How A Professional Vacation Rental Website Tripled Owners' Bookings
Dimora Cortese arose when Francesco, a young surveyor and farmer, decided to renovate his old family house. The idea was to create a “resting place” for all travelers wishing to stay in a quaint location. In fact, Dimora Cortese is located in the northern Italian region of Piedmont, 20km from Alba, in a small village named Castagnole delle Lanze which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
“We had an old house to renovate, a location rich in history and tradition and the desire to let other people know the charm of this timeless place.”
This is how the project of an agritourism with charming bedrooms came to be. Francesco opted for maintaining the original structure’s authenticity, but in the meanwhile, modernity became the fundamental trait in terms of functionality, interior spaces and services.
Supported by his partner Sara, Francesco undertook the challenge starting with a renovation, specifically designed to maintain the integrity of the original structure. Besides this, he immediately took care of the business promotion: four rooms for history lovers, a real oasis of peace in the Piedmont countryside, without having to give up any city center comforts.
At this stage, Dimora Cortese’s owners decided to rely on a popular online booking portal which, despite paying a fairly high commission, helped to start making the property known to travelers. However, Francesco and Sara didn’t feel fully satisfied: this “display cabinet”, besides being quite expensive, didn’t allow flexibility or customization in terms of business presentation and direct contact with customers. And most importantly, it didn’t offer the possibility to easily manage bookings by connecting to their own website, nor calendar synchronization to have updated, real-time availability.
“The main challenge was finding a platform which was able to give visibility to my property, as well as have essential features like an integrated channel manager.”
As a result of his frustrations, Francesco decided to start investigating the best solutions to create a professional website. He was looking for something more than just a place to showcase his property. He needed a software that included among its key features an integrated channel manager to manage multiple platforms simultaneously from a single place, and one that allowed him to generate direct bookings.
“This is when I came across Lodgify, a vacation rental software that promised helping owners to increase their business by creating a customizable and user-friendly website. It’s very easy to use and comes with a big plus: an integrated reservation system able to accept direct payments by credit card, and a channel manager to manage listings and reservations coming from several OTAs, with automatic synchronization of the availability calendar.”
With Lodgify’s Channel Manager, owners and property managers don’t have to worry about non-updated calendars or booking errors (double bookings, overbooking, etc.). This allows them to save time and energy in all the management activities and having a real-time view of bookings.
The possibility to accept online payments with credit cards represents an additional advantage for those who manage accommodation facilities, as it’s a convenient and secure payment method for both guests and owners. In addition, features like payment scheduling allow owners to decide how much and when the guests will have to pay.
Francesco suggested using the Lodgify solution to because, although Sara was not a programmer, she had already taken care of their former website creation. Thanks to the free trial period, Sara could immediately get to work using Lodgify’s tools, and right away she found the platform very intuitive and easy to use.
“It’s a platform which offers all the tools to create your own property showcase and manage your business in complete autonomy – and it’s extremely simple to use. There is another plus that shouldn’t be underestimated: the presence of a very available customer support team, with skilled people who are able to offer solutions to the most diverse needs and problems.”
Even while building their new site, Francesco and Sara had the feeling that Lodgify was exactly the answer to their needs. In fact, it didn’t take long to see the results of their new site in action.
“We receive hundreds of views per day, thanks to the easy inclusion (in terms of SEO) of keywords aimed at improving the website indexing on search engines. Our direct contacts more than tripled and we’ve increased our percentage of direct bookings with consequent economic savings, because generating our own contacts and direct bookings also means not having to pay any commission to online portals.”
Good SEO is essential in order for a website to be found by potential guests. Francesco and Sara are definitely an example to follow in this aspect: since they optimized their listings on other platforms with their property name and main keywords, it’s easy for users to find their website directly on Google. As you can see, it’s among the first results!
We asked Dimora Cortese’s owners what other channels or tools can help to increase traffic and generate more bookings:
“Listing your property on the most famous dedicated platforms at the beginning, especially Booking.com; having verified reviews; and proper use of social media.”
What Francesco recommends to other owners or vacation rental industry beginners:
“Loving your work and considering your customers as guests, first and foremost.”