social networks like Facebook and Instagram!
Any vacation rental business which doesn’t have a branded, bookable website in 2020 will soon fall behind their competition. Not only will you be seen as far less credible, but you’ll also miss out on the many benefits having a website brings – such as marketing opportunities, direct bookings and establishing a brand. If like many owners you’re still without an optimized website, make sure you address this as soon as possible in order to reap the rewards for this financial year.