We often hear about vacation rental scams, credit card frauds and identity thefts, but don’t realize why they happen. Although it seems like something that could never happen to you, these incidents usually occur on websites that don’t have HTTPS.
It’s becoming increasingly important to use SSL encryption on any website who gather and transmit customer information in order to guarantee it remains private and secure. So important, even, that Google started discriminating websites that don’t have an SSL certificate in 2017.
But don’t fret – it’s not all bad. We’re here to tell you what SSL is, what it’s used for and the basics to get started.
What is HTTPS?
HTTPS means HTTP over SSL or secure HTTP. When using it, any data that is transferred is encrypted and secured.
HTTPS is able to provide the following layers of protection:
- Encryption: it would be completely worthless to intercept the data submitted on your site because it would be fully encrypted and no one can get the key to decrypt it.
- Data integrity: the personal information sent through your website can’t be altered. And that’s a good thing!
- Authentication: it prevents petty “middleman” attacks, which means that your guests won’t be able to be tricked into thinking they’re providing you with their personal information when they’re really giving it to a scammer.
What is an SSL Certificate?
An SSL Certificate is a security certificate provided by a tier (the Certificate Authority) trusted by the electronic devices (computers, phones, etc.) and it guarantees that the certificate owner has been authenticated and verified.
In short: A Secure Sockets Layer is a certificate that secures the HTTPS connection between the user’s browser and the website they’re visiting.
Benefits of using HTTPS and SSL encryption
We don’t have to go through the technical details behind HTTPS and SSL certificates, but we can certainly tell you the basics:
Trust and confidence are so important on the internet. Any site with a good reputation which can prove it takes security seriously can attract more visitors than a site that doesn’t.
SSL certificates do exactly that – they make your website more secure for your potential guests and bookers. It’s essential on pages where your users give their credit card information and/or other personal information. However, it’s better to have it on your whole website.
Increase Customer trust to increase booking conversions
You might think that no one really sees the difference between http:// and https:// or knows anything about SSL but according to the CA Security Council’s 2015 Consumer Trust Survey, customers do know their information is safe if they see a padlock and green bar in your website.
The study says that 53% of survey respondents “recognize the padlock means more trust” and 42% understand the green bar in the URL means safety. Without the padlock and the green bar, the CASC report says that consumers are left to trust the online merchant exclusively, and only 40% are comfortable with that.
Boost your SEO
However, it’s not all about your customers now. Google has made it clear that HTTPS is a ranking factor starting early 2017. They’re going to be looking for the padlock and boosting your search positions for it.
If you don’t want to get lost in Google search rankings and want potential guests to trust you, you better take SSL encryption seriously!
Does your vacation rental website need SSL encryption and HTTPS?
YES. As a vacation rental, property manager or hospitality business, you absolutely need one.
Now that you know that it proves that your website is secure and trustworthy, you also know that it’s very important! Your customers need proof that you’re someone they can trust their personal information with.
The most powerful cue is the padlock that appears when your vacation rental website is fully encrypted. Users will be able to see it throughout your site – whether they’re on your checkout page or not.
How do I get HTTPS?
For Lodgify users
It’s usually expensive and tedious to buy and set up SSL certificates but we don’t want that for our customers. That’s why we’ve done it for you, and made it completely FREE!
All Lodgify vacation rental websites are fully encrypted. This will improve your website’s security, increase customer trust, and SEO.
For non-Lodgify users
If you don’t have a Lodgify website, an SSL certificate will typically cost you up to $100/year and you’ll have to get a dedicated IP address and set everything up. You can follow this guide to set it up on your own website.
Sign up for our free trial and see how easy it is to set up a vacation rental website that’s always up-to-date with software technology and Google algorithms.