For many years, Co and Guy enjoyed their Costa Brava second home as a weekend retreat in the countryside – away from the hustle and bustle of city life. But as their children grew up and started to prefer hanging out with their friends in the city, Villa CP was left without visitors to enjoy it. A familiar story that may resonate with many readers.
Conscious that they were no longer making the most of their beautiful property, Co and Guy began to consider renting it so other families could benefit from its location and amenities. After talking to some of their neighbors who also rent out their property, they soon overcame their initial concerns of renters throwing wild parties, and took the plunge to become vacation rental hosts.
After deciding to go ahead and rent out Villa CP, Co and Guy turned to a local website for their first taste of exposure. For a website which only offered around 100 properties in the region, commissions were set high at 15%. While listing sites can be a great source of bookings at the beginning, it didn’t take much time for the couple to see just how expensive they turn out to be in the long run.
“We soon realised that we could probably reach customers directly, with a website of our own.”
With the idea of building their own website in mind, Co and Guy set out on their quest to leave the regional listing website behind and begin to take their own direct bookings.
Above all, the features they knew they had to have for their website were the ability to accept online payments, multilingual possibilities and a way to synchronize calendar availabilities.
After researching some of the different solutions available, Co and Guy came across Lodgify and immediately signed up for the free trial.
“We compared a few software platforms and Lodgify’s free trial made it really easy to test it out. For us, Lodgify had the best features on the market, and at a really fair price.”
Being able to experiment with creating their website before committing was a real advantage for Co and Guy. During their trial period, the couple learned how easy it was to set up their own website, personalize each aspect to suit their taste and even add translations of their content in the many languages they speak.
Additionally, they were able to refer back to the Lodgify Knowledge Base to find all kinds of tips and tricks on improving their website. For example, how to customize bookings with add-ons such as bike rental or laundry services.
“We love that the software lets you create “upgrades” – special promotions and to offer extra services which aren’t normally included in the price.”
This feature can really help to upsell to a guest during the crucial point when they are making a reservation.
With its core functions and other integrations turning out to be exactly what they needed, the decision was unanimous: they would choose Lodgify to help with the marketing of Villa CP.
What they liked most about Lodgify
For Co and Guy, hands down their favorite feature of Lodgify’s software is the ability to synchronize calendars across different platforms.
“The availability of the house is automatically updated everywhere, instantly, when a guest makes their booking. What’s more, setting up credit card payments was really easy. These are both features that help to save a lot of hours and hassle over the course of a year.”
With Lodgify’s Channel Manager, vacation rental owners and managers will never have to worry about out-of-date calendars or double bookings again. This helps them to save both time and effort when managing their properties, as they can ensure the information they’re seeing in front of them is correct and accurate at all times.
The ability to accept online credit card payments is also a major advantage for businesses in the vacation rental industry, as it’s much more convenient for both guests and hosts alike. Plus, features such as payment scheduling means owners can decide how much their guests have to pay – and when.
How they found the process of creating their own website with Lodgify
By signing up for the 14-day free trial, Co and Guy were able to test out all the features they were looking for to make sure they were compatible with their needs. They found the process to be smooth and simple.
“Creating our website was fast and easy with the 14-day trial. Lodgify has essential features for us: credit cards, multilingual everything, and of course, calendar synchronization.”
How they got their first bookings
After building their mobile-friendly website with Lodgify, Co and Guy also optimized it for SEO by adding important elements such as keywords, meta data, and a full property description outlining all that Villa CP has to offer. Furthermore, they have integrated a link to their vacation rental blog on their website, which is also optimized to target guests who are searching for information about local restaurants, beaches, things to do and events nearby on the Catalan coast.
Because these optimizations are in place, Google is currently the main source of new leads for their villa bookings.
Other channels that generate traffic and bookings
When it comes to taking care of their guests, Co and Guy want to create a lasting personal relationship to make each stay extra special – which starts with being able to contact renters directly.
“Mainly we get direct bookings through our Lodgify website.
We don’t like to pay a percentage of bookings as commission (except for Airbnb, where it’s a relatively low commission anyway). And we want to have direct personal contact by email and phone with guests, so apart from Airbnb, that’s mainly what we look for when we choose listing websites.”
Additionally, by optimizing their external listings with their brand name – Villa CP – it allows guests to find their website directly in Google (it’s the first result that comes up!).
This encourages more and more guests to book directly via their website – especially when they can compare the price with and without listing site fees!
Furthermore, Villa CP are also consistently ranking in the top results for other non-branded searches such as “Luxury Eco Villa Costa Brava” and “Luxury Villa Girona”.
How Lodgify helped them grow their vacation rental business
Not only was it easy for Co and Guy to create their Villa CP website and set up credit card payments in the beginning, but also knowing they have the right software solution in place allows them to focus on other aspects of their business as their calendar fills up each high season.
“We doubled our bookings and saved a lot of agency commission! We’re fully booked from April to September. Now we can concentrate on talking to guests and so on, because we know that the software just works.”
For anyone starting up in the vacation rental industry, the owners of Villa CP have some advice for you: the key to success is all about creating memorable experiences for guests.
“Personal contact goes a long way. If you can meet your guests and talk to them, you will all have a better time.”