As a vacation rental owner, your business’ livelihood relies on different tools to attract guests and encourage them to make a booking. One of these tools is, of course, vacation rental software.
In an ideal world, the software you choose should be effective for both you as the owner and your potential guest. Good software will allow you to create a bookable website, accept online payments, and manage all guest inquiries and reservations from one place.
Your software should give your website visitors a smooth and hassle-free experience. If you’re not seeing the booking numbers you would expect, it may be time to re-evaluate. Here are the seven most common reasons why your vacation rental software may be failing to help you achieve reservations.
1. It’s difficult to use
According to the Interaction Design Foundation, the usability of a software takes into account three main outcomes:
- How easy it is for the user to become familiar with and competent using the software during the first contact with the website. When we think about a vacation rental website, that would mean the user could easily navigate through the right sequence of actions in order to book their stay quickly.
- How easy it is for users to achieve their objective by using the website. If a user has the goal of booking a vacation rental stay, an optimized design will guide them through the easiest way of making a reservation.
- How easy it is to remember the software and how to use it on return visits. In other words, your user should learn how to book the first time, and remember the steps just as easily the next time.
As you can see, making things easy is the best way to convert website visitors into bookings. Ditch the difficult software, or you’ll find it impossible to improve reservation numbers.
2. It has unattractive templates
When using a software to build your vacation rental website, you need to ensure the result is going to catch a potential guest’s eye. This means that the templates it offers not only have to be functional, but also attractive and memorable. Research shows travelers spend an average of 53 days visiting 28 different websites before they make their decision. An unattractive template will put your guests off from booking your vacation rental. In addition, if your template is outdated, guests won’t have the confidence to even browse through your website. If your software doesn’t allow you to create a beautiful website, that’s where you’re going wrong.
3. It doesn’t integrate with other applications
These days, owners have a plethora of tools and applications available which can help with the running of their businesses. From running multiple listings across sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com, or managing more administrative tasks such as accounting – you need to be able to integrate these other apps with your software.
But what does this have to do with converting more guests? If your website information (such as calendar availability) isn’t accurate, it’s going to be hard (and probably frustrating) for guests to make a booking.
For the best chance at success with your vacation rental business, it’s important your software has a way of integrating with other channels and apps. This could be both via a channel manager and via a more sophisticated platform such as Zapier. Having the ability to control different apps from one place will also help you save time and streamline your processes!
4. It’s not mobile-friendly
Research shows that more travelers than ever are booking their trips via mobile devices. In order to stay competitive, your software needs to give you this capability, too. Having a website that allows guests to search for accommodation, book their trip and communicate with you via their mobile devices will ease the process and lead to a quicker conversion. Failing to do so, however, will definitely hinder your booking numbers.
5. It’s not secure
Even if you have the most stunning vacation rental website ever created, you’ll still struggle to achieve bookings if it seems insecure in the slightest. One of the biggest flaws of many vacation rental software services is that they don’t provide owners with a HTTPS and SSL encrypted website.
These security certificates help your guest to trust your website enough to enter their credit card details to make their reservation payment. Without them, guests’ sensitive data is considered unsafe and vulnerable to attacks. As a result, you will see a lot fewer conversions on your website. It’s therefore essential your software provides you with HTTPS and SSL encryption technology (Lodgify does!) on your website.
6. The Photos Aren’t Up to Date
If you only have a few photos, or your photos don’t portray your vacation rental very well, this can also lead to not converting guests. Having up to date photos is crucial, as they are make or break booking opportunities. Guests want to envisage and know exactly where they will be staying. It is essential to have multiple photos, even in the same room at different angles. Built-up trust with your visitors, show travelers that your home is as good as you say it is. Professional and high-quality photos will even optimize your vacation rental to the full extent.
It’s not just about photos – include a floor plan, indicate where the furniture is located in every room. You can even try a 360-degree virtual view of the exterior and interior, or a video showcasing your property.
7. Guests cannot find your website
If you’ve done everything possible and you still aren’t getting reservations, the problem now isn’t your software, it’s that guests cannot find your website. What’s the point of having an amazing vacation rental website if no one can see it? That’s where SEO comes in.
“SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.”
Your vacation rental website needs to include the most important keywords that travelers are using to find accommodation. Try searching for your vacation rental website on Google and see if it appears on the first page. Your goal should be to rank within the top three – so you can get up to 60% more visits. Have a look at simple tips and techniques which can easily and quickly improve the SEO of your website.
If you find yourself thinking that your vacation rental software has at least one of the flaws outlined above, it could very easily be the reason your property isn’t receiving as many bookings as you hoped! Guarantee a full calendar of reservations with optimized vacation rental software.