In many cases, your vacation rental website is the starting place for guests to get to know your property and your brand. It’s where they will see an extensive photo gallery, showcasing the best your home has to offer. It’s where they’ll learn about the amenities you provide (or the ones you don’t). And ultimately, it’s where they’ll make their final decision about whether or not they book a stay.
There are plenty of best practice tips for converting website visitors into bookings, but one of the most obvious places to start? Optimizing your vacation rental website content to provide guests with exactly what they want to read – and more!
We’ve put together this breakdown of the content you must cover in order to wow your future guests and secure those bookings.
1. Knockout vacation rental description
The number one aim of your property description is to entice potential visitors and excite them about staying at your home. As each property is different, their descriptions should be too. Vacation rental copy experts, Guest Hook, tell us “there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how to craft the best description”. While we don’t have one secret recipe for writing a successful description, you can play to your own strengths in order to provide guests with the most authentic version of your home.
Your description will help to build trust and allow the guest to envision their vacation – so don’t be afraid to let your personality as the owner shine through! Add a sprinkling of your own sense of humor or some personal anecdotes to make travelers feel at home before they’ve even booked.
2. Genuine about us story
Just as with your description, providing an “about us” story on your website can help guests feel closer to you and understand from the outset what your business is about. This can also be a convincing element for those travelers who are undecided about a couple of different properties. Taking the time to introduce yourself to your audience shows you care about your business and the types of travelers who stay with you.
In addition to your own bio, be sure to outline any initiatives your business is involved with in your area, such as sustainable tourism schemes.
3. Hidden treasures area guide
Of course, any guest can Google “what to do in [city]” and devise a plan for their stay. In fact, they’ll have already chosen their destination based on something they’ve read or heard about the place. What they won’t have access to, however, are the insider suggestions that only locals know about – that’s where you come in.
By preparing a guide of your area’s hidden treasures, off-the-beaten-track sights and independent eateries only frequented by the locals, you’ll score big points with your potential visitors. As an added bonus, it will also position you as a local area expert and guests will feel confident when following your recommendations.
4. Accurate directions
Whether your property is located in a popular drive-to destination, or you have easy access to airports and train stations, provide guests with detailed directions for the key transport options. Knowing this kind of information in advance answers questions such as “how long will it take us to get there?” for the potential traveler, and can be a decisive factor to sway the booking.
5. Where-to-buy directory
Another way to create a buzz about your vacation rental – before your guests have even checked in – is by building a small directory of where they can purchase local products that they’ll find at your home.
This could be anything ranging from independent furniture stockists to artisan soaps and regional delicacies – check out the example from AC Thomas House above. A sign of a great vacation rental home is when a guest leaves wanting to buy their own version of what they’ve seen, tasted or smelt whilst away.
6. Exclusive partnership offers in your local area
Developing local partnerships with other businesses in your community is an important tactical marketing strategy for any vacation rental. Not only can they increase profits and build a stronger sense of community, they can also strengthen the guest experience you offer your visitors.
So, show off any special offers that guests staying at your property have access to on your website. This will help them to plan their trip and make the most of the exclusive opportunities that come with renting your home. This may be a discounted breakfast or dinner deal, special money-off passes to local attractions or even private tour guides who can show guests the best of your neighborhood.
7. Honest reviews
Research shows that more than three-quarters of travelers check reviews for hotels and alternative accommodation before making their reservation. As a result, it’s crucial you have a collection of real guest reviews on your website so your potential bookers can read about others’ experiences. This is one aspect of your site that needs to be updated and refreshed regularly. A guest who wants to book for a year’s time will likely be put off if the latest review is from over three years ago! While we all hope for only positive guest reviews, a negative one isn’t the end of the world – provided you know how to respond professionally and calmly.
8. Creative content
Wherever your vacation rental is in the world, there’s a very slim chance you don’t have competition for bookings. That’s why, in order to stand out from the other properties nearby, you need to get creative with your website content.
It might be in the form of a fun contact information image like Ersfjord Mountain Cottage have done, or some unique key facts cards on your homepage. Whatever your website style, there are endless ways to present your content to keep it original!
9. Family-friendly focus
According to travel giant Airbnb, families prefer vacation rentals because they “typically offer more space for less money and the kind of amenities like kitchens and common spaces that families need when they are on the road”. Consequently, directing your website content at this huge target market can help you to appeal to more families and increase bookings!
Addressing the family-friendliness of your property head-on gives you the opportunity to highlight the different options and activities for kids which are available both at home and in your area. This avoids potential headaches for parents further down the line, as they can think about their itinerary long before they set off on their trip.
Content is becoming an increasingly significant part of any travel website. Besides making guests fall head-over-heels for your property, content can help your website to rank highly on Google, improve conversion rate through answering FAQs and communicate your brand’s personality to potential visitors.