It’s all good and well advertising your vacation rental property on listing sites like HomeAway and Airbnb to reach big audiences and generate more inquiries, but when you’re sick of paying fees or you have loyal, returning guests who want to book direct – what do you do?
In order to boost your bookings, become more self-sufficient and take control over your vacation rental business, you’re going to need your own website. And not just any website, either! You need a beautiful and optimized vacation rental website with all the features and functionality needed to take direct bookings, manage reservations and synchronize all your other channels for complete ease.
We take a look at the top six reasons why all owners need a vacation rental website, whether that’s to complement the activities they’re already doing on listing sites or to leave them behind completely!
1. Take direct bookings
One of the most important reasons you’ll want to market your own vacation rental website is so that you can take bookings directly. That means no extra host or traveler fees – great news for you and your guests!
Research on hotel booking preferences has revealed that 65% of guests prefer to book directly with the provider rather than using OTAs like Booking.com, and that’s especially true for return visitors. So what’s to say these figures are any different for vacation rental bookings?
A lot of specialized vacation rental website templates like Lodgify will already have this functionality, but even if you choose to create your website with a more general provider, there are plenty of widgets out there that will allow you to add booking capability to your site.
2. Create online credibility
Nowadays, every reputable business has its own website. If it doesn’t, doesn’t something seem wrong? This same mentality should apply to your lodging business.
Yes – other platforms with the specific purpose of helping you advertise your business do exist, but what if potential guests try looking for your home elsewhere on the internet and come up short? It might even dissuade them from booking with you in the first place.
It’s no secret that guests love to window shop on OTAs, then Google the property brands from their shortlist to check out their reputation and credibility. So, name-drop your brand on OTA portals, and you’ll find that users who love to cross-reference everything on the internet can make sure your listings are consistent and verifiable. Savvy guests wanting to avoid booking fees will also hunt around for a better deal on prices – that’s where your website comes into play.
Think of your website as your business card: if someone is interested in your property, what URL will you give them? Do you really want to send them to a third-party OTA listing? The short answer is no, and that’s why a website is an absolute essential for any serious vacation rental business owner looking to create online credibility.
3. Build up your brand
Having your own website is the best starting point for building a solid brand presence online. You want people to know about your vacation rental? You’d better have a branded website.
Establishing your vacation rental brand, however, isn’t a matter of black and white – though colors are certainly involved in the process! It’s about creating consistency across your website and any external listings, always referring to your business by its brand name and, having a good logo to accompany all your marketing efforts both on and offline.
On online travel agencies, yours is just a commodity – a needle in a haystack, one listing out of thousands. And in many cases, guests will see the OTA as the brand, rather than the host themselves.
Your brand will help you stand out from your competitors, and your guests will begin to identify with your brand as something more than just another vacation rental business. This is even truer if you have your own stunning vacation rental website!
4. Become listing site independent
There are now more hosts than ever on Airbnb, and this number looks unlikely to decline any time soon.
History has shown that as OTAs become more powerful, they take more and more value away by charging higher commissions to travelers and owners alike. Having your own website is the first step in taking back this control that you are losing to OTAs and taking your business into your own hands, without your business being at the mercy of some large corporate travel agencies.
Having your own website adds another channel into your marketing mix where you can reach guests you couldn’t reach before. Your own website is a way to stand out from the crowd and run your hospitality business according to your own rules, not the rules of whichever OTAs you’re listing with.
5. Enjoy complete freedom
There is no denying that having your own vacation rental website allows you to be 100% in control of the content that is published on it.
Want more photos on the homepage? You can make it happen. Want your headline text a bit bigger so it stands out more? That’s on you, too!
No matter what you want to put on your site, there are no restrictions which will limit your decision making.
Listing sites and OTAs tend to censor hosts by imposing character limits and a maximum number of photos, which can leave users feeling frustrated. With your own site, however, you are the only person in charge of the rules.
That means you can add as many reviews, local tips, blog posts, details about add-on services like bike rental, and special promotions (etc.) as you like, without any limitations.
6. It’s so easy to do
Creating a vacation rental website needn’t give owners a headache. Lodgify’s software allows you to create your own hospitality website and accept online bookings at the click of a button.
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 Twitter!
Create your own stunning website with Lodgify to open a new world of possibilities for your vacation rental. We’re so certain you’ll like it, we’ll happily let you try our software for 7 days free of charge!
Convinced you need a vacation rental website yet? It’s time for owners to take the reins and become masters of their fates – not just spectators wondering where the next booking is coming from.